WHAT HAPPENED TO HR 5404 – AND THE GOLD BACKING OF AMERICA’S NEW CURRENCY?

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It’s tough being a kid growing up in these times of civil war and deprivation where censorship runs rampant and the many layers of falsehood are often confused for truth. We’ve seen up close the horrors of pain and desperation etched onto the faces of hungry American children and frail elders alike. Our food and water is poisoned, geoengineering is making us ill and destroying the environment in which we live, and fires endlessly burn us out of our homes, jobs, and air. The economy has turned many of us into financial slaves and we can feel the devastation of loved ones falling apart right before our helpless eyes.

Our children are our futures yet they suffer from the darkness of a financial insecurity of which they are yet unaware. Many families don’t have enough money to make ends meet on a monthly basis which means they don’t have the financial wherewithal to keep their families together, to fill their children’s bellies with nutritionally balanced meals, or to clothe them properly from head to toe. Choices with profound implications have to be made under every roof every day. Irreversible sacrifices are being taken. Bills are not getting paid, medicines or food or both are not being bought, and almost all of this has to do with scarcity in the name of the American Dollar

WHAT HAPPENED TO HR 5404?

One of our biggest problems is that the U.S. dollar has basically become worthless, rendering our purchasing power of goods and services in the marketplace to near nothingness. We’ve been fleeced through the last hundred or so years by the United States Federal Reserve, fiat currencies, and the Western Central Banking System. They who run finances have scraped 97% of the wealth out of the U.S. dollar which has benefited their well beings while we the average American family are left with the last three cents on the dollar which is backed by nothing but growing U.S. debt. Which is now more than $21 trillion dollars and that’s not counting the $21 trillion that has been proven missing from the HUD and the DOD. That’s at least $42 trillion right there that our children and their children and their grandchildren will never be able to account for.

Which all the more proves why it is significant that a Congressman from West Virginia has proposed a bill called HR 5404 to gold back the U.S. dollar. According to thedailycoin.org Republican Congressman Alex Mooney has proposed a bill that will “define the dollar as a fixed weight of gold.” Mooney wrote an op ed about it in the “Wall Street Journal”.

That’s right. It has been introduced into congress that America should return to a gold standard. This idea is not new though. Even President Trump told us back in 2017 that he would like to see America return to a gold standard. In a Forbes.com article entitled, “President Trump: Replace The Dollar With Gold As The Global Currency To Make America Great Again”, Ralph Benko writes that bringing back the gold standard would not be very hard to do with a president like Trump.

“Donald Trump shows a strong affinity for gold,” Benko writes. “He has also shown a keen intuitive grasp of how the gold standard was crucial to having made America great.”

So what this means is that our government is soon going to gold back the U.S. currency, right? That’s how it was supposed to be in the very beginning, before the Federal Reserve took over our country’s finances in 1913, right?

In proposing H.R. 5404 the U.S. Congressman from West Virginia criticizes U.S. monetary policy, citing the fall in the dollar’s purchasing power after the gold standard was abolished.

“The United States dollar has lost 30 percent of its purchasing power since 2000, and 96 percent of its purchasing power since the end of the gold standard in 1913,” the bill says.

The congressman goes on to describe the advantages of having a gold-backed dollar.

“The gold standard puts control of the money supply with the market instead of the Federal Reserve. The gold standard means legal tender defined by and convertible into a certain quantity of gold. Under the gold standard through 1913, the United States economy grew at an annual average of four percent, one-third larger than the growth rate since then and twice the level since 2000,” Mooney says.

This would be good for us but nobody even knows about it. Did you? Nobody owns gold, instead everybody trading in dollars that are debt backed, which is what the U.S. dollar is and what America runs on. That’s all any of us own with our present financial system, which is being run into the ground.

Congressman Mooney says that under the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent inflation objective, “the dollar loses half of its purchasing power every generation, or 35 years.” Think about that for a long moment. We own debt that backs our assets and that’s what we bought our houses with. Our families’ homes and our cars were bought with U.S. dollars backed by debt that loses half it’s value every generation.

So what does that really say about everyone’s pensions or real estate that is tied into the U.S. dollar? Is that why we’re struggling so badly to keep our families living in some semblance of the lifestyle we have become accustomed to after we divorce? Is there any such thing as the “American Dream” anymore? If so, should we consider whether this new legislation, H.R. 5404, should become law? Because our old system of monetary value has lost its “value”?

Like Congressman Mooney says, “American families need long-term price stability to meet their household spending needs, save money, and plan for retirement.”   These are the types of important issues we advise clients about to help them and their families stay ahead of the financial game and move forward in their lives. Meet spending needs, save value, and invest for ultimate retirement.

HOW MUCH GOLD DO WE AMERICANS OWN?

In an interview with the World Gold Council’s Gold Investor former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan stated, “I view gold as the primary global currency.”

President Trump agrees. It’s been 34 years since U.S. lawmakers even tried to change the way America’s currency is backed, when Congressman Jack Kemp introduced the Gold Standard Act of 1984, which was cosponsored by seven others including Newt Gingrich and Connie Mack. It didn’t pass. 34 years later we have HR 5404.

Will it succeed? It has to if we as a country are going to succeed. Some believe we’ve made positive strides toward making gold backing of our currency a reality. “I think we are building a foundation of expertise — expertise that we didn’t have in 1980,” writes Nathan Lewis in Forbes in an article called, After 34 Years, We Again Have A Bill To Relink The Dollar To Gold“. “That will allow us to restore the united long tradition of gold-based money, when the political time is right.”

The question remains: when will the political time be right? And when it is right, who will be there to tell us how much gold, if any, the U.S. really owns to back the dollar?

 

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TIL DIVORCE DO US PART: AMERICANS BORROW RECORD $3.5 BILLION FOR WEDDINGS IN 2017

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Alright the stats are in, and they’re mind-boggling. American adults never cease to amaze me in this kind of stuff. Here, more than one million borrowed money last year to pull off their dream wedding. The average amount borrowed to cover the costs was $3,082. To put this into greater perspective, out of 126 million American adults, last year more than one million (1.13 million to be exact) got married. And they borrowed a lot of debt to do it.

U.S. couples borrowed $3.48 billion for weddings in 2017. Most of the couples turned to credit cards or personal loans to finance their nuptials, an article on Finder.com says. Additionally, one in five (21.4%) U.S. adults borrowed cash from family and friends over the past year in order to see their wedding dreams fulfilled.

DON’T BORROW MONEY TO GET DIVORCED

Why bother? is what I ask. Family and friends are cash strapped as well. You don’t need to create the personal stress on a good relationship. Odds are you’re going to end up coming to see us for a divorce sooner or later anyway, so save your friends, your family, and your money for a rainy day. Invest in gold coins. Don’t go into debt over something unless there’s a greater return and a positive cash flow.

I’ve been telling clients for years that all marriages end up in either divorce or death, so what was your rush in this down-turning economy? “Fifty percent of those who get married end up in divorce,” I would say.

Well, I was told I was wrong on that one. I did the research, and okay, maybe I was a off by a few percentage points. It appears the divorce rate may actually be on the decline, but there could be many factors attributable to that like maybe the fact that the marriage rate is declining as well. However, considering all factors, I believe what Bella DePaulo, Ph.D., author, and expert on single people, says regarding the chances that a marriage will end in divorce. According to DePaulo, the divorce expectation rate for those of us who are presently married is probably somewhere between 42 and 45 percent.

In PsychologyToday.com DePaulo cites a 2014 New York Times article reviewing the national divorce rate. “It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce,” Claire Cain Miller wrote in that article. “It has not been for some time.”

BUT AGAIN, WHY BORROW AT A 55% TO 58% CHANCE OF SUCCESS?

Might as well just flip a coin then. Will we stay married … or won’t we? Heads you win, tails I lose. Do the math. Is it worth getting yourself in deeper debt to contractually bind you to a legal relationship that will end at some point anyway? Death or divorce, choose your weapon.

Right now the financial experts are telling us that the financial system is reaching crisis proportion. We’re being told to save as best as we can and to invest in real assets. We’re being told that the U.S. dollar as a paper currency is going to disappear; that we’re turning into a digital currency society. Experts predict, and financial trends indicate, we’re going to experience a severe credit freeze with banks. On top of all that, some of us are thinking of borrowing money to get married? Are we crazy? Are we American?

Good luck.

For those who must do it now, before it’s too late, there are sympathetic ears and advice. Blair Donovan writes for brides.com, giving some ideas about borrowing money for your wedding.

“First, assess the average loan period you are capable of in order to repay your debt on time,” Donovan writes. “Next, evaluate what the most reasonable interest rate might be. A higher interest rate may seem less daunting if your payoff period is short, as in the case of payday loans. However, if you need several months or years to pay back what you owe then a lesser interest rate may be the most sensible option to cover your wedding day expenses.” Or….

You can get married without borrowing. Have the wedding in a national forest with three witnesses, a minister, and a portable hot tub. Much less expensive without the bar tab and no room for in-laws in the tub. Or …

Forget about getting married, save the money, invest it wisely in undervalued assets, and just be friends. Dutch Treat worked great in the 90s, and it’d work just fine for the two of you heading into the Roaring 20s.

MARRIED WOMEN SHOULD UNDERSTAND THEIR FAMILY FINANCES BEFORE DEATH OR DIVORCE PART THEM FROM THEIR MONEY

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I recently read a timely article at bloomberg.com, talking about the difficulties many post divorce women face financially, due to them not having participated in the handling of family finances while they were married.  Back then, their spouses handled the finances, who turned out to be better equipped in dealing with family related financial issues after the divorce was completed. Now, as newly single women, many wives who had left the money matters to the men, wish they hadn’t.

In Rise of ‘Gray’ Divorce Forces Financial Reckoning After 50, Suzanne Woolley writes of how “too many women” let their husbands make the long-term financial decisions, which has left them vulnerable when separation or death strikes.  That’s why it’s so important for any woman, married or not, young or old, to take the time to learn about the finances that affect them and their families, before death or divorce throw ungodly financial surprises upon you.  This is a regular instance with many family law clients. Many women, looking deer-lost in headlights, not having really any clear idea of the true nature of their family finances, seek legal advice related to family financial matters.  Surprise and shock are common responses when discussing the issues surrounding the division of community property. Issues related to income, expenses, assets, and debts might be clouded, personal property and community property commingled, or assets going unaccounted for.

By developing understanding of your financial affairs you will be better prepared to make the big financial decisions that you might have let your spouses make when you were still married.  Understanding family finances better helps to avoid the “nasty surprises” at the end, that your divorce lawyer will have to help you clean up.

Woolley notes some interesting facts relating to women and their investing, citing statistics from a survey found in a report called, “Own Your Worth,” which was released by UBS Global Wealth Management.

  • 56 percent of married women still leave major investing and financial planning decisions to their spouse.  
  • 61 percent of millennial women said they leave investment decisions to their husbands.
  • 54 percent of baby boomer women leave investment decisions to their husbands.
  • Twice as many men as women in the UBS survey said they were highly knowledgeable about investing.
  • Three-quarters of the women surveyed said they don’t know much about investing.

Woolley’s article also cites a stark difference between married women and women who were divorced or widowed regarding the “making (of) major financial decisions” during their marriage  She cites, for example, that:

  • 59 percent of widows and divorcees regret not taking part in long-term financial planning when they were a couple.
  • 85 percent of married women who weren’t active in making long-term financial decisions said their spouse knows more about financial issues than they do.
  • Eighty percent of women said they were content with how financial responsibilities were handled in their marriage.

The report concluded that a majority of married women are still handing over to their spouses important financial decisions that will profoundly affect their futures.  Women and divorcees who now find themselves alone wish they had been more involved in finances while they were married, says the UBS Global Wealth Management Report. Nearly all of them advise other women to get more involved early on and “break the cycle of financial abdication.”

WOMEN SHOULD BREAK THE CYCLE OF FINANCIAL ABDICATION

The UBS report cites “eight out of 10” divorced or widowed women who remarried as finding themselves to be “more active in the financial decision-making in their current relationship.”  Ninety-four percent of widows and divorcees surveyed insist on complete financial transparency with their spouse.

Again, for all women who are trying to make it work financially, you have one financial bottom line, and that is if you haven’t already — get involved now!  Wake up to the economic realities we all face right now in trying to move our families forward in a healthy and prosperous way. When the divorce comes about, you will be prepared in important aspects.  Remember that subsequent marriages have a higher rate of dissolving than do first marriages. So understand the income, expenses, assets and debts formula your family operates under now.

If you are a married woman, be involved with your husband when making all financial decisions.  You’re signature and / or consent is going to be required for most family related financial instruments, so you might as well understand what you are signing, and why.  If a divorcing woman understands her finances, and she can communicate rationally and intelligently with her spouse, come time for the divorce, she can conceivably steer the mediation of the division of the community property and in the long run save her and her family a lot of money and emotional expense.  If she needs an attorney or divorce mediator to help her with the process, she can always hire a family law specialist.

PROPERTY DIVISION IN DIVORCE IS ABOUT ASSET PRESERVATION

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One of the primary issues a family law specialist deals with in divorce is helping his or her clients resolve their financial issues.  An experienced family law attorney can help you not only divide your property and assets, but your debt and liabilities as well.  A divorce attorney will utilize the best methods to put your entire family in the best financial position possible as you move forward into unfamiliar post-divorce territory.

Sometimes the community possesses complicated financial assets, like investment and retirement accounts or stock options, and a forensic accountant might be brought in to help analyze, value, and divide your property.  A forensic accountant can help unravel the essential financial formulas that might affect not only the division of community assets, but also child support and spousal support.  Forensic accountants can be expensive, however, and they’re not right for all divorces.  In a divorce case, a little common sense can go a long way when it comes to dividing community property.  The key is to think about how you’re going to preserve what you have in this dramatically volatile economic environment we live in.

My belief is that we are in the middle of the greatest economic free fall that we’ve ever experienced in this country during my lifetime.  The United States Congress says that the U.S. dollar has lost 96% percent of its value since its inception in 1913.  Some economists say that we are in the middle of witnessing 90% percent of the global wealth changing hands of ownership.  Whose hands are your wealth going into?  Will you and your family have anything left?

The purchasing power of the U.S. dollar, which is what we live and eat on, is down to an all time low, so low, in fact, that the U.S. Congress is contemplating bringing back the gold standard to back it.  At this time, more than ever, income, expenses, assets, debts, savings, and investments, should all be at the forefront of the minds of family law attorneys helping you divide your community assets in a divorce.  If you as a divorcing spouse aren’t considering your personal state of financial affairs, as it relates to your family’s future financial reality, and the value of the assets that you can take with you in your split, you could be in for some major surprises and disappointment.

TRUE INVESTMENT CAPITAL ONLY COMES FROM SAVINGS

Unemployment in this country is at an all time high.  Even if you have a job, inflation affecting everything you buy probably keeps you from being able to actually save money.  One of the greatest issues for family law attorneys in dealing with divorce is financial disagreement between the spouses, which is compounded by the fact spouses just aren’t saving enough in real value, so they end up fighting each other tooth-and-nail to squeeze every ounce of wealth they can out of whatever community asset they have left.  So be it for inflated assets.  Sets of silverware are being split down the middle because divorcing spouses have not been saving.  They’ve barely considered the true valuation of their assets up to this point in their lives.

Savings are important because they form the cash cushion that gets us through difficult economic times.  We get the best value out of our assets by saving for them first.  A lack of savings is one of the major problems we face not only as individuals but as a country during these economically challenging times.  Economic researcher Chris Martenson, PhD, MBA, says that savings are important nationally because they are utilized for the formation of investment capital; that is, the property, plant and equipment that create actual future wealth.

Same thing applies to spouses in a marriage.  If you are going to want to be able to invest in the “property, plant and equipment” of your future, so you  have some future wealth to be able to preserve for your family, without having a giant debt load attached to it, you’re going to have to save for it first.  True investment capital can only come from savings.

INDIVIDUAL’S SAVINGS RATES AT ALL TIME LOW

According to Martenson, savings rates have plunged to historic lows, “levels last associated with the Great Depression.”  Martenson says the personal American savings rate has steadily declined in America since 1985 to the present.  The decline we have experienced as a country and as individuals has resulted from “a culmination of a multi-decade erosion of savings as a cultural attribute of American citizens,” Martenson says.  Now, many of you are realizing this in your own lives, where you’re having problems making ends meet on a week-to-week basis, with nary the time nor thought given toward investing in yours or your children’s futures.  The truth is, you can barely deal with financing the now.  And you’ve probably got a lot of debt to go with it.

Martenson, a futurist and co-founder at PeakProsperity.com, believes that what a history of persistently declining savings tells us is that there is an “implicit assumption” by the majority of people in this country that unlimited credit will be available in the future, and so we don’t need to save now.  We have assumed a lifestyle where we have largely substituted a “save and spend” mentality, with “a buy it now on credit” mentality.

All debt across all sectors in this country, and personal savings of individuals, shifted in opposite directions in 1985, with the gap widening dramatically ever since.  “Our national tolerance of debt shifted drastically upwards beginning in 1985 right as our national approach to savings was beginning its long decline towards zero,” Martenson says.

The marketing of our financial system has created in us a belief that in order to have a grander and brighter future, we are going to need more money, which equates to greater debt, so we can buy things.  We have become a country of mass consumers fueled by credit availability.  Everything is about beating the Joneses, now, the future be damned, and the Joneses have a lot of credit at their disposal.  The idea has been ingrained in us that low savings plus high debt equals prosperity, or what Chris Martenson calls, “at least a perpetual feature of our future economic landscape.”

THE BOTTOM LINE FOR DIVORCING COUPLES

The bottom line for most Americans has become that of low savings rate and high debt, which is a major problem because it means that most divorcing spouses have a very thin safety cushion to ride out the economic hardship we are experiencing at this time.  This equates to the fact that most people have failed to invest in their families’ futures.  Dealing with the present while preparing for the future has posed a difficult task for most Americans, and, as a result, divorcing spouses have little left to divide.  They’re not alone in this.  A lack of savings is a nationwide problem.

Our bottom financial line to get through these difficult times has to be pretty straight forward from here.  Save as much as possible, now, and get out of debt.  Many financial forecasters predict that a credit freeze is imminent.  Prepare for it.  Know the truth of what’s really going on in the world, and with our banks.  When possible, move those hard-earned savings into assets that will hold or increase in value during this time of the declining U.S. dollar.  The theory behind hard earned savings, and the investment thereof, should include a ‘smart plan’ on how to preserve those assets for future family needs.

 

 

MEDIATION CAN HELP MINIMIZE EMOTIONAL DAMAGE TO CHILDREN OF DIVORCING PARENTS

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Does mediation help minimize the emotional damage children can experience when sharing in their parents’ divorce? You bet it does.

America has the highest divorce rate in the world, and it continues to climb. More than half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. The rest end in annulment, or by death to one or both of the spouses. Not much of a choice. Divorce is the preferred method by most.

People who divorce experience many deep emotions that are associated with grief and loss. They suffer from anger, unhappiness, worry and wonder, among others, and these negative emotions can actualize during different stages at different times of the divorce.

Children of divorcing parents can be affected more than they might let on. A divorce of parents can present itself as a crisis in a young child’s life. It can be a jolt in routine and a time of unfamiliar transition and the child could have a difficult time adjusting to that new life’s situation.

Children can suffer serious consequences from their parents’ divorce, including behavioral, psychological, and emotional problems. Research has proven, for instance, that children with divorced parents are twice as likely to seek mental health treatment. They are more susceptible to depression and twice as likely to have behavior management issues. They will act out. Children who have experienced their parents’ divorce are also at risk for increased stress and tension factors.

When children are involved in divorces, they find themselves at risk for a kaleidoscope of emotional issues which can be traced directly back to their parents who are having problems dealing with their own emotions. The most common and complicated emotion experienced by both child and parent during divorce is anger. Ph.D, researcher and mediator Robert E. Emery calls this “a common reaction to grief and loss.” The theory is that if parents aren’t processing their emotions in a positive way, they are negatively affecting their children. They are causing more conflict and tension in the transition for the children who can become confused and upset about what is happening as their lives spin out of control around them. They have been overwhelmed by their unfamiliar circumstances and negative emotional experiences.

Experts write that the stress associated with divorce causes mood swings and triggers anxiety in children. In his book, The truth about children and divorce, Dr. Emery writes about divorce posing a challenging transition for the children to adjust to. But there is a way to avoid a lot of it. In response to concerns over the psychological well-being of children of divorce, researchers have also concluded that after being involved in divorce mediation, parents suffered from decreased levels of distress and anxiety, which directly benefited their children.

MEDIATION BENEFITS CHILDREN FOLLOWING THEIR PARENTS’ DIVORCE

Studies have proven that families can benefit by promoting the positive involvement of both parents in a child’s life following a divorce. This is where a good divorce mediator comes in, someone who can positively involve the parents and children in the divorce mediation process and beyond, to help communicate with each other re managing family conflict.

Research by J.B. Kelly shows that mediation can be helpful in resolving emotional and agreement issues in family conflict, which could have a positive impact on children’s adjustment to the divorce. A good mediator can help both parents and children in learning better skills to manage their emotional problems as they learn to deal with their new life situations.

The mediator can help you realize that as you proceed through divorce you will become keenly aware of and concerned about the affects your divorce is having on your children. You will come to understand that the most damaging aspect to your children is when they personally witness the exchange of hostilities and conflict between you and your spouse.

Research has proven that children who live with parental conflict have adjustment problems as they get older, which materializes in their lives whether or not their parents actually go through with the divorce. The bottom line is that it’s not the divorce itself that does harm to the children, it’s the parental conflict you play out in front of them. Under no circumstances should you argue or demean your spouse in front of your children.

FAMILY LAW MEDIATION IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN OF DIVORCING PARENTS

Brianna L. Nelson, BSW, LSW, presented a Clinical Research Paper entitled, Divorce Mediation and its Impact on Children, to the faculty of the School of Social Work at St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. In her paper Nelson concluded that divorce mediation can be helpful and beneficial for families when resolving emotional and familial conflict, which could decrease the negative effects divorce can have on children. She came to the same conclusion many experts had reached before her. Family law mediation is good for children of divorcing parents. “Mediation is a confidential and voluntary process that helps the parties in conflict come to agreements without the use of the court system and expensive legal services,” Nelson writes. The mediator will be the one to facilitate the negotiation process.

https://sophia.stkate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1242&context=msw_papers

Family law mediation is most common in divorce and child custody disputes, and to assist in the decision-making process regarding finances, parenting, and the division of personal and real property. The key advantages of mediation over litigation is in avoiding the stress, expense, and family divisiveness. Mediation should be less time-consuming and a more humane way to deal with your conflict resolution. Mediation focuses on resolving the conflict, where litigation focuses on stopping it.

As of 2018, children are becoming more involved in the family law mediation process. It provides an opportunity for the children to be heard, which is important for they are the ones most negatively affected by separation and divorce. Divorce mediation provides an opportunity to assess a child’s basic awareness of their parents’ divorce, and to help them resolve their issues in dealing with it.

Just like communication between spouses, mediation can increase communication between child and parent and it can improve the co-parental relationship, which all benefits your children. That’s why if you divorce, and you can communicate rationally with your spouse, you’re going to want to find an experienced specialist in family law who can mediate your divorce related issues. You’ll want to find a divorce mediator who can educate you about common concerns you and your spouse share regarding your children. Find a mediator with exceptional communication skills who can help you brainstorm your issues and resolve them. Find someone who is sensitive to your family members’ feelings of grief and loss. Remember, the whole purpose is for you and your children to be able to utilize the feedback received through mediation to help your family build a healthier and happier tomorrow.

DIVORCE MEDIATION ALLOWS FOR IMPROVED COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

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Divorce can be a very difficult process for two people. Emotions can run high, heartbreak, stress, and anger can set in. Many spouses feel disappointment and frustration and they struggle to effectively communicate with one another about the complex feelings that surge through them. This can lead to destructive communication which can shatter your ability to exchange important ideas. Yelling, name calling, abusive language, withholding of information, one spouse or the other shutting down completely, and other destructive behaviors retard progress in a divorce, and everyone suffers.

In family law mediation one of the mediator’s chief responsibilities is to facilitate open communication between the sides. A mediator may need to coach the parties on the best techniques to use to communicate with one another civilly and rationally. Some spouses need to learn that if they’re going to resolve their family law issues, without spending all their money on lawyer’s fees and subjecting themselves to bankruptcy, they’re going to have to learn how to communicate with each other.

In divorce, it would be cost prohibitive to expect your attorney to make contact with your spouse about every minor issue that arises. Divorce attorneys cost money, and their bills can add up fast. If you can learn to communicate with your spouse, even though everyone’s upset with or not speaking to each other, mediation is a possibility, and you can save money. There are instances, however, where mediation is not appropriate. Like if one spouse is so aggressive toward the other that he or she makes it difficult to even speak with them directly, then you’ll need an attorney, and you’re going to have to litigate your divorce. You’ll also need an attorney to represent you if you have a restraining order that prohibits contact with your spouse due to domestic violence.

Each mediator does things a little differently, but they’re there to help you get a fresh start in dealing with your spouse. The mediator is there to help spouses find solutions to problems you have been unable to or unwilling to solve between yourselves. Mediators guide the communication process so that both of you are able to express what it is that you want to accomplish. The mediator can help clear up misunderstandings between divorcing spouses. The idea of mediation is to create an environment suitable to generate meaningful discussion between two people who once loved each other in an effort to solve nagging, difficult problems. If the two of you learn to communicate more clearly, you can again generate positive feelings toward one another.

In an effort to facilitate better communication and harmony between two spouses during mediation or divorce, I offer the following 5 suggestions:

1) Respect thy spouse.

Treat your spouse with respect at all times. At all times, treat your spouse as you would want your spouse to treat you. What other way would you want to have it? A divorce cannot be a battle to the death, where everybody gets emotionally bloodied, and still have all parties come out as winners. Divorce mediation is premised on the idea of getting away from the conflict of courtroom litigation. It is an opportunity for two sides to sit down and work things out. Mediation can be beneficial for personal emotional balance, your relationship with your spouse, and your children’s needs. Sitting down and speaking calmly and rationally with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may be the last thing in the world you want, but respectful communication makes divorce healthier for everyone involved. Any ultimate agreement you may want to make with your spouse will begin with the respect you demonstrate.

2) Set boundaries, set aside familiarities.

Even in the tamest of divorces, setting boundaries is an important step. Just because you were once married, and you are very familiar with each other, doesn’t mean that you have to fall back into old behavior patterns. They must be broken. It is very easy for you and your spouse to cross boundaries without even realizing it. It is a good idea to agree on how often you will communicate with each other and in which manner. Discuss with your spouse what your preferred modes of communication are, whether by text, phone, e mail, or the like, and stick to it. Respond when your schedule permits. If talking on the phone or in person creates too many issues, then e mail might be the better form of communication.

If you or your spouse are the needy / clingy type, or if you are frustrated or impatient and want to communicate too frequently, like several times per day, then you may want to establish more limited communication exchanges. Try once per day, or once per week. By establishing these boundaries up front, expectations for communication can be managed, which allows for everyone to be on the same page. Fulfilled expectations help reduce a lot of disagreement and stress. Make clear parameters for communications and let your spouse know ahead of time you will respond at your earliest convenience. Specify if you only want to respond to emergency requests or whether you are comfortable with steady communications, but be clear and respectful.

You don’t have to respond to every communication attempt by your ex. Ignore trivial issues and avoid additional conflict. Taking your time to respond to your spouse’s anxieties will give you the opportunity to think things through and come up with an appropriate and courteous response.

3) Be present, focus on the issues at hand

Divorce can be messy and sometimes it just can’t be avoided. While dividing community assets and debts and establishing custody and support for minor children emotions will heighten and spouses will get excited. Bitterness and frustration over grievances with your spouse can hamper your relationship. Stress about how you’re going to deal with debts and finances will churn your stomach. You lose track of what’s important during
conversations with your spouse and you start arguing about meaningless issues.

Be present. Concentrate only on the issues being discussed now when in mediation. Experience the senses of the mediation process; the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and touches, that surround you, now, and stay focused on the issues you are discussing. Try to avoid acting out based on previous grievances with your spouse. Don’t bring yesterday’s anger into today’s mediation session. Forget about the future as well, for now. We may never get there. Take a deep breath and focus on what you do have – the here and the now – the only thing you have control of at this moment.

4) Tone it down, clown

Get out of unhealthy habits. Stop talking to your spouse from a negative emotional space as if he or she is a demonic movie villain. Even if you are angry at your spouse you must not express that in your communications. Although you might be tempted to be sarcastic, raise your voice, or mimic your spouse, don’t do it. Frustration and emotional imbalance combined with familiarity are known to breed negative tones and you have to be present and you have to be aware of it, and you have to control your mouth. Even when you lose your emotions and get angry it is better to just get up and walk away. Stay out of the headspace of hurt and find the heart space of forgiveness and move forward. While no one should have to take abusive words from a spouse, these negative tones are inappropriate and only escalate disagreement.

Speak to your spouse the way you would like your spouse to speak to you. By doing so, you foster an atmosphere for open and respectful communication, which is much more helpful to the divorce process than condescending tones and bitter feelings.

5) Find the common ground

Agreement can be such a wonderful thing. It feels good to accomplish something that is important. So during mediation why not start communicating about something you and your spouse agree on, and go from there, spreading out into bigger issues. Heart is another wonderful common ground in mediation. We all have one, all we need to do is find it, and communicate from there. When you are in mediation, or litigation for that matter, find your heart space, and stay there. Create a new healthy paradigm with your spouse. Stay out of your mind, the past negativities, the future stresses, because it’ll make you crazy. And your children will appreciate you for it.

The welfare of your children is another wonderful common ground to consider when mediating with your spouse. You and your spouse want nothing but the best for the children, so frame your hearts and minds to achieve that goal first. Figure out custody of your children and go from there. You and your spouse might remember that you once built your relationship on common ground, and if you can find it again in family law mediation, you can turn it into settlement agreement that benefits everyone.

 

HOW DO I FIND THE BEST FAMILY LAW MEDIATOR TO SETTLE MY DIVORCE?

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You’ve already made two important decisions with your spouse like agreeing that it’s time to get a divorce. The two of you also communicated well enough to agree on mediation rather than litigation, but you and your spouse are miles apart regarding other important issues like the custody and support of your children and the division of the community assets accrued during the marriage. Your spouse claims he wants to take the children back east to live with his family, but you’ll have nothing to do with that. But you will claim a half share of his pension, you want to keep the family residence for the kids and you to live in, and you want your spouse to assume all of the community debt and take that back east instead of the kids.

You and your spouse have major disagreements as to how the life of your family as a whole and the lives of each individual member shall continue down the road. That may be why you’re getting a divorce in the first place. Who’s going to help you resolve these major issues in a fair and equitable manner is an important question to answer. And how do you find that person who possesses the requisite skills and experience to be able to guide the two of you and your children into the best possible position to succeed in what has become a very tumultuous and challenging economic time period in all of our lives? These are questions that have to be asked if you’re going to find the right mediator for your family.

Your divorce mediator should be competent and qualified to resolve the financial issues that are unique to your specific situation in the realities of today’s world. The divorce mediator needs to understand your family issues in dealing with the children and custody so that all parties will win. You’re going to want to find someone who has the years of training, education, and experience to identify the issues regarding the financial and tax considerations involved with dividing up the family business, retirement and / or investment accounts.

You’re not going to want to leave your divorce up to an inexperienced mediator. You’re not going to want someone involved who’s inexperienced in family law matters. You’re going to want to have the best and most experienced family law specialist your money can afford who has a reputation within the legal community for possessing the skills to mediate and cajole two parties into a fair settlement agreement. Your success in the mediation process lies squarely on the experience level and competency of your mediator to bring about a mutual settlement agreement, and you have the control of that. So how do you find such a person?

Take the time and do the research. Your family’s future life depends on it. If you already have an attorney, ask that attorney who they might recommend to mediate your divorce. Maybe you know someone who’s recently gone through a divorce, and they’re pleased with how their attorney handled it, and see if you can speak with that attorney. If not, see who the opposing attorney was. Take the extra step to speak with as many successful family law knowledgeable persons as possible. Interview them. Ask questions and get answers. Take notes. Get professional legal opinions and use them as advise toward helping you make the important decision as to whom you’re going to hire. That’s smart business sense. Take your attorney-shopping seriously.

When considering prospective mediators, keep in mind the following 5 important points:

1) Peaceful high quality mediation is considered a blessing in family law circles.

It is difficult to find the right attorney who possesses sufficient family law experience and people skills to mediate divorce to fair settlement agreement. Peaceful high quality mediation creates a people friendly environment providing great opportunity for turning sit-down meetings into final agreements. Find a mediation attorney who knows how to make peace with others. Find a family law mediator who knows how to transform peace of mind into fair settlement agreement.

2) Cost effectiveness and fair results in any settlement agreement are essential.

Ask your prospective mediator what they anticipate the mediation process will require in your case to bring it to a close to your satisfaction. You need legal completion in this matter and you want to make sure this mediation lawyer prospect will bring that quality to the table. How much money does the potential family law mediator believe the mediation process will cost you? How long will it take reasonable parties to reach a successful settlement agreement? Of course yours and your spouse’s willingness to cooperate and compromise with each other, and to communicate your differences will play a critical role in any effort to reach agreement. But, again, one of the major points to consider in mediation is saving money. Mediation can be more satisfactory than litigation, if you do it right.

3) Your Divorce Mediator must be thorough and any settlement agreement must be in the best interests of all parties concerned, and that means the children.

You want a divorce mediator who’s been doing family law for a while. You want someone who’s had many life experiences, which probably includes having a family and children of their own; a family law attorney who from personal experience can empathize with what you’re experiencing personally in your divorce. Is your potential mediator a person who is in tune with the world as it revolves very fast around them at this time? Or does this attorney have their proverbial head in the sand on important social issues? A family law mediator should be someone who strives to understand the issues of the world as it relates to the needs of your children and their parents, and how that relates to your soon to be changed-for-good life after divorce.

4) It is important to choose a Divorce Mediator who can utilize heart, knowledge, and experience while working to help you resolve your unique family law issues.

You can’t have a robot regurgitating the law back to you if it has no practical application toward the realities of your personal situation and where you go from here. You need someone who can assist you and your spouse and lead you to that higher step; someone who understands what it is like to be you, to feel your pain, to know your desires of what your future happiness really means in the family law arena. Experience can be summed up in a prospect mediator’s CV or resume. Knowledge comes in many forms and can be applied to creating greater understanding leading to ultimate agreement in your case. Understanding many different aspects of life, and being able to utilize learned skills and crafts from these many aspects, can be important in helping someone to better facilitate equitable agreement in any form. Knowledge plus experience equals understanding. And throw in a little heart, which is sometimes a unique experience in the family law industry, then you and your family can realistically set out with hope for a future filled with prosperity and good health. It helps to have a mediator who understands this.

5) If you research the Internet be sure to seek a divorce mediator not business or general mediator.

You want the best brain surgeon for brain surgery, but probably not to deliver your baby or fix your speech problem. You’ll leave that up to other kinds of specialists. Same thing for family law mediation. You need someone who lives and breathes family and law. If your search for a family law mediation specialist is being done on the Internet, search for family law specifically, not mediators in general. Mediators specialize in bringing about resolution and agreement to disputes. It’s an alternative form of dispute resolution. Mediators are generally trained with skills in bringing about resolution without any specific application to family law understanding. You want in a mediator someone who lives, breathes, and mediates family law, someone who understands how it is to mediate a family law matter to a reasonable conclusion.

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