YOU MUST UNDERSTAND CRYPTOCURRENCY IF YOU DIVORCE

Leave a comment

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay so you might as well learn about them. If you’re married, it could be financially beneficial to understand any involvement your spouse, with or without you, might have with this new financial asset class.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY

Why should you care about cryptocurrency like Bitcoin? Because cryptocurrency can be very valuable community property and hidden from you when it’s time for you to divorce and divide your community assets.

What is cryptocurrency? Cryptocurrency is a digital cash system without a central authority. It is a decentralized system. Cryptocurrency is digital currency.

In 2018 this relatively new digital cash system known as the cryptocurrency market is expected to reach a total value of $1 trillion. According to data from businessinsider.com, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies stood at over $700 billion on January 3rd of this year.

Bitcoin is the leader of all cryptocurrencies. It is based on a blockchain. Blockchain is considered a technology that is changing the way people transact business. Blockchain technology allows us to make transactions without any central review body.

Bitcoin currently has the top cryptocurrency market cap at $140,905,000,000. That’s more than a hundred and forty billion dollars in Bitcoin alone. At the time of this writing, the price of one Bitcoin is $8,269.48.

Roger Ver, CEO at Bitcoin.com, calls Bitcoin technology one of the most important inventions in all of human history. “For the first time ever, anyone can send or receive any amount of money with anyone else, anywhere on the planet, conveniently and without restriction,” Ver says. “It’s the dawn of a better free world.”

It’s the dawn of a better free world if you know where all the community Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency your spouse bought are. But, you know, sometimes they get lost. Other times they get hidden out of plain view, which means you don’t know about them.

TRACING CRYPTOCURRENCY

There’s a lot of money out there in a lot of cryptos – at least $700 billion worth – and some of it might be yours. Cryptocurrency can be held in any number of ways. It can be held in virtual wallets and offline wallets. Your best friend can be holding the profits derived from his Lite Coin purchases in his girlfriend’s aunt’s maid’s name. Your spouse could be holding her Ethereum cryptocurrency stash overseas in a business partner’s name – a business partner you’ve never even heard of.

Bitcoin has been defined as, “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” It is considered a cryptocurrency because users can pseudnonymously transfer money directly to one another, peer to peer, without the use of a middleman like a bank, governmental authority, or Western Union. It’s called pseudononymously because users are assigned a string of numbers as their Bitcoin wallet address where they store their Bitcoins.

The problem in family law is that divorces become contentious and spouses sometimes don’t want to play by the rules — instead choosing to hide assets from their spouse that might otherwise be subject to equitable division in a marital settlement agreement.

Any specialist in family law you hire in divorce should routinely request discovery as to all cryptocurrencies that your spouse, and thus the community, might have an ownership interest in, whether you are aware of any being purchased during your marriage or not. If your spouse has suffered what he or she calls large gambling losses, or large amounts of money are found missing from community accounts, you’re going to want a forensic accounting to locate all suspected missing community assets.

Cryptocurrency can be traced back to a single spouse’s separate property just like any other tracing of a community property asset. It’s just that some assets are more difficult to trace than are others.

There are forensic analysts who specialize in tracking cryptocurrency and they can work to connect Bitcoin wallet addresses, for example, with the users’ actual identities. If large amounts of money are being transferred to a cryptocurrency exchange where cryptocurrencies are being purchased, this must be financially accounted for as well.

Same thing for the discovery of large cash withdrawals or transfers that were used to purchase cryptocurrency at peer-to-peer points of sale like localbitcoins.com. If it can’t be determined where that cash went, and your spouse doesn’t produce evidence re what he or she was doing with that cash, you will want an accounting thereof that leads to an equitable division of the community assets that were lost to you due to your spouse’s unauthorized withdrawals that led to the dissipation of community assets.

BOTTOM LINE IS TO SEARCH THEN SEIZE

Once you find the missing monies invested in hidden places, you have to get them out. That’s your family law specialist’s job, and that’s not always automatic. You might need passwords, usernames, and mnemonic seeds. If your spouse has played in the cryptocurrency market without you, it is possible your spouse has hidden a cache of profits derived from cryptocurrency business transactions in accounts under pseudonyms, other persons or business names, or they could have been transferred abroad.

If your divorce specialist has to go to court in an effort to retrieve hidden assets, your attorney will need to make a clear showing of how the money was transferred from a bank account or from some other community property asset to purchase the community cryptocurrency assets in dispute. When you hire a specialist in family law they can move the court for orders to exert pressure on your spouse to give up control over the hidden cryptocurrencies, and if that is not honored, the court can order an unbalanced division of community assets that will account for your share of the missing cryptocurrency.

Advertisements

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S DECEMBER 2017 TAX PLAN ELIMINATES DEDUCTIONS FOR ALIMONY PAYMENTS

Leave a comment

The burden of paying spousal support is about to reverse.  That’s because there’s a new tax law called, Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), that was passed by Congress in December 2017, that has effectively abolished tax deductions on alimony payments beginning January 1, 2019.  Under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, alimony payments will be neither tax deductible for the paying spouse nor taxable in the hands of the recipient spouse.

This new law will apply to payments that are required under divorce or separation instruments that are:

(1) executed after December 31, 2018, or,

(2) modified after that date if the modification specifically states that the TCJA treatments of spousal support payments (not deductible by the payor and not taxable income tax by the recipient) applies forthwith.

This new alimony provision is not retroactive, and it does not apply to divorces and separation orders entered into before 2019.

Until this new law, paying spousal support could be considered a “win-win” situation for both divorcing spouses.  The payor receives the benefit of a reduced tax obligation and the payee receives the benefit of more income than might otherwise be forthcoming if the payor spouse wasn’t receiving the benefit of the tax deduction.

This change in law could now prove expensive for individuals who must pay spousal support, because the tax savings normally derived from deducting spousal support payments can be substantial for high-earners.  One of the biggest disadvantages of the new tax law is that it could affect the desire of a higher-earning spouse to settle with their dependent spouse, since the deduction acts as a great motivator for the higher wage earner to agree to help support the spouse with less income in the first place.

WINDOW IS STILL OPEN

There is still a window for the payor to receive deductions for spousal support payments, but that window is closing.  If you are involved in divorce proceedings, or you are thinking about divorcing, and you want deductible spousal support treatment for some or all of the payments that you will make to your soon-to-be-ex, the TCJA gives you a huge incentive to get your divorce agreement wrapped up and signed by December 31, 2018.

On the other hand, if you anticipate being the recipient of spousal support, you have a big incentive to put off finalizing your agreement until next year, because the payments will become tax-free to you.

Either way, you should contact a specialist in family law, someone who is experienced in divorce tax issues, to get the best tax results for yourself.  Tax-wise, waiting too long could turn out to be an expensive mistake for years to come.

Lastly, be warned that many otherwise competent divorce lawyers are not up to speed on many of the new tax changes.  So don’t assume that just any family law attorney is capable of guiding you to the best tax results in your divorce.  Do your homework.  Contact a specialist in family law who is up to date on the latest tax changes that might affect you.  Find out who can best represent you regarding your spousal support requirements, and other family law-related issues.

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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

Leave a comment

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?

Leave a comment

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.

Older Entries