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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 November 19, 2019

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

    1. Create a Daily Plan

    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

    3. Use a Calendar

    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

    4. Use an Organizer

    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

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    5. Know Your Deadlines

    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

    6. Learn to Say “No”

    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    7. Target to Be Early

    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

    8. Time Box Your Activities

    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: #5 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity.

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    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

    11. Focus

    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

    12. Block out Distractions

    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

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    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

    13. Track Your Time Spent

    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

    15. Prioritize

    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

    16. Delegate

    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

    For related work, batch them together.

    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
    2. coaching
    3. workshop development
    4. business development
    5. administrative

    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

    19. Cut off When You Need To

    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

    More Time Management Techniques

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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