Below you’ll find a link to a good article that discusses briefly how divorce effects children at different ages. Also, the website generally provides resources that may be helpful to you if children involved as you go about ending a marriage whether through divorce mediation or a litigated divorce process.
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The following 4 tips are offered as a continuation from the previous divorce mediation blog article posted on 1/16/13. These are additional considerations when preparing for a peaceful divorce in the Bay Area.
4. Research Support & Counseling Options
The ending of a marriage is often one of the most painful experiences people will go through in their lives. Do not under estimate the need for support as you are going through it. Even when you have good friends and family members to talk to, having unbiased trained support is still a good idea. Further, I assure you that it gets exhausting listening to anyone as they go through the process. You will most likely want to talk about what is going on and how you are feeling, and you should. There are many great therapists out there, and many divorce support groups. Do yourself a favor and at least consider that this might be something helpful to you at some point during or after your marriage ends.
Also, if you have children, you should research therapists that specialize in working with children going through divorce. Your child may or may not adjust well to the news. This type of research is to simply to be prepared if your child does not seem to be coping well. Most therapists tend to specialize and have experience in different areas. Knowing what resources are available, and the potential costs is helpful to your planning process.
5. Talk to An Accountant
Another important person to consult during your planning process is an accountant. An account can be very helpful in explaining your finances, and advising you regarding various tax and accounting matters related to ending your marriage. For example, there are potential tax considerations to understand regarding paying or receiving both child support and spousal support. Understanding these matters will help you in formulating the best plan for you and your children.
6. Research Divorce Mediators
Because it is important that your divorce mediator is a viewed as a neutral between the spouses, a divorce mediator should not meet with you without your spouse present. If one, or the other, of the spouses has had a prior meeting with the mediator, this normally prompts a bias. However, you can conduct some preliminary research to find divorce mediators in the Bay Area that are experienced, and get an idea of their fees for your planning purposes.
7. Put Together A Plan and Backup Plans
Once you have a good grasp on all your current costs and potential future expenses, you are in a good position to put together your game plan. You should have an ideal plan, and backup plans. You need to plan your finances accordingly for your worst-case scenario. If you cannot afford to get divorced, you would be better served to wait until you have a plan in place for getting the money. If you feel strongly that your marriage needs to, or is going to end, you will do you and your family a great favor by planning for your divorce before you take action.
For any questions regarding divorce mediation, please contact Lisa Nelson at San Francisco Area Mediation (SFAM) at (650) 556-8880 for a free initial consultation.
The most important thing you can do to minimize the potential conflict involved with ending a marriage is to plan for your divorce. You will have a much great chance of being able to utilize tools such as divorce mediation if you have researched and developed a game plan. Ending a marriage is a huge, complicated ordeal. It deserves a thoughtful, calculated approach. Here are some things you should consider doing in your planning process.
1) Research & Talk to Attorneys
You should become aware of what to expect when going through a divorce, and how much it is going to cost. Even if you hope to use divorce mediation and avoid a contested divorce, you should be aware of what is involved in a divorce proceeding. It is prudent to know your worst-case options, but aim for the best-case scenario. Divorce mediation is a voluntary process. Thus, if both parties do not agree to try it, or decide at any point not continue with it, then you would have to go through a court divorce proceeding to end your marriage. The good news is that most divorce attorneys do not charge for an initial consultation. You should interview more than one divorce attorney. This is a great way to get an overview of what to expect, as well as get a feel for different attorneys. Come prepared with questions. In a best-case scenario, your spouse will be open to divorce mediation. In a worst-case scenario, your spouse fights the divorce the entire way. You should especially understand the costs of your worst-case scenario. You do not want to be in the middle of a divorce battle and run out of money to pay your attorney, or the other expenses involved in preparing for contested hearings regarding property and children issues.
2) Research Housing Alternatives
At some point you and your spouse will need to separate. Being in separate spaces as you work through your ending your marriage is a good idea for a number of reasons. As a general matter, it is very difficult for spouses to negotiate the terms of their divorce when they are residing in the same space. Let’s face it, for most spouses this is going to be a very emotional time. You both need your space to think and deal apart from one another. However, you should consult a divorce attorney for advice regarding possible legal ramifications (especially if children are involved) of moving out of the marital home in your particular situation. Another good reason to separate is to reduce the conflict in your household. This is especially important if children are involved. I assure you your children will suffer and feel in the middle if you and your spouse engage in spitting matches in the home.
To this end, you need to carefully consider your options and have a plan, and backup plans regarding your housing. If you do not want to stay in the house, or are unable to (because the conflict is too much or because a temporary court order removes you), where are the possible places you could reside (with and without your children)? How much do the places cost? When are you able to move in? If you want to your children to be residing with you at least part-time, then you must have adequate space for them. This may be an involved process in you live in an area such as the San Francisco Bay area where housing is expensive and limited. This is all part of your alternative planning.
3) Access and Copy Documents
While you are residing in the same home as your spouse, you have easier access to the types of documents that you will need for ending your marriage –whether it is through divorce mediation or a litigated divorce procedure in San Francisco. You want to be able to access, and at least make copies of all the various documents that you will need. These include documents and statements regarding credit cards, mortgages, automobile loans, investments, bank accounts, etc. (See my previous posts for a more through discussion of the types of documents you will need).
For any questions regarding divorce mediation, please contact Lisa Nelson at San Francisco Area Mediation (SFAM) at (650) 556-8880 for a free initial consultation. SFAM provides divorce mediation services for clients in the Bay Area. Offices are conveniently located in San Mateo and San Francisco counties.
Not only does divorce mediation allow couples to engage in creative solutions to issues that a court will want to see addressed when ending a marriage, but also, it allows you to address issues beyond what a court would address to end a marriage. Further, it allows you to be imaginative and take control of how to resolve those issues. This is true of both financial and child related issues.
Financial Issues in Divorce Mediation
If left to a court to decide, a judge will normally attempt to divide up assets and debts as evenly (or “equitable”) as possible. Also, is it common to order the sale of marital assets to pay debts and relieve each party of any on going marital burdens. However, depending upon the circumstances, the “usual way” a judge makes orders may or may not be in the best financial interest of you and your spouse. Parties are free to decide whatever works best for them regarding the division of assets and debts, and write that out clearly in a mediation document. The only requirement is that there is full disclosure by both parties of all the assets and debts.
Children Issues in Divorce Mediation
The domestic court requires that certain basic child related things are addressed either by agreement or by the judge making a decision. For instance, parenting time and child support are the big issues. However, a domestic judge is not going to micro-manage how parents raise their children. So issues that may be important to you, may not be the type of issue a judge will address. For instance, judges will normally stay away from religious and cultural issues relating to children. However, these are sometimes important issues to some parents. In divorce mediation, parents are free to discuss these issues and come to agreements as to how they will be handled. Other issues such as children attending private school and who will pay for it can be discussed. A court would never order parents to put children in private school and force a non-agreeing parent to pay. However, if that is important to the parties, it can be negotiated in divorce mediation and included in a shared parenting plan.
If you have any questions regarding divorce mediation, please do not hesitate to call Lisa Nelson, San Francisco Area Mediation (SFAM), today at (650) 556-8880.
Divorce mediation is a specialized process facilitated by a neutral divorce mediator to help people resolve any and all issues involved with ending a marriage. Child custody and parenting issues, as well as marital property and debt division issues may be resolved through divorce mediation. The agreements reached by the parties in divorce mediation get transferred into the necessary legal documents and filed with the appropriate court. In California, it is possible for the parties to mediate all of their issues and never have to appear in court.
The Divorce Mediation Process
Your San Francisco area divorce mediator typically begins by explaining the mediation process, laying the ground rules, explaining what important documents the parties should bring to mediation. Mediation can be viewed as a three-part process. First, the mediator helps the parties identify whatever issues need to be resolved. Next each issue is tackled one at a time. For each issue, the parties are encouraged to brainstorm ideas for resolving the issue. Finally, after a creative problem solving session produces a variety of options for resolving the conflict, the parties will begin discussing the pros and cons of the various options. Ultimately the goal is to arrive at solutions that both parties can agree upon. The process is repeated for each issue that needs to be resolved.
Mediation is a fantastic tool that can be used in all sorts of situations to resolve conflicts. I personally specialize in divorce mediation because of my extensive divorce law experience. However, mediation skills are transferable to resolving a variety of high conflict situations from neighborhood disputes to corporate partnership issues.
Contact SFAM today at (650) 556-8880 mediation today for a free initial consultation, and visit www.sf-mediators.com.