January 2014 Archives

Is Mediation A Better Way Forward?

As you find yourself immersed in the minutiae of your divorce, do you find yourself asking "Is there a better way to get through a divorce?" If so, you're not alone. Many people are in the same boat as you, and many of them feel very strongly, just as you do, that there has to be a better way, a way to avoid the knock-down, drag-out fight that characterizes divorce. A way to put aside anger and negative emotions of the past and reach a lasting agreement for the future that is fair and that works for both of you. The answer very often lies in mediation. Mediation is a method for settling disputes and disagreements (and we can all agree that a divorce certainly fits into that description) that does not necessarily involve lawyers or epic courtroom battles. Divorcing spouses in mediation can use lawyers but very often they do not. Instead they employ a mediator, usually a retired family law judge, a seasoned family law attorney or a dedicated full-time mediator outside of court to help them craft a settlement that upon which they can both agree. 

How Can I Tell My Children About This Divorce?

Remember the children?  Remember the children.  A good question and an even better directive. A divorce may be painful for you, but it can and very often does affect your children on an even greater level. Divorce can cause children to lose their sense of stability and feel as though neither parent loves them. They don't understand what is happening in their lives or why. They worry about themselves, the future and their parents. Some children become withdrawn and some become "caretakers" of their parents. Some even need therapeutic counselling to help through this time of their lives. 

Is Mediation An Option In My Divorce?

Do you hate your ex?  Does the thought of your spouse make your blood boil?  Do you feel like breaking anything in sight at the mere mention of his or her name?  These are not unusual feelings to experience during divorce.  Spouses often experience feelings of anger and hostility toward an ex-partner. These feelings can be especially bitter depending on the reasons for the divorce and the issues to be addressed, such as significant assets, debts or most importantly, children. Couples may find themselves unable to speak with one another or even be in the same room together. This is the sad reality of many divorcing couples today.   

Does Your Spouse Lie To Your Children?

Are you dealing with a spouse who is telling lies to your children? If you are, you are not alone. Unfortunately, some divorcing spouses engage in dirty, underhanded tactics. A husband, for example, may lie in court, claiming that his wife is a drug addict and incapable of looking after their children. A wife, in turn, may falsely claim that her husband abused her during the marriage and he continues to stalk her.

When Will This Divorce Be Over?

Will this divorce ever end? This is a common question that is not only a request for information but very often an expression of frustration as well. An agreement reached in a divorce case should be seen as cause for celebration. It is the light at the end of the divorce tunnel, so to speak. With agreement comes closure, whether through mediation or litigation; cases are brought to a close and spouses can finally begin to lead their separate lives. The exact process of ending a contested divorce begins with the resolution of some or all issues between the spouses.At this point couples will have come to terms with issues such as child custody, spousal support, and division of assets. Each side may have raised important points, but these points have now been resolved in a way with which both spouses can live. 

Is Abuse Only Physical?

Are you a victim of domestic violence and abuse? Violence against a spouse or partner is never acceptable.  Hit, kick, shove, or spit on your partner and the judge will rightfully punish you.  For example, the judge may issue a restraining order that prevents you from contacting or coming within a certain distance of your ex. The judge may also order you to complete an anger-management course or similar behavior modification program. Moreover, an abusive spouse is at a severe disadvantage when it comes to child custody

Can Divorce Mediation Really Be Neutral?

Neutrality is sometimes a difficult thing to achieve. Most people, despite their best intentions, have biases and pre-conceived notions that impact their judgments. These biases can pertain to everything from race to gender to economic status.  In some cases, though, it is indeed possible for people to significantly minimize their own internal biases and truly see things objectively. This is the case for those who work as mediators. A divorce mediator is an individual who helps couples negotiate their divorce settlement amicably, out of court. Mediators offer assistance on a variety of issues (all of them, in fact, in the context of a divorce, including issues such as spousal support, division of assets, and child custody. Typically, working with a mediator is less costly and less time-consuming than settling a divorce using the adversarial, judicial process. 

How Does Divorce Mediation Work?

Will divorce mediation work for me? Mediation can be beneficial in many divorce cases, including those involving complex issues, because it is a way to avoid the headaches and high cost, financially and emotionally of fighting in court.  Many mediators are fully capable of handling complex cases involving numerous property issues.  Also, a mediator may work with other professionals, such as an accountant or appraiser, to ensure that all aspects of the case are handled correctly. Mediation typically takes less time than litigation and usually does not involve extensive legal fees. Mediation can also be helpful because it approaches problem solving and dispute resolution from a more cooperative place, as opposed to an adversarial, combative place. In mediation a couple is encouraged to cooperate and reach their own solution, rather than just accept what the judge dictates. Mediation is therefore both a solution to the present dilemma of divorce and the first step forward in building a cooperative post-divorce future.

How Can I Stop The Fighting In A Divorce?

Divorce is not a game of chess.  Property, stock accounts, and other possessions are not pieces that can be moved around the board to strategically pressure one side into following the wishes of the other.  Yet many spouses fail to understand this.  In the eyes of some ex-husbands and ex-wives, the fire of divorce can only be fought with more fire.  This vengeful attitude can turn even the simplest divorce into an ugly game of tit-for-tat.  If Husband, for example, takes possession of the house following separation, Wife may then seek "revenge" by trying to secure control of an equally valuable asset like a valued car, a vacation home or something that the Husband finds particularly valuable. Husband may then strike back in an equally petty way by trying to gain control of Wife's prized jewelry set. This action may then perpetuate the cycle of revenge, causing it to continue indefinitely. 

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