What to Do if You Suspect Your Ex of Neglect or Abuse

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Family Law on Monday July 12th, 2021.

Separation or divorce from a spouse or partner is never easy, especially when there are children involved. You will want to maintain as civil a relationship with your ex as possible. However, what should you do if you are concerned your ex is neglecting or abusing your children? Here are some tips you need to follow before you call child protection. 

Think Before You Call

First, you need to make sure that you separate the grievances you have with your ex from any perceived problems your children are experiencing. Even if you can’t stand the sight of your ex, your children most likely don’t feel the same way. Your parenting style and their parenting style may not be the same either. Your kids may come back to your house after a weekend visitation and tell you that your ex let them eat ice cream for breakfast–although it’s not what you would do, it also isn’t really causing your kids any harm. 

There are warning signs you can look for if you suspect your ex is neglecting your children while they are with them. If you have concerns, begin keeping a record of events. For example, if your child comes back home dirty, unkempt, and in the same clothes you sent them in, you need to make a note of it. Children who are neglected often go without food as well, or they are left unattended for long periods of time when they are not old enough to care for themselves. Write down all the information your children tell you, so that you can go to police or child protection services if you need to. 

Neglect is a far different problem than abuse is. If your children come home with bruises, cuts, or burns that cannot be explained, you may need to take additional action, especially if this occurs each time your child visits your ex. You need to take into consideration normal childhood bumps and bruises. Children get hurt all the time, because they are so active. However, if there is a pattern of “accidents”, or if you child tells you the “accident” occurred because the other parent was angry, you may need to make some phone calls, especially if your child required a trip to the hospital. Of course, nearly every state, including Florida, mandates that doctors and other medical staff report any suspicion of abuse to child protection services. Once you have a list of concerns, you may need to contact a lawyer in addition to protecting your child. That way, you may be able to have visitation changed, so that your children are always under supervision. 

Circumstances Where Parents Become Dependents

On behalf of The Law Office of Wickersham and Bowers posted in Estate Planning on Monday July 12th, 2021.

Are you caring for your parent? Many adults in midlife are sandwiched between caring for teenagers and aging parents as well. Although no one wants to think there will ever be a time they will need to care for a parent, it happens far too often. If you are concerned about caring for one or both of your parents, here is some information you need to know about caring for aging parents. 

Aging Parent Dependents

There are several circumstances that would make an aging parent become a dependent. First, your parent may begin to rely on you for their income, because they do not have enough money saved up, or they have spent all the money they had saved for retirement. If you are contributing more than half of your parent’s income, you can claim them as a dependent. 

You may also be able to claim your parent as a dependent if they are no longer capable of making decisions themselves. For example, you may be named a guardian for your parent if they are diagnosed with a progressive neurological disease, such as Parkinson’s disease or dementia. Some diseases will render your parent unable to care for themselves, and you’ll need to step in. Your parent may also be mentally ill with a disease or disorder, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. 

There are other events that may make your parents dependent on you. If your parents is suffering from the effects of a physical problem or injury, they may need your help. For example, your parent may have had an automobile accident, or they may have suffered a stroke. The lingering effects may mean you have to care for them. If you are concerned about your parents ability to care for themselves, there are some things you can do. First, if your concern for them is new, you may want to take them to the doctor to allow a medical professional to determine whether they are declining. Second, make a note of your parents ability to care for their daily needs. It may be that all they need is a little help during the day, such as a reminder to take medicine. You can hire people to check in on your parents. Still concerned about your aging parents? You may need to consult with their doctor and your attorney to make sure you and your parents are living the best life possible.