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Things You Should Know about Divorce and Custody Battle

Things You Should Know about Divorce and Custody Battle

Divorce

The end of a marriage is always a sad and sometimes heart-breaking event, usually marked by disappointment, betrayals and the loss of expectations. However, most times, there are lots of financial, emotional, legal, parental and practical aspects that require changes and adjustment which can take some time.

Nevertheless, divorce serves an important purpose by emotionally and legally freeing people from unwanted relationships to enable them to find and form a more stable relationship with others or themselves.

Divorce is becoming less adversarial and contentious with approaches like mediation and negotiation. This is especially beneficial for the children, who are at a disadvantage and have their needs often overlooked in contentious divorces.

Divorce and Child Custody

In most cases, the custody battle is what makes the divorce even messier; with both parents fighting for the right to have custody of the child without considering what exactly might be best for the child. This is where the courts step in to make sure that the best interest of the child is well represented.

Over the 5 years that I’ve been practicing law, people always ask me what the court considers in determining child custody award. Most of the time, the facts of each case differs and varying laws across the country are also a factor. However, regardless of the courts’ jurisdiction, most courts when considering child custody base their decisions on the best interests of the child.

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Sometimes, if the child is older, the court may give consideration to the parent he/she would prefer to live with while in some very contentious cases, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the child’s interests.

    Factors that Impact What’s in the “Best Interest of the Child”

    In considering what’s in the best interest of a child, the courts will in some cases consider some of the following factors:

    • The age, sex, mental, and physical health of the child.

    • The willingness or unwillingness of the parent to accept custody.

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    • The ability of the parents to agree, cooperate and communicate on issues relating to the child.

    • The safety of the child and any history of domestic violence, alcohol or drug abuse of any parent.

    • The mental and physical health of each parent.

    • The lifestyle of each parent, to determine if the child will be exposed to a hazardous environment and which parent can provide the child with a stable environment.

    • The emotional bond between the child and each parent.

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    • The ability of each parent to provide for the basic needs of the child, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care and guidance.

    • The special needs of a child.

    • The ability of the parent to provide adequate and quality education to the child.

    • The child’s established living pattern in relation to religious training, school, and extracurricular activities, and how a change in the child’s living situation would impact him.

    In some instances the court may take into consideration which parent would not alienate the child from the other parent; the parent who seems more likely to encourage the child to maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent.

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    Types of Child Custody

    After considering these factors, in instances where the court finds that both parents are responsible, the decision might come down to the type of custody that would best serve the child’s interest. The court might order one of three types of custody:

    (1) sole custody; awarding both the legal and physical custody of the child to one parent/spouse.

    (2) joint legal custody; Both parents/spouses have joint responsibility for all major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, health and education.

    (3) joint physical custody. In this case, the court will usually designate one parent’s house as the child’s principal residence and determine a time-sharing plan for the other parent.

    Getting Legal Help with Child Custody

    Divorce and child custody cases can be messy, highly emotional and stressful for parents and children. You should not attempt to represent yourself in a child custody case because it could be very risky. Before moving forward with a divorce especially where a child custody battle is involved, you should be well informed and consult with a family and divorce lawyer or professional who will assess the advantages and disadvantages of your case and advise you accordingly on the laws in your state.

    Featured photo credit: Rosalind Sedacca via jenningswire.com

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    Elise Bauer

    Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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    Last Updated on October 20, 2020

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

    More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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