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Custody and summer break: Don't forget these issues

Summer break can be fraught with difficulty for a lot of parents -- even under the best of circumstances. When you're divorced, custody issues also come into play. That can make every summer break a hassle unless you take steps to prevent problems before they start.

Put summer break in your parenting plan

How do you prove you're a pet's primary caretaker?

In the latter part of 2018, California lawmakers approved some changes to the way that judges view the family pet in a divorce. Essentially, the court can decide joint or sole ownership and establish a visitation schedule -- much like what is done with child custody. The court will also take into consideration who has been the pet's primary caretaker and what's in the best interest of the animal.

So, how do you prove that you're the family pet's primary caretaker in court? If you suspect it will be an issue, you need to start gathering evidence. Some of the most important things you can use include:

  • Your invoice for the purchase of the pet, if you bought it from a breeder or store, showing that you as the owner
  • Your registration papers, if the animal is a pure breed dog or cat, showing your ownership
  • All your pet's medical records, including receipts, showing that you paid for the animal's treatment
  • Records of any training classes you attended with your pet, like obedience school for dogs
  • Receipts from any pet sitting service or boarder where your animal was cared for when you were out of town
  • Photographs of you and your pet together -- especially of you caring for your pet's needs (such as photos of you walking the dog or teaching the dog to play "fetch")

How to afford a divorce in 2019

Once you get over the emotional shock of the fact that you're getting a divorce, the next real panic might set in: How are you going to afford this?

Financial concerns are a big part of life for anyone -- and the rising cost of divorce doesn't make the process easier. The national average price tag of a divorce is around $15,000.

Does marriage counseling actually work?

Just like marriage, you should be fully committed before you take a big step like divorce. No attorney wants to initiate a divorce for a client only to find out that the client really isn't ready to take that step. It can make the entire process much more drawn-out and painful.

So, should you consider marriage counseling before you head for the divorce attorney's office? Is it worth it? Does it ever work?

Violence Against Women Act expires, advocates worry

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which helps protect women against domestic violence and assists those who are victimized through various programs, came into being in 1994. However, it was a time-limited measure that had to be periodically renewed.

Due to complications from the recent government shutdown, the VAWA lapsed in February because it wasn't included in a larger spending bill. Now, there are some questions about whether it will be renewed -- and in what form.

Believe it or not: Life does get better after divorce

When you're in the midst of a bad marriage and an even worse divorce, it can be almost impossible to foresee a time when you'll actually be happy again.

Guess what? It will happen. There's "life after divorce" and those who have been where you are now can tell you all about it. Here are some of the ways that your life after divorce will be changed for the better:

  1. Your life will get predictable again. The drama will stop because there will be no more fights to have, motions to make or papers to sign.
  2. You get to remake all the rules for the way you live. You can sleep with the television on and adjust the thermostat however you want now without worrying about anybody's preferences but your own.
  3. You can set your own schedule. If you want to go out after work with friends, you can do it without feeling guilty (or getting a guilt trip). You no longer have to justify how you spend your time to anyone.
  4. If you have kids, you get a guaranteed night off. That may be more than you could say when you were married -- and it's a distinct upside to shared custody.
  5. You have full control of your finances again. On one hand, that can be scary -- but it's also uplifting. You no longer have to explain every purchase or sneak something you bought into the house because you know your spouse won't approve.

How are 'grey' divorces different?

Would you believe that your odds of getting divorced are increasing as you age? It's true. Divorce now affects one out of every four people over 50 years of age -- and that figure is expected to rise.

Divorcing when you're young is rough enough, but older couples have additional challenges they have to face. Here are some of the facets of divorce that are different when you're older:

Helping your children cope with divorce

How do you help your children cope with their new reality following your breakup with your spouse? Whether you're newly separated or already divorced, there are a lot of transitions going on your child's life.

One of the best ways you may be able to help your child process those changes is through the magic of reading.

Older same-sex couples: Ask these 3 questions when divorcing

When the United States Supreme Court repealed the Defense of Marriage Act in 2015, same-sex couples gained the right to legally marry everywhere in the nation. The move ended the patchwork of laws that subjected same-sex individuals to uneven treatment when it came to their right to marry the persons they loved.

Unfortunately, same-sex couples are subject to many of the same marital stressors as heterosexual couples. Just like heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages break down and end in divorce. For many same-sex couples -- particularly those in their late 50s and older -- the legacy of those patchwork laws of the last few decades can make divorce complicated.

Don't forget these technical issues during your divorce

We live in a world that's increasingly technological -- which means that part of divorce includes disentangling yourself from your spouse wherever you're connected through tech.

Most of the time, people think that means changing the password on their Netflix account once they move out so their ex-spouse can't share the service from a distance. But that's only the start of the steps you need to take.

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