What to Do When an Ex-Spouse Refuses to Comply with a Custody Agreement During the Holidays

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Parenting after a divorce is hard at any time. When the holidays roll around, however, this task tends to become more challenging. Attorneys receive numerous calls in the week leading up to Christmas as spouses begin fighting over who will get the Children and when. Sadly, the kids are the ones caught in the middle through no fault of their own and the holidays may be ruined as a result of these disputes. How can parents resolve these issues so they don't crop up year after year?

Address Important Issues

One reason many couples divorce is they are tired of the constant conflict. As a result, they often avoid discussing topics that they know will lead to an argument. Add to this the fact that many people tend to procrastinate as a matter of course. As a result, they may not realize they have a problem with the Ex-spouse with regards to the holiday until just a few days in advance. Why is this a problem?

The Court System

Courts tend to move slow as couples should realize during the Divorce. In fact, the average dispute takes a month to resolve and only if everything goes smoothly. In many cases, the problem takes much longer to get settled. Once a motion is filed, weeks pass before it is heard. If there are any delays, it could actually be months before the matter is heard. What can a person do in this situation?

Orders to Show Cause

In the event a spouse refuses to abide by the custody agreement when it comes to the holidays, contact an attorney to file an Order to Show Cause. With this order, the judge quickly makes a decision regarding the matter. However, the judge may refuse to hear the case if he or she does not believe irreparable harm will be done. He or she takes into consideration whether this issue should have been resolved earlier. How can one avoid the need for this hearing?

Ensure the custody agreement outlines who gets the children when during the holidays. This helps to avoid disputes. If a parent fails to comply, the court then steps in and the parent being refused visitation as outlined has a stronger case. Keep this in mind when preparing the custody agreement, as less conflict is always best for all involved but especially the children.

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Reasons to Hire a Divorce Attorney

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Going through a divorce, having to go to family court in West Virginia, and all that goes with it can be a difficult and emotional process for anyone. While there are some people who are convinced they can handle this legal process on their own, this isn’t always the case. In fact, there are several benefits offered when a person makes the decision to Hire A Divorce Attorney. Some of those benefits can be found here.

They Know the Law

One of the main reasons it is smart to hire a lawyer to help with divorce and other family law matters is that they have a full understanding of matrimonial law. This helps their clients because they are able to help them understand the law in a way that makes sense. This is extremely beneficial and will ensure that their client knows their rights, and what’s possible with their case.

They Can Help Provide an Objective View During an Emotional Time

Another benefit offered by hiring a divorce attorney to help with a case is that they can help their client see the situation objectively. The fact is, any case that involves a person’s family, or loved ones, is highly emotional. As a result, they may not be able to see the situation clearly. When this happens, they may make rash decisions that don’t really make sense. The attorney they hire can help them see things from a more objective, non-attached viewpoint.

They Handle the Paperwork

There is quite a bit of paperwork involved with any family law case. It can be overwhelming for someone who is already extremely emotional because of the situation they are facing. An attorney can handle most, if not all, of the paperwork on the behalf of their client, ensure it is filed properly and on time.

As anyone can see, hiring an attorney for any type of family law case is a smart move. They can provide the needed attention to the situation and help their client achieve the desired outcome. It is never a good idea to try and handle these cases alone, as the outcome may not be what the client had hoped for.

Allyson Hilliard Achieves Board Certification by The National Board Of Trial Advocacy

Charleston, WV -The National Board of Trial Advocacy (NBTA) is pleased to announce that Allyson Hilliard of the law firm, Hilliard & Swartz has successfully achieved Board Certification as a family trial advocate. The NBTA was formed out of a strong conviction that both the law profession and its clients would benefit from an organization designed specifically to create an objective set of standards illustrating an attorney's experience and expertise in the practice of trial law.

Allyson Hilliard, joins a growing number of trial attorneys that have illustrated their commitment to bettering the legal profession by successfully completing a rigorous application process and providing the consumer of legal services with an objective measure by which to choose qualified and experienced legal counsel.

The elaborate screening of credentials that all NBTA board certified attorneys must successfully complete includes: demonstration of substantial trial experience, submission of judicial and peer references to attest to their competency, attendance of continuing legal education courses, submission of legal writing documents, proof of good standing and passing of an examination.

Board Certification is the highest, most stringent, and most reliable honor an attorney can achieve. Board certifications are the only distinctions awarded by non-profit organizations. The NBTA as well as all board certifying organizations are committed to safeguarding the public’s ability to choose a good attorney.

Allyson Hilliard is licensed to practice in West Virginia. Approximately three percent of American lawyers are board certified, and Mrs. Hilliard is a member of a very select group who has taken the time to prove competence in her specialty area and earn board certification.

For more information on Attorney Allyson Hilliard, please visit: www.wvdivorce.com and www.nbtalawyers.org

Building A Team For Your Divorce

When it comes to preparing for divorce, it’s about more than just getting your finances and properties in order. Choosing the right lawyer is crucial, not only because they’ll be representing your interests, but they can also help you pull together an invaluable divorce team. Divorces are rarely ever straightforward; they often require support from other professionals. Real estate agents, financial advisors, accountants, mediators, and parenting experts can make an enormous difference in the success of your case. When you choose a divorce attorney, make sure you understand the importance of putting together a divorce team who can provide you with the resources and guidance you require.

The Importance Of A Divorce Team

A divorce team should be composed of individuals who can help you during the difficult times to come. Divorce is often a very emotional, expensive, stressful, and frustrating process. At times it can be confusing and overwhelming, which is why it is crucial that you surround yourself with people who can support you and provide you with the advice and information you need.

Potential Members Of A Divorce Team

Ideally, a divorce team will support not only your legal objectives, but also your financial limits, parenting goals, and personal wishes. Here’s a brief list of some of the professionals who can help you with your divorce:

  • A divorce attorney and their team, which may include a paralegal or a support attorney

  • Mediators, parenting evaluators, counselors/therapists

  • Financial advisors, accountants, appraisers, tax professionals, real estate agents

  • Private investigators

Some of the people in your divorce team should be personally enriching, like trusted friends, family members, religious leaders of your faith, or therapists who can talk to both you and your children. For your children, this might also mean finding support from their teachers, family members, nanny, and so on. Parenting experts could also help weigh in on your situation, helping you find creative custody solutions if necessary.

The divorce process is often expensive. Even if your divorce is pretty straightforward, the process of regaining your independence can still be costly. To help prepare for these financial changes, legal expenses, and to protect your financial future, it could benefit you greatly to work with accountants, financial advisors, and tax professionals. Property division in divorces of couples with substantial or complex assets often require a team of financial experts.

Finding other experts for legal support besides your divorce attorney can further support your legal goals, help you avoid problems, and defend your assets. For example, if you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets from you, a forensic accountant or private investigator could help find those hidden accounts or assets. Business attorneys, real estate attorneys, and real estate agents can also help with the property division process, appraising your assets and the assets shared in your marriage.

How To Build A Divorce Team

When you choose to work with an experienced, knowledgeable divorce attorney from Hilliard & Swartz, our team will help assemble the right divorce team for your unique situation. This can make a big difference in helping you be prepared for the divorce process and in meeting your goals, especially if you have children, own a business, or have assets that you wish to protect.

Useful Apps to Help with Co-Parenting

There’s an app for everything nowadays, but some may be surprised to learn that there are several applications designed to help with co-parenting. Parenting alongside your ex is not without challenges, so anything you can do to make the situation easier can be an enormous help. There are several applications out there that could make sharing custody or arranging visitation easier for you and your ex.

Whether you’re looking for something specific or are simply interested in any new tech-savvy parenting method, these apps could help your family work together more easily.

Scheduling And Info-Sharing Apps

There are a variety of calendaring and scheduling apps out there for families, with some are designed specifically for co-parents. Here are some of the most population options:

Our Family Wizard

Our Family Wizard began as a website geared towards helping parents deal with the complications that come with sharing custody or visitation. Recently, the company created an app for iPhone users that addresses a variety of common co-parenting issues. The main thing this app helps with is scheduling. It includes a color-coded custody calendar where you can keep track of your parenting schedule, including pick-up and drop-off times. The app also has a journal entry feature and allows parents to send and receive messages to one another. There’s also a handy storage feature that allows parents to keep track of shared expenses, child immunization records, emergency contacts, and more.

Cozi Family Organizer

While Cozi Family Organizer isn’t specifically geared towards co-parenting, it is immensely popular as a general family planner. The New York TimesWall Street JournalParents Magazine, and USA Today are just a few of the news sources to praise this handy digital helper. Parents can use Cozi to create a calendar with color-coordinated schedules to distinguish each child’s activities or to designate separate parenting times. You can also share this calendar with your co-parent and send reminders or agenda emails for your convenience. The app includes a to-do list section, family journal, and an area to store shopping lists and favorite recipes. Best of all, this app is free!

Fayr

Fayr is another application specifically engineered with co-parenting in mind. It has a simplistic design and includes many useful features for the practical-minded parent. The app features a shared calendar that both parents can access, complete with a geo location log. In other words, if you are taking the kids to the beach for the day, you can check-in at your location on the app via GPS, so your co-parent knows where your children are. Parents can also message via the app and track expenses. Plus, all expense reports can be exported as time-stamped PDF for efficient record-keeping.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar is a standard go-to for parents who love to keep things neat and organized. The app is easy to navigate and has a very pleasing look that pulls pictures and maps to make the scheduling experience even easier. Any events you discuss via email, including digital ticket receipts, flights, or hotel confirmations, will be added to your calendar for a smooth, effortless integration. You can also share events with your ex, which can make it easier for both of you to sync your parenting schedules, make changes, and keep track of big events in your kids’ lives.

2houses

The 2houses app is designed specifically for separated and divorced families. The system includes a shared calendar for easy scheduling and a detailed expense report to keep track of anything purchased for the child. Additionally, the app has a file sharing feature that allows parents to share things like report cards, medical information, and release forms.

AppClose

Another app designed specifically for co-parenting, AppClose offers several convenient features with no subscription fees or monthly charges. Parents can share a calendar, message one another, track expenses, and store important documents. The app also features a handy “request” section that allows parents to officially request and approve things like reimbursements for child-related expenses, changes in drop-off times, and so on.

Other co-parenting scheduling and calendar apps to consider include: Custody ConnectionParentshipSharedCareCoparentlyKidganizerSkedi.

Online Safety

Keeping tabs on your child’s screen time, online activity, and social media is a big job for any parent and can be especially challenging to manage when your child is with their other parent. Apps that provide parental controls for your child’s digital devices can help you protect your child online when they aren’t physically with you.

Qustodio

Qustodio is a parental control app that allows parents to supervise and manage their child’s electronic device. It works on several different types of devices and systems, including Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, Kindle, and Nook. Parents can keep track of, and limit, screen time, and they can also see what their child did on their device at what time. The app can block inappropriate content, watch social media activity, track calls and location, and set time limits for specific apps.

Kaspersky Safe Kids

Much like Qustodio, Kaspersky Safe Kids is an app designed to help parents monitor and control their children’s digital usage. It allows for location tracking, manages screen usage time, and protects your child from exposure to inappropriate online content. As a bonus, the app also includes expert advice from psychologists that can help parents explain online security and safety to their children.

Precious Keepsakes

Artkive

Children produce a lot of artwork, and as a parent, you are probably tempted to keep every doodle and drawing they throw your way. However, these boxes of art projects can be difficult to share with your co-parent. With Artkive, you can store all your kids’ artwork digitally, or create a keepsake book. All you do is send in a box of your child’s artwork and the Artkive staff will have each piece professionally photographed for you. All photos will then be stored in the Artkive app for easy access anywhere. Plus, if you want a more concrete keepsake, you can have images printed into hardcover books.

Can You Use Witnesses in a Divorce Trial?

When it comes to building your divorce case, there are several methods and resources you can use to gather evidence of your good character. If you are a parent, using a character witness can be especially beneficial when it comes to proving your ability to care for your child. In any case, choosing reliable character witnesses can be challenging, especially if you aren’t sure what role a witness plays in a divorce case.

In order to improve the outcome of your family law trial, make sure you know what a character witness does, whether or not you need one, and who you should choose.

The Role Of A Witness

When you go through a divorce, a character witness is someone who testifies about your moral character, responsibility, and other personal qualities. The court will rely on this person’s word, so the witness must know the person who they are testifying for very well.

If you do choose to use a witness, or multiple witnesses, your attorney will ask the witness questions before the court. After your attorney has asked all their questions, your spouse’s attorney will have an opportunity to ask any questions they deem fit. Before the witness can leave, your attorney will have a second, and final, opportunity to ask any remaining questions.

Who Needs A Witness?

Anyone going through a divorce, child custody issue, or family law modification could benefit from a strong character witness. However, a witness becomes absolutely necessary in cases where your character and responsibility are put to question. Additionally, if your divorce case involves children, or if you are dealing with a child custody issue, you will certainly benefit from proving your good qualities as a parent.

Not all cases require the good word of character witnesses, especially if you are going through a more amicable divorce or working towards a settlement agreement that you are happy with.

How To Choose A Witness

Some courts do not allow family members to act as witnesses because of certain biases, so it’s usually safer to use a trusted friend, colleague, or someone else you spend a good deal of time with. Choosing someone close to you is always best because they will have first-hand accounts of your behavior and that of your spouse. For example, if you are trying to prove abuse, your best friend may have seen your spouse hit you, whereas your colleague might have only seen the evidence of the abuse.

In some cases, couples may call forth a witness who can speak to both sides. For example, a nanny or babysitter might have firsthand experience watching each spouse with their children and will be instrumental in speaking to the abilities of either parent. If the couple shared a business, they might have a business partner who can explain who was more involved or attest to how each person contributed to the growth of the business.

Each divorce case has its own unique set of challenges, and when it comes to deciding whether you need a character witness, its best to consult with your divorce attorney. Our family lawyers at Hilliard & Swartz can evaluate your situation and determine the best legal methods to employ to protect your interests.