Attention all jack-o-lanterns and ghouls! Halloween with all its spooky glory is haunting our lives here at the office more and more often. Parents are often sacrificing holidays like Thanksgiving or Fourth of July in order to make sure they see their little ones all dressed up and on the hunt for sugar. Negotiating
can come to a halt if someone doesn’t get to trick or treat with their little one or be involved in choosing their costume. However, more often than not, parents fight over the major holidays and come to an Agreement only to realize at a later date that they neglected to even think about Halloween Festivities. Then, as the ghost appears, they’re having to call their lawyers in frantic panic to fight over who gets to take the little one this year and that year or how the other parent is allowing their little angel to dress like a devil/zombie/serial killer. If it’s not in the agreement, then whoever’s weekend coincides with the spooky day gets that joy which can really upset the other parent missing out on all the fun. With that being said, here are our Halloween Tips:
Remember Halloween when you’re negotiating.
People don’t think about Halloween as being a big family tradition until they realize they’re missing out on Little Seymour dressed as a killer Venus Fly Trap. Further. Children sometimes realize they’re going for visitation and all their plans end up ruined. “But MOM, we were going to go as the mean girls on Wednesdays! WE ARE ALL WEARING PINK! Without my girls, I’ll just look like Barbie!” The children’s feelings should be considered. Do they want to be around their main neighborhood during Halloween? Do they like handing out candy? Are they going to want to dress up with their other parent? “BUUUUUT DAD, MOM WAS GONNA BE BATMAN AND I WAS GONNA BE DA PENGUIN!!!” These things should be discussed before the child ends up looking like a fool because they planned a group costume, and now they’re the only one who can’t attend trick-or-treating. Instead they’re angry and targeting happy go lucky kids with skittles as they approach the door.
Halloween isn’t often addressed in “standard visitation” nor is it usually addressed in standard agreements.
Since it’s not a school holiday, and often times it is celebrated on a different night depending on where you live in order to allow kiddos to not miss school the next day, it could be hard to dictate when the actual holiday will fall. It’s just not given high priority in society because it can be seen as a frivolous celebration as opposed to Thanksgiving or Christmas. This doesn’t mean that you should just go with the norm. Why leave something out and let it haunt you at a later date? Go ahead and figure out if you’ll truly miss your kiddo during a holiday that screams with fun, then work it into negotiations.
Even if you think Halloween won’t be a big deal, it might be better to carve out the details now instead of waiting for a problem to appear like an unwanted apparition.
It might seem like your kid couldn’t care less about Halloween. That might be because he is only two months old and couldn’t chew those gum drops if he wanted to. What happens as the child ages and he starts obtaining interests of his own. Maybe this year he wants to go as Olaf, Thor, or Elsa. It’s best to figure it out now before you end up poisoning your ex’s candy to make sure you get to see little Timmy dressed as the ice queen.
HAPPY HALLO-NEGOTIATING! DON’T BE A HALLOWEENIE!!!
Call us at 205-582-2832 if you want us to help negotiate a good Halloween schedule for your little ghost or goblin!
Call Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca, LLC TODAY for an initial consult at 205-202-0070!
You may have noticed that we’ve been running a few commercials around town. We hope you understand the meaning behind them, but if not here’s a little explanation!
In this commercial, the children are standing outside their parent’s bedroom door. The parents are arguing between themselves, albeit they think they are doing it quietly. The parents are under the mistaken understanding that the children don’t hear them constantly bickering. They think if they hide behind closed doors, they can keep their family together and their children in the dark. However, the children know. They sometimes sit outside their parent’s room, and listen to their parents bickering. It’s stressful, and they’re scared. This commercial is illustrating how sometimes parents will “stay together for the kids” when in reality they are causing the children more distress by their secret fights, the constant tension, and the essentially causing the children to feel alone in that they have to bond to each other. Since their parents are trying to keep them in the dark, the children aren’t getting an adult explanation. They are left to look to each other for support.
In our second commercial, we’re attempting to show that divorce isn’t the end all be all of your life. Your family doesn’t end just because your marriage does. We want to make sure that the relationship between you and your children will go on swimmingly. At our firm, we feel that looking out for what is best for your children will be what’s best for you in the end.
We’d like to thank all of our “actors” in our commercials. Y’all did amazing and really portrayed our message well!
Fun Friday Blog: A hobby can help you beat divorce depression!
People often come to divorce attorneys in a very low state. They feel like a failure and although they are trying to fix something that is essentially broken, their self esteem is minimal. Although they realize they are taking a step to fix something that is broken in their life, they still lack confidence to move forward. They are also missing half of their friends, half of their family, and half of their romantic partnership. In order to keep things civil, they are no longer spending time with some mutual friends. They are suddenly finding themselves alone and with additional free time. If they have kids, they’re finding they suddenly have free time away from the kids because the other parent has to take up some of the responsibility. What to do with all of this free time? We’ve got a few options:
1. Fitness: Nothing says “I’m starting over!” like a new fitness program. Getting out and moving helps pump up the happiness flowing through your veins. From the very wise words of my favorite movie character, Elle Woods, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don’t shoot their husbands! They just don’t.” These are wise words. You’re full of endorphins, watching your body change for the better, and you’re out making friends. If you’re not into the gym, try one of these fun alternatives:
- Dance Trance (or other dance classes): This is my cup of tea. I love going into a room and knowing that each song has it’s own routine. I like being able to feel like I’m a backup dancer to Miley, Kanye, Beyoncé or Britney. It’s intoxicating to be able to watch yourself get boogie with it. Even if you don’t have rhythm, its fun to be a part of something so fun and where people don’t judge you if you’ve got two left feet. It’s great to go to a place where if you don’t show up, half the class will be checking on you.
- Crossfit: This is one of the biggest work out crazes going on right now. This would happen to be April’s cup of tea. Crossfit has people who normally would’ve “sat that exercise out” wanting to compete against themselves. It’s pushing people to their limits to see what they can personally accomplish. There’s a reason it’s so popular. People want to achieve their personal best. Once they’ve done that, they can compete with others to beat THEIR best. Also, you can joke around about crossfitting people’s faces, but I wouldn’t advise saying that to your ex before the case is settled…
- Running: I’m not necessarily talking about marathon running. With the 5k’s having every theme imaginable these days, you can do a Couch 2 5k program and be ready to hit the newest themed run with a few of your best friends in 6 weeks or less. You don’t even have to take it seriously. If you want to just jog in a tutu to prove you can make it through a 5k then do it! Running can free your mind and your legs from cellulite.
- Yoga: I’m not going to go much into detail about yoga because it frustrates me a bit, but if your idea of a good time is to be zen, calm, and collected, try a yoga class. Or, get a little rebellious and try aerial yoga or hot yoga!
2. Charity: Helping others feels good. There are so many different charities that need help and could use someone who needs a mental happy place, that you could even overcommit yourself on good deeds. Regardless, you may find your calling in all that busyness.
3. Skills: What a way to counteract feeling like a failure, but succeeding in achieving a new skill. There are tons of unconventional ways to better yourself in an affordable manner such as:
- Learn a new language from an app, night class, or even community center
- Take a cake decorating class
- Take a cooking class (This could help in your next relationship BIG TIME!)
- Take Karate or Krav Maga (talk about learning to kick butt during your divorce!)
- etc. etc. etc…
Thinking of a conscious uncoupling? Give Meyer, Middleton, & DeLuca, LLC a call at a 205-202-0070!
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin recently announced their divorce. The statement issued by them was “so Gwyneth” as all the Hollywood media has stated. It was very discreet, classy, and heartbreaking. Personally, I really thought that he was the salt to her Pepper (Potts) and that because they stayed out of limelight with their personal life, that they may just make it. However, this situation really shows that sometimes when it’s not right, it simply just isn’t right and no matter what you do, divorce isn’t necessarily anyone’s failure as a person, but simply something that happens to people. The statement issued by the couple was this:
” It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and co-parent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.”
Three things that are worth respect and admiration are as follows:
- The euphemistic term “conscious uncouple” is a great way of saying that they are splitting, but without the negative connation of saying they’re getting divorced. It shows a sense of taking responsibility of knowing what is wrong with their marriage and in their lives, and having the courage to dissolve what isn’t working.
- They put their children first. They aren’t using their children as a weapon, but looking out for what is best for their children regardless of how they feel toward each other. If every parent did this, children would be put through a lot less pain and suffering in the divorce process.
- They are handling this matter as private as possible. Regardless of the public statement indicating that the rest of this will be private, they do lead very private lives. Unlike most celeb divorces, they aren’t using this time to tear each other down in the public eye, but are acknowledging the issue that yes they are public figures, but no, they will not stoop to the level of drama and idea of “bad attention is still good attention.”
Celebrities have fascinating divorces. Why? Because the assets are voluminous and the drama is well known. The problem with being a public figure is that even your dirty laundry is public. However, sometimes that can be truly helpful. You may be going through pain publicly, but your biggest fans, who consider themselves your family or friends, are there supporting you. You may get the bad, but you also get the great. That being said, here are a few celeb splits we’re highlighting for our Fun Friday Blog.
- Sonny Bono and Cher: I’m a huge fan of Cher. I’m actually going to two of her concerts this year. She’s the ultimate star and you really can’t find a better entertainer. Her concerts are like Cirque Du Soliel, Fashion Week, and a gem of music in one. When Cher and Sonny divorced, she didn’t let it dim her stardome. She became a bigger and better star. Recently, she even came forth about how her divorce with Sonny went down stating in USA Today: “I thought I’d never climb out of that hole,” she said. “I had no money, and I had to pay him $2 million. It took a long time. I worked my way into a spot in Las Vegas playing two shows a night. My managers were making more money than I was. I pride myself on still being here. A lot of people were gigantic, and then they were gone.” Of course, Sonny denied this and decided to tell his side of the truth, but who are you going to believe? The short man, who just looks mean, or the star who bared all for a ship full of sailors? If she’s not hiding her bum back when it was truly risqué, I doubt she’s hiding much now.
- Speaking of risqué, France’s Prime Minister, Francois Hollande found himself and his private life in the news which is actually quite rare in France as they have laws that frown upon private lives becoming public. It turns out that the Prime Minister was having an affair leaving his common law wife (longtime partner) with no choice but to leave him and her country to move on to better things like ending child hunger. She bid adieu to France and head to Mumbai telling everyone not to worry about her, she’s just fine!
- Kevin Hart (Breaker). Kevin Hart and his wife split last year. In the divorce
Celebrity divorces and splits can teach you a lot when going through your own divorce. Give us a call at 205-202-0070
they settled for a lump sum to her of 175k and child support. Considering his estate is 9 mill, you’d think she got a terrible deal. However, think about it this way: She’s receiving 21k (approx.) in child support and he’s keeping the majority of the estate. If short man roles run out, and he’s no longer making much money, he’ll be dipping into that estate to pay her until those kids hit the age of majority. (Though, I do find this theory highly unlikely as his last movie was a HOOT!) Had she been receiving periodic alimony, it’d be taxed as income to her, whereas the child support isn’t. It’s as if she chose the installments versus the big pay out with the lottery without tax implications. She’s a smart lady, and made an even smarter investment with this settlement. Kudos ma’am!
- Captain & Tenille: It’s ironic and sad that the duo who sang “Love Will Keep Us Together” are splitting after 39 years. Captain is 71 years old. It seems to me that this could be solved with someone just moving into the other end of the house rather than a real true split. It’s risky splitting this late in the game. Retirement homes have the highest rate of STD’s! I really hope these two can work it out.
Some of you may love and adore Scandal almost as much as we do. It’s a fabulous show
That’s right Mellie, you tell him! Adultery is a no-no!
full of dirty little secrets and tons of drama. In addition to the biggest “scandal” of the show which is the President’s love affair with Olivia Pope, there’s numerous mini scandals in each episode. However, the biggest Scandal is the topic of today’s blog. The President of the United States, Fitzgerald Grant (what a presidential name!) is married to a beautiful, smart, and extremely well put together woman, but he’s having an affair with yet another beautiful, smart, and extremely well put together woman. His wife, although very upset, doesn’t leave him or throw him under any political bus, decides to stay with him for the stability of their family, his career, and the national image. We respect her, and pity her, because although she’s angry and rather bitter, she is the one continuously being betrayed. Although she is really the victim, she’s treated as a nemesis or antagonist in the show. Here are the reasons why you should like Mellie:
- She gave up her career as a lawyer to support her husband’s life. A lot of our clients deal with this issue all the time. They are well educated women with a great career ahead of
We know it’s love, but Mellie deserves better!
them. They fall in love. They begin decreasing their hours at work so that they can take over things at home so their husband can increase hours at work and build a substantially better career. Once they have kids they begin staying at home more because they can’t do both money wise. Eventually, years down the road, they’re the supporting character in their husband’s show and he no longer cares. They’re left to pick up the pieces and start over. Mellie has given up a lot to ensure that Fitz has an incredible career, and we don’t feel that she’s given enough credit for this.
- She attempts multiple times to fix the decline in her marriage. She doesn’t give up at the first sign of an issue (obviously). Multiple times, regardless of how her husband treats her, she picks up the pieces and attempts to fix their marriage. There are a lot of times when people give up too easily, and decide that marriage isn’t worth it. Mellie is about values, image, and her vows. She stands by him, and continues to do so even though it’s clear he’s in love with someone else. Personally, she has one heck of a divorce case against him, but they haven’t gotten there yet!
- He is an adulterer. Listen, we love Olivia & Fitz, but Fitz is having sex behind his wife’s back with another woman. He is in love with this woman. He is morally and legally wrong in doing this. Sure, we’re on the side of love, but what about Mellie’s love for Fitz? They have children together, and a life together. He is committing the ultimate marriage betrayal and Mellie deserves more for that.
Imagine being one of our clients, and finding out your husband has been having, not just an affair, but a LOVE
affair with another woman. You’ve given up your career for him, and given him multiple chances to rectify this situation, but he simply doesn’t care. He’d give up the career you two built together and the marriage/family you’ve created to be with this other woman. It’s not romantic, it’s deplorable, and you’re left past your career prime as a single mother. You’re beautiful, smart, and well put together. You, Mellie, are the ideal client. If she walked in our office, she’d get the royal treatment. She deserves better than Fitz, and so do you. (Furthermore, so does Liv…)
Family Court? Give us a call (205)202-0070.
Domestic Relations and Family Court are not the same thing. In Jefferson County, they aren’t even on the same side of town. Domestic Relations involves divorce cases and post-divorce cases. Family Court is where you go when you have a child with someone, but you two never got married, DHR brings a dependency case, or where juvenile criminal cases are held. Normally, when DHR comes knockin’ on your door, this means that something very alarming has happened that makes the state think that your child is in imminent harm.
While being in Family Court, we’ve noticed a few trends that should’ve been warning signs to parents that they were going to eventually end up here. This doesn’t mean that if you have any of the below that you will definitely set foot into the building, but the likelihood is pretty high. If you have any of the below issues, and DHR hasn’t come knockin’ quite yet, we suggest you rectify that situation rather quickly!
- You do drugs or drink in excess. Once you have children, it’s time to stop partying. The problem is even if your child wasn’t in your presence while you were doing drugs, what happens when you go home from partying or you go to pick up your child and something goes wrong? If you plan on drinking, get a babysitter who can responsibly watch your child or someone else who is sober who can help you if an emergency arises. If you are still doing drugs, and you have a child, it is time to stop. Illegal narcotics numb your senses. If you shouldn’t be driving, you shouldn’t be raising your child that way.
- You give your child a stripper name. This is somewhat to be funny and somewhat serious. It’s way too often that we hear names of children when in family court, where we know that it was their destiny to end up here. One such instance: Klever, Kurious, and Knowledge. It’s almost like naming your child Jenna Jameson. Shoot high with your child’s name. Think Presidential, but don’t name your child President.
- You often get into fights with people in your home. If pots and pans are flying, or you’re wind-milling your boyfriend, the chances that the cops and then DHR are going to get called is high. Keep all violence in Fight Club. Don’t bring it home. It’s not a safe environment if your child lives in fear of getting sideswiped by a soap dish.
- You don’t know who your child’s father is. This just simply means that you’ll have to get a paternity test. Hey, it’s better than going on Maury. At least it’s private in Family Court.
- You refuse to pay child support to your baby momma. (18 years, 18 years and 18th birthday found out it wasn’t his!) In Alabama, it’s 19. Pay the child support to your baby momma regardless of whether or not she’s using it to get lipo or buy your kid tyco. If you don’t trust her, then don’t sign over custody to her. Request joint custody, be active in your child’s life, and actually follow through!
Note: Although the above signs are somewhat humorous (if I do say so myself) it doesn’t mean that we are making light of DHR having to get involved in your child’s life. As you can tell, we are not happy with parents who are not willing to go above and beyond for their children. We will help you get back on track if we’re defending you, and we’ll help you do what you can to ensure your child’s life is stable, but we will not condone attempts to force a child to go back into a dangerous situation.
Although we often hear the phrase, “my spouse is insane”, it’s not that often that the person is certifiable. Normally, if that were the case, they would have been committed way before the marriage fell apart. However, if your significant other is on medication and not taking their medication properly, there may have a way to get them stabilized without having to cut all ties. There is something called an involuntary commitment where you file a petition to have someone committed for treatment in a mental institution. We are by no means suggesting you do this! This is only for people who legitimately need medication for their illness, and they refuse to take it.
What does it take to get an involuntary commitment? There are quite a few factors, but basically (in short and simple terms) the person has to be a danger to themselves or others, non-compliant with medication or treatment, and have an Axis 1 illness. A prime example of a candidate for an involuntary commitment is Amanda Bynes. She’s been displaying concerning behavior for months! This girl has schooled both Lindsey Lohan and Britney Spears in the train wreck department.
The story is all over the news where Amanda Bynes has been committed. This girl has been snowballing for months (no I’m not talking about a possible cocaine addiction). She has gone from refusing to pay for hair extensions then showing back up to the same salon to get them redone, to disturbing her entire spin class by changing to multiple bikes and putting on her make-up, to throwing bongs out of windows, to starting fights with random other celebrities on twitter.
Her erratic behavior apparently hit an all-time high on Sunday when she showed up drunk to a retirement home. She claimed she was there to visit a relative, but the staff determined she was too drunk to enter. Then on Monday, she was apparently setting fire to a gasoline can in some random person’s driveway in her parent’s neighborhood. The cops were called as the neighbors put out the fire. She tries to escape via cab to no avail.
The police spoke with her and determined she should probably go to a psychiatric facility to be observed under the 72 hour watch. This is the amount of time the law is allowed to hold you in these situations. During that time the doctors evaluated her and determined she needed an extra two weeks for treatment. Now, her family is working hard to get a Conservatorship over her money, similar to Britney’s parents. One can hope she takes after Britney and gets the help she needs. (You KNOW you’re in trouble when that is said…)
“I got yo crazy” – Britney Spears