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Wichita Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Help your child thrive on transition days

146154317_s.jpgOne of the most difficult things for children to get used to when their parents divorce is spending time in two different homes. They may find that the days when they transition from one home to other are especially challenging. Trying to make these as easy as possible can greatly benefit the children.

Make sure they know when they will switch homes. This isn't always easy, especially when they are younger, but having something like a countdown or helping them to understand it on a calendar might be beneficial. Just be careful that the countdown doesn't become their sole focal point.

Think carefully about the proposed terms of a divorce settlement

43131755_s (1).jpgThe process of divorcing is often complex and difficult. There are a few things that make this even more challenging. Having numerous assets or having an ex who isn't willing to work to come to mutually agreeable terms are two of these. We know that you might not want to think about having to battle things out in court, but it may be necessary if the negotiations to come up with a settlement aren't successful.

Negotiating the terms of the divorce requires that you and your ex both be willing to compromise. In most cases, neither party is going to get everything they want. Being able to think clearly about how various arrangements impact you may help as you evaluate the potential options.

Communicate with your ex about your child's health and safety

48221679_s.jpgKeeping your kids safe is one of the top priorities for parents. This doesn't stop just because you go through a divorce, but it can become much more complicated because you have to relay specific information to their other parent. It's imperative that you remember the goal of this communication is to help keep the kids safe and healthy.

It's usually better to let your ex know what's going on with the kids when it happens. Of course, you don't need to contact them every few minutes with updates, but be sure that they know the important things. Discussing medical care, including symptoms when the child isn't feeling well, must remain a priority.

Uninsured medical expense terms in child support orders

19405688_s.jpgWhen parents divorce, they have to come up with terms of how to handle the child's expenses. Typically, this means that one parent pays for the medical expenses for the kid. One parent might be ordered to carry the child on their health insurance plan, but there are usually some medical expenses that aren't covered by these policies. Because of this, there must be information about how uninsured medical expenses will be handled.

A few of the more common uninsured medical expenses that fall under these orders include co-pays, deductibles and prescription costs. Essentially anything that has to be paid out of pocket would need a plan.

Tips for creating custody plans that work

142736906_s.jpgWhenever possible, courts in Kansas and throughout the country want parents to split custody of their children equally. In many cases, individuals assume that alternating weeks is the best way to allocate parenting time. However, children who spend too much time away from a parent could develop separation anxiety. It may also make them feel as if their parents don't love or care about them as much as they truly do.

Parents should consider whether having custody of a child for an entire week is feasible from a logistical standpoint. For example, it may be difficult to drop a child off at school each day or be around to pick them up afterward.

How kids can adapt after a divorce

142387741_s.jpgWhen Kansas parents get a divorce, their children may struggle to cope with the fallout of that decision. In some cases, they may believe that they were the ones who caused the marriage to end. It is important that they understand that there was nothing they could do to prevent the divorce from taking place. It is also important that a child has someone to talk to when the need arises.

In some cases, it can be healthy and appropriate for kids to talk with their parents when they are feeling sad, anxious or nervous. Ideally, children will not feel compelled to devote their loyalty to one parent at the expense of the other. Furthermore, they shouldn't feel compelled to act as a messenger.

The potential tax consequences of divorce

109801526_s.jpgIndividuals in Kansas and throughout the United States whose divorces were finalized after Dec. 31, 2018, don't need to claim alimony payments as income. Conversely, those making the alimony payments doesn't get a tax break for doing so. If a person doesn't have to claim alimony as income, it may be easier to qualify for public services or generous health insurance subsidies. However, that person is not allowed to contribute alimony payments to an IRA.

This may have an impact on the recipient's ability to retire. Furthermore, if alimony is transferred from the payor's retirement account, that person won't need to pay taxes on the withdrawal. Instead, the person who receives the funds will pay taxes on the amount withdrawn. Parents can no longer take a tax exemption for their dependents, but they may be entitled to a $2,000 credit for each child that they have who is under the age of 17.

The consequences of establishing paternity

98802476_s.jpgAsserting the legal rights and obligations of an unmarried father may begin by establishing paternity. Paternity is assumed if a father is married to the child's mother, but there are other situations in which paternity may be assumed as well. These include a father signing a voluntary acknowledgment or even establishing a close relationship with the child and getting parental rights in court. However, in some circumstances, a Kansas mother or father may want a paternity test. A DNA test proves paternity with 99% accuracy.

A mother might bring a paternity lawsuit against a father. If the mother is getting assistance from the state, the state might do so. Establishing legal paternity has consequences for both parents and for the child. A father is required to contribute to supporting the child, but he will also have custody and visitation rights. If the mother wants to put the child up for adoption, the father must give consent as well.

Why some parents ask for virtual visitation

36000446_s.jpgWhen Kansas parents of young children are going through a divorce, they might want to include a schedule for virtual visitation in their plan. Virtual visitation can include email, phone calls, video calls, exchanging messages on social media and more. In general, it is any contact between parent and child that is mediated by technology.

Virtual visitation is common in cases where a parent is moving out of the area where the child lives, and some critics of it say that it can make a judge more likely to approve a parental relocation. However, virtual visitation is supposed to be a supplement to and not a replacement for regular visitation. Custodial parents should encourage this contact and should allow children to interact with the other parent uncensored.

Getting a right of first refusal provision in a custody agreement

136830284_s.jpgParents in Kansas who are going through a divorce may be concerned about how much time they will get to spend with their children. A noncustodial parent may want to introduce what is called a "right of first refusal" provision into the child custody agreement. This means that if one parent cannot care for the child and would need to have a sitter or another family member do so, that parent must first give that chance to the other parent.

Parents may set up what are known as "hours of alternate care." These blocks of time should correspond to when a parent is most likely to need someone to look after the child. Typical blocks are for overnight or for eight or four hours. One example might be a parent who has an unpredictable work schedule and is frequently called in for a certain amount of time. Going first to someone else to care for the child in these circumstances would be considered a violation of the custody agreement.

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