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Road to Parenting after Divorce

Life after Divorce – Apps and Websites That Assist Parents

Adjusting to life after divorce is difficult, especially with the many changes to daily life that follow. Co-parenting requirements, financial considerations, and communication issues can all place new responsibilities on divorced West Michigan spouses. However, there’s tech for that.
Parents can find help with many of their needs both online and in apps from the Google or Apple App Stores. Here are some of the most popular and helpful free and paid tools available today.
1. Talking Parents
By keeping an online record of all conversations between both parties, Talking Parents helps them avoid the “he said-she said” aspects of communication and can prevent disputes. If a dispute does arise, it may be resolved more quickly since stored communication records cannot be altered or deleted.
Talking Parents also provides space for sharing and storing files, and a shared calendar with notifications to help with co-parenting tasks and appointments. The program is free for people who only want to use the website, however, for $4.99 per month parents can also use Talking Parents’ mobile apps on their phone.
2. 2Houses
2Houses helps divorced or separated parents communicate, organize, and schedule tasks and resources to prevent conflict and to help ensure the well-being of their children. 2Houses provides a shared calendar specifically created for separated parents, and a journal for sharing information such as news, pictures, and even videos.
2Houses also provides an expense management tool so that parents can easily track and share financial information, offering transparency that helps to avoid conflict between divorced spouses. Visit their website or download the smartphone app and provide access to the entire family for $9.99 per month.
3. AppClose
Although only available on mobile phones, AppClose helps separated parents avoid scheduling conflicts with an easy to use shared calendar. AppClose also includes a secure messaging platform that includes the ability to export conversations for review by a divorce attorney.
The app can also maintain a record of important information such as allergies, contact info, teacher’s names, and alternative childcare. Download Appclose for free from the Google or Apple App store.
4. Our Family Wizard
Designed specifically for co-parenting, Our Family Wizard helps parents keep the focus on their children. The program helps to avoid miscommunication and reduce stress by providing a secure platform where messages between parents cannot be deleted or altered. The built-in, proprietary Tone Meter can suggest changes to new messages that will keep things light and positive.

Our Family Wizard also includes a robust shared calendar, a virtual diary, and an information bank that can store important medical, school, or contact information and files for easy access by both parents. Our Family Wizard plans begin at $99.00 per year and include website and mobile access.
5. CoParently
CoParently helps parents spend less time managing custody and more time with their children. Offering a shared calendar, secure messaging platform, and information storage much like the others, the program provides parents with all of the tools they need to stay focused on the best interests of their children.
Coparently also allows Guest access to select family members, caregivers, or family law professionals and provides special access for children that shields them their parent’s conversations. Membership plans include website and mobile access for $9.99 per month.
If you are considering divorce, please take the time to learn about the options available to you today, such as Collaborative Divorce, which can help couples reach an outcome that is acceptable and beneficial to their entire family.
In West Michigan, please contact the experienced divorce attorneys at Johnsen Wikander today and let us help you through your most difficult time.

Stay Together for the Kids? Many Kids say No

Stay Together for the Kids? Many Kids say No

In a recent study by the British Family Law Organization, Resolution, more than 80 percent of the children surveyed between 14 and 22 years old said they would rather their parents divorce than stay together for the sake of the children.

As difficult as divorce can be, the alternative is often worse. Children often observe and sense the stress and anxiety generated by their parent’s unhappy marriage. They are not blind to the pressures and problems, or even to the mechanical relationship of a loveless marriage.

Too often, children are caught in the middle of their warring parents and are either used as a sounding board to vent frustrations or a pawn in the divorce negotiations. Some children may desire for their parent’s marriage to end for self-preservation reasons, while others may genuinely wish To see their parents happy again.

In an interesting Reddit thread, a parent wrestling with the decision to divorce or remain in a marriage for the sake of the children, posted his question to the site’s readers. Many of the responses from those who had been children of divorce created a telling picture, with the majority advising the couple to consider divorce.

Reasons given vary, but the most common were the audible arguments, visible fatigue and stress, and an overall unhappy environment in the home. By staying together, most parents had subjected their children to the very same misery that they were experiencing.

Another side-effect of a crumbling marriage was that one or both parents tend to be less present, choosing to avoid the home as much as possible. By avoiding each other, one or both spouses end up spending less time with their children as well.

Children of parents who remained in an unhappy marriage also claimed that the situation set an unhealthy example for them. Very often, behavior such as lying, cheating, and mistreatment of the other spouse were viewed as acceptable.

In any divorce, children should be a chief consideration, not a pawn or tool caught between two unhappy parents. If you are considering divorce, please discuss your options with an attorney before making any decisions that may affect your children. In Grand Rapids, Michigan, please contact the experienced attorneys at Johnsen Wikander and let us help you, and your children, through your most difficult time.

Collaborative Divorce Revisited

Collaborative Divorce Revisited

The news of Donald Trump Jr. and his wife Vanessa’s impending divorce seems to be everywhere you look these days. Updates are available almost daily while the world awaits the outcome for the President’s oldest son and his wife of 12 years.

No matter what the reason is for the couple’s split, one thing seems certain–they appear to be working together on one important task – co-parenting. Although divorce seems imminent, they have been seen together during several recent breaks and vacations amicably spending time with their 5 children.

Parents who are moving toward divorce have options available which provide a layer of protection for their children during the divorce process, and after proceedings are complete, that did not exist in years past. Collaborative Divorce provides couples with a softer, simpler route to the dissolution of their marriage, helping their marriage to end without fireworks or fighting.

Collaborative practice is an approach to divorce which allows both parties to work together to achieve common, and individual, goals instead of facing each other as adversaries. By engaging in the Collaborative practice, the couple agrees to work with a team of professionals to reach a mutually agreeable settlement without the involvement of the court.

Collaborative Law teams include legal, financial, and mental health professionals specially trained in Collaborative Practice. Both parties agree to full disclosure of all important information and then work together along with the trained team to create a fair settlement.

Collaborative practice can often settle divorce cases more quickly than traditional routes, allowing both parties to move on to more settled lives, creating peaceful, stable environments for their children. When both spouses have worked together to create a mutually acceptable settlement, co-parenting also becomes easier and less impactful on their children.

Collaborative Divorce may not be an option in every case; however, the practice can provide an easier path forward, allowing parents to maintain a working relationship once their marriage has ended. When children are present, their well-being becomes the highest priority, and issues such as custody and support are often agreed upon without stress or resentment.

If you are facing divorce, you may be unaware of the current options available to you and your spouse. Please consult with an experienced attorney to discuss Collaborative Practice and any other options that could bring peace to your family easier than traditional divorce proceedings.

For more information on Collaborative Practice, please contact the experienced West Michigan attorneys at Johnsen Wikander and let us help you through your most difficult time.

How the new Tax Code May Impact Children of Divorce

How the New Tax Code may Impact Children of Divorce

New tax code changes may have collateral effects on divorcing couples in West Michigan. One potential impact could be more complicated disputes over the relevant deductions for minor children. The new Tax Code not only increases the child tax credit to $2,000, it allows for a $500 for other family dependents.

The new Tax Code has also changed the restrictions on 529 College Savings Plans, allowing these funds to be used on K-12, not just college, expenses. Most divorce agreements may not include specific instructions for the use of these funds, creating a potential post-judgment dispute if one parent wishes to deplete the account for pre-college education expenses.

If both parents agree that the 529 Plan should be used for college only, this agreement should be clearly documented so the funds will be available as expected and not used for other, earlier school expenses.

Too often, parents forget that their actions can have long-term effects on their children. A child’s college savings account is now an issue that might be disputed during a divorce case; the ultimate decision significantly impacting the child.

Divorce is difficult for everyone involved, but itis important to keep children out of the process as much as possible. Children of divorcing parents are already going through one of the most difficult experiences in their lives. Parental fighting can lead to behavioral issues that last into the young adult stage, and children of divorce are also more likely to do poorly in school and struggle with anxiety, betrayal, and loss.

For more information on changing tax laws and how they could impact your decisions during a divorce, please contact the experienced West Michigan attorneys at Johnsen Wikander and let us help you through your most difficult time.

Nesting - Giving Your Children the House | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

Nesting – Giving Your Children the House

While the concept is not new, nesting is still a fairly unusual outcome in West Michigan divorce cases. However, the idea has grown in popularity in recent years as a better way for divorcing parents to provide a more stable environment for their children, and to minimize the disruption and upheaval associated with divorce, especially if that involves moving the child away from the home they were familiar with.

For most children with divorcing parents, the situation creates uncertainty, and sometimes conflict, when those children must travel from house to house. The situation becomes even more disruptive when the children are traveling on a daily, sometimes weekly basis, resulting in them being away from the friends who can often provide an extra layer of support.

Divorce can also lead to behavioral issues in children. Guilt and depression can become a factor for children caught in the middle of the turmoil, especially if the parents are struggling to make financial or custody decisions without anger and conflict. A stable environment can be an important factor in the children’s ability to cope with their parent’s separation.

Nesting allows children to remain in their home while their parents come and go as necessary to exercise their visitation and parenting time. Both parents occupy other living quarters, such as a small apartment or a family or friend’s home, while taking turns living in the shared house with their children. This creates a situation similar to custody arrangements determined in divorce court, however, instead of displacing the children every other week (or more) the parents accept the inconvenience and upheaval caused by their marital dissolution.

Nesting allows children of divorcing parents to experience less upheaval, hopefully adding some solid ground to a shaky situation. Instead of becoming uprooted and displaced, children stay in their own rooms and beds and maintain some routine and normalcy in their lives.

While seemingly unconventional, this arrangement allows children of divorce to stay in the same school and to maintain close ties with their friends. The children are also spared from constantly packing their clothes and toys for the weekend, or longer, visits with the non-custodial parent. Instead of forcing the children through constant “camping trips”, nesting provides a much more solid foundation for the children of divorcing spouses.

The concept is obviously not for everyone and should not be considered without consulting an experienced divorce attorney. Trust issues, new relationships, and financial plans must be taken into consideration before such an arrangement is contemplated. However, nesting offers divorcing parents a way to ensure that their children will be impacted far less by the decision to divorce.

Divorce decisions and arrangements should never be made without first consulting an experienced divorce attorney. In Grand Rapids, please contact Johnsen Wikander today for information or advice.

 

The Effects of Parental Conflict on Children | Johnsen Wikander P.C. West Michigan Divorce Attorneys

The Effects of Parental Conflict on Children

During a divorce, parents can become increasingly angry and far more stressed than they were before reaching the decision to separate. Asset distribution, child custody, and visitation issues, parenting time plans, and many other difficult decisions can create tension in the home or any place that divorcing parents are brought together. Any fighting that may occur can leave a lasting impression on the children involved.

Children of divorced parents are affected by fighting both at the time of the argument and years into the future. According to WebMD, children’s emotional development is likely to be affected by a heated conflict between their parents. A child’s emotional security is especially affected, often creating depression and anxiety when parental conflicts are unresolved.

Modern studies have shown that divorce can be a relief for children caught between fighting parents because they no longer live in the middle of the constant conflict. According to adolescent psychologist Nancy Cahir, “conflict between parents can be just as damaging as physical abuse.” Parental conflict can also lead to trust issues and difficulties with attachment.

Fighting parents can cause an unexpected issue for their children. A child’s sleep pattern can be negatively affected by parental conflict, causing the loss of 30 minutes or more of sleep per night. If this loss occurs in the middle of regular sleep patterns it can be even more disruptive, leading to irritability and other behavioral issues. Parental conflict can even lead to physical illness in extreme cases.

Studies by psychology professor Patrick Davies have shown that children exposed to fighting between parents do not get used to the conflict over time. Instead, they become more sensitive to it. Parents who stay together for their children’s sake are more likely to have a negative effect on them. Children exposed to conflict very often expressed the wish that their parents had divorced sooner.

Children’s emotional and behavioral stability and growth are negatively affected by their parent’s hostility, however, unresolved conflict is much worse. Although parents should do their best to avoid exposing their children to conflict, they can reduce potential impact by allowing their children to see the issue end with compromise or resolution.

Please contact leading Grand Rapids divorce attorneys Johnsen Wikander to discuss available solutions before your children are affected.

Basketball Player Represents Children Of Divorce

Divorce can be a trying time within families. Relationships often become strained between parents and their children. However, by finding a bond with a child, some marital tension can be avoided. This is of particular concern for someone who was abandoned by their own parent, like Duwad Abdur-Rahkman. However, he was able to maintain a bond with his son through basketball. Now his son is 21 years old and is quickly becoming a household name for Michigan sports fans.  Read more