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.

 

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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.

WHAT IS FAMILY LAW MEDIATION?

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What is divorce mediation?

Family Law mediation is one of the more common methods of negotiating to settlement the legal issues that arise in a divorce. It is not going into court and litigating each issue tooth and nail. In divorce mediation matters, you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse may hire a specialist in family law as mediator, someone who will meet with you in an effort to resolve your differences and come to a negotiated agreement. The family law specialist acts as mediator and facilitator who will help you and your spouse resolve your issues in a fair and equitable manner.

Mediation of a divorce is an important option both parties should consider as it saves costs and stress for both parties. Mediation is designed to help both parties and has a long list of benefits for families. The benefits include, but are not limited to:

• Mediation usually costs much less than litigation which may require a series of court hearings.
• With your direct participation, mediation should result in a comprehensive settlement of all the issues in your matter.
• Mediation is confidential, meaning there is no public record of declarations or financial information.
• A lawyer of your choice can still give you legal advice during your mediation.
• Your spouse and you are in control of the entire process of mediation.
• The mediation process allows time for you to improve communication with your spouse.
• Mediation will help minimize the emotional damage children may experience during their parents’ divorce.
• Maybe most importantly, mediation allows you to negotiate the terms of your agreement based on your own ideas as to what is fair in your situation and what is best for your family as a whole as opposed to having a solution imposed upon you by a family law judge that is based upon impersonal legal principles.

Mediation is not for all divorcing couples. Matters where there is a history of domestic violence or an imbalance of power between the parties may not be right for mediation. But if your spouse and you are willing to communicate and compromise with each other in a rational manner with open minds you could mediate.

Your Divorce Mediator should be a specialist in family law who will help the two of you stay on track with the issues and in tune to one another, to listen to each other, to respect and understand each other’s opinions. It is important to listen to your spouse’s perspective and to be willing to compromise. Compromise is key to reaching a fair and mutually beneficial settlement in the mediation process.

Being able to empathize with your spouse’s position is important. Hopefully your spouse will do the same. They will feel what it’s like to be you. The idea is that you reach an agreement based on trust and understanding where both of your best interests, and those of the children if there are any, are taken into account and addressed.

This mutual understanding will be drafted by the mediator into a settlement agreement. If children are involved, a parenting schedule or a parenting plan will be needed. Other legal documents will be drafted such as a Petition for Dissolution or Legal Separation, and Financial Disclosure documents. The mediation process allows you and your spouse to decide the terms to live by in a divorce, terms that you agree to live by, without your family having to suffer through the negative emotions and financial costs of a courtroom trial.

MEDIATION MAKES YOU A DIRECT PART OF YOUR FAMILY LAW SOLUTION

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Savings on emotional and financial costs are not the only reasons to mediate rather than litigate your family law matters, or any legal matter, for that matter. Some people mediate their family law cases so they can have a direct hand in exactly what the terms of their settlement will be. They can agree to the terms they are forced to live by. That’s because the agreement will be negotiated by and between the parties themselves, with legal understanding and helpful cajoling provided by their mediating attorney, as they reach a mediated family law settlement agreement, rather than fighting it out in court.

If you do choose to litigate your child custody, spousal support, or community property division issues in court you could become soundly disappointed with the legal results. A litigant loses control of the outcome of his or her case when it goes to court, where your heart and pocket book can be broken for any number of reasons.

First of all, in court someone else is deciding your case for you, and he or she is called the Judge. Secondly, the law may not be on your side of your family law issues to start with. And you may have to learn the expensive way why you can’t just get up and move out of state with your children if dad/mom on the other side doesn’t want you to.

Or maybe you’re not able to prove up to the court your ownership interest in certain alleged community assets. Or the child custody and visitation mediator doesn’t deem you the best custodial parent of your child in this particular legal arrangement, and the judge follows the mediator’s recommendation against granting you custody of your children.

The point is that you don’t control the outcome to your family law dispute when you litigate in court. The judge takes over that duty for you, aided by input in the form of motions and pleadings filed by your attorneys, and the opinions of family law and financial experts. The judge decides your fate and the fate of your family for every issue that you put before him or her. It’s all a very expensive proposition.

When you litigate, the Family Law Judge is the only person in the universe to decide whether your children live with your soon-to-be-former-spouse or you; whether you get to stay or whether you have to move out of your family residence; whether you or the other party gets half of whose pension, or not. These are the risks involved with litigating your case in court.

That’s why some parties mediate their legal issues with an experienced family law specialist. If they can understand the law as it truly applies to them, and if they can agree to work together, in many instances like they never have before, and if they can understand how to communicate with one another, to rationally discuss the important issues of their family’s present day-to-day realities, and then be willing to compromise on some if not all of those issues, then those who were once adversaries can now become a winning team. Your family can thrive.

Honest communication and ultimate agreement between otherwise disagreeing spouses is critical to successfully mediating family law matters. If you cannot communicate with your spouse and ultimately come to agreement about issues that you haven’t previously been able to agree upon, then you may have to litigate your case, which turns into great emotional and financial expense for everyone involved. It wears on parents and children alike.

But if the parties do communicate productively, and the two sides can sit down with a seasoned family law specialist to mediate your differences about custody, visitation, property division and the like, into a fair settlement, that you will personally help to create, a settlement that’s truly in yours and your children’s best interests, then you will be able to save yourself a lot of money and negative emotion.

You will be able to breathe easier and move forward in your life, rather than fight and stress-out with your ex. Your children will have a better chance to prosper and move forward with their lives along with you, just as you planned it. That’s because you and your spouse communicated well enough to hammer out the specific terms of your family’s future with a mediated family law settlement agreement, and you didn’t leave it up to the family law court to decide your family’s fate for you.

 

THE COST OF MEDIATING VERSUS LITIGATING

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Mediation is on the rise in resolving family law related and divorce issues simply because most people can no longer afford the good fight in family law court. The economy is spiraling downward and the United States dollar is losing its purchasing power at about ten percent per annum. Divorces can be expensive when two parties refuse to communicate in a rational and civil manner and they want to let their lawyers do their talking for them.

When you decide to hire a lawyer to litigate your family law case, Discovery will be conducted by your two attorneys. Subpoenas will be issued and hearings will be scheduled. In the end, attorneys’ fees will multiply. The litigation process can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars and if two parties have enough to fight for, then six figures in attorneys fees is not unheard of.

The difference in the costs associated with mediating a family law settlement yourself through mediation versus litigating family law matters with hired professionals can be dramatic. Of course the complexities of each particular family law matter will dictate much toward the legal work that needs to be performed, but mediating a family law matter, or most legal matters for that matter, could be resolved for less than half the cost of a litigated case.

The costs generally associated with mediation include, but are not limited to, both parties meeting together, not individually, for consultation with a mediating attorney, and then the follow up meetings with that attorney in an effort to resolve the issues in dispute. When a settlement is reached the mediating attorney will prepare a settlement agreement negotiated by you. The preparation of additional associated documents will be required, such as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Legal Separation, Disclosure Documents, and specific Waivers.

The cost of litigating your family law matter would certainly be much more time, emotion, and cost consuming. In the litigation model, the preparation of financial documents and mandatory disclosure compliance can run several thousand dollars. Your attorney will need to draft motions and sometimes fight to get the other side to pay your attorneys’ fee. Experts may have to be hired.

Then there’s the cost for the time to actually go into court for appearances and hearings. If required, co-parenting classes and/or the preparation of a parenting plan can add thousands to your final legal bills. A trial could cost $10,000 and upwards, an appeal another $15,000. Many people choose to mediate their family law issues because of the savings both monetary and emotional, and the fact they can play a direct part in forming their family law solution.

Health Care Coverage No Longer Bargaining Chip Pre-Existing Medical Conditions Are One-Reason Families Stay Together Through Bad Situations.

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Health care in the United States is a complicated issue in and of itself. Add Divorce to the equation and access to health care insurance becomes a bargaining chip in Divorce negotiations. With the Affordable Care Act, Divorce no longer requires one side to make financial concessions in order to keep health care insurance. The Affordable Care Act allows attorneys to better protect their client’s financial interests, as they no longer needto protect their client’s access to health care insurance.

When one party is the sole provider of the family’s income, that person is usually providing access to health care insurance through his or her employer as part of their employment benefit package. The breadwinner of the family now has an unfair advantage at the negotiating table. Individual Health Care policies purchased from the free market systems are exorbitantly expensive, have high deductibles and are frequently cancelled by the insurance provider without warning.

Since January 2014 the Affordable Care Act has made it possible for all Americans to have access to affordable health insurance. Pre-existing medical conditions are one reason some families stay together through bad situations. For those unhappy couples (particularly between 50 and 64 years of age with preexisting health conditions) you now have the option of dissolving the marital contract. Those pre-existing conditions are no longer a determining factor in keeping a bad marriage together.

When the employer’s insurance is adequate for all parties involved, COBRA might be the best option for the spouse that needs coverage. The cost of a COBRA policy varies depending on the employer. The COBRA party is responsible to pay the full cost of the premium plus a fee of no more than two percent. COBRA is limited to thirty-six months of coverage in the case of divorce or legal separation. When the thirty-six months of COBRA coverage runs out, a plan from the Affordable Care Act is available for purchase.

The employed spouse needs to provide COBRA information to the uninsured spouse he/she can compare their COBRA options with the Affordable Care Act coverdca. That will allow the uninsured party to compare plans and pick which plan will be best for their individual situations. The main variable when deciding on which health care insurance plan is best for you: Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

Divorces Rise as Economy Improves

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Recent Spike in Divorce Filings Tied to Economy

Like everything else, divorce statistics are cyclic. With the U.S. economy reportedly on an upswing after a six-year recession, couples continually unable to resolve financial problems are deciding to call it quits. The federal government’s National Center for Health Statistics reports a rise in divorce filings for the third year, reportedly signaling a recovery of the ‘great recession,’ which reportedly hit rock bottom in 2008. Finances are frequently one of the most common stressors in many relationships. Marriage further complicates many ‘financial issues’ faced daily if the couple is out of sync in their views and practices of  personal finance. While one partner in the marriage may be frugal with money, a partner who is reckless with finances could instigate financial woes that the couple must resolve together. If weathering the debt storm as a couple becomes impossible, the next step might be dissolution.

Many options are available for divorcing couples when both parties wish to remain amicable. Couples who are not able to end the marriage amicably will need a ‘traditional divorce,’ requiring an attorney who will fight their battle before a judge to protect their marital interests. Using a board-certified family law specialist to represent a party in the process allows for informed decisions about the dissolution process and settlement. Simple divorces can be complicated for litigants representing themselves. Because of this, many do-it-yourself cases languish in the court system for years.

Cooperative and Non-Traditional Divorce

Rent-A-Judge, Mediation, Collaborative are all non-traditional paths to divorce many couples take when they are agreeable to ending the marital contract. Divorce can affect the quality of a person’s  lifestyle for the rest of his/her life. So whatever method is chosen, it is necessary to be informed of the options and how they work.

Rent-A-Judge

Private judging, known as “Rent-a-Judge,” involves a private process in which divorcing parties give a private individual the power to hear and decide their case. Private judges are an ideal alternative for wealthy couples who want their dissolution settled privately, quickly and amicably.

Mediation

Mediation is used to settle disputes as well as divorce while remaining flexible and confidential. With mediation, a neutral third party works with the couple to develop a settlement agreement. The neutral third party is known as the mediator. The mediator assists the couple in their decision making process. Mediators help keep the couple focused on the issues at hand while keeping them on track toward a settlement. Sometimes agreements come easy and sometimes they take time and a lot of work. When agreements are hard to reach, it’s the mediator’s job to intervene. Mediation has the ability to help the couple learn to communicate again and possibly make their post-divorce relationship better than their married one.

Collaborative Dissolution

Collaborative divorce was designed to resolve conflicts in a mutually agreed-upon process. Rather than turning the decision-making power over to a judge or other third party, control of the dissolution process is kept with the people directly involved in the marriage. Clients and their individual attorneys are at the heart of helping explore solutions for planning into the future. If children’s issues are part of the marital dispute, their needs are always placed first. Through the collaborative process documents are drawn up consensually and a settlement agreement is not signed until both parties are comfortable with the final agreement. The respective lawyers are disqualified from representing either party in any future family related litigation if the collaborative process fails.

When Divorce Requires Hiring An Attorney

If your situation requires the expertise of an attorney, remember that you must be prepared to share intimate details about your marriage, finances and personal life.  A big complaint about family court is that the process is too complicated and there are too many time consuming forms and procedures. Organizing your personal finances and important documents in chronological order will assist your legal team to help keep your finances intact and your legal fees down. Do not confuse your attorney with your therapist. When calling your attorney the time clock is ticking whether you have an actual legal question or if it’s just to complain about your spouse.

Your attorney should share your views and philosophy on divorce, especially if it is your intent to keep things cooperative and non-adversarial. If you make sure your lawyer understands you want an amicable divorce upfront, that’s what you will get from a board-certified family law specialist.

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