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Creating a custody plan in 5 steps

Working through a child custody arrangement isn't always easy. Some parents really struggle with talking to one another. The reality is that their relationship is ending, and the additional stress of determining a child custody arrangement makes it hard to deal with the frustration and loss that comes with a divorce.

Parent should not feel badly if they need to ask their attorneys or third parties for assistance creating a custody schedule. This is one of the most important parts of the divorce, and getting the schedule right is important.

Dividing property: Here's a method that can work

Getting a divorce in Denver means that you'll be working through an equitable-distribution case. What that means is that you'll be dividing your assets fairly, not evenly, upon your divorce.

You and your estranged spouse may already know how you'd like to divide the assets you have. If you don't, then you'll need to work through a separation agreement and come up with how you'll divide your property.

Can your child ask for changes in custody?

As your child grows older, they may feel that they'd like to see some changes in their custody arrangements. For the most part, they cannot seek those changes on their own and will rely on you to ask for changes to custody through the court if the other parent won't agree outside court.

If the custody arrangements are still working well for you and your ex-spouse, they may just be an arrangement that your child has to live with. However, you should keep in mind that your child's happiness and comfort does matter.

Post-decree modifications can help resolve post-divorce issues

After you go through a divorce, there may be times when you want to make changes to your divorce decree. For example, if you accepted certain assets upon divorce but later discover that your ex-spouse hid assets, you and your attorney may petition the court to review what you've found.

Another good time to make changes to your decree would be if you were ordered to pay alimony but discover that your ex-spouse is remarried or has been living with a fiancee. Once people recouple and are supported by another party, the court may be willing to reduce what you pay or eliminate alimony requirements completely.

Give yourself a better chance at custody with these in-court tips

When you're a parent who has to fight for custody of their child, you want to do everything you can to appear professional and respectful in court. Doing so makes you look like a better parent and encourages the court to give you what you want based on how you present yourself.

Of course, there are other factors that play a role in your case, but there are a few things you can do that will help you discredit claims against you and make yourself appear better in court.

Understanding annulment: When you can and can't annul

Sometimes, you don't want to go through the challenge of a divorce. In fact, you may dislike your spouse so much that you don't even want the record of your marriage to exist. That's what an annulment is for.

Unlike a divorce, annulments make it like the marriage never happened. Annulments aren't always possible, but they are in some cases.

How parental alienation can cause long-term damage to kids

We've addressed a host of issues that divorced people face with their co-parents here on our blog. For example, not long ago, we talked about what to do if your co-parent is intentionally disobeying your custody agreement.

However, on occasion, co-parents experience a problem so serious that it's actually been labeled a "syndrome" or medical disorder by some: parental alienation. This is more serious than one parent criticizing their ex to their children or in front of them. It often involves a parent lying about their ex to their child, saying the child's other parent doesn't love them (and never did) and maybe even telling them their other parent is dangerous.

Avoid common parenting traps people experience after divorce

Divorce is an emotional experience for everyone. Both the spouses ending their marriage and the children witnessing the divorce will struggle with their feelings. Unlike divorces between childless people, divorces with families that have children can have messier outcomes.

In other words, it is impossible for either spouse to just walk away and never see their ex again. Shared custody or co-parenting will necessitate that this divorced couple continues to maintain a relationship indefinitely.

Substance abuse programs and child custody

If you suffer from alcohol and/or drug issues, spending some time in rehab can put you on the path to a happier, healthier life. If you're a divorced parent whose substance abuse issues have cost you custody and perhaps even unsupervised visitation rights, completing an inpatient recovery program can help you be the parent your kids need.

By taking the important step of entering a treatment program, you're showing your co-parent, the court and your children that you are taking responsibility for your problems and willing to do the hard work needed to get clean and sober. Of course, this will mean maintaining sobriety after you've completed the program. This often includes individual counseling and regular participation in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Does your child's other parent disobey your custody order?

Coparenting always comes with its own unique challenges, no matter the circumstances. The temptation to use child custody as a tool to punish the other parent for your own frustrations is common, and is a struggle that crosses all social and economic boundaries. No parent has too much or too little money to face this struggle, and bad co-parenting behavior can develop in anyone, even if they are otherwise a reasonable and dependable person.

If you experience conflicts with your coparent when it comes to sticking to a custody order or parenting plan a court approved, then you must take steps to protect your parental rights. Protecting your time with your child is not only in your own best interest, it is in your child's best interest as well. After all, the hours of time that you miss with your child add up, and neither of you can ever get them back.

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