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Monroe NC Family Law Blog

Advice for telling young children about divorce

You may have been having trouble with your spouse for years, and your children might not have ever realized that something was wrong. But now it's time to bring your marriage to a close, and you've finally decided -- once and for all -- that you'll be getting a divorce. How do you break the news to your young children?

If your children are between the ages of 5 and 8, this advice is for you:

  • Time it appropriately: You will not want to tell your children about your divorce plans until you're absolutely certain that you'll be breaking up. If you tell your child before you're sure, it could result in your child being confused. You'll also want to tell your child at a good time, when you know you'll be with him or her. Giving the news right before school, or right before bed -- when your child will be alone for some time -- is not the best because you won't be present to offer reassurance if questions arise.
  • Tell your child together: It's best to break the news to your child as a united front. That way you don't run the risk of sending mixed messages to your child. By using a few key phrases you can tell your child succinctly that "Mommy and Daddy have done some thinking, and we've decided to to live separately." Be prepared to offer your child an idea of the visitation schedule so your child feels reassured about when he or she will spend time with both parents and how much time.
  • Make sure your child knows that this is not his fault: Children will sometimes take the burden of divorce on themselves. They'll think that the breakup was something that they're to blame for -- perhaps because they didn't clean their rooms or did something else. It's important to let your child know that the decision doesn't have anything to do with him or her. It's also important to let your child know that you and your spouse's love for them will never go away.

Dealing with children who are fighting divorce

When child hear the word "divorce," they may immediately jump to the conclusion that their is changing dramatically. While they may live in a new home or have a slightly different schedule, it's important to make sure your children understand that the things they know about you and your spouse will not change.

As parents, it's your responsibility to encourage your child to grow through this experience and to have confidence that you will always be there for him or her when needed. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your children get through this divorce without having to fight to be heard.

6 requirements for your prenuptial agreement

A lot of spouses enter into marriage fully confident that they have protected themselves -- and their financial situation -- with a prenuptial agreement. However, not all prenuptial agreements will hold up in court, so it's important for future spouses to educate themselves on what constitutes a valid prenup.

For one thing, both you and your soon-to-be spouse will need be represented by separate legal counsel when drafting your prenuptial agreement. A prenup is, after all, a legal and binding agreement. If one party is unrepresented by a lawyer, he or she could later claim ignorance of the terms of the contract due to not having a sufficient legal background to understand it.

3 divorce dilemmas: Which one are you facing?

We all have our own reasons for entering into divorce proceedings. Many North Carolina residents want to stay in their relationships; others want to leave their relationships; and often, the feeling is mutual. Whatever the reasons behind your decision to divorce -- and they are likely many and varied -- you're probably facing one of three common divorce "dilemmas."

Which of these "dilemmas" are you facing? Or could you be facing more than one?

Are you worried you'll lose everthing in your divorce?

It's terrifying to think that the person you once loved -- the person who backed you and supported you in everything you did -- would try to gain the upper hand against you during a divorce. However, when North Carolina spouses go through the divorce process, it's not always pretty.

At Epperson Law, PLLC, we have represented spouses reach out-of-court divorce agreements and resolve complex asset division puzzles quickly, peacefully and cost effectively. We have also represented spouses who can't seem to agree on even the simplest of asset division decisions.

Could my future spouse and I benefit from a prenup?

To the question of whether you and your spouse could benefit from a prenuptial agreement, the answer is most definitely, "yes." It doesn't matter if either you or your spouse have any wealth, personal assets or income to protect. A prenuptial agreement creates an action plan if divorce becomes necessary. This action plan is an agreement about how you will carry out your divorce and the terms that will be applied to issues relating to asset division, alimony and more.

Here are some of the clearest benefits of having a prenuptial agreement on file:

The 10 vital elements of a parenting plan

When the typical North Carolina parent is trying to negotiate his or her parenting plan with the other parent in a divorce, it's important to cover all the bases. But how are you supposed to know if you've crossed all your t's and dotted all your i's?

To ensure that your parenting plan covers everything, it's a good idea to speak with a North Carolina family law attorney. Your plan should also cover the following:

Should I get a prenuptial agreement?

Let's say you're 35 years old and you have a thriving medical practice. Up until now, you've been a bachelor or bachelorette, but now you're planning to get married. You know that not all marriages end in the fairy tale "to death do us part" scenario, so you're wondering if a prenuptial agreement could be right for you.

A prenuptial agreement would protect your business interests. It would also make your divorce happen a lot smoother, faster and more cost effective if a divorce should ever be required.

Parenting and child custody: Are you doing all the work?

Imagine you share physical and joint custody of your children with your ex. However, your ex isn't pulling his or her weight. You're the one who takes the kids to get their haircuts. You're the one who takes them back-to-school shopping. You're the one who takes them to the doctor and drives them to their school activities and does all the laundry. Is there anything you can do to get your ex to start contributing more?

Perhaps the most important thing to do in a situation like this is to examine the reasons why the other parent isn't helping out. Is it a problem with your ex's work schedule, personal problems or is there some other reason? Before you pull out the fisticuffs, be sure to talk with your spouse about the issue, and approach it with diplomacy. It could be that your ex has been oblivious to the fact that you're doing all the work, and will be eager to help once he or she realizes what you've been dealing with.

Health of children incentive to play nice during divorce

A recent study published by Carnegie Mellon University showed that children who had to endure messy divorces have a higher chance of catching a cold later in life. University researchers exposed over 200 adults with the cold virus to determine if stressful childhoods affect immune systems into adulthood.

What the researchers discovered was surprising. As many as 40 years later, adults who had stressful childhoods were found to be more susceptible to catching a cold. Adults whose parents had separated and were not speaking with one another had triple the chance of getting a cold. The higher risk of getting a cold was partly associated with an elevated level of inflammation following viral infection.

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