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We have all heard that the only absolutes in life are death and taxes. Life can be unpredictable. Five years ago, you might not have imagined that you would be getting divorced now. So, how can you be expected to know what life will bring you five years from now?
Mediation may be a better way to go if you are in a divorce situation. Mediators are able to make a difficult time in the lives of a couple a little more palatable.
Deciding to get divorced can feel overwhelming, and it often takes couples a long time to accept that their marriage is not working.
Many times a couple is not truly done with their divorce agreement, even after they are divorced. When developing a divorce agreement it is important to understand that it is a static document and you are living an ever-changing real life.
Figuring out how the parents are going to support their kids after divorce is an important part of the divorce mediation process. Sometimes, divorce mediation clients say that they have worked things out with their soon-to-be ex-spouse, and they have decided that there won’t be any child support
While divorce mediation costs you significantly less than if you litigated your divorce, it is not a free service. And you must pay out of pocket. You are not able to use health insurance to cover the cost or take it as a tax deduction on your tax returns.
We have found that following this process is the most cost-effective way to get from start to finish, saving the client’s time and money. Clients come to mediators for our expertise in divorce mediation and through our years of experience, we have found this process to work best.
What does divorce mediation look like? Most people have seen lawyers or therapists on TV, so they have an image in their mind of how these professionals work, but many clients do not know what to expect when they begin divorce mediation.
The people who walk into divorce mediation are not the same people who walk out at the end of divorce mediation. We see it time and time again. Divorce mediation is a transformative process. Each individual person seems to change and how the people function as a couple changes as well. As professional divorce mediators, we see this happen all the time.
While divorce mediation is a good solution to the problem of an unhappy marriage, the divorce mediator cannot do it all alone. In divorce mediation, a neutral mediator helps the divorcing couple come to agreement on issues of parenting, alimony and division of assets.
Spring is traditionally the best time to sell a house. And many people consider getting divorced in the spring, because they want to sell their house as part of the process.
Why do many people get divorced? They argue about money. The husband and wife have different ideas about how much money they need, how much they should each contribute to the family, and how the money should be spent. Then, they come to divorce mediation, and they argue about money.
We are now in divorce season. While it is true that you can get divorced any time of the year, there seems to be an increase in divorce filings and inquiries to divorce attorneys at the start of the calendar year. Yes, you somehow muddled through one last holiday season for the kids. But now it is time to move things along.
So what do you get when you mediate? What are the benefits if you do not get everything you want?
No one seems to want to think about divorce during the Holidays. It is the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah/Christmas season again - the time of year when we spend tons of time with our families and extended families.
We get a lot of calls about people hearing that they should try mediation if they are getting divorced, but they don’t really know that much about it. These are great calls. Some people realize from one simple phone call that this process will not work for them or they want to give it a try. So if you are not sure, pick up the phone and get more information about mediation.
Anyone (and I mean anyone) can build a website, print out a business card and call themselves a mediator. It is an unregulated profession in most states. And requires very little (if any) professional training or certification. So while poking around on the Internet is good way to get started, before you go and hire the first mediator you find, dig a bit deeper and get educated.
One point that we do not make enough is that mediation reduces stress by providing a structure and process during a time when families feel out of control.
What can you do to ensure that your mediation goes as smoothly as possible? And avoid the possibility of a long, drawn-out attorney-driven divorce?
These are the comments I typically get when I tell someone I meet for the first time that I am a Divorce Mediator. I acknowledge their perception, but then go on to discourage them about their idea of divorce mediation.
Divorce Mediation is a simpler, cheaper, less contentious alternative to litigation. To make it work best, you should choose someone to guide you through it that works well with you.
There has been a slight panic among some divorce lawyers I know about the lack of family law judges available to deal with divorce cases.
As divorce mediators, we often hear the question - “Why is it so expensive to get divorced?” It does not seem to make sense that it costs so much to get out of a relationship. Many couples worry about the cost of living on their own, and they don’t want to put themselves further behind by spending precious dollars on the divorce itself.
Divorce Mediation does work quite well for a lot of people. Mediators can help couples get divorced in a more amicable, private, faster and less expensive way than divorce litigation. However, we do not think it is a magic bullet that will work for everyone who is getting a divorce.
There will never be the perfect time to tell the kids you are getting a divorce. Mediators can help their clients navigate this journey. We have some dos and don’ts about how to tell the kids.
What are the differences between divorce mediation and collaborative divorce and which works better? While both divorce mediation and collaborative divorce are designed to promote resolution and avoid costly, stressful litigation, they have a few key differences.
How did we end up here? As a divorce mediator, I do understand that usually one, if not both, of the people using my services asks themselves this question. People do not think they will get divorced when they get married, even though statistics say otherwise.
It is tax season again which makes us think about all the tax issues that we raise in divorce mediation. In divorce mediation, we guide divorcing couples through child support, spousal support and division of assets, and tax issues arise during all of these discussions.
As I sat there observing two future mediators attempt to gently guide two teams of role playing clients and their respective advocates towards a mutually agreeable resolution, a single thought kept running through my head: Being a judge is really hard. I mean really REALLY hard.
Want to know a secret? Divorce doesn’t have to difficult. Yet too many people allow it to turn into an outright war. Hiring lawyers and going to court while spending years of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars litigating. For what? So they could settle a score or be proven right on some old argument they had 15 years ago?
While some may think the decision to divorce itself is the hardest part of the process, the choice of using a mediator or a lawyer for your divorce can be an even more difficult one. But with a little education, you can make the decision that’s best for you in your particular situation.
There are really two parts to the question - “Can you afford to get divorced?” One, can you afford to go through the process of separating from your spouse, and two, can you afford to live on your own?
As absurd as the title of this post is to me as a Divorce Mediator, apparently there are some women out there who think if their husband wants a mediator, they’re trying to put one over on them. But nothing could be farther (I hope) from the truth.
In the spirit of “turnabout is fair play” and in response to our article on husbands wanting mediators, I thought I’d take a shot at 3 reasons why a wife wants a mediator.
Where do I start? When a potential client calls to ask about divorce mediation, I often get asked this question. The simple answer iswe start wherever you are, with whatever you know. We don’t ask you to bring any paperwork with you to the first meeting.
Gray divorce - divorce among couples over 50 - is becoming more common. According to research recently reported in The New York Times (9.22.13), for the first time, more Americans over 50 are divorced than widowed.
Divorce is the solution to a problem, not the problem itself. The problem is you are in an unhappy marriage and no longer want to be. The solution is to no longer be married to this person and move on with your life. The divorce is the process you need to go through to resolve your problem.
What is the cheapest way to get divorced? The most expensive way? The best way? The answer is different to all three questions. In fact, divorce is one of those things where the best way is not necessarily the least or most expensive.
So the real question when it comes to divorce is, “is it better for children to grow up in an intact home with marital discord and emotional stress or in homes where their parents live separately?”
Divorce Mediation sounds like a great alternative to litigation, but is it for everyone? We often talk about the advantages of going through divorce mediation, rather than expensive, time-consuming litigation.
Is the divorce rate really 50%? How many of your friends and family are divorced? Is it every other marriage? Not for me. In my children’s class at school, half the class is not from a divorced family. On my block no one is divorced. So how come we keep hearing that one in two marriages end in divorce.
If you filed for divorce, can you still do mediation? If you go through divorce mediation, do you still need a lawyer? We commonly hear these questions from potential clients. And the answers, for the most part, are yes, and yes.
What if only one half of the couple wants to get divorced? As divorce mediators, we often hear this question. Generally, both people know that their marriage is rocky. But often, only one spouse feels ready to end it.
“I want to get divorced, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money. What’s the best way to do it?” The great thing about divorce mediation is that it is one of those rare times when the cheaper option is also the better one.
Valentine’s Day may be a good time to take stock of your relationship. Sometimes, the thought of having to spend days like Valentine’s Day without a partner keeps people together even though they are in unhappy couplings.
“If we pretty much agree on the issues, why do we need a divorce mediator?” Sometimes people find a website, read through it, and figure that they can probably handle the divorce on their own, saving time and money. The truth is, while they may have a basic plan for separating, they may not have considered all the issues.
How does divorce mediation work when you don’t even want to be in the same room as your soon-to-be ex-spouse? Mediators have specific skill sets to get people to communicate who can’t stand each other so they can make important life-altering decisions.
Say you have already decided to get divorced, and you know you need to hire a mediator. How do you get started? How do you find the divorce mediator that is best for you?
It is an unfortunate fact that approximately half of all marriages in this country will ultimately end in divorce. It is also an unfortunate fact that many participants in the divorce process will find themselves in bitter, expensive and acrimonious battles.
As a music lover myself, I couldn’t possibly imagine listening to only one album for the rest of my life, so when it comes to divorce and determining what the one asset you must protect in a divorce should be, the choice seems equally impossible.
The concept of divorce mediation involves the idea that, when provided with skilled guidance and professional support, individuals can successfully resolve disputes without the need for litigation. This concept can be applied to every aspect of a separation and divorce, including child support.
In a perfect world, all divorces would be amicable and both parties would agree on everything the first time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world and divorce is oftentimes fraught with tension and conflict. Mediation can be used as a tool to resolve this conflict in a timely manner so that both parties involved will be able to reach an agreement and move forward with their lives.
Mediation is all the rage in family court these days. However, in my professional opinion mediation is very over rated. There are basically several types of mediation.
When it comes to separation and divorce of a couple who have children, people often minimize the effects it can have on the man and his role as a father. The truth is when dads divorce they are just as impacted as their spouse, particularly when they are facing the possibility of not seeing their children as often as they’re used to. In just about every situation, mediation can be used to ease the minds of everyone involved and to reach an agreement that is fair and acceptable to both parties.
We live in demanding and stressful times. Time and money are precious commodities, which are not in abundance nor easily acquired. What are the options for a couple that decide to separate or divorce?
Studies indicate that the challenges and losses experienced by children of divorce are more profound and longer lasting than previously thought. Children of divorce tend to be at risk for poor academic performance, health problems, poor sense of personal accountability, and even substance abuse.
People often contemplate mediation versus divorce litigation, as if it is an either-or decision. It isn’t. You can still litigate if you opt to mediate. Either way, divorce mediation allows both parties to attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement, but nothing is binding.
In these tough economic times, New Jersey couples who engage in divorce mediation are often in for a surprise when presented with the realities of their financial situation. Selling a house isn’t as simple as it used to be and for many couples their homes are worth less than they owe or less than what they paid for them.
Divorce does not discriminate as it is blind to age, race, economic background, education, number of years married, children, property ownership and so on. Couples who have been married a short time or do not have children have far different issues to contend with than couples who have been married a long time, have adult children and have accumulated significant assets over a lifetime of marriage.
For anyone who engages in divorce mediation, sessions can be a stressful time. Here are 5 tips for divorce mediation success from the perspective of a New Jersey divorce mediator to help you and your spouse move on with your lives as peacefully and efficiently you can.
As chaotic as divorce may seem, believe it or not there are some tried and true rules for having a successful mediation. Below you will find six rules to keep in mind so that your divorce mediation sessions can go as smoothly as possible.
Whether you’ve been doing your homework and are an expert on mediation or if you aren’t sure what mediation is, below is a list of common myths about mediators to help you understand my role in the process and about mediators in general.
A divorce mediator is a caring and professionally trained neutral third party who helps two parties negotiate directly with each other in order to resolve a dispute, in this case your divorce. Mediators come from a variety of backgrounds including law, mental health and finance, among others.
It’s true that couples who use mediation for divorce in New Jersey receive many benefits but how many out there even know mediation is an option? As a New Jersey divorce mediator my guess is not nearly enough.
As the owner and lead mediator of a New Jersey divorce mediation practice I can tell you based on the calls I receive that there is much confusion out there as to the best way to proceed with your divorce. For some New Jersey couples who call us at Equitable Mediation Services aren’t even sure what we do or that divorce mediation is the best way to get a divorce in New Jersey.
You would think by now that people would know NJ divorce mediation is the only way that one should even consider getting a divorce but alas, only a small percentage of couples are smart enough to use a mediation service as a means to peacefully and efficiently resolve their differences and come to a fair and equitable distribution of their marital assets and liabilities.
Yes, in these tough economic times (and in all times for that matter) cost is always an issue and it’s always better to fund your child’s college fund rather than your attorney’s, but saving money is not the only issue at stake here as there’s also the issue of the emotional cost a divorce can take on both the parties and their children, friends and family.
In post divorce parent coordination the two most common issues are physical custody and child support. In this article well talk about the second of these post divorce parent coordination issues and some of the questions you will need to address but first lets take a look briefly at what child support actually is.
Post divorce parent coordination involves a couple who is already divorced but has issues they need to mediate regarding the children. In this article well talk about the first of the two different types of post divorce parent coordination which involves physical custody and some of the questions you will need to address.
Of the four major issues facing divorcing couples parenting plans, equitable distribution, child support and spousal support alimony, three of these issues are financial and will require you to produce documentation which is commonly prepared at year end so its important that you obtain copies as soon as you are able.
Spousal support is by far the most hotly contested item discussed during mediation sessions. Here in New Jersey, there are no guidelines to help us calculate spousal support and instead we have a series of statutory factors which provide general guidelines how alimony is determined.
I know it may seem counter intuitive if you’re a parent but sadly, more people than you’d think put their children in the middle of their divorce and use them as negotiating pawns.
Unlike Parenting Plans where each party tries to have the best interests of their children in mind, when it comes to money, those rules go out the window and the arguments over who gets what, take over.
When it comes to divorce and mediation, the good news is most parents can put their differences aside. But what do you do when one party tries to use the children as pawns to their advantage?
Lately, many of the clients we see are coming to us with one question: How am I going to live after I get divorced? And while this question is not new, given the state of today’s economy, it’s one worth considering carefully as in this unique climate, unorthodox arrangements may be necessary in order to survive not only your divorce, but your life after divorce as well.
As part of our training as divorce mediators in New Jersey, we are given many books and articles to read in order to help us learn different techniques to help people through conflict. There is a classic book written by Roger Fisher and William Ury called ’Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In’ which teaches us the important concept of bargaining over positions versus interests.
It seems that regardless of what’s written in the divorce decree or your Memorandum of Understanding drafted during mediation, the tax deduction will automatically go to the custodial parent for any tax years after July 1, 2008 unless a written waiver is filled out and filed along with your divorce or mediation papers.
While the concept of mediation may seem relatively new, people have understood the benefits of mediation for centuries. Mediation has continued to evolve as the best method of dispute resolution and below you will find what I think are just a few of the benefits of mediation.
In the ongoing discussion of mediation versus collaborative law, what is becoming more apparent is the need for a hybrid approach for certain of cases that borrows from the best of both processes to meet the needs of complex and/or higher conflict mediation cases.
You have gone through the mediation process, and now have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). In this article, I have provided information regarding the next steps in the divorce process, after mediation.
On November 22, 2004, New Jersey passed the Uniform Mediation Act (UMA). The purpose of the new law is to establish uniform standards and procedures for mediation and mediators.
My objective in this article is to deconstruct and thereby demystify what happens behind closed doors during the divorce mediation process. I describe an approach to the divorce mediation process, with the caveat that each mediator has their own style, and that there are many right approaches.
The biggest lesson people can learn from their own divorces was how to get married again and how to get married for a lifetime. There is a dearth of literature on the subject of starter marriages and the divorce process, let alone the divorce mediation process.
Part of the problem is that while clients were doing the necessary paperwork to comply with their companies legal requirements to transfer funds to the alternative payee, the moneys were kept in investments tied to stock market performance.
On May 31, 2000, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on a request for a change in spousal support (alimony) in the case of Robert B. Crews vs. Barbara D. Crews, by stating that the parties must go back and identify the marital standard of living at the time of the divorce.
If divorce is the proper alternative for two individuals, they should be spared as much pain as possible. This can be done through the process of divorce mediation, in which one or two mediators help a husband and wife prepare their own separation agreement.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
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