Spring And Summer Custody: How To Make An Ideal Schedule For Kids

With the spring and summer holidays on the horizon, one thing that divorced families with kids need to think about is holiday custody arrangements. If you are just getting to the point of making these arrangements in your divorce settlement, you will need to keep the following in mind:

Listen To The Kids

One of the first ways to determine where your kids go during the spring and summer holidays is to ask them what they would prefer. This is often done with older children in particular. You will need to reinforce the idea that their preferences are not guaranteed, but that you will take them into account. Then, try your very best to work out an arrangement with your former spouse that makes everyone happy. Be sure to work amicably with your former spouse if possible. If you are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to get your lawyer or a mediator involved to come to a conclusion using the input from your children.

Plan Ahead

It is best to have your spring and summer plans made well in advance of the actual holiday. If you wait until the last minute, you and your former spouse will not have adequate time to plan for the arrangements, such as who will have the kids during the work week, schedules for activities, and so on. You will also need to leave some time to make any adjustments to the schedule for those last-minute items that can have an impact on the timeframe of custody.

Try To Remain Consistent From Year To Year

Another way to make spring and summer custody issues easier to deal with is to make it consistent annually. Work out a permanent schedule that you can both stick with, leaving some leeway for any unforeseen issues that may arise. This way, the kids will know what to expect every year, providing them with some sense of routine. You may want to alternate some specific holidays with regards to where the children will spend the day, such as Easter or Independence Day. This is something you can have noted in your custody arrangement.

The spring and summer holidays are a fun time of year for children, so try not to cloud it with messy custody arrangements. Make a schedule that will make all parties as happy as possible. Although divorce is not ideal for the kids, parents who can work together will have a positive impact. Contact a child custody lawyer for additional information.

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3 Things That Can Impact Your Social Security Disablility Application

When you become disabled to the point that you can no longer work at your job, you can file for Social Security disability benefits. These benefits are provided to those who are no longer able to work due to a physical or mental disability. When you file for benefits, you might be denied initially. While you can hire an attorney to help you appeal your case, there are some specific things that can also have an impact on your claim.

Disability Due to Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The Social Security benefits application will include a section that will ask you about your drug and alcohol use. It is crucial to be truthful filling out this area of the application, but you must also be careful. You can be denied benefits if your disability stems from the abuse of drugs and alcohol.


Getting married is a wonderful time in your life, but it can have an impact on your pending Social Security case. There are very specific income limits, and the Social Security Administration will require you to include both your income and your spouse’s income on your application. The system is meant to support those with the most pressing financial needs as a first priority. You could find your application delayed or even denied due to your marriage. Another thing to keep in mind is that if your spouse currently receives Social Security benefits, he or she could see those payments affected also.

Unemployment Compensation Simultaneously

Some people who are filing for Social Security benefits will also try to obtain unemployment benefits at the same time. Your unemployment application will require you to state that you are fully able to obtain work and that you are healthy. Filing for Social Security will require proof that you are disabled and cannot work due to your physical or mental condition. The unemployment filing will show up when you file for Social Security, which will definitely have an impact on your application. If you claim to be healthy and able to work, filing for Social Security is going to be counterproductive to your entire case.

Winning your Social Security case is going to be an uphill battle, but it will be much smoother with the right attorney on your side. When you appeal your case, be armed with research, preparation, and listen to the advice of your attorney for a good outcome. To learn more, check out websites like http://www.socialsecurityesq.com.

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Three Mistakes Lesbian Couples Makes When Using Donor Sperm

Lesbian couples who want to have children together can use donor sperm to get pregnant. The trouble is that many couples make a variety of mistakes that end up complicating the issue of child custody and parental rights, resulting in undesirable outcomes, such as the donor successfully suing for visitation rights. Here are three common mistakes couples make when using donor sperm and how to avoid them.

Failing to Follow the Law

One of the most common mistakes couples make when using donor sperm is failing to follow state law. This isn’t much of an issue when using sperm donated to a sperm bank, because all states automatically terminate donors’ parental rights when they make their deposits. However, the law isn’t so decisive when it comes to sperm from known donors.

In fact, most states are against terminating parental rights for known donors—even when there is a contract—feeling that doing so is against public policy and not in the best interests of the child. In some states, termination of the donor’s parental rights will only occur in situations where the artificial insemination was performed by a medical professional or at a licensed facility; otherwise, the donor will be considered the legal parent of the child and retain his parental rights and responsibilities.

For instance, in New Jersey, a lesbian couple was forced to let the donor have visitation rights to the child he fathered because they performed the procedure at home and not in a medical facility with a physician, as required by law. To avoid a situation like this, it’s critical to research the laws in your state and follow them to the letter.

Drawing Up Your Own Donor Contract

Another mistake couples make when using donor sperm from known providers is crafting their own donor contracts. Even though courts have been known to ignore donor contracts when the issue of paternity and associated parental responsibilities comes up, it’s critical to have one on file for a variety of reasons.

Some courts will take what is said in the contract into account when deciding whether to uphold a donor’s rights. In some states, having the contract will be necessary to prove the intent to have children together during the marriage to establish the right to custody and visitation of the kids when the couple separates.

However, to reduce the risk of the contract being dismissed out of hand because it contains illegalities or problematic clauses, have the contract drawn up by an attorney who is well versed in family law. Trying to develop your own contract or using something downloaded from the internet isn’t a good idea, as you may miss important issues (e.g., contact with the child after birth), or the template you obtain may be designed to be used in another state.

Letting the Donor Take Part in the Child’s Life

A third mistake some couples make is letting the donor be part of the child’s life. This happens most often in cases where the donor is known, but it has also happened in cases where anonymous sperm donors have tracked down their kids and wanted to be part of their lives.

It’s understandable to want a child to get to know all the people involved in his or her birth, especially if the donor is a relative or good family friend. However, letting the person have anything more than passing contact with the child can open the door to family law issues down the road. Even if you have a donor contract in place, the court may consider the fact that the donor is contributing to the child’s upbringing in some way as proof he wants to parent and restore his rights.

You need to be upfront with the donor that you don’t want him to take any sort of parental role in the child’s life and stick to that decision. If necessary, move away from the donor or take additional action (e.g., formal adoption) to keep him from trying to establish a legal relationship with your kids.

For more information about or help with these issues, contact a family law attorney at a law firm such as Ivy Law Group PLLC.

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Getting Your Priorities Straight: Divorce And Bankruptcy

Sometimes, trouble just seems to come in pairs. If you and your spouse have encountered some very troubled waters and are considering taking more than one major legal move in the near future, you may be wondering if there are benefits or risks with what to do first. You should know that the order could make a huge difference, depending on your exact circumstances, so read on to find out more about these complex issues that surround a bankruptcy and divorce filing.

Burdened with debt?

You might be able to make a great deal of your debt disappear quite quickly, which could eliminate one of the most contentious issues a divorcing couple can face. A chapter 7 bankruptcy filing before you divorce will make your credit card debt, and other unsecured debt, go away. This could help clear away some of the financial issues before you begin your divorce proceedings, and perhaps make your divorce a bit quicker and less acrimonious.

Be cautious about secured property loss.

If you have some secured property that has the potential to be seized by the bankruptcy courts, tread more carefully. Secured property, such as a home secured by a mortgage, can be taken by the bankruptcy trustee and sold to help pay some of your debts. Be sure to discuss your potential divorce with both a bankruptcy attorney and a divorce attorney, since filers are not allowed to “shed” property prior to a chapter 7 filing. This applies to homes, vehicles and anything else that was used as collateral on a loan.

Double your allowances

All states have homestead and other property exemptions available for filers, which removes some of the value from their property and consequently leaves it less attractive to the bankruptcy trustee. Some states allow filers to double those exemptions for an even greater benefit, so it would be smart to stay married long enough to get through the bankruptcy together in those instances.

The means test.

Every state has a median income level, and if your income is above that level you may be prevented from filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Married people are evaluated using both incomes. If your income is too high as a couple, it could make more sense to divorce first and file bankruptcy individually later on. There are some other factors at work here, such as using certain high expenses to lower your income and something called the marital adjustment deduction, so be sure to discuss your particular situation with your bankruptcy attorney, someone like Geranios Law PLLC, for more clarity.

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This Isn’t Working Out: 4 Steps To Take When It’s Time For Divorce

There’s always a certain amount of stress involved in a divorce – even those that are amicable. However, with some careful planning, there is a way to alleviate some of the stress. If you’ve decided to file for divorce, now’s the time to start preparing for your future. Here are five steps that will help you alleviate some of the stress while you’re preparing for your divorce.

Open a Savings Account

If you’re going to be moving out of the marital home once you file for divorce, you’ll need money to start your new life with. Not only will you need to pay for the initial rent and deposits for your new home, you’ll also need to purchase necessities for it. To help you arrange for those purchases, you should open a savings account as soon as possible. Once you have your savings account opened, withdraw half of the money from any joint bank accounts you have. Don’t withdraw any more than that, or you might have to pay it back to your spouse once you file for divorce.

Update Your Resume

If you’ve been a stay-at-home partner during your marriage, you’re going to need a job once you file for divorce. Before you start looking for work, be sure to update your resume. Even if you don’t have any recent work experience, you can still include any volunteer work you’ve done throughout your marriage. Having an updated resume will help you secure a job so you can land on your feet.

Document Joint Account Numbers

If you and your spouse have joint accounts, you’re going to need those account numbers. This includes numbers for bank accounts and credit accounts. Not only will you need this information for your own use, but your attorney will also need this information when working on your divorce settlement.

Gather Important Papers

When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, it’s important to have the proper documentation. Before you move out of the marital home, take the time to gather copies of all your important papers, including the following:

  • Life insurance policies
  • Investment portfolios
  • Mortgage papers
  • Automobile loans

Hire an Attorney

Now that you’ve decided to file for divorce, you’re going to need legal representation, especially if your spouse hires an attorney. Make sure that your rights are protected by hiring an attorney, such as Christena Silvey Coleman CSC Law, LLC, to handle your divorce for you. Before you sit down with your attorney, make a complete list of any questions you might have for them. 

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Signs That A Dog Owner Should Have Known That There Animal Is Dangerous

One of the best ways to strengthen a dog bite claim is to prove that the dog has a dangerous propensity and the owner knew about it but did not take precautions to prevent it from biting people. This is a good way of proving the owner’s negligence, and anybody injured via another person’s negligence needs to be compensated. Here are a few ways of proving that a dog has a dangerous propensity:

Warning Signs on the Owner’s Property

If there is a sign on the dog owner’s property warning visitors about a dangerous dog, then the owner clearly knows that their animal is dangerous. For example, a “Beware of Dog” or “Warning, Dangerous Dog” signs clearly show that the owner of the property knows their animal can bite. The owner of such a dog should go the extra mile in keeping people safe from their animal. Therefore, if the owner lets the dog run into the street and bites you, they are negligent.

The Dog’s Breed

Some breeds of dogs are inherently dangerous. Examples include Pit Bull, Rottweiler, and German Shepherd. Anybody who keeps such a dog knows or is expected to know about their dog’s dangerous tendencies and take the necessary precautions to prevent bites. Therefore, merely proving that you were bitten by a dangerous breed is enough to show that the owner should have been extra careful in preventing such accidents.

Purpose of Keeping the Dog

Dogs are kept for different purposes that may influence whether they are dangerous or not. People keep dogs for companionship, as pets, and as guards. Obviously, a guard dog has to be dangerous for it to do its duty of guarding the home; otherwise, it may even play around with intruders. Therefore, the mere fact that a dog is kept as a guard is adequate proof that the owner knows it has a dangerous propensity.

How the Dog Is Kept

Lastly, you should also examine how the dog is kept because it can give you a clue as to whether the owner should have known that the animal is dangerous. For example, a dog that is kept in a carefree manner and left to play with the neighbors and visitors is probably not dangerous. However, if a dog is usually kept in an enclosed space and rarely sees people, then its owner should know that it’s dangerous.

If you have a dog injury claim and you don’t have a personal injury lawyer yet, go out and get one now. Proving any of the above things won’t be easy for the inexperienced.

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