How To Learn About a Possible Partner’s Past

Here are Bobbi Palmer’s very specific guidelines to help you learn about your man’s past in a way that is respectful yet direct, and gets you the real information you need to help you decide if he might be a great potential partner for you:
1. Focus on him, not his relationships.
A relationship is a “thing.” These are actually three separate entities:Him, Her and the Relationship. In the spirit of discovering what this man is made of and how he might fit into your life, you want to learn out about HIM – not the relationship and certainly not her.
Wouldn’t it help you the most to know how his relationships formed who he is today? What did he learn? How did it make him a better person? What will he use of his past to make his future (potentially with you) brighter and better?
You can learn these things about him by asking questions like:
** What are some things you learned from your past relationships?
** What were the positive aspects?
** How does having been in that relationship make you who you are today?
** What will you do differently?
Do you see the difference? No war stories…just learning more about him.
And here’s are a couple extra tips: Men think before they talk! Many women process verbally, but most men don’t. So when you ask these types of questions, give him time to think before he answers. Literally, ask the question then be quiet. Silence is ok…in fact men value it. ☺
It is not a good sign if, after thinking about it there is nothing positive he can say or doesn’t have a clue as to what he got out of the relationship. Red flag!

2. Be ready to share meaningful information about yourself, in a positive light.
Model for him what sharing about oneself in this way is like. “One important thing I learned after my marriage broke up was…..” Set a positive, open tone that lets him know what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown.
Tell the truth, but be sure to share the ultimate positive that affects who you are today. “My breakup was difficult for me but I finally learned…which has helped me so much in relationships ever since.”
This is a perfect opportunity to get in some of your nuggets about what kind of mate you want to be and what kind of relationship you value. (Nuggets are magical pieces of information that help men get to know you in a remarkable way.)
Please do some careful thinking about how you want to express yourself honestly and be prepared to share. Because when you open up this topic, it’s a fantastic opportunity to dig deep and get to know very meaningful facets of each other’s personality, lifestyle preferences, problem solving skills, etc.

3. Do not go down the TMI rabbit hole!
Being able to manage conversation with men is a powerful skill. When you do this, you can stop this from turning into a “let’s bash our exes” session.
It’s tempting, I know, especially if you have common stories such as being cheated on, or exes with substance abuse issues. Check yourself and him and keep the conversation positive and about YOURSELVES, not your exes or the relationship.
If you find the conversation going “there” you can redirect with something like this:
** When it was finally over, what did you learn from the experience?” ** How does that experience affect your dating life now?
If he can’t see anything positive or if, after you redirect he keeps talking about “her” that is a clue he hasn’t moved on…so you should!
It’s perfectly wise to want to know as much as you can about a man in order to make a good decision about whether he’d be a good mate for you.
When the time is right to learn more (maybe after a couple or few dates), keep your questions about him, and your comments about yourself. As long as neither one of you goes down the TMI rabbit hole, this conversation will be positive a turning point in your relationship… one way or another!

– Bobbi Palmer, The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women Who Are Over Age 40

ChristieLegal
http://www.christielegal.net
651-775-7899

#‎divorce‬ ‪#‎dating‬ ‪#‎custody‬ ‪#‎child‬ ‪#‎support‬ ‪#‎paralegal‬

7 Qualities You Should Never Settle On In A Relationship​

You can settle on plenty of things in life: Where to have dinner for your mom’s birthday, for instance, or booking the less expensive, but just as nice resort for your next vacation.

One thing you should never settle on? Your relationships. Below, marriage experts share seven qualities you should never accept in a relationship.
1. A partner who won’t give the relationship 100 percent.
Fall in love with someone who’s keenly interested in keeping your relationship happy, healthy and fresh, not someone who tends to tune out and let you do the heavy lifting, said Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist in Sherman Oaks, California.
“The worse thing is being in a relationship where your partner is unable to self reflect,” she said. “They need to recognize how their actions affect the relationship.”
2. A partner who can’t say “I was wrong.”
It’s vital that you’re with someone who can admit her mistakes, said Gal Szekely, the founder of the Couples Center for therapy in Northern California.
“You don’t want to be with a partner who gets defensive or tends to shift blame,” he said. “When we are not open to taking responsibility, we are not open to learning and change. And if we can’t change and grow, we won’t be able to adapt to the changing circumstances of our lives and the changing needs of our partners.”
3. A partner who doesn’t share your sense of humor.
Life is bound to throw you a few unexpected punches. To lessen the blow, it’s important that you and your partner have a similar sense of humor, said Amy Begel, a marriage and family therapist based in New York City.
“You’ll need that to face the ups and downs of life and relationships,” she said. “Occasionally, I see couples in my office where one partner takes things too seriously. If you can’t tease each other during the rough-and-tumble moments in life, it doesn’t bond well for your relationship.”
4. A partner who won’t grow with you.
Choose someone who wants to grow and learn with you throughout life. Don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t want to better themselves, especially if their actions and attitudes are already in need of some improvement, said Winifred Reilly, a marriage and family therapist in Berkeley, California.
“When it comes to marriage, we all have plenty to learn. None of us steps in with all the skills that we need, nor can we know in advance how to face the inevitable challenges we’ll face,” she said. “The most successful partners are those who are willing to train a keen eye on themselves and let go of beliefs that aren’t so useful so they can adopt new ideas and behaviors.”
5. A partner who isn’t compassionate.
If after complaining about your long day at work, your S.O. lifts his head up from his smartphone and says, “Huh, what did you say?”, you may not be with the right person, said Goldstein.
“Having compassion toward another is the foundation of any relationship,” she said. “Entering a relationship where the other person is unable or unwilling to put themselves in your shoes is like trying to get water out of a stone. You’ll essentially be in a relationship where you feel all alone.”
6. A partner who isn’t your biggest cheerleader.
In a good relationship, your S.O. is totally Team You. She doesn’t dismiss your good qualities or discourage you from your goals, and in general, she adds to your life rather than subtracting from it, Szekely said.
“A quality partner supports you, cheerleads for you, helps you face your fears and boosts your confidence,” he said. “They usually hold some qualities that you don’t have and so they can complement you in some way. When you both do that for each other, each one of you is better — you are the best version of yourselves. The bottom line is, you feel better in life and are able to grow together.”
7. A partner who’s too dependent on you.
As a couple, you and your partner complement each other’s lives but at the end of the day, you’re separate people who could, if need be, be fine and fulfilled on your own, Begel said.
“There needs to be a mutual capacity for self-sufficiency,” she said. “This is a hugely important and rather underrated quality in a partnership. This falls under the category of self-love; a healthy dose of this quality in both partners tends to promote mutual respect in the long run.”

 

– Brittany Wong, Divorce Editor, The Huffington Post

Tips for Effectively Co-parenting

– Be extremely careful of what you post on social media and research what the other parent posts on social media because most evidence that’s obtained from social media is admissible in court. Anyone can do a basic google search and find everything that involves that person that’s on the internet and wasn’t posted to a private audience. People can also use http://www.pipl.com to find people’s online accounts. Make sure that you post anything that you wouldn’t want the other parent to read to only your friends. If you find something troubling on the other parent’s social media, then take a timestamped screenshot of the post and the other parent’s the full profile for that social media account.

– Use an electronic or large paper calendar to create a written record of everything to do with your child when he/she is with you. Record what you’ve done and plan to do with your child – when you’re scheduled to have parenting time, if it didn’t happen, and the events you went to and things that you did. Record all communications – calls, emails, and texts, successful or unsuccessful – to or about your child.

– Record what happens to your child when he/she is with the other parent or a person who the other parent knows. In addition, record your communications with the other parent. Write down and, if possible, audibly or visually record your child’s stories regarding negative things that happened when he/she was with the other parent. Audibly and, if possible, visually record communications between you and the other parent or anyone else whom you don’t trust that occur via phone, Skype or Google Hangout, and in-person, especially during drop offs and pick ups. The easiest way to audibly record this information would be with a small, handheld recording device, but there are shoe box sized audio recorders. You could also visually record your child speaking or you and the other parent having a conversation by using a camcorder or SmartPhone cell phone.

– Be informed about your child’s physical and mental health and what is being done to take care of them. You have the right to request all of your child’s medical, mental health, and dental records at any time. This information would be especially important if you believe that your child might be being abused or neglected while at the other parent’s house or you are being accused of abusing or neglecting your child. If the other parent took your child to a doctor, mental health care provider, or dentist without obtaining your permission, then make a written, audio, or visual record of that, as that’s depriving you of your parental right to take part in providing medical, mental health, and dental care for your child. If it continues, then you should file a motion for parenting time assistance.

– Use online resources to communicate with and share photos with the other parent, such as the following:

1) Use http://www.ourfamilywizard.com to communicate with the other parent regarding their children and maintain a calendar for events, pick up and drop off, and etc. It shows when messages are viewed, and messages can not be deleted. You receive an email whenever there is a message. It is secured with an username and password, so the “I don’t know if that’s really you” can’t be said plausibly. Its content are admissible in court. The court can order parents to use the website. There’s even a cell phone app. It seems to be preferred by Minnesota District Courts Family Courts judges, attorneys, and mediators since many of them either order or suggest that it be used. 
The cost of the service is $99 per year per parent.

2) Use http://www.talkingparents.com to communicate with the other parent. It shows when messages are viewed, and messages can not be deleted. You receive an email whenever there is a message. It is secured with an username and password. Its contents are admissible in court as evidence. It can be court ordered to be used.

3) Use http://www.cofamilies.com to keep track of appointments, school events, project and homework due dates, pick up and drop off, and etc. It has a private setting so that you can add personal things, such as things that your child said in your presence. Make sure to uncheck the child as a participant, as well. There is a $1 per month suggested donation for using the service.

4) Use http://www.bothparents.com to communicate and send pictures to the other parent. There is 1 email for the parents to communicate with. There is also a calendar for events, pick up and drop off, and etc.

– Use the Backup + App. on your Android cell phone or the comparable app. on your IPhone cell phone to backup your text messages and call logs to your email.

– If you suspect that your child is being abused by the other parent or you are being accused of abusing your child, then obtain Child Protective Services records regarding your child. 
Contact the Child Protective Services office(s) for the county(ies) in which you and the other parent live and request their records regarding your child. You will need identification and you will usually need your child’s birth certificate.

– If you’re going to or plan on going to court for a custody or divorce case, then you should do these two things. First, solicit from your friends, family, and co-workers character reference affidavits or ask them to come to court to testify for you. The affidavits must state how they know you, how long they have known you, what they have observed regarding your behaviors towards your children, your lifestyle, your character, and your personality. Second, obtain proof of your texts and call log from your cell phone service provider. It might be possible to print them from your online account. You can request bills, but usually only up to 1 year back, which will show your call log. You can try to request records of your texts and call log from your service provider. You can also save your texts on your cell phone, share them to your email address, and then print them on your computer.

– Record comments by your child that indicate that the other parent is neglecting or harming your child or doesn’t support your parenting or is attempting to alienate you from the child. It would be best if the comments were record audibly or visually so that they’re more likely to be admissible in court. Making a written record of your child’s statement isn’t admissible in court as hearsay since the only way to prove that someone said something is for you hear it. An example of an alienating statement for a father would be that the other parent is going to have the child’s last name changed. An example for either parent would be that the other says negative things about you. When your child says something that’s relevant to these issues, don’t ask your child too many questions or he/she will feel uncomfortable and maybe angry at you.

– Obtain information on legal actions that have been taken against the other parent. You can purchase most family, civil, and criminal court cases documents from the Minnesota District Courts that has jurisdiction over the case for a small fee. Contact the court to find out how to request the documents. In addition, basic information regarding those cases is available online, as long as you know the person’s full name and where he/she lives for civil and family cases and know the previous identifiers and the person’s birthdate for criminal cases. Civil cases would include damages for property damage, assaults, and infringement upon a person’s ability to fully exercise his/her property or other financial rights, car accidents, past due debt payments, and etc. Criminal cases would include property crimes such as burglary and destruction of property and violent crimes such as assault, robbery, and stalking / harassment.

– If you might need to take take the other parent to court for custody issues or divorce, then create a free photobook on http://www.shutterfly.com. It stores a lot of photos, so it would make it easy for you to find and print or email photos for evidence of you being a great parent. Take pictures of your child and you spending time together at home, at school, at church, and in the community. Take photos of your house, especially including your child’s bedroom, playroom, family room, and the dining room. If you are denied court-ordered parenting time, then take a photo of the other parent’s automobile at home to show that the parent is at home and you tried to pick up your child and anything that shows that your child is not with you. Make sure to timestamp your photos or they won’t be admissible as evidence in court.

– When you’re denied court-ordered parenting time, you should call the police to report it. The police won’t force the other parent to allow your child to be with you. However, calling the police will often result in a police officer writing an incident report, which will create written evidence that you were denied parenting time. Make sure to obtain the police officer’s full name, badge number, and phone number, so that you can later call the police officer to request a copy of the incident report. If the police officer says that he/she won’t or can’t write an incident report, then write an incident report, making sure include in it the police officer’s identifying information.

– Keep paper or electronic records of all of your child support payments and recipets of things that you pay for your child.

This information was obtained from a Facebook post by Jinelle Reynolds, member of The Fathers’ Rights Movement, and my professional and persona knowledge and experience

Christie L. Thompson
Family Law Paralegal
651-775-7899, christie@christielegal.net

#custody #child support #divorce #grandparent visitation

Top Ten Tips for Protecting Children from High-Conflict Divorces or Separations

1. Talk to your children about your separation.

Studies show that only 5 percent of parents actually sit down, explain to their children when a marriage is breaking up, and encourage the kids to ask questions. Nearly one quarter of parents say nothing, leaving their children in total confusion. Talk to your kids. Tell them, in very simple terms, what it all means to them and their lives. When parents do not explain what’s happening to their children, the kids feel anxious, upset and lonely and find it much harder to cope with the separation.

 

2. Be discreet.

Recognize that your children love you both, and think of how to reorganize things in a way that respects their relationship with both parents. Don’t leave adversarial papers, filings and affidavits out on your kitchen counter for children to read. Don’t talk to your best friend, your mother, your lawyer on the phone about legal matters or your ex when the kids are in the next room. They may hear you. Sometimes kids creep up to the door to listen. Even though they’re disturbed by conflict and meanness between their parents, kids are inevitably curious – and ill- equipped to understand these adult matters.

 

3. Act like grown-ups. Keep your conflict away from the kids.

Even parents with high levels of anger can “encapsulate” their conflict, creating a protective buffer for the children by saving arguments or fights for a mediator’s office – or a scheduled meeting at a coffee shop. It may seem obvious but so many separating parents continue to fall down on this front. When parents put children in the middle of their conflict and use them as messengers, sounding-boards, or spies, children often become depressed and angry and may develop behavioural problems.

 

4. Dad, stay in the picture.

Long-term studies show that the more involved fathers are after separation and divorce, the better. Develop a child-centred parenting plan that allows a continuing and meaningful relationship with both parents. Where a good father-child relationship exists, kids grow into adolescence and young adulthood as well-adjusted as married-family children. High levels of appropriate father involvement are linked to better academic functioning in kids as well as better adjustment overall. That’s true at every age level and particularly in adolescents. Fathers, be more than a “fun” dad. Help with homework and projects, use appropriate discipline, and be emotionally available to talk about problems.

 

5. Mom, deal with anger appropriately.

In their anger and pain, mothers may actively try to keep Dad out of the children’s lives – even when they are good fathers whom the children love. When you’re hurting, it’s easy to think you never want to see the ex again, and to convince yourself that’s also best for the kids. But children’s needs during separation are very different from their parents. Research reports children consistently saying, “Tell my dad I want to see him more. I want to see him for longer periods of time. Tell my mom to let me see my dad.”

 

6. Be a good parent.

You can be forgiven for momentarily “losing it” in anger or grief, but not for long. Going through a separation is not a vacation from parenting – providing appropriate discipline, monitoring your children, maintaining your expectations about school, being emotionally available. Competent parenting has emerged as one of the most important protective factors in terms of children’s positive adjustment to separation.

 

7. Manage your own mental health.

If feelings of depression, anxiety, or anger continue to overwhelm you, seek help. Even a few sessions of therapy can be enormously useful. Remember, your own mental health has an impact on your children.

 

8. Keep the people your children care about in their lives.

Encourage your children to stay connected to your ex’s family and important friends. If possible, use the same babysitters or child-care. This stable network strengthens a child’s feeling that they are not alone in this world, but have a deep and powerful support system – an important factor in becoming a psychologically healthy adult.

 

9. Be thoughtful about your future love life.

Ask yourself: must your children meet everyone you date? Take time, a lot of time, before you remarry or cohabit again. Young children in particular form attachments to your potential life partners and, if new relationships break up, loss after loss may lead to depression and lack of trust in children. And don’t expect your older kids to instantly love someone you’ve chosen – this person will have to earn their respect and affection.

 

10. Pay your child support.

Even if you’re angry or access to your children is withheld, pay child support regularly. Children whose parents separate or divorce face much more economic instability than their married counterparts, even when support is paid. Don’t make the situation worse. In this as in all things, let your message to the kids be that you care so much about them that you will keep them separate, and safe, from any conflict. They will appreciate it as they get older.

 

Written by Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.  She is a clinical psychologist and researcher who began studying the impact of divorce on children in 1968.  Joan is an author, therapist, mediator, and parenting coordinator with four decades of experience working with high-conflict parents who are separating.  She has more than 85 publications, including Surviving the Breakup: How Children and Parents Cope with Divorce (Basic Books, 1980).  She shares her expertise in the Bountiful Films’ documentary How to Divorce and Not Wreck the Kids. She lives in Corte Madera, California. Contact: Joan Kelly jbkellyphd@mindspring.com.

 

#custody #divorce #co-parenting