Summer Time is Their Time

My kids have amazing summers!

They get to spend 9 glorious weeks at the summer sleepaway camp that I grew up at.  A place that has always been my second home and my safe place to land.  I started going right after my own parent’s divorce and continued well into adulthood as staff.  When I could no longer take summers off I still made sure to visit and attend alumni functions every chance I got.  My camp family was always in touch.

Shortly after my own divorce I returned for an entirely different kind of summer, with my twin 3 year olds in tow.

I was able to give my babies a safe place to land as well.  And we thrived!

And we continue to thrive.  Summers away give kids a chance to explore and challenge themselves in the best way possible.  We unplug from the world, we unplug from our devices, we unplug from so many of our daily stresses.

It also turns our parenting schedule entirely upside down.  My ex only sees them one day a week for the whole summer.  I get to be with them every night but on my only day off each week, I am bringing them back home to visit her.  We all give up something.  And it’s not without difficulty, but it brings so much reward.

This summer our babies grew in leaps and bounds.  They went on hikes, they learned to swim almost entirely without their puddlejumpers.  They navigated new friendships and being reunited with old friends.  They learned to handle crowded dining rooms and social scenes they don’t get to encounter at home.  They went to a water park and the movies, learned songs and dances.  They spent the summer being kids and came home ready for kindergarten.

They have no idea what this means for them yet, what seeds we planted.  But one day they will be so glad we didn’t spend the summer fighting over who gets to have the kids when and instead gave the summer to them.  It’s not my time or my exes time.  It’s their time.  And they loved it!

Plan A Parenting Schedule That Works For Your Family

Recently we found this great article on parenting schedules for people that are co-parenting but not living together. It covers a many different considerations and offers advice on how to create a schedule that can work for the whole family.

Disclaimer: This is not legal advice from our team, but a great piece written by Ryan Howard from SmartParentAdvice.com

Terminating child support for children with special needs

On October 3, 2018, the New Jersey Appellate Courts rendered an unreported decision on a case about emancipating a child with disabilities.  (S.E. v. B.S.B. (A-0485-17T2)) 

According to New Jersey statutory law, a parent’s continuing obligation to provide child support presumptively ends when the child turns 19 years old, unless a different date is ordered by the Court.  However, even if a different date is ordered, the support cannot continue beyond the child’s 23rd birthday (except under exceptional circumstances). 

In S.E. v. B.S.B., the child receiving support was 23 years old, born with cerebral palsy, and diagnosed Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  The child’s mother filed a motion with the trial court for an order compelling the child’s father to continue providing support even though the child had reached the statutory maximum age.  The child had graduated high school, was working towards earning an Associate’s Degree, and had applied to numerous jobs (without success).  The child’s mother advised the Court that she had obtained social security disability benefits for the child and that he was also utilizing services available through social service agencies.  The Court noted that the child’s father’s testimony was limited, because he basically never had any meaningful contact with his child. 

The trial Court terminated the father’s child support obligation.  The trial court opined that the mother did not provide any current medical evidence that indicated that the child’s cerebral palsy was so severe that the child required a parent to provide financial support beyond the age of 23.  The trial court also remarked that the child was able to attend physical therapy on his own, was able to work, and could be self-sufficient. 

The child’s mother appealed.  The Appellate Court agreed with the Trial Court’s findings, summarizing their thoughts by citing 2 governing statutes (N.J.S.A. 2A:17-56.67(e), and N.J.S.A. 2A:34-23(a)).  The Appellate Court stated that when the 2 statutes are read together, they mean that “if an adult child suffers from a disability but is self-sufficient, he is generally considered emancipated beyond the sphere of a parent’s legal, if not moral, obligation.” (citing Kruvant v. Kruvant, 100 N.J. SUPER. 107, 119 (App. Div. 1968).  The Appellate Court commented that the record showed that the child was independent in most of his daily living activities.  The Appellate Court summed up its decision by stating that the mother in this case bore the burden of rebutting the presumption of her child’s emancipation as a matter of law, and that even though her concerns for her child’s future well-being and financial security were genuine, she had not overcome the presumptive emancipation in accordance with the 2 governing statutes.