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Making long-distance parenting work

A lot of divorced parents struggle with the separation from their children -- especially when they can't have shared physical custody for some reason. Whether the situation is temporary because of illness or there's a long-term issue -- like a job in another state -- you still want to do everything you can to preserve the parent-child relationship you have and build on it.

Here are some tips that can help you make long-distancing parenting actually work:

  1. Ask for daily contact. If your parenting plan doesn't already allow you to reach out to your children every single day via phone, email, Skype, Messenger or social media, it should. Daily contact is the best way to stay in touch with the ups-and-downs in your child's world.
  2. Make it possible for your child to reach you without restrictions. It isn't fair, for example, for their other parent to take their phone away as a punishment if that's the only way that your teen has to reach you when they need to talk.
  3. Insist on privacy for communications. Your child has a right to speak with you without their other parent hovering over them. If your child is younger, their other parent may need to set up communications or dial the phone, but they should then back off and let you and your child interact without supervision.
  4. Agree on visitation and transportation for long-haul issues. If you're going to be away for a while, you may want to arrange for summer visitation over a few weeks or holiday visits. Make sure you discuss how transportation will be handled and who will pay the costs.

Breaking up? Who gets the ring?

Diamond engagement rings are pricey -- and some become family heirlooms. The actual and emotional value of a ring can lead to big disputes when a couple splits up.

So who gets to keep the ring? Miss Manners may have one opinion on the matter, but here's what the law says you need to consider:

Can you drop a domestic violence charge?

You and your spouse have been having problems for a long time. Even though you still live together, it's clear the relationship is failing. Tensions have recently escalated, however, and you found yourself in a heated argument one night after your spouse had been drinking. Words were exchanged, then a blow, and the police were called.

Your spouse ended up being arrested on domestic violence charges. At the time, you felt that the arrest was entirely justified. As your bruise fades, however, you've started to reconsider. Maybe your spouse has called you from jail, pleading with you to reconsider. Maybe his friends or relatives are pressuring you about it. Maybe you simply feel guilty over the idea that your child's other parent is in jail.

How Millennial divorces differ from those of earlier generations

Millennials have gotten a lot of attention (and flack) for simply doing things differently than every generation that's come before. It's really no surprise, then, that Millennial divorces are also a bit unique.

Here's how Millennials approach divorce differently than their parents and grandparents once did:

New bill in California aims to help domestic violence victims

,California has a new bill that aims to offer expanded protections and rights to the victims of domestic violence -- but not everyone agrees that the bill, if it becomes law, will be helpful.

Senate Bill 1141 passed the state Senate at the end of June and is now before the California Assembly. If passed, the new law would broaden the definition of domestic violence to include behavior that exerts a "coercive control" over one's partner or spouse. Examples of this behavior include (but are not limited to) things like:

  • Isolating the victim from their main sources of support, including friends, relatives and therapists, and limiting the victims' communications
  • Controlling the victim's movements and monitoring their behavior
  • Controlling or monitoring the victim's money or assets
  • Depriving the victim of the basic necessities in some way
  • Forbidding the victim from certain conduct that they have a right to do
  • Forcing the victim to engage in conduct they don't want to do

Does the heat lead to more domestic violence?

Does the summer heat tend to make you surly after a while If so, you aren't alone. Studies have long noted that hot weather seems to coincide with aggressive behavior. Just about every type of criminal activity tends to rise, including assaults, robberies and murders. Science has also discovered that people are just less friendly and more disinclined to be nice to others when the temperatures rise.

If you're living with a spouse who has problems controlling their emotions, the summer heat can literally bring tensions to a boil. However, the heat is not entirely to blame. Aside from the heat, other seasonal factors that may increase the likelihood of domestic violence include:

  • Family pressures, including too much "togetherness" while the kids are home from school or everyone is on a vacation
  • Social drinking, which tends to rise during the summer months as people spend more time relaxing in their yards or with friends
  • Financial frustrations, especially if a family overspends on their vacation or other recreational activities and then runs into a money crisis later

Rethinking a child custody fight

The gloves have come off and your divorce is heating up -- but you and your spouse should really think twice before you engage in a custody battle.

High-conflict divorces (and no divorce involving a custody battle avoids being "high-conflict") have long-lasting, detrimental effects on the kids. They can also be destructive emotionally and financially to the adults.

You just go a bill from your ex-spouse for summer camp: Now what?

Your finances are a little different now that you're divorced. While you'd love to give your child the sun, the moon and the stars on a platter, you can only afford so much. Your child support payments already take a pretty hefty chunk out of your paycheck every month.

That makes the bill you just received from your ex-spouse a big shock. They want to your child to participate in a remote-learning "e-camp" or some kind of extended-stay camp this year so that they stay occupied over the summer -- and you're being asked to pay half the cost.

You don't have to live with domestic violence

No one should have to live in fear. Yet, victims of domestic violence do so every day. They lead their lives walking on eggshells, afraid that the wrong word or facial expression could unleash a torrent of abuse.

Anyone who has been abused by their spouse is at risk of another attack. The next eruption of violence could even wind up being fatal. If these words strike fear into your heart, the time to devise an exit strategy is now.

What's child support designed to cover?

When parents split up, child support often becomes a hard-fought issue. The paying parent may feel financially drained, while the receiving parent may feel like they don't get enough.

The tensions that exist between parents over child support can be aggravated because of misunderstandings about how that support can be used. Whether you're paying or receiving child support, here's what you need to know.

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