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Unrealistic expectations: A sad reason why many marriages end

We grow up in the United States watching rom-coms and reading fantasy tales about true love and "happily ever after.'' Then, when we find Mr. or Mrs. Right, we feel like it's our turn to experience this kind of fairy-tale romance. Unfortunately, the reality is usually a lot different from our fantasies.

Many marriages end because of fairy-tale expectations of what love and relationships are supposed to be like. In fact, unrealistic expectations might be the primary reason why many people get divorced.

Coparents: Be clear with guidelines for pickups and dropoffs

One of the worst things any coparent could have to deal with is when the other parent is incessantly late to pickups and drop-offs. On a weekly basis, this tardiness will eat into the time and schedule of the on-time parent creating stress and scheduling conflicts. As such, it's important to include clear language in any parenting agreement to cover the problem of a parent who can't seem to ever show up on time.

Here's what you should include:

  • If one parent can't exercise his or her parenting time on a particular week, he or she my notify the other parent as soon as possible.
  • If the a noncustodial parent is going to show up late, then he or she must notify the other parent as early as possible. If the custodial parent is made to wait for a pickup longer than 30 minutes after the scheduled pickup time, the visitation will be canceled until the next one.
  • If the child is ill and can't participate in visitation time, the custodial parent must notify the noncustodial parent of the canceled visitation as early as possible.
  • The parenting time scheduling can be changed, but only if both parents agree to the alterations.
  • The parents agree to adjust the parenting schedules fairly when there is a reasonable request for modification due to illness, other commitments and family obligations.
  • The custodial parent will give the noncustodial parent scheduled "make-up" time in reasonable situations.

I just realized I'm a dad: Can I establish paternity?

Imagine a one-night stand led to an unintended pregnancy with a woman you barely knew. Through friends, you learned about the pregnancy, but the woman denied you were the father. After the baby was born, you followed up to request a blood test, but the mother said that the baby wasn't yours and refused to submit to testing.

Some men might try to forget about an incident like this, but you're different. You want to play an active role in your child's life as the father. When circumstances like this happen, concerned fathers who want to be a part of their baby's life may be able to fight for their parental rights in court.

What are the signs of a cheating spouse?

By entering into a marriage with another person, the vast majority of spouses are right to assume that their husbands or wives will be faithful to them. This means that the husband or wife will not engage in sexual behavior or other forms of emotionally intimate relationships with other people. Unfortunately, not all spouses are capable of being faithful in this regard, which is why infidelity is one of the most common causes of divorce.

If you suspect that your spouse may be unfaithful, here are a few signs you should watch out for:

  • Frequent changing of passwords: Perhaps you used to have unfettered access to your spouse's email, but now the password has changed. This could be a cause for concern that you spouse wants to hide something.
  • A "single looking" social media profile: Spouses who want to cheat or are open to cheating are more likely to have social media accounts that appear "single." If you spouse appears to be spending more time on social media, you might want to get curious.
  • Cellphone use: If your spouse answers the phone and goes into another room to talk, you might want to consider who he or she is talking to.
  • A decreased desire for intimate moments: If your spouse doesn't want to be intimate with you as much as in the past, it might be a sign that he or she is fulfilling these needs with someone else.

Will my husband get to keep my family heirlooms?

There are certain things that we grow to cherish over the years. Sometimes these things are children or pets, and sometimes they're physical objects like jewelry, art and furniture. Let's say, for example, that you have a favorite piece of jewelry that you inherited from your great grandmother when you were a little girl. This item probably has tremendous sentimental value for you. Or, maybe you have another piece of jewelry that you inherited from your grandmother shortly after you got married.

Now, let's say you're getting a divorce. Will you be able to keep these items, or will you have to give them up during the asset division process?

Guidelines for how to make changes to a parenting plan

No two families will remain the same as time goes by. As a single parent, who is sharing your parental responsibilities with the mother or father of your child, you will change, your child will change and the other parent will change.

As such, your parenting agreement will also need to change as your child grows older and as other life events take place. Here are a few provisions to include in your parenting plan to establish how those changes will be made:

  • The parents will meet to determine if this parenting plan requires revisions at specific times during the year. This meeting will happen twice a year.
  • The needs of the parents and the child may change over time. In these cases, the parenting plan may be revised to reflect these changes. Any changes to the parenting plan must be made in writing, signed and dated by both parents and each parent must have their own copy of the revised plan.
  • If the parents disagree about needed changes to the child custody plan, they agree to seek professional assistance from a certified mediator to resolve the disagreement.
  • When either parent wants to change the parenting plan, he or she will notify the other parent of the request in writing. The other parent will then have 14 days in which to agree to the request.

Parenting provisions that cover other relationships

Our children develop meaningful relationships with a lot more people than just their mothers, fathers and siblings. Children, for example, might build a relationship with one of their parent's romantic partners, an aunt, an uncle, a family friend, a coach or a teacher. Some of these relations might be good for the child and some of them might be bad for the child, so parents might want to put some guidelines in the parenting plan that seek to allow and/or limit the nature of these relationships.

Here are a few rules parents can codify in writing in their parenting plans:

  • The parents agree not to allow the children to spend the night at a romantic partner's home without first consulting the other parent.
  • The parents agree that the children will not have contact with specific people listed in the parenting plan.
  • The parents agree that children will only have contact with specific people if one of the parents is present at all times.
  • The parents agree that the grandparents will have the ability to visit with the children. The parents agree that paternal grandparents will visit with the children during the father's visitation time and the maternal grandparents will visit with the children during the mother's visitation time.
  • The parents agree to be flexible with visitations to ensure that the children maintain close bonds with their half-siblings, stepsiblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, other relatives and family friends.
  • The parents agree that their visitation schedules will not interfere with specific sporting, extracurricular, art, music or dance events or activities that are important to the child.

What are the most common reasons for an over-50 divorce?

When two spouses decide to get divorced after decades of marriage, it certainly causes you to wonder, "What went wrong?" Perhaps -- if you're going through a so-called "gray divorce," you know exactly what went wrong. Perhaps it was due to one of the following reasons why spouses breakup in their golden years:

The kids have left and gone to college

The advantages of an out-of-court divorce settlement

In the not-too-distant past, contentious and difficult divorce proceedings were a lot more common than they are today. Partly, the reason why people choose to conduct their divorces in a more peaceful and respectful manner these days is that the stigma that used to be attached to divorce has all but disappeared. The fact that marriages sometimes come to an end is a lot more acceptable and reasonable to a spouse from the 2010s than it was to a spouse from the 1970s.

There's another reason why spouses divorce more peacefully: The consequences of a contentious divorce are too costly from an emotional and financial perspective for most people to endure. Litigating a divorce from beginning to end in divorce court could require costly expert witnesses, costly trial proceedings and steep legal bills. For this reason, the spouses who can manage to reach an out-of-court settlement have a lot of incentive to put their differences aside and reach a fair and appropriate settlement regarding child custody and property division matters.

How to align with the best interests of your child

Our children are the most precious people in our lives. This is why the thought of losing our right to live with them full-time in a child custody dispute can be so terrifying.

Nevertheless, as passionate as you feel about your kids, the other parent of your children probably feels the same way, which means he or she could be compelled to fight in court just as fervently as you if your child custody disagreement becomes contentious.

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