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Marilyn Gale Vilyus & Associates
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Family Law


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C. Eric Schmidt - Attorney at Law

Marilyn Gale Vilyus - Attorney at Law

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        14780 Memorial Dr, Ste 103
        Houston, Texas 77079

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        19822 Gulfwind Court, Ste A
         Katy, TX 77094


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Divorce Do’s and Don’ts 

By:  Marilyn Gale Vilyus 

Following are some “tips” to help you if you want your children to live with you!

  • Try to settle at mediation:

Research shows that when two parties enter into an agreement, they are less likely to end up back in Court to change the final “orders.”  Also, mediation allows for a lot of flexibility in customized arrangements which is often a “win-win” for both parties!

  • Remember that it is impossible for both divorced parents to have as much access to the kids as when you were married:

 It’s hard to have realistic expectations!  We know you care about your kids and that you both want as much time with them as possible!

  • Aim for Joint Custody instead of Sole Custody:

 Sole custody should usually be reserved for those cases in which one of the parents has severe issues with violence, drugs or alcohol.  Unless you have that situation or some other serious circumstance, the Court will absolutely maintain your child’s relationship with the parent who does not live with the child (ie. They will make sure there is sufficient visitation.)

  • Consider sharing holidays instead of alternating holidays:

This will only work if you do not live too far apart.  But, if possible, your kids will benefit from being able to see both parents (and grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.) each year instead of having to alternate holidays every other year!  Try to work out a reasonable schedule!  Also, consider forming "new" traditions!  Perhaps, you might go caroling or plan a special "Sunday before Christmas" party!  Maybe each year you can start a caravan to  "go look at the Christmas lights and come back to your house for hot cocoa" party!   You will all benefit from the new traditions and festivities! 

  • Try to check with the other parent when planning kids’ activities:

The more you can consult with each other re the planning of dates for camp, tutoring, recitals, out of town trips, etc., the easier and more pleasant your relationship will be for you, your spouse and your kids!

  • Be on time for visitation:

Make sure that you are home at the time your spouse is to arrive to pick up the kids, or call to let your spouse know you are almost home!

If you are going to be late picking up or returning the kids, please do call your spouse or ex-spouse to make sure they know you are “on your way!”

  • Don’t fight in front of the kids:

Ever.  Enough said.

  • Don’t let your kids pit you against each other:Your kids catch on quickly about how to run to the other parent when one says “no!”  Don’t get caught up in this game!  If you do, you are certain to regret it later on!
  • Make sure your kids know they are loved by both of you:

Encourage your kids to stay close to their other parent and their families!  Your kids need all of you!  Help your kids remember special occasions like their other parent’s birthday!

  • If your child tells you something happened at their other parent’s house, call the other parent before jumping to conclusions:

 Give your "ex" the same courtesy and benefit of the doubt you would like them to give you.

  • Try to communicate directly with each other instead of “through the children”:

Don’t put additional stress on your kids by making them your messengers.

  • Don’t discuss any of the financial aspects of the divorce in front of or with your kids:

Do not say, “I can’t buy you that toy because your dad is a deadbeat and I can’t count on when he will pay the child support.”  Do not say, “I can’t take you to a movie because your mother is taking me for everything I have.”

  • Don’t introduce your kids to every person you date:

Make sure your new relationship is a meaningful one before you expose your child to them.  It’s hard for a kid to meet someone new that they like only to find out you are breaking up. 

Also, when you do introduce them to a new person, understand that kids may be afraid to become attached to someone new either because they think this will betray their other parent or because they are afraid to become attached to them.

  • Don’t sleep in the same bed with your child:

It’s not healthy for your child, and you can be sure, your spouse or ex will use this against you.

If you follow the above “tips,” your “parenting during and following divorce” experience will go much more smoothly!  Not only will you be happier, but your kids will thank you for your efforts!

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