In answering the why, could it be the archaic presumptio­n that in most states one is considered “emancipat­ed” at age 18 (or graduation from high school) and therefore “Independe­nt” ie, on their own financiall­y? This may have been “justice” in the 19th Century, but really, what 18 year old today can succeed without college or some sort of post high school training? And just exactly how are these kids (our future, as we say) supposed to pay for it?

Our family laws are outdated and need changing. College educated parents normally consider it their responsibi­lity to help their kids through college… unless their kids are now a pawn between exes. At the very least, child support should be extended (and is in some states) until a child reaches 21. Today’s world is too expensive and complicate­d to abandon our kids at 18 years old.

Sharon Zarozny, Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC
www.brilli­antexits.c­om
brilliante­xits.wordp­ress.com
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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Henry,
I couldn’t agree more with your statement “Scars left by a hearing or trial can have an impact for many years, not only on the other parent, but also the children.” Both my daughters were scarred, yet in different ways.

When they were only 9 and 12 years old my ex dragged our daughters into court. My oldest, who couldn’t wait to tell the judge what she thought, left the Judge’s chambers traumatize­d.

When I asked her why she was so upset, she explained it was “bring your wife to work day” and the Judge had brought his dying wife to work with him. When I asked her why she thought that, she said: “Well, the Judge was black and his wife (the only other black person in the room) was very sick and on a breathing machine. I was scared she was going to die at any moment so all I could do was cry”. No one had told my daughter about the court reporter..­.

Last year, 8 years after the fact, my youngest daughter wrote her college admissions essay about going to court to “tell the Judge” which parent she wanted to live with. My heart ached reading her account of how painful it was to choose one parent and betray the other. I doubt that’s what the Judge asked her to do, but that was her perspectiv­e which is all that really matters.

Sharon Zarozny
Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC
www.brilli­antexits.c­om
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Your goal as a coparent

December 2, 2010

A word of caution: I cried when I watched this video. Watching it may inspire you to do what you can to work things out with your spouse. It might also help you envision your life coparenting post divorce. In any event, it models the best way to facilitate kids transitioning between mom’s and dad’s.

What's your goal?

We all know the importance of a mission statement in the world of work. At our monthly Second Saturday programs I talk about the importance of staying in control of your divorce by keeping your eye on the prize, ie what’s in the best interest of your family as you move forward to a healthy, separate new life.

Given the chaos of separation and divorce, establishing what’s important to you and keeping that front and center is crucial to keeping your money in your family and making a healthy transition into coparenting. Without it, you’ll rack up astronomical legal bills and your divorce will spin out of control leaving you very unhappy.

So unless you want to turn your money and power over to lawyers and the courts, you need a plan with a stong mission statement. Check out this article Your Divorce Mission Statement by Diana Mercer to help you get started.

If you get stuck, or are overwhelmed, contact me. Helping you out is my specialty!

Kids’ Questions

October 25, 2010

This morning I stumbled upon Debra Gettleman’s blog post Honesty…Is Usually the Best Policy. It gave me a chuckle and jogged my memory.

If you have kids, you know the car is where all great conversations happen. Once upon a time, my husband’s mistress unexpectedly showed up at our doorstep with a toddler in the car. As you might guess, a slightly emotional scene occurred.

The next day, as my daughters and I were heading out for ice cream, my 6 year-old asked:

Mommy, is Connie’s son Daddy’s too?

My heart stopped. I’d been dreading the day that question was asked.  Inwardly I was still raw from the news myself and furious that I, not my husband, had to deal with the big question. I’d been scouring books, unsuccessfully, to learn the best way to handle the inevitable. The closest I come to an answer was that mental health experts deemed family secrets a huge, unhealthy burden for families, and that kids instinctively know the truth.

So, with all the non-judgmental feelings I could muster, I answered “Yes.”  My heart was pounding dreading the questions to follow and wondering if I’d just ruined her life…

After a moment my daughter simply grumbled, “That’s not fair, I don’t want to share any of my things with him.

My 3 year-old, excitedly kicking her car seat, chimed in “Me too!”

I couldn’t have agreed more.

Telling your kids that you are separating and/or divorcing is a conversation most parents dread. You’ll  find tips in my earlier blog What to Tell the Kids and this video will help you see it from a kid’s perspective.

Clients, especially the couples I meet with, are often most concerned about how to best help their children with an impending separation/divorce. If you and your spouse can keep your children’s well-being a goal you’ll be giving your children a wonderful gift, be they age 5 or 30.

Some things to keep in mind are:

  • It’s parental conflict, not divorce that most harms kids.
  • Never put your child in the middle. Even if your child is an adult, s/he will still experience it as being ripped apart.
  • Assure your kids you will always love them.
  • Tell your kids together, as a couple, and be sure to stress they are not getting a divorce from either parent. It’s just mom and dad who are divorcing.
  • If they are minors, it’s important to explain they will still see their friends, go to school and activities, and that they will always have food, shelter and lots of love.
  • Never bad mouth their other parent. Kids know they are half mom and half dad and experience it as you bad-mouthing them.
  • Tell them over, and over, and over again “It’s Not Your Fault.”

The video below does a good job helping parents keep their kids well-being in perspective. UpToPartents.org is a great (and free) interactive resource to help parents transitioning to co-parents and beyond. Check it out.

Up to Parents