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Getting Through the Holidays After Divorce

The holiday season is especially tough on divorced families. Family traditions are disrupted, decisions regarding how to best accommodate children must be made, and feelings can get hurt.

It is not uncommon to forget the specifics of a divorce agreement regarding the holidays until they arrive. Anyone wanting to get through the holidays after divorce should start by reading their divorce decree and child custody agreement.

Getting Through the Holidays Mentally

The holidays are a busy time for most people. For new divorcees, getting involved in the many holiday activities taking place can be a good way to get through the season mentally. Keeping the mind active can reduce much of the stress that is related to the combination of the holiday season and divorce. This strategy is especially helpful for anyone forced to spend the holidays apart from their children.

Getting Through the Holidays Emotionally

Emotions might run high during the first holiday season after a divorce. Depression rates increase during the holiday season – an indicator of just how stressful this time of year can be. Add a recent divorce and a tough child-custody ruling and Thanksgiving and Christmas become very tough to get through.

Surrounding oneself with loved ones is a good way to get through. Haven’t seen a sister in years? Now might be a good time to visit.

Helping Children Adapt to New Traditions

As divorcees forge new traditions during post-divorce holidays, children may need help adjusting. Understand that while children are malleable, they are just as aversive to change as anyone.

Tell children what is happening. If they are young, keep explanations simple, but help them understand that the changes already happening will continue for a time, especially during holidays. Remind them that things will be different.

Teens too will have a hard time adjusting. They need infinite patience and maybe some space, but they will adjust if helped along by parents who care.

Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein, P.A. Assist Clients Struggling Through Divorce

Divorce during the holidays is not easy. It is in your best interest to work with a Cherry Hill divorce attorney if you find yourself needing legal help during the holidays. Complete our or online contact form or call 856-544-9155 to schedule your initial consultation at the the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein. We are located in Marlton, New Jersey, and work with clients from Mount Laurel, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, and Medford, Marlton, Voorhees, Haddonfield and throughout the state of New Jersey.

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Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers Discuss Special Needs Children and Custody

Over the past 10 years or so, the child with special needs has taken front and center with regard to school, treatment and awareness. However, one area that is often overlooked by those going through divorce or separation is how the special needs of a child can impact not just custody in general, but, the parenting time schedule as well.

Although the Courts tend to prefer that both parents enjoy similar time with their child(ren), the special needs of that child should make the court take a much closer look at what is in their best interest. Many special needs children require the consistency and predictability of being in one primary home for the vast majority of the time. They tend to adjust to their environment better and overall do better emotionally and scholastically. Unfortunately, many judges do not fully understand that. Therefore, it is vital for you to work closely with an attorney who has had significant experience with the special needs child and how to educate the Court, often through the use of experts, to why a “typical” visitation schedule may simply not be right for a particular child. In my practice, I have represented hundreds of clients with special needs children and once a Court truly understand what that means, the parenting time schedule can tilt heavily toward the parent who has the best grasp of their child’s issues.

Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at Richard C. Klein, P.A. Advocate for Parents of Special Needs Children

Contact a Cherry Hill divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein, LLC to learn more about divorce in South Jersey. Contact us online or call our offices at (856) 544-9155.

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Relocating Children After Divorce

After a divorce, it is nearly always in a child’s best interest to maintain a consistent relationship with both of their parents. This is why parenting plans are created – to ensure that the child maintains a quality, consistent relationship with each parent in the years following their divorce.

When a job opportunity, family needs, or personal or economic circumstances make moving out of New Jersey an attractive option for a parent, they have to consider how moving would impact their child’s custody arrangement. Beyond this, they must obtain the other parent’s approval or permission from the court to move, which necessitates altering their custody order. Each state governs this process in its child custody law. In New Jersey, how a parent can obtain permission to move out of state with their child recently changed.

Determining the Child’s Best Interest

Previously, courts had to determine whether a proposed move would cause harm to a child when deciding whether to grant permission for the move. Though the child’s interests were considered, the largest part of the equation was whether moving would harm them in a substantial way. This was because when the law was initially written, the prevailing presumption was that a child would be happiest in the setting where their custodial parent was happiest. Research from recent decades shows that this is not actually the case, that a child is happiest and healthiest when they have a consistent relationship with both of their parents.

To determine the child’s best interest, the court considers the following:

  • The child’s medical needs
  • The child’s academic needs
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and the other members of their households
  • Any history of domestic violence in either parent’s household
  • The parents’ willingness to communicate and cooperate with each other regarding the child’s care
  • Each parent’s income and ability to support the child financially
The Burden of Proof is on the Parent Seeking the Move

New Jersey parents seeking court approval to move with their children must demonstrate how the move would be in their children’s best interest. If a parent cannot do this, they likely will not have their move approved. Supporting a claim that moving is in a child’s best interest can require a parent to provide documents that illustrate their position, such as a job offer in the proposed new location or a copy of a protective order showing that the move is to escape domestic violence in New Jersey. The parent may also be required to provide a proposed new custody plan and discuss how they plan to implement it if permission to move is granted.

Cherry Hill Child Custody Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein, P.A. Guide Clients Through the Legal Aspects of Divorce and Life Afterward

Parenting after a divorce is not always easy. When issues like relocations and making necessary changes to your custody order arise, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced who can represent you in court and act as your advocate. To learn more, complete our or call 856-544-9155 to schedule your initial consultation at the We are located in Marlton, New Jersey, and work with clients from Mount Laurel, Moorestown, Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, and Marlton.

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Custody Options in New Jersey

As many divorces are not amicable, there can be jealousy, sadness, and often anger. In addition to hard feelings, there are a multitude of complicated legal issues for parents and the courts to manage. One of those issues, and often a very painful one for parents and children, is custody.

What is Joint ‘Legal’ Custody?

Joint legal custody is when both parents make decisions regarding their child’s life in areas such as healthcare, education, and religion. Parents with joint custody have access to a child’s medical and school records and have the ability to choose if the child attends church or religious education.

Legal custody exempts child support as the courts prefer both parents be involved in the lives and welfare of their children, and will often elect to award joint custody.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody, also know as residential custody in some New Jersey courts, determines which parent the child will live with. One parent may have full physical custody while the other one has visitation rights. Structured visitation occurs when there is a set schedule for when one parent sees their child. Joint physical custody includes a schedule of when the child will be with each parent. In certain situations, the child may stay with one parent for longer periods of time.

Custody can impact how child support is calculated. In cases where one parent has full custody of a child, the other parent is usually ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent. Where parents have joint custody, the parent with the higher salary can be ordered to pay child support to the other parent. Courts often order child support even if the parents have joint custody, while considering the type of physical custody agreement parents have, as well.

There are several factors in determining child support formulas in different states, including the number of children, daycare and health insurance costs, and income. While parents may have come to a decision regarding physical custody, there are many factors to sort out during a trying and emotional time. Divorce is a process that changes the family dynamic and has life-changing impacts.

Cherry Hill Divorce Lawyers at the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein Advocate for Family Law

During this tumultuous time, you can turn to our Cherry Hill divorce lawyers. Building relationships to better meet the needs of our clients is our top priority. We communicate regularly with clients to give and receive updates, address concerns, and answer questions about the legal process.

If your family is facing a divorce or experiencing any other family law conflict, call the Law Offices of Richard C. Klein at 856-544-9155 to schedule a confidential consultation. We serve clients in Cherry Hill, Maple Shade, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel, as well as throughout New Jersey.

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Child Custody – Is It Only The Courts That Can Decide?

The Long History of Child Custody Disputes

The New Jersey Courts have always determined that matters involving the best interests of children can only be determined by a Judge if the parties cannot come to an agreement. No third party has been allowed to make those determinations under the theory that it is a Superior Court Judge that stands in the shoes of parents if they cannot come to an agreement to determine what the best interests of the parties are. This has often resulted in long and arduous and very expensive custody battles which often consisted of dueling mental health professionals.

In yet another far reaching and cutting edge opinion by Justice Virginia Long of New Jersey Supreme Court in the matter of Fawzy v. Fawzy, Justice Long only a few years ago, determined that “the constitutionally protected right of parental autonomy includes the right of parents to choose the forum in which to resolve their disputes over child custody.” The holding of the Court has far reaching effects over the way attorneys can work with their clients to resolve custody and parenting time disputes. This may include binding arbitration which is a much expedited proceeding whereby the parties may introduce a broader range of evidence and information to an individual jointly agreed upon by the parties who will make the ultimate decision with regard to child custody, parenting time, and other issues surrounding children. However, the Court has not completely adopted a hands off approach. Even with arbitration, the New Jersey Supreme Court has concluded that the arbitration determination must be in writing or recorded and must establish that the parties are aware and having knowingly and voluntarily waived their rights to a judicial determination. In other words, the Court wants to be certain that the entry into arbitration and the understanding of the arbitration rules and any agreement that may result was understood by the parties in advance and they have agreed to be bound by it.

Likewise, a record of any evidence adduced during the proceedings must be kept, testimony must be recorded and the arbitrator must issue his or her findings of fact and conclusions of law. Rather than a Court reviewing any challenge to same, the arbitrators award is subject to review under the Arbitration Act under our New Jersey Statutes, in this case, N.J.S.A. 2A:23-B-1 to -32. Judicial review is also available if a party establishes that the award threatens harm to the child.

This is a tremendous movement forward on the part of the New Jersey Supreme Court recognizing the child custody disputes should have alternate methods of resolution as do matters of economics and other issues in a divorce proceeding.

I would urge that any time that there is a dispute about custody and parenting time which cannot be revolved by meetings between parties and counsel or mediation through the Court system, that parties with their counsel consider this process. It has the benefit of saving thousands of dollars, much time and should often result in a resolution just as fair and equitable as if determined by a Court.

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