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Seasons greetings!  Winter is upon us.  Inherent in the winter season are rising heating costs, snow shoveling, school closings and, of course, the holidays.  For many families, it’s easy to plan for the holidays because tradition calls for a glazed turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day at Aunt Ruth’s, an open fire around the wood-burning fireplace with eggnog and holiday cookies at grandma’s and, of course, the always extraordinary New Year’s bash at Uncle Joey’s.

So, why mess with a good thing?  Although the holiday schedule may be somewhat tranquil for intact families, many divorced parents are left to struggle with holiday scheduling issues because – similar to the climate – it is subject to change.  The thought of not having the little ones home for the holidays can be all too difficult for some parents to bear.  Yet, parents must make concessions concerning their children’s winter schedule year after year which can become altogether exhausting even before the winter season begins.

While arranging this year’s holiday parenting time, it is important to consider what is in the child’s best interest.  Ideally, a child should spend time with both sides of the family, even if it breaks tradition.  Of course, this may be easier for some families than for others.

Fortunately, the Court can be petitioned (and often is) to compel parents to abide by a particular holiday parenting time schedule.  In fact, the Court receives a blizzard of parenting time schedule applications right before the holidays.  However, these parents run the risk of being compelled to follow a schedule neither parent (nor child) may appreciate.  After all, no one knows your children better than you do; the Court is no exception.

That is why it is important to keep in mind that there are other – more time and cost effective – alternatives.  Many parents will successfully resolve their dispute seeking the assistance of a trained mediator who will take the time to suggest scheduling alternatives without losing perspective.  Also, parents may be inclined to contact a parenting time coordinator who is qualified to assist families in handling the most difficult compromising issues such as a holiday schedule.

If you are thinking about the upcoming winter schedule and are concerned about the impact of a holiday schedule on your children, contact one of the attorneys at Iandoli & Edens, LLC where one of our competent attorneys will help you decide which avenue is right for you and your family.

            If not jointly decided by the parties and accepted by both sides, custody can become a bitter battleground.  From the Court you’ll hear about mandatory Custody Mediation, a Probation Department Investigation, a Best Interest Evaluation, etc.  At home, life becomes even more stressful, with accusations and actions which are clearly damaging to the parties and children.  While it may seem like there is no resolution, there is a better manner to deal with custody disputes.  Contact one of the attorneys at Iandoli & Edens to help you achieve the best result possible for You and Your Children.

            Most working parents would agree that finding quality time to spend with your children is challenging.  Coming home from work (sometimes late) being hit with homework issues and general rules and regulations of parenting take time and energy.  Yet most  working parents would not give up tucking the kids in at night or rushing them to the school bus in the morning.

            So what happens if you throw a divorce into the middle of this mix?  Shared custody is the answer for many couples, but what exactly does that mean?  A true joint physical custody arrangement (or shared parenting as it is now known) would mean that the children would spend 50% of the time living with one parent and 50% of the time with the other.  This can be achieved in a variety of ways, often dependent on the ages of the children and the work schedules of the parents.  Some divorced couples do every other day, every other week, split weeks or every other month.

            In looking at famous divorced couples you often hear about shared custody.  Demi Moore and Bruce Willis are raising their three daughters this way.  Of course, as everyone knows, they might be the most amicable celebrity divorce ever.

            Even if you are not as friendly with your ex or soon to be ex as Bruce and Demi, shared custody can work.

If you are interested in shared custody, call one of our experienced family law attorneys at IANDOLI & EDENS (908) 879- 9499 today for a consultation. 

It might seem unfair to you that your estranged spouse wishes to move back into your home.  In fact, he/she may have already done so without any concerns about your opinion in the matter.  The fact that you are living with your soon-to-be ex again may have come as an absolute surprise to you.  Even worse, the sudden change in living arrangements may be of greater surprise and distress to your children. 

Removing your spouse from the premises is not an easy task.  Afterall, any methods of self-help may very well lead to some type of altercation.  You will likely be in a situation where you will have to file an application in the courts for removal. 

Two important factors courts consider are whether the spouse has voluntarily moved from the marital residence and whether he/she maintains another residence for a considerable period of time.  In other words, has the spouse abandoned the home?  The courts also look at whether an order of removal would protect children and offer children a stable environment.

Given the strenuous financial circumstances most families face today, this scenario could become a reality for you or for someone you know.  Feel free to call our firm for a consultation to discuss your unique situation.

            Is the glass half empty or half full?  A child’s preference can be a factor.  The first consideration is the child’s age and maturity.  The older the child, the more weight will be given to a stated preference.  However, the Court will also consider the maturity or lack thereof regarding the child’s reason for the stated preference.

            If the child asserts a preference but is being alienated by one parent, then the child’s stated preference may be negated.  If the child states a preference but it is clear that the child’s preference is merely to be with the parent who does not set boundaries, curfews or, with older children, is not home much, etc., then again the child’s stated preference may be negated.

            Each case is different and requires extensive skill and experience.  If you are dealing with a custody or parenting time issue, call Iandoli & Edens at (908) 879-9499.