How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Parenting Plan

Once you have a temporary or permanent parenting plan, it’s important to talk with your kids about it so they understand not only what the actual schedule is but the intent behind it.  If at all possible, it’s a good idea to talk to your children together as parents. This sends an important message that even though you are divorced or separated, you are continuing to parent together. This is also a good idea so that you can give your children one cohesive message. If you talk to them separately there will be differences in what you say as well as your tone.

Emphasize that the parenting plan is a way for them to spend lots of time with both of you. Even if you don’t believe it, tell them it is a fair way for everyone to share time. Explain the schedule, using the visual aid of a calendar for younger children. It can help to color each parent’s days a different color.

Remember that the details matter to your kids. They want to know when and where they are being picked up and dropped off. They want to know where they are sleeping. They want to know how this affects their homework, their chores, their sleeping arrangements, their after school activities, their screen time and more. If you don’t have all the details worked out it’s ok. Tell them what you do know and reassure them that you will figure the rest out as a family as you move forward.

Make time for your children to ask questions and be prepared that the questions will pop up at odd times in the coming weeks and months. Do your best to answer honestly without involving them in the conflict between their parents.

The Sampair Group is ready to represent you in your family law matter in Maricopa County. We are sensitive to all of your concerns and work with you throughout the case. Call us today for an appointment.

These Three Things Are Common Benefits Of Co-Parenting

Divorcing couples with children have to take extra care during their case to make sure the decisions made are in the best interests of their kids. It is beneficial for children to have both of their parents present on a regular basis, and at significant life events. Divorced parents who are unable to get along or agree on important aspects of raising their kids can wind up creating uncomfortable emotional situations for their children which result in social and behavioral problems.  But, when both parents are willing to work for what is best for their children, the results can be very rewarding.

Three common benefits that result when parents continue to work together even after getting divorced include:

  • Children are able to realize their full potential through seeing their parents work together, because emotions like fear and frustration are addressed openly and honestly. This can lead to an increase in self-esteem, which gives children the confidence and security they need as they face their changing family dynamic.
  • When kids see their parents working together even though they are no longer married, for their benefit, fewer conflicts tend to arise because the kids are less likely to “act out” at school or in other social situations.
  • Having both parents take a role in the day to day lives of their kids ensures each parent is an active participant in the things that matter most to their children. There is little that compares to the feeling a child gets when both parents are present for important awards at school, or after school events.

Continuing to parent as a unit also shows the children that there are expectations from each parent that must be met. Maintaining a routine and consistency helps children to thrive when with each parent and helps the parents know what to plan for visits and extended stays. Keeping your emotions in check and avoiding arguing with your ex about adult issues in front of the kids shows your kids that conflict can be resolved without escalation. This gives children a healthy example for conflict resolution and sets a good example for behavioral expectations.  For questions about how to develop a co-parenting plan that makes sense for you, call our office.

For more information about divorce, contact us for an appointment today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your initial visit.

How to Write a Parenting Plan

Creating a parenting plan may feel like a daunting task, particularly if you and your ex don’t agree. The parenting plan is absolutely essential as it lays out your rights and responsibilities as you move forward and sets up a framework that allows your child to have a relationship and time with both of you.

Keep in mind that your parenting plan should detail all of your agreements about how you will share time with your child, so make sure everything is in writing.

When you first begin to consider how to organize your time, take a look at your schedules, where you live, where your child goes to school, and the activities your child has. It often makes sense to write out everyone’s schedule on a calendar so you can really see how it looks. You can maximize your respective time with your child by scheduling parenting time at times when you are each the most available. Having time while your child is at school or you are at work benefits neither you nor your child.

Try to minimize transfers if possible. Transporting your child back and forth becomes tiring for everyone, so longer times with each parent can help decrease that craziness. Make your lives easier by specifying exact transfer times and exactly how much leeway is going to be allowed. Set up a system for making changes to the plan and specify how changes must be requested and how far in advance.

Your parenting plan will affect your life and that of your child for many years to come, so it’s important to get it done right. The Sampair Group offers experienced help in creating parenting plans in the Glendale, Mesa, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and Phoenix areas of Arizona. Call us now to make an appointment with one of our skilled attorneys.

The Five Parts Of A Good Parenting Plan

One of the hardest issues to resolve in a divorce is how parents interact with their kids and one another after the case is over. The Courts strive to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children, but sometimes it can be difficult to make that determination. This is because every case is different, and the needs of every child is different. In order to offer some consistency the Courts require the parties come up with a parenting plan to follow. The parenting plan is like a blueprint for what to do with the kids after the divorce, and in order to develop a plan that works several key ingredients must be included.

A parenting plan that works is one that allows the kids to spend time with both parents, so familial relationships continue to grow and flourish. Five parts of a good parenting plan include thinking about the following:

  • Whether the kids have a preference when it comes to where they will live and what the visitation schedule will include. This is appropriate if the children are older and can express a preference in these areas.
  • How close the parents live to each other, and how easy or difficult it is to get the kids back and forth between homes.
  • How well the parents communicate with each other.
  • Whether there are any special needs for the kids, physically or emotionally.
  • How the entire family, including extended family is impacted. It is a good idea to take into account the type of relationship kids have with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and any step siblings.

Coming up with a plan that is best for the kids and that the parents can stick to is challenging. There are bound to be times where a deviation from the schedule is needed, and it is important for the parties to work together to be accommodating. But if a requested change seems unreasonable or the plan presented does not make sense, it is time to advocate for something different. We can help by presenting your needs to the Court and arguing for a plan that makes sense. For more information about how to come up with a parenting plan that will be best for your children, call our office today.

For more information about divorce and parenting plans, contact us for an appointment today. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today to schedule your initial visit.

Are Grandparents Playing The Role Of Mom And Dad More Often?

Aside from issues of grandparental visitation, there seems to be an increasing number of cases where the grandparents are acting as the parents after a divorce. This may be the result of an increase not only in divorces where one parent is absent, but also in cases where the parties were not married and a single parent family has been formed. Whatever the cause, it is important to understand the role a grandparent plays in the life of your child.

After a divorce, the family dynamic is completely changed. In a tight economy it is not unusual to see one of the parties moving back home, in with mom and dad. In those cases, we are seeing more and more grandparents slide into a parental role. This can be beneficial to your child in more than one way, such as:

●          Strong familial bonds are formed in a multi-generational way.

●          Traditions and customs are passed down, which helps to maintain a strong sense of family.

●          Much needed emotional and/or financial support is available for the family.

Most kids are comfortable with their grandparents, and this type of arrangement can be seen as a real bonus to a child of divorce. The support a grandparent provides can help a child to better understand their parents’ divorce, and help the child to develop crucial coping skills. The key is to finding a plan that works, and does not take away from a non-custodial parent’s time with the kids. We can help you to identify your parenting plan needs, and help you come up with solutions that meet your needs. Call one of our qualified family law attorneys today to learn more.

For answers to your questions about divorce, a parenting plan, and the role of grandparents, consult a qualified legal professional. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call The Sampair Group in Phoenix and the West Valley today.



Parenting Plan and Child Illness

PrescriptionMost parenting plans do not address what you are supposed to do about your scheduled time in the event of a child’s illness. Most kids deal with illness rather frequently, so addressing what to do about this in advance can save you a lot of time and trouble later.

The first consideration is how far apart you and your ex live. If it is a fifteen minute drive, it is much more feasible for a child with a bad cold to be transferred than if you live an hour apart. If you live close by, illness will rarely impact visits, unless a child is very ill and cannot get out of bed.

The prime consideration should always be what is best for your child. If a child has the stomach flu, riding in a car and transferring can be very uncomfortable and distressing. If a child has been told to stay in bed by a physician, transferring the child to another home is likely not a good idea. If a child is recovering from a surgery or medical procedure, again it may not be wise to try to move him or her. A child who is contagious with something like chicken pox might be best not being moved. In these situations, the other parent should be welcomed into the home for visits to ensure there is ongoing contact and to keep that parent involved in the child’s care.

In most childhood illness situations, it is important to remember that the child can be cared for by either parent, at either home, as long as the living situation is conducive to the child getting enough rest. If the child sleeps on a pull-out couch in the living room at one parent’s home where there are other children and a lot of activity, parenting time may not be a good idea when the child is very sick.

It is important that both parents be informed and current about the child’s medications and treatments, either by going to appointments, or being in touch with the doctor by phone.

Call the Sampair Group to discuss your child custody case. We are located in Maricopa County, Arizona and are ready to work with you. Make an appointment today.

New Year for Your Parenting Plan

ResolutionThe New Year is an excellent time to take stock of your life and create resolutions for yourself. One area of your life to include in your assessment is your parenting plan and parenting relationship.

As you are reassessing many aspects of your life, take the time to reconsider your Parenting Plan. Does it still fit your family? Parenting Plans are created based on the circumstances in place at the time. As your child grows and develops new interests and has new schedules, the plan may need adjustment. Small tweaks, such as changes in pick up and drop off times may be necessary, or it may be time to talk about bigger changes, such as adjustments to the weekly schedule or to vacation plans.  The best case scenario is that you and your ex can meet and talk about how things are going and agree on any changes together. If that isn’t possible, mediation or collaborative law can help you make the changes to your order.

While you are making resolutions, consider adding these to your list:

–        I won’t involve my child in any disputes with the other parent and will keep any conflict as separate as possible.

–        I will make an effort not to speak negatively about the other parent in front of my child.

–        I will try to remind myself it is important my child has two parents in his life and will support my ex’s parenting relationship.

–        I will focus on the time I do have with my child, not the time I’m missing.

The Sampair Group is your advocate in divorce or family law cases in Glendale, Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona. Our skilled attorneys are ready to represent you. Call us today.

Sharing Holidays May Benefit Your Child

SantaHolidays are an important time of year for children and thus they are an important part of any parenting plan. One of the most common ways to handle holidays after a divorce is to set up a plan that alternates holidays throughout the year (Dad gets Labor Day, Mom gets Thanksgiving, Dad gets Christmas, and so on). Another popular plan is to assign certain holidays to each parent permanently (Mom always gets Christmas Eve and Dad always gets Christmas, for example). These types of plans give everyone a chance to have some holiday time, but they are often difficult for children because they miss one parent.

Some parents explore other alternatives when thinking about holidays. Particularly in the first few years after a divorce, it can be beneficial to schedule some joint time with both parents on a holiday. Dad might be invited to Mom’s home for Christmas morning, or parents and children might all go to church and brunch together on Easter. Both parents could hold a joint birthday party on the child’s birthday. Separate times can also be scheduled before or after the joint celebration. Combining celebrations has many benefits.

  • No one is left out. Both parents have time with the child on the holiday.
  • No one has to leave a celebration to drive the child somewhere else.
  • Your child gets to enjoy time with both parents on an important day.
  • You reinforce the concept that you are still a family, which will help your child feel secure.

Sharing holidays does not work for every family. If you and your ex will end up arguing, this is not a good idea. If neither of you feels comfortable inviting the other into your home, this won’t work for you. This type of arrangement is an excellent transition in the years immediately after a divorce and may be something you gradually faze out as everyone becomes more comfortable, if one of you remarries, or as your child gets older.

The Sampair Group handles divorce and family law cases in Maricopa County, Arizona. Your case matters to us. Call us today.

Staying Involved When You Are a Non-Custodial Parent

calendarIf your parenting plan is arranged so that your child primarily lives with your ex or spends the most time with him or her, you may wonder how you can continue to stay involved in your child’s life and make a difference. The first thing to understand is that no matter how your parenting time is divided, you are your child’s parent and are extremely important! It sounds like a cliché, but it isn’t the quantity of time, but the quality of time that you spend that matters. There are lots of ways to stay involved in your child’s life and ensure that your child feels deeply connected to you.

  • Show up. It sounds silly, but the most important thing you can do is use your scheduled parenting time no matter what. If you show your child you are committed, it will deepen your relationship.
  • Make your home his home. Tell your child that where you live is your child’s home and it’s ok to have more than one home. Where you live is also a space that belongs to your child and is a place where he is always welcome.
  • Get information. This is particularly important if your relationship with your ex is difficult. Make an effort to get information about your child’s school, sports, activities, and health directly from the adult in charge of each area. That means personally being in touch with doctors, coaches, teachers, and other leaders in your child’s life. Ask that you receive copies of all information sent to your ex or sent home with your child. Call or email regularly to get updates and details.
  • Use technology. Stay in constant contact with your child via text, phone or email. Check in with her regularly, just to see how the child’s day went or to ask how a test went. This will show you care, are thinking about him/her, and really are involved in every part of the child’s life.
  • Make time. In addition to your scheduled parenting time, go to your child’s concerts, games, recitals, school events, and practices. Not only does this give you extra contact with your child, but it keeps you in the loop about what’s happening in his/her life.

The Sampair Group represents fathers and mothers in family court cases. Our focus is always on achieving the results you want. Our attorneys serve Phoenix and Mesa in Arizona and are ready to discuss your case.