JOSEPH F. EMMERTH A LOOK AT FAMILY LAW OF SULLIVAN TAYLOR & GUMINA, P.C.
DON’T LET YOUR DIVORCE TURN INTO
a Horror Story!
I’m a big fan of horror movies and literature, so you can bet that Halloween is my favorite holiday. I’m a sucker for a good costume party, but I also love staying in and marathoning the “Halloween” movies, with Donald Pleasence starring as Dr. Loomis. But as much as I love shouting advice at the characters on the screen — “Don’t get into that boat!” — I sometimes feel that I’m watching a horror movie unfold in real life as I help clients through divorce. And there’s nothing fun about that.
spouse, as we negotiated over who was going to keep a specific piece of furniture. At the time, the other attorney and I thought it was an heirloom or an antique. Then the truth came out: The item was only worth about $50 and had no emotional value. They were just going back and forth to spite each other, and it cost them both hundreds of dollars in attorney’s fees.
In horror movies, nobody wins. And in that divorce case, nobody won either. Sure, someone got the piece of furniture, but at what
Divorce is a very emotional experience, and it can be hard to act rationally. One time, I spent hours going back and forth with the attorney who was representing my client’s ex-
cost? Getting a divorce is an extremely stressful experience, so it’s understandable when things get heated. Fortunately, we have the law to fall back on, but it’s always good to listen to the advice of your attorney. October may be the month for horror movies, but the season for horror movie divorces starts next month. The holiday season is always rough, and it can be tough to hear that you can’t run into court on Christmas to enforce what you want to see happen. I find that the question I wound up asking about that piece of furniture — “Is it really worth it?” — is a great question to ask when something goes awry. Here’s one example:
OCTOBER MAY BE THE MONTH FOR HORROR MOVIES, BUT THE SEASON FOR HORROR MOVIE DIVORCES STARTS NEXT MONTH.
It’s not worth violating a court order and possibly being held in contempt to stop the kids from going to the other parent’s house an hour earlier than what the Parenting Plan says. It just isn’t. It seems like we always know what the best advice is for characters in horror movies, especially when we’ve seen the movie before. When it comes to divorce, I’ve seen the movie more than a few times, and I usually know what the best thing to do will be, no matter what your situation is. My recommendation? Stick with your divorce decree, don’t give your ex any extra ammunition, and give me a call if you have any questions.
Oh, and happy Halloween!
KEEP YOUR TRICK-OR-TREATERS SAFE
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE PRIZE Masks can really bring a costume together, but they can also make it hard for young eyes to see where they’re going. Before trick-or-treaters head out to collect that sweet candy, swap out masks with face paint. It might take a few practice runs, but face paint can be just as cool. Make sure to test for allergic reactions first. KNOW THE RULES OF THE ROAD It is important for trick-or-treaters of all ages to know how to behave safely as they walk down the sidewalks. They should always look both ways before crossing the street, never run out between parked cars, and make sure oncoming traffic is completely stopped before they step out into the road. Kids under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult, and older children should stick with their friends and never trick or treat alone.
You may wonder if trick-or-treating is safe, especially when stories of poisoned Halloween candy circulate every year. These terrifying tales have all been hoaxes, but beyond needlessly frightening parents, these urban legends take attention away from the real danger kids face while trick-or-treating. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that children are twice as likely to be struck by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year. Here’s what you need to remember before sending your little witches and knights out trick-or-treating. LIGHT UP THE NIGHT Brightly colored costumes will make your child more visible in the dark. That said, if your ghouls and goblins have their hearts set on being a real creature of the night, flashlights, glow-in- the-dark bracelets, and reflective tape attached to candy bags can help trick-or-treaters remain visible to drivers. DRESS FOR COMFORT The cold might not bother Elsa, but your trick-or-treater may not be ready to sing after the sun sets and the temperature drops. Have them wear jackets and gloves as needed and insist on shoes they can walk in. If your little princess is absolutely in love with her high heels, have her wear the pretty, uncomfortable shoes for pictures at the door, then switch into comfy sneakers before hitting the sidewalks.
Trick-or-treating is a wonderful childhood tradition, and it shouldn’t end in tragedy. Talk to your kids about the risks and make sure they know why these rules are necessary. When you keep safety in mind, your trick- or-treaters can focus on the best part of Halloween: getting the most candy!
WHEN A CHILD WON’T GO FOR VISITATION
to talk about. A counselor can help a parent and child get to the bottom of an issue, and figure out a plan forward. Advice for Parents of Teens The role the custodial parent plays in these situations is also a tricky one. The parent in this position is often balancing two contradictory emotions. First and foremost, they want to respect their child’s feelings and not put them in a situation where they will be unhappy, even for a weekend. On the other hand, not following court-mandated visitation can lead to all sorts of legal troubles. If you’re in this role, you should have open communication with your former spouse, preferably via email. That may sound awkward, but it creates a written record of your conversation. If the non-custodial parent is acting in bad faith, you’ll be able to show that to a judge. If you’ve exhausted all possible mediation options and believe you are at an impasse with regards to visitation, you should contact a lawyer to seek a modification of parenting time. No matter what course you take or what role you are in, the most important thing is putting the best interest of your child first.
Custody issues don’t always go away once a divorce has been resolved. Even if you’ve established a visitation schedule, it can be hard to get your kids to stick to it. This issue becomes especially troublesome as children approach adulthood. Parents can feel at a loss when a
child refuses to go for visitation. There are, however, a number of strategies you can employ in an effort to mend the relationship.
The most important first step is for the non-custodial parent and child to sit down for a conversation. This dialog should happen in a space that is safe for both parties. If you feel that the level of hostility cannot be broached via one-on-one interaction, you might want to look into reintegration or reunification counseling. Divorce is often hard on kids, and can cause latent resentment that’s hard
CO-PARENTING DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Making Schedules Work and Putting Kids First
The holiday season can be a stressful, anxious time for divorced and separated families. With the arrival of the end-of-year festivities comes hard decisions about where the kids will spend important days. Adding to the difficulty is that fact that holiday media, from movies to advertisements, often promotes the idea of a unified, happy family. However, these pressures don’t mean that you can’t have a great holiday seasons for your kids simply because you’re separated or divorced. As a parent, you should focus on creating new traditions and putting your kids first.
provided that distance isn’t a concern, and handoffs can be amicable. If you have a child for an entire holiday, be sure to give them a chance to speak with their other parent. Conversations between parents should be open and focused on compromise. Don’t spring a holiday trip on a co-parent without giving them any input. All plans should be discussed before they are confirmed, especially when they deviate with established holiday norms. If you want to take a weeklong trip during Thanksgiving, you may have to concede some extra time during Christmas or New Year’s. These may not be easy conversations. They can often feel like negotiations. But, you can almost always reach a fair solution. As important as it is to establish fun traditions, don’t overlook the importance of relaxing during the holidays. You should avoid trying to engage in a game of one-upmanship with your co-parent. Sitting on the couch watching a movie can be just as enjoyable for kids as an extravagant adventure. Even better, once a schedule is established, ask your kids what they would like to do on a holiday. As long as you keep an open dialogue and don’t put pressure on your kids, you can have a great holiday season no matter your visitation schedule.
With younger children, you should never ask them to decide where to spend a holiday. This method will only create resentment between parents and is unfair to the child. Instead, refer to visitation schedules and try to create a fair balance between major holidays. You can also split a holiday between parents,
HAVE A LAUGH!
Recipe courtesy of CookingLight.com. SAUSAGE AND BARLEY SOUP
It’s a great time of year to warm up with a cup of soup, and this comforting, guilt-free dish comes together in a flash.
• Cooking spray • 6 ounces turkey breakfast sausage • 21/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry • 2 cups water • 1 (141/2-ounce) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped • 1/4 cup uncooked quick-cooking barley • 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh baby spinach 1. Heat a large saucepan over medium- high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. 2. While sausage cooks, place stir-fry and 2 cups water in a blender; process until smooth. DIRECTIONS
3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.
JOSEPH F. EMMERTH OF SULLIVAN TAYLOR & GUMINA, P.C.
PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411
630-665-7676 | www.stglawfirm.com Monday - Friday 8:30am - 5pm Don’t Let Your Divorce Turn Into a Horror Story! PAGE 1 Keep Your Trick-or-Treaters Safe PAGE 2 When a Child Won’t Go for Visitation PAGE 2 Co-Parenting During the Holidays PAGE 3 INSIDE THIS ISSUE
1250 E. Diehl Rd., Suite 400 Naperville, IL 60563
Sausage and Barley Soup PAGE 3 5 Fascinating Facts About Fall PAGE 4
5 FASCINATING FACTS ABOUT FALL
2. Fall babies tend to be impressive. Not only does the world’s most common birthday, October 5th, land in fall, but those babies have built an impressive resume. The British Department for Education found that they tend to do better in school, and also tend to live longer. 3. Weight gain is most common in the fall. It’s not only the Halloween candy or Thanksgiving turkey. Researchers believe it’s primarily caused by lower levels of vitamin D. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, we tend to get less sun. It’s another reason to be careful about diet and exercise this season. 4. Autumn is good for the economy. “Leaf peeping,” which is a slang term for fall foliage tourism, is more than just a funny name. It’s also a $3 billion industry in New England alone. 5. People fall in love more in the fall. Men and women’s testosterone levels tend to spike in the autumn, which makes women even more attractive to men. A data study on Facebook also found that more people change their relationship status from “single” to “in a relationship” during the fall than any other season.
The end of summer doesn’t have to signal an end to fun. How about sweater weather, Halloween parties, and football season? The list goes on and on.
In fact, fall might be the most interesting season of them all. Here are five facts you probably didn’t know about the season.
1. It was originally called “harvest.” In a world that was far more agricultural, the season was defined by the harvesting of crops. It’s also a reference to the harvest moon, which was essential to farmers during the season.
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