Spring is coming. We have all felt those teases of warmer weather and those warmer breezes accompanied by a couple more minutes of light each day. With spring, however, come new issues for parents and family lawyers. Our firm usually experiences a rise in new client contacts around March of each year. These involve numerous issues. Here are a few of those we consistently see. If you experience any of them, just know that you are not alone.
1. I want a divorce (finally).
In our office, over the years, we have noticed an exponential rise in the amount of new clients who come in to file for divorce in March.
Most of these clients started thinking of a divorce long before they come in to see us. Interestingly, even though they may have spent quite some time contemplating divorce, the holidays may be where they started “seriously” thinking of getting one. In reviewing our internet statistics, we have noticed a rise in the searches for our services on the evening before Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and right before New Year’s Eve. Could this be because people are spending more time together and finally decide that this is not what they want?
The decision to start a divorce or start discussing the end of a marriage is not an easy one For most people, it takes a lot of of thinking before they come to a conclusion to end a marriage.
2. We need to change custody so that my child can go to a better school.
Around March of each year, we also see an increase in clients wanting to file something to have custody changes due to their desires to have children live with them so that they can be in the client’s school district.
These clients may be motivated by a move of the other parent (who is the “school placement parent”) into a new school district, or possibly by the child’s desire to go to a different school for high school or middle school, or for other reasons. They want to file and have everything done “by the time school starts in the fall,” and this is not often possible.
The time a case or motion will take to get through the courts will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from judge to judge or magistrate to magistrate.
3. The other parent is not following the rules regarding spring break and states they will not cooperate.
Spring break also brings its share of problems due to time with the children for the break, failure to announce plans on time, failure to provide an itinerary, failure to have the children ready to leave for break on time, or failure to return the children from break on time.
As we approach spring, if you find yourself in any of these situations, do not feel alone. Seek good counsel from a reputable attorney and get control of the situation.
William Geary is a family lawyer who has been practicing since 1979. He is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, and also is a practicing member of the Ohio bar.