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Sitcom being used for child custody

Monday, May 21, 2018

Visitation, parental access and other custody matters in Texas are based upon the best interests of the child. The television situation comedy, "Splitting Up Together" may also provide another option to address custody matters and meet this requirement.

The show is based upon the premise of nesting where a divorced couple keeps their family home. Their children continue to live there, and the former spouses take turns staying with their children. An actor in this show, Josh Lucas, used this arrangement with his five-year-old and the boy's mother.

A nesting arrangement has advantages. Most importantly, children do not have to undergo the immediate turmoil in their lives that usually follow their parent's separation or divorce. This is even more important for younger children or those with special needs.

It also provides time for the couple to separate from their marriage or relationship. The arrangement works best when it is for a comparatively short period and for parents who can afford a separate residence when they are not living with their children.

Nesting also has financial advantages. It provides time for the value of the house to appreciate for an eventual sale or for a lease to run out.

Nesting, however, may be difficult for spouses who cannot cooperate. Difficulties include a spouse who does not meet housekeeping or financial responsibilities for the shared home. This arrangement also hinders a spouse from beginning a new post-divorce life.

Parents should take measures to assure that nesting has a chance of success. They must make children comfortable and cannot allow them to assume that the parents are reconciling.

Clear rules must be set prohibiting negative talk about either parent and addressing how and when significant others and dates may visit or stay. The length of this arrangement and how it can be ended by a dissatisfied parent should be clearly established.

Finally, parents must clearly plan how expenses are allocated. These include mortgage, taxes and insurance along with everyday expenses such as fixing appliances and cleaning.

An attorney can help with custody and visitation matters during negotiations or in court and decide whether they are reasonable. Lawyers may assure that these arrangements are legally prepared and acceptable.

Source: CNBC, "This hot Hollywood divorce trend may not be for you," By Lorie Konish, April 16, 2018

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