Articles Posted in Children

custody - photo of baby's hand in parentsIt may sound like a Hollywood movie script, but actor Jason Patric is in a real-life battle for custody of his child.

Mr. Patric may have won the first round when California courts agreed that he was in fact the legal parent of the child who had been conceived through in vitro fertilization and born to Danielle Screiber, Mr. Patric’s ex-girlfriend. This biological connection, however, may not be enough to grant Mr. Patric custodial rights to the child. Ms. Schreiber has accused Mr. Patric of domestic violence in the form of physical and psychological abuse, causing the courts to reverse an earlier decision granting him joint custody of the child. The ultimate decision regarding Mr. Patric’s custodial rights will depend on completion of counseling by Mr. Patric and joint counseling by the couple. To learn more of this case, read “Jason Patric is Legal parent of IVF-Conceived Child, Appeals Court Rules.”

winter-coats-400-04545880d-224x300Now that winter has arrived and the temperatures are dropping, most parents want to make sure their children are bundled up against the cold. Be aware, however, that the same coats that keep children warm when outdoors in the winter months can inadvertently threaten their safety while in the car.

Bulky coats and jackets can produce a gap between children and their safety harnesses when the children are buckled in to their car seats. These gaps prevent the harnesses from doing their intended job, which is to keep children securely fastened in the event of an accident. So, what’s a parent to do? Read “NJ parents – This super-simple precaution can protect your child in the car” for some helpful tips.

gifted-child-400-07411176dFor many children, extra-curricular activities are a trial-and-error means of discovering their interests and talents. New Jersey’s guidelines for child support recognize this and generally take into account the costs associated with such activities in the basic child support payments. What happens, however, when a child is gifted in a particular area, requiring more extensive involvement to develop his or her special skills?

A New Jersey judge ruled recently that a parent could be ordered to pay additional child support to help cover the costs of his or her gifted child’s endeavors to improve the child’s talents. To learn more read the nj.com story regarding “Divorced parents of gifted children …

Halloween-dangers-400-08199921dIt’s that time of year again. Today while children everywhere will run excitedly door-to-door in search of treats, medical professionals will be busy manning phones for agencies like the New Jersey Poison Center 24-Hour Help Line and fielding calls from frantic parents. Most parents know by now to check their children’s Halloween bounty for the possibility of tainted candies, but the poison center warns us that there are other dangers far more common than tampered treats to watch for.

The poison center reminds parents to look for unexpected dangers this Halloween. Items like broken glow sticks, button batteries used in flashlights, cheap Halloween makeup, and food allergens can threaten the safety of children and pets alike. For more information and advice on what to do for your child in the event of an emergency, read “NJ Poison Center warns of Halloween dangers in unexpected places.”

co-parenting-400-06522675dIn a co-parenting custody arrangement, parents work together to maintain equal roles in raising their children. Proponents of this arrangement believe it provides a healthy environment particularly for the children by minimizing the disruption to their lives. There are other benefits, too. For one thing, children are exposed to positive interactions between their parents rather than negative ones. This type of arrangement may also put less of a strain on relationships with extended family members if no one feels pressured to “take sides.”

Co-parenting requires a level of cooperation not all couples can achieve, so it may not be the solution for everyone. However, because of its potential benefits, it is worth considering provided the circumstances of your divorce permit. To learn more about how co-parenting arrangements can work, check out “Mayim Bialik gets real about co-parenting: ‘Divorce isn’t the end of family’.” The actress, currently appearing in the television hit, The Big Bang Theory, explains how she and her ex-husband have made co-parenting work for their family.

Photo of child holding cutouts of family separated by divorceDivorcing couples may severe ties with each other but not with their children — once a parent, always a parent. Children depend on mothers and fathers to fill certain roles in their lives and they see their parents’ relationships with each other as a partnership. When children watch that partnership dissolve through divorce, the impact on their emotional and psychological well-being can be great.

How parents decide to approach their divorce can help lessen the negative affect the divorce can have on their children. Whether the divorce is cooperative or contentious can influence the type of parenting plan the couple can hope to have. To learn more, read Dr. Jamie Williamson’s blog, “Marriages Dissolve, But Parenting Partnerships Are ‘to Death Do Us Part’…

coping-400-06888385dFor some people, divorce is the only solution to the problems in their relationship. Still, it is difficult for everyone involved as they adjust to changes in family finances and lifestyles. Children can be most affected since they very often don’t understand the circumstances that led to this change in their family life.

Children react differently to their parents’ divorce – some act out behaviorally at home or in school; others keep their feelings pent up, only for these feelings to surface at a later time in their development. Most parents go to great lengths to protect their children from being traumatized by their divorce. One of the best things they can do is consider their children’s needs first, according to Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry. To learn more about how you can help your child adjust to your divorce, read Dr. Pruett’s article, “Helping Children Cope With Divorce.”

 

custody-400-04369363dWhen facing divorce, many parents will go to great lengths to arrive at custody agreements that protect the daily routines of their children as much as possible. Allowing children to remain with the friends and schools they’ve become accustomed to can prove helpful as they adjust to their parents’ divorce. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.

Sometimes parents are faced with unexpected circumstances – a change in finances or employment, for example – that jeopardize their ability to live up to the terms of even the most well-planned custody agreements. Ignoring the terms spelled out in your custody agreement can have costly consequences, a lesson one New Jersey couple is learning the hard way. For details, read “Parents ordered to pay N.J. school district $55K tuition in residency dispute.”

One way to avoid a similar situation is to return to court to seek a new or amended custody agreement and keep the terms of the new agreement in mind when making modifications in your life to meet your changing circumstances.

bullying-400-05696906dMost people would agree that bullying needs to end. How to best accomplish this and protect our children is the question.

After a number of well-publicized suicides by victims of alleged bullying, New Jersey passed what has been referred to as the nation’s toughest anti-bullying legislation. The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights was adopted on Sept. 1, 2011 and replaced much weaker legislation that had been on the State’s books. The Bill attempts to prevent bullying through the education of students and school staff about what constitutes bullying; the creation of teams of school personnel and parents to whom these behaviors can be reported; and the investigation of all reported acts of bullying.

Some may say New Jersey’s law is too rigorous, while others may think it doesn’t go far enough. Consider the case of one Wisconsin town that recently made the news by passing legislation allowing for parents of children found guilty of bullying to be fined. Read “Wisconsin Town Will Fine Parents of Bullies $366” to learn more about this most recent anti-bullying measure.

Joint Custody -- photo of pen and corner of eyeglasses lying on a Child Custody agreementDivorce may be the answer to a troubled marriage but when children are involved, the relationship between spouses never truly ends. Although divorce negotiations can sometimes be bitter, custody arrangements require cooperation if they are to work.

There are various forms of custody designed to suit the unique circumstances of individual families. However, most people believe that joint custody, if possible, is best for the children. For this, couples need to put aside their differences and focus on the needs of their children. To learn how to do that, read “9 Rules to Make Joint Child Custody Work.”