Monthly Archives: October 2014

Discussing Divorce with Children

Once the decision to divorce has been made, the daunting task of how to tell your children remains. Children will respond differently to the news depending on their age and the relationship they have with both parents. While you should not anticipate a particular response from them, you should spend some time preparing to have this important conversation with your children.

Set the Stage

Research shows that children of divorce usually have a very vivid memory of the moment they were told their parents were getting a divorce, even decades after the occurrence. This research alone shows how significant that moment will be in your child’s life. It is important that you prepare yourself for this conversation, as it can be an emotional discussion for the parent as well as the child.

It is often helpful if both parents are present for the conversation so that your children see the separation as a mutual decision made by parents who want what’s best for them. Even if the decision to divorce was painfully one-sided, setting the precedent for a unified parental team, even after separation, will help a child cope.

Honesty & Age-Appropriate Explanations

The way you approach the subject of divorce depends greatly on your children’s age, maturity level, and temperament, but the most important message to convey is that it is not their fault. The details you choose to share with your children will vary depending on the circumstances and their level of understanding. However, honesty is a critical component of every discussion you have with them. That doesn’t mean you have to explain extramarital infidelity or complicated legal matters. Instead, you can tell your children that you and your spouse no longer agree on important things and find separation the best solution.

Their Concerns

Most children will immediately wonder how this change will affect their daily lives. You can anticipate some of the questions they may have by initially explaining what changes you and your spouse have worked out to facilitate the transition. Taking the initiative to explain what will occur also lets your children know that it is not a matter for discussion, but a change that everyone will have to adapt to.

Listen & Validate

Children may express a range of emotions in response to the news, ranging from sadness or anger to relief or shock. Reassure your children that if they ever have questions, you are there to answer them. Acknowledge that the transition may be difficult. If you notice their behavior start to change, try to help them find words to describe their complicated emotions. Say things like, “You seem sad. Do you feel sad because you miss your mother?” Practice reflective listening and do your best to validate your children’s emotions as legitimate and reasonable.

Find Your Own Support System

Especially if you have older children, the temptation may arise to turn to your kids for emotional support through this difficult time. They may be offering genuine help, but they also need to learn how to cope in their own way. If you need emotional support, turn to your close friends or professional counselors rather than your children. Do your best to keep legal, private, or complicated personal matters between you and your spouse.

Despite the emotional difficulty of divorce, it is important that you stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy so that you can provide and care for your children in the ways they need. Keep routines consistent even when you are tired and stressed. Children will need as much consistency and regularity as possible, now more than ever.

The most important thing you can do is show your children unconditional love through your words and actions. Children cannot be spoiled by too much affection and their need to feel loved is an important part of their development. While your divorce will have a significant impact on you, your spouse, and your children equally, do your best to help your children adjust to these changes. If your children still have difficulty adapting some time after the divorce is final, you may consider revising your child custody agreement to best meet their needs.


Women Who Pay Child Support

Each state in the U.S. has a different method of determining how much child support must be paid and which parent must pay it. While both parents are responsible for the care and provision of their children, the percentage of financial contribution is disbursed between parents. The Arizona Child Support Guideline uses factors such as the number of children, the ages of the children, legal decision-making rights and parenting time (custody privileges) of both parents, the income of both parents, and any spousal maintenance due to determine the child support obligation of each parent.

Child support is one of the most important and complex aspects of a divorce settlement. Calculating the amount of child support each parent is responsible for is therefore prioritized before spousal maintenance or other future financial obligations. The total child support obligation is determined by calculating the joint income of both parents and factoring in the number of children that must be provided for. Higher incomes and more children will contribute to a larger overall child support obligation. If parents each have equal parenting time and equivalent incomes, their financial responsibilities would be equal and it is likely neither parent would have to pay child support to the other parent. However, this scenario is often unlikely.

Historically, men have held higher incomes and as a result, there is the long-standing belief that men will be required to pay women child support in the event of a divorce or parental separation. This is not always the case. Women are increasingly becoming the primary provider of household income, or a substantial contributor, as women’s rights in the workplace are improved. Even when women do make less money than their ex-husbands, they may still be ordered to pay child support if they are the noncustodial parent or a judge rules that their contribution must be greater than the father’s. Court orders on child support obligations often vary widely, depending on the judge and what he/she believes justifies a deviancy from the written general guideline. This is why it is especially important to have a knowledgeable family lawyer on your side in a child support and custody case. Brad Crider of Crider Law will defend your right to child support in a court of law and help you contest unfair court rulings.

To find out if you will owe child support to your ex-spouse or to set up an initial consultation with an experienced family law attorney in the Mesa, Arizona area, contact Crider Law today.

Preparing to Co-Parent: Communication is Key

In a divorce where children are involved, additional challenges arise as you and your ex-spouse figure out how to co-parent effectively. Most judges in a court of law will determine that joint custody is in the best interest of the child(ren) unless one parent has proven to be dangerous to or unable to provide for the child. Children generally benefit from both parents being a part of their life, but it is your responsibility as the parents to enable your children to have a good relationship with their mother and father.


The key to co-parenting is effective communication. You will want to communicate with your ex only as often as is necessary to convey important information about your child. You do not have to be friends with your ex, but you should treat them with respect, especially in front of your children. Some suggestions for effective co-parenting communication include:

  1. Keep the conversation focused on your child and their needs.
  2. Do not needlessly drudge up the past – focus on the present problem or circumstance.
  3. Do not make assumptions or use language that accuses. Keep a level head.
  4. Communicate with them the way you want them to communicate with you, even if they do not initially reciprocate.
  5. Be courteous, business-like, and cooperative.

Can I Text My Ex?

Some parents aren’t sure which medium to use to communicate to ensure they are not crossing boundaries. It often depends on the relationship between the parents, but most often, the best form of communication is through e-mail. E-mails allow parents to correspond directly while keeping a record of what was said and agreed upon. E-mails are nonintrusive and can be checked at the leisure of the recipient, but it is important that both parents agree to respond in a timely manner.

Texting can be useful to communicate quick, important information (such as notifying the other parent that you are on your way to pick up your child), but texting can also present problems. Due to technology failures or a dead phone battery, texts may not go through, may not be read, may be delivered late, etc. Texts are also not a reliable record of exchanged information.

Phone calls may be appropriate at times when information is needed quickly, so long as both parents are able to communicate over the phone without conflict.

Communicating to Your Kids

An equally important aspect of co-parenting is the way you talk to your kids about the other parent. As mentioned earlier, it is in the best interest of the child to develop a healthy relationship with both parents. This will be difficult if one or both parents are constantly degrading and talking ill of the other parent. Do your best to keep your child out of the middle of your relationship struggle.

If your inability to communicate with your ex is affecting your children, seek the guidance of your attorney for resources that can help you in preparing to co-parent.

Judge Pro Tem – What does it mean?

By now, we hope you’ve heard the news that Mesa Arizona Family Law Attorney Brad Crider has been appointed as Superior Court Judge Pro Tem in Maricopa County. So what exactly does that mean and how does it benefit the families and clients he works with?

Being appointed as Judge Pro Tem is no small task. First, an attorney must meet the qualifications, which include:

  • At least 30 years of age
  • Of good moral character
  • Admitted to the practice of law in this state for not less than 5 years preceding his/her appointment

Once qualified, attorneys must then go through an extensive application process and then be selected and appointed as Judge Pro Tem.

A Judge Pro Tem serves as a temporary judge. They are not considered a regular judge, but are called upon to serve temporarily as a judge, as long as both parties involved in a case consent. A court might call upon a Judge Pro Tem to serve when there are too many cases for regular judges to handle.

In most cases, a Judge Pro Tem is asked to hear a case in a matter that is in their field of practice. For example, a family law attorney serving as Judge Pro Tem will typically hear or oversee family law cases. When they serve, they hold all of the same powers as a regular judge, including the ability to pass judgment when necessary.

For Brad, serving as a Judge Pro Tem will allow him to put his knowledge of family law to use in a direct way. He’ll continue to gain valuable experience that will help him sharpen his skills as an attorney. Serving in the capacity will also give him insight into other family law cases and give him opportunities to see the legal system from a different point of view.

Because Brad is consistently client-focused, there is no doubt that this experience will only serve to benefit Brad’s clients and the families that he works with. This new perspective will only help him become even more effective as a family law attorney.