Category Archives: Divorce

5 Tips For Helping Children Cope With Divorce

5 tips for helping children cope with divorce

You may have heard that the divorce rate in the United States is about 50%.

Currently, the divorce rate hovers around 40 to 50%, though if you’re on your second or third marriage, the chance for divorce can be much higher.

No matter when you divorce, if you have kids with your partner, helping children cope with divorce can be difficult. Divorce itself can rock a child’s foundation and make them more susceptible to psychological issues in the future.

Children depend on their parents, but when they split up, they may be thrust into a world of independence. They may also feel their home life is no longer predictable or stable, two things that can shake children’s confidence and sense of self.

Additionally, many children may not be aware that divorce is permanent. Or, they may cling to the hope that one day the family will repair itself. While this does happen, this isn’t very likely.

Helping Children Cope With Divorce

As such, it is necessary that you and your ex-spouse work together to help your children through your separation and divorce.

Read on for more information and tips to help your children deal with their newfound reality.

Take Your Children To Therapy

If you’re able to afford it, take your children to therapy. This may even be a temporary thing.

It doesn’t matter what age your children are, taking them to therapy can be a healthy and productive way for them to process your divorce. There, they can vent their anger or frustrations to a third-party who will validate them and remain neutral.

If your child is very young, they can still benefit from therapy, especially if you take them to a psychologist who consistently sees young children. There are ways of helping young kids open up and process their emotions.

Reassure Them You Still Love Them

If your child suddenly sees one parent much less than they see the other, they may worry this is because the other parent no longer wishes to be in their life. They may also assume that one parent no longer loves them as much as they used to.

While you already know this isn’t true, a child may not be able to process this.

Discuss with your child that your separation has nothing to do with them or how much you or your ex love them. Reassure them that both of you love them the same as you always did, but that you will be living separately from now on.

Children should also know that this wasn’t their fault and there was nothing they could have done to prevent it from happening.

Set Up A Routine As Quickly As Possible

Children thrive on routines, and without one, they can feel lost or aimless.

With you and your ex living in the same house, they likely fell into a routine. You’ll have to create a new routine that will involve them seeing both you and your ex.

If your child is old enough, speak to them about what they would like for their routine to look like. While your child cannot make all the decisions themselves, you should take their input into account.

Establish a new routine so that your child knows what to look forward to and when.

Listen To Your Children

Encourage your kids to speak about their emotions. While you may assume the divorce mostly affects the two of you, remember that it will also affect your children, even if they don’t seem to show it.

Don’t tell them what will happen and then not allow them their own space to discuss it with you. While speaking to a third-party or therapist is very helpful, listening to them speak to you is also paramount.

You want your child to feel heard during this process, especially as it usually involves big changes for everyone in your immediate family.

Ask them how they feel about their parents splitting up, and let them know it is okay to not know how to feel or to even feel a little angry.

Some children may not express any emotions. They may do this to placate you and your ex. Even if your child says nothing about your divorce, do not think this is because it doesn’t affect them. It does, so allow them to show it.

Don’t Fight With Your Ex If You Can Help It

You and your ex divorced for a reason. You may hate them because of the things they’ve done in the marriage or find them insufferable, but unless you have concerns about them parenting or providing a safe place for your kids, they should still see your kids when they can.

As such, you should encourage them to have a relationship with your children, and that means being civil to one another. Try not to bad mouth them in front of your children or let your kids in on the intricacies of why you broke up.

When your kids are adults, they may become privy to some of these issues, but as long as they’re in your care, it isn’t their business. It shouldn’t color how they see your ex-spouse.

Need A Lawyer?

Helping children cope with divorce can be very difficult, especially if the divorce is also rough on you and your ex. But, if you make them a priority, your family will make it through to the other side.

Do you need a divorce lawyer with a strong experience in family law? Don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’ll help you take care of the legal stuff while you focus on your family.

How To Tell Your Spouse “I Want A Divorce”

how to tell your spouse i want a divorce

Every year, more than 800,000 couples throughout the U.S. decide that they want to get a divorce.

Deciding to get a divorce is never easy, nor is it easy to tell your spouse that that’s what you want.

Have you been putting off having this conversation for weeks, months, or even years? It’s a hard conversation to have. The sooner you do it, though, the sooner you can move forward with your life.

If you’re ready to tell your spouse, “I want a divorce” but aren’t sure how to go about it, keep reading.

Listed below are some tips that can make the conversation a little easier.

Be Honest With Yourself

Before you sit down and tell your spouse that you want a divorce, it’s important to know that this is truly what you want.

Once you throw out the “D” word, your relationship to your spouse will change. Don’t say it unless you really mean it.

Knowing whether or not a divorce is right for you is tricky, to say the least.

Be brutally honest with yourself about your desire for a divorce. You may also need to enlist the help of a therapist or counselor to help you figure out whether you want to proceed or not.

Consider Your Spouse’s Current State

Think about your spouse and how they’re feeling at the moment.

Do they seem blissfully ignorant and unaware that you’re unhappy? Or, is it clear that they’re unhappy, too?

Knowing where your spouse stands can help you decide the best way to broach the subject of a divorce.

Choose The Right Time And Place

No matter what your spouse’s current state is, there is definitely such a thing as a good time and place to talk about your desire for a divorce.

Do not bring it up ten minutes before you have to leave for work or while you’re out grocery shopping. Plan ahead for the conversation.

It may seem impossible, but you should try to choose a time and place when your spouse will be most receptive to your comments.

At the very least, plan to discuss it when you both are least likely to be stressed and will have the time to talk things out.

Choose Your Words Carefully

There’s also a right and wrong way to tell your spouse that you want a divorce. 

No matter how fed up you are with the marriage, there’s no need to be cruel. Remember, too, that the words you use will have an effect on the way they react.

If you choose the right words and avoid placing blame on them for your problems, you’re more likely to have a productive conversation. This isn’t always the case, of course, but choosing the right words can definitely help.

Work with a counselor if necessary to figure out what you’re going to say beforehand.

Be Firm Yet Gentle

It’s not just about the words you say. It’s also about the way you say them. Make sure that your tone is firm, yet gentle.

Be clear about what you want. Don’t hedge or try and sugarcoat things. At the same time, though, there’s no need to be overly blunt or aggressive.

You may want to practice expressing your desire for a divorce before you sit down and have the conversation. That way, you can make sure you’re using an appropriate tone. 

Prepare For Their Reaction

In addition to preparing your remarks, you also need to prepare for your spouse’s reaction to those remarks.

Do you think they’ll take it well and agree with you and your concerns? Will they cry or get angry?

No one knows with total certainty how they’re going to handle those situations. It’s a good idea to consider several different possible reactions so you can be prepared no matter how your spouse responds.

Take Safety Precautions If Necessary

Is there a possibility your spouse will become violent when you tell them that you want a divorce? If so, it’s important to take precautions to keep yourself safe.

Consider having the discussion in a public place where your spouse is less likely to make a scene.

If you prefer to talk in private, at least make sure that someone knows where you are and when you’re going to have the conversation. That way, they can come and check on you or be waiting on standby just in case. 

It might be a good idea to have your cell phone handy with 911 pre-dialed before you begin the conversation.

Don’t Discuss The Details Yet

Immediately after you announce that you want a divorce is not the proper time to go over custody issues or other details.

There will be plenty of time for that, and it’s best if you can have those discussions after you’ve officially filed for divorce and have a divorce lawyer or mediator present.

If you discuss details now, when emotions are running high, you’re more likely to act rashly and may say or do things that you regret later on.

Don’t Involve Your Kids

Finally, don’t get your kids involved.

They shouldn’t be present during the discussion and you should do your best to keep them out of the conversation. This is an issue between yourself and your spouse.

Your kids will have to know about the divorce eventually, but they don’t need to be present at this time.

This rule applies whether your kids are adults or are young and still living at home.

What To Do After Saying, “I Want A Divorce”

After you have the hard conversation and told your partner, “I want a divorce,” it’s important to have a plan in place for how you’re going to proceed.

It’s good to have already hired a lawyer, too.

If you live in or around the Bay Area, contact the Law Offices of Gerard a Falzone today.

We make it easy for you to set up a free phone consultation so we can learn more about your case and help you figure out the best course of action. 

How To Stop A Divorce After Filing Papers

how to stop a divorce after filing papers

Divorce can be a long and emotional process for both parties involved. A lot of decisions need to be made during the process, and it isn’t unheard of for some couples to start rethinking divorce after they’ve started the process.

You may think you’re ready to sign the paperwork, but now you’re starting to think that divorce isn’t right for both of you.

Believe it or not, it’s relatively simple to stop divorce after filing.

If you’re having second thoughts about legally ending your marriage, you don’t have to go through with the divorce. Read on to learn what you have to do to stop your divorce after you’ve filed. 

Stop A Divorce After Filing

It’s important to note that both parties have to be in agreement to stop divorce after filing. If you still want to stay married and your spouse doesn’t, you can’t force them to end the divorce.

If you’ve both come to the decision to stop divorce proceedings, you can follow these steps.

Visit The Courthouse

Once you decide that you no longer want to go through your divorce you need to find some time to visit the courthouse where you filed your original petition for divorce.

Once you’re at the courthouse, explain that you want to stop the divorce process and want the correct paperwork. 

Some websites will tell you to just get the forms online. We advise against this unless you download them directly from a government website in your jurisdiction.  

Different jurisdictions have different forms of paperwork and requirements to stop a divorce. If you download something online you may not have what you need. 

Complete The Document

The paperwork you originally used to file for divorce may have been long and complicated, but the opposite is usually true for people that are trying to stop their divorce.

In most states, you’ll just have a simple single page document to fill out. The form asks you to state that you’re voluntarily dismissing or withdrawing your case.

Unlike divorce in certain states, you don’t need to give an explanation about why you want to end the divorce process.

Get Plenty Of Copies

Once you’ve completed the paperwork, make copies of everything. After you’ve made your copy you can visit a court clerk to stamp everything as filed. 

You’re going to want to have several copies for personal and legal purposes. Make sure that you have an official copy, along with your spouse and your lawyer.

Start The Serving Process

Your state may require you to formally serve your spouse with a copy of the dismissal paperwork. This can vary from state to state or even county to county, so be sure to check with your lawyer beforehand. 

In places where a formal serving isn’t required, you may just be able to give them a copy yourself by hand or by mail. 

Once you’ve completed the process, you may have to file proof with the court to prove that you’ve served your spouse. It’s a good idea to check with your lawyer about this. 

Tips For The Process To Stop A Divorce After Filing

The legal act of stopping the divorce process is simple, but navigating the emotional and social repercussions can be difficult for both you and your spouse. 

Deciding to end a marriage isn’t easy, and making the decision to continue to stay married can be even harder. Dealing with this time is tough, and we have some tips that can help make the process easier.

Keep Your Lawyer In The Loop

You may have decided to not go through the divorce, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop talking to your lawyer. If anything, they should be one of the first people you call after you make your decision.

You’ll want to make sure that you’ve done everything you need to do to formally end the marriage. A lawyer is a great way to ensure that you’re staying on track of everything. 

Also, be sure to go to them with any other legal questions you may have. They can give you insight into the best way to handle rights to marital property, custody, and other things that may have been affected because of the divorce.

Be Aware Of Your Options

You may not be ready to divorce, but that doesn’t mean that you’re ready to jump back into married life again. It’s okay for both spouses to take their time to reacclimate themselves to marriage.

Some couples that decide to stop the divorce still decide to stay legally separated. They may be on the fence about ending things entirely but still need time to themselves.

Also, you can choose to be discreet about your decision to end the divorce. Some couples choose to not share the news with close family members or friends because they’re still working on things with their partner.

Know You Can Change Your Mind 

You may decide to stop the divorce process now, but that doesn’t mean that you can never start it again.

Some people are hesitant to approach the topic of divorce once they’ve already legally stopped the process. You’re allowed to make decisions for yourself and your family that could involve legally ending your marriage.

Don’t be afraid to get individual counseling or couples counseling after you choose to end the divorce process. Getting insight from a therapist can help you both see what the next best steps to take are in your relationship.

Get The Legal Counsel You Need

It is possible, and easy, to stop a divorce after filing. Once you have the proper paperwork in order you can end the divorce process almost as easily as you started it.

Do you have any questions about stopping a divorce? Are you curious about other facets of family law? Contact us today so we can get you the answers you need.

In the meantime, explore our blog and learn a little more about family law.

The 10 Most Common Reasons For Divorce

the 10 most common reasons for divorce

“How did we end up here?” It’s a question that many who are facing divorce are asking themselves right now. And the reasons for divorce are unique to each relationship.

Truly, a divorce is rarely caused by one single reason. Marriages are each unique and complicated, with many factors determining how they end up. But there are many reasons for divorce that occur far more often than others. You’ll find these listed below.

Identifying The Many Reasons For Divorce

Whether you’re trying to save your marriage or preparing for divorce mediation, read on to learn more.

Disconnection

Time changes all things. Consider the difference ten years can make in your life. 

Your spouse’s job becomes a career. You have kids and parental duties to focus on.

Through the changes and struggles of life, many spouses focus more on these issues and less on each other. After years of this, they drift further and further apart.

They talk less and go on fewer dates. They never vacation alone anymore. Even before becoming legally separated, they have become disconnected from each other socially and emotionally.

As this internal separation continues, they start to feel separate. They develop identities that no longer include connection to their spouse. They opt for divorce because, on the inside, they’ve divorced their spouse already.

Physical Neglect

In the same way spouses loose touch with each other emotionally/socially, they can start neglecting each other physically. Even before the sex stops, the level of physical touching decreases. As partners focus more on kids and work, there is less holding of hands, hugging, and kissing between them.

This problem can grow into a decrease in sex. Like marriage itself, sexuality must be nurtured by both partners or it weakens. 

A sexually receptive partner helps a man feel and act more romantically toward his spouse. And romantic attention helps a woman feel sexually receptive.

But when one of these is neglected, often so is the other. It becomes a downward spiral which robs both partners of sexual/romantic feelings toward each other. When it evolves further, it becomes hurt, then resentment, then spite, then rage…many reasons for divorce.

Getting Married For The Wrong Reasons

Many divorced couples got along well while dating. But they weren’t prepared to spend life with the same person after everything else in their life, including both partners, changed. Often, they had a skewed idea about what marriage is in the first place.

Many see marriage as an extension of dating. They feel pressured to marry as if it’s a necessary step if they want to continue dating a person. In reality, marriage and dating are meant to be very different things.

Dating means seeing someone for now, but maybe not later. Like a job they hold or the house they live in, it is subject to change.

But marriage means spending an entire lifetime with someone, even when everything else changes. In ten years, your job, car, and the house may all be different than they are now.

You and your spouse will be different than you were. You may have kids that you didn’t before.

But unlike all these things, marriage is not meant to be subject to change. Many don’t see this distinction and aren’t prepared for the reality and commitment of a lasting marriage. 

Different Expectations

Many expect their spouse to change certain behaviors and they never do. Others expect them to stay the same and they don’t.

Unmet expectations become resentment. But, quite often, they’re unmet because they were unrealistic or unclear in the first place.

If you wanted to adopt kids, did you tell your spouse before getting married? Many spouses are angered over outrageous expectations they never cleared with their spouse before it became relevant.

One spouse wants to retire in the country next year and the other wants to spend the next 3 years abroad, seeing the world. Neither tells the other until the time comes to make the decision.

A spouse who plans their future alone will most likely spend it alone, or disappointed and resentful.

Incompatibility Of Financial Management

For a marriage to survive, both partners must have shared goals for their future together. By default, this means they must be united in their financial goals/management strategies.

If they aren’t, they make true the saying, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Here are some examples of what that looks like.

One spouse makes the money, the other spends it all, and then some. One spouse saves up for a house, the other uses the savings to buy a new car.

This is a no-brainer, people. No relationship of any kind can survive this way. 

The Blame Game

This goes along with getting married for the wrong reason. People get married assuming it means they’ll live “happily ever after.” So when automatic happiness doesn’t happen, they assume it must be their spouse’s fault.

“They should work harder, take me out more, appreciate me more, etc.” Often, this spite is reciprocated by the other spouse. Once one becomes convinced that all their unhappiness is their spouse’s fault, they file for divorce to cut the problem off at the source.

Inadequate Conflict Resolution

Problems like the one above stem from improper conflict resolution. A wife is mad her husband isn’t meeting her needs. Instead of discussing it with him, she expects him to read her mind or figure out the problem himself. When he doesn’t, she gets even more resentful.

Or maybe she brings it up and he blows up in a defensive rage. Or they both bicker about little issues while avoiding the real root cause of their frustration.

In such cases, the problems they’re arguing aren’t the real problems. The real problems are maturity and communication. Personal insecurities and immaturity lead one to get defensive.

They could work through their conflict together to protect their marriage. Instead, they make the argument worse to protect their own ego.

Unless BOTH spouses yield for the good of the relationship, the marriage is doomed.

Codependency

Codependent relationships are lopsided and unstable. If a spouse is incomplete by their self, they can’t actually contribute anything to the marriage. They will always feel incomplete until they form an identity of their own.

And the other spouse is no better off, either. Being married to an incomplete person is an incomplete marriage thus it is one of the many reasons for divorce.

If your spouse only exists as a part of you, it’s like being married to yourself. In other words, it’s not that different from being alone.

Infidelity

While marriage can survive infidelity, it’s a very difficult comeback. Sometimes, it’s the “wake-up call” that brings attention to existing marital issues and inspires both partners to address them. Other times, it’s the final push that sends a marriage over the edge toward divorce.

Infidelity is often a result of emotional disconnection, sexual neglect, or other marital problems.

If the marriage is already struggling, the cheated-on spouse may consider the affair “the last straw” and file for divorce.

Abuse

Sadly, physical abuse is a very real problem in marriage and other relationships. 25% of women will be violently abused by a partner in their lifetime.

Abuse should never be tolerated. If the abusive spouse will not change the abused should definitely get out of the relationship.

But physical and emotional abuse isn’t the only abuse that ends relationships. Many marriages never recover from the impact of substance abuse or other addictive behaviors of a spouse.

Top 10 Reasons For Divorce

We hope these common reasons for divorce have given you a clearer understanding of why divorce happens. Remember these if you’re making efforts to reconcile or preparing for divorce mediation.

The 10 Most Common Divorce Mediation Questions And Their Answers

the 10 most common divorce mediation questions and their answers

Every human that has gone through this is emotionally wrapped around these issues and feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders. But Huffington Post says, when you are going through this, prepare to “engage your brain” and not your emotions. Divorce mediation alleviates many of those burdens.

If you’ve reached the point of ending a marriage through legal means, then it’s time to put your rational hat on, as that will make the process easier, and less expensive.

Any lawyer will tell you, it’s only logical.

You’ve Got Questions!

Here are answers to the top 10 most common divorce mediation questions that will have you grabbing for that hat, and breathing a sigh of relief.

What is divorce mediation?

Simply put, divorce mediation is the process used by two spouses in divorce to avoid a costly and lengthy divorce trial. All of the issues from property matters to custody sharing that would get negotiated in a divorce suit would be negotiated in the mediation process, without the traditional costly legal expenses of divorce court.

If you hire a lawyer for a custody or divorce suit, you are going to be paying for every single piece of paper your divorce lawyer touches in your case and billed for every email of complaint you send to them, and more. You’ll be paying a mediator an hourly rate and will meet with them a few times. Even the cost of mediation can be mediated.

So if your lawyer charges $300 an hour, they may bill you one-tenth of an hour for every email you send them. Thirty-dollar emails to complain about someone aren’t in every person’s family budget. That doesn’t happen in divorce mediation.

How does mediation work?

Once two parties have agreed they are going to divorce, they may then discuss the “how” of it. In many cases, one party will suggest mediation right off the bat. At this point, a mediator is hired, and you would hire your mediator in the same way you would hire any other legal party in your case. Review, research, rate, and then hire. Ask as many divorce mediation questions that you can before you sign a retainer obligation, with anybody.

The mediator will then meet with you both. Most of your mediation questions will be answered in that first meeting. Everybody’s expectations and potential outlooks will be discussed, as will your responsibilities. In mediation, you hash out everything you would in divorce court, in a less formal and more comfortable way.

This will include parenting plans, real estate arrangements, support matters, and everything else you can think of that you would settle in divorce court. Generally, a timeline is established, after which time an agreement is made which is then taken to the court to be made official.

How long does mediation take?

You’ll have an idea of when this is going to end and what your possible outcomes will look like early in the process. This is something you do not get when you launch a full-scale divorce suit that will end up in a trial. Mediate reports that in 2005, the average mediation process was settled in 90 days.

In a divorce trial, you begin the process wondering what you and your children’s future will look like and you may not have those answers for years. Even the best divorce lawyer in the world can only tell you what to expect in divorce court, but that nothing is a guarantee and you and your children’s futures are in the hands of someone else now.

Is mediation the answer for everybody?

The simple answer is no. Mediation is about a group of people getting together to solve a problem, and all parties need to be solutions-oriented when they go into it. The same is expected of them in divorce court, but in a more formal fashion, and that formality takes time and costs money.

When a marriage is ending due to power imbalances, vengeful parties, or an unwillingness to even end the marriage on one side, mediation is going to be problematic.

However, California is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce, and that means if one party wants a divorce it is going to happen, even if one party is rigid on the topic.

Domestic abuse is often cited as a reason to forego mediation. Divorce can also be very vengeful. On top of the emotional grips of a broken heart, there are children and a legal matter now on the table. The concept of “winning” too often overlooks the concept of a sound exit plan. Sometimes people don’t want to get divorced due to any or all of these issues. In these cases, mediation is not the best plan.

Will my vengeful spouse change through mediation?

This is situation specific. Often times the harsh realities of legal bills and judges lend to a change of heart for vengeful parties. In many cases a vengeful party will opt to sue for divorce and serve the other party with glee, claiming, “I can’t wait until a judge sees what you’ve done!”

Truth be told, that may not happen for as long as 18 months, or even longer. They may change their minds when a lawyer charging them $500 an hour tells them that revenge will be a dish served very, very cold, and an expensive one at that.

Custody plans that you want when Suzy is 9 may need to be completely different when she turns 11 and has a social life. Without divorce mediation, the reality is that you may never see the light of a courtroom until then. At the same time, in a divorce trial, you run the risk of a judge determining the future of your child.

If you want control of the process, divorce mediation is a good choice, but only if it is safe to do so and the mediation process is agreed upon and welcomed by both parties.

Is mediation expensive?

Ending a marriage and determining the future of minor children is a legal process and legal matters always come with a cost. In mediation, you control that cost. Divorce mediation is not nearly as expensive as a divorce case or custody suit that is going to trial. Having a separation agreement before mediation can lessen the costs of mediation even more.

A trial alone in divorce court could cost you thousands a day. A mediator will charge you hourly, and you only pay for your time with them. It could cost between five and 10 thousand dollars. Comparably, Straight.com notes that one divorce hearing alone could cost that much, with a five-day court hearing costing $50,000 in some cases.

In some divorce matters, one party winds up paying the costs of the other party. So your already heaping costs have the potential to double. This could happen in mediation as well, but not nearly at the expensive rate of a $50,000 (or more) divorce court process.

Is your revenge, bitterness, or heartbreak really worth a five-figure invoice? That’s college tuition for many kids today, or a few nice beach vacations to get your mind off of this major change in your life and create lifelong memories for the time you have with your kids.

Is mediation public?

No. This is another advantage of divorce mediation. You meet with your mediator as often as established and finalize an agreement both parties are happy with. None of that is public record. In the end, you take that agreement to court to make it an official order, and that is the only public record on your divorce.
The exception to this may be when a divorce mediation is court-ordered. In that event, all matters prior to mediation will be public record.

Do I still need a lawyer?

Ending a marriage is a legal process. You will be signing binding legal documents at the end that determines your future, and the future of your children if you have any. That will then go to court where it becomes a court order. You never want to go to court without legal advice, even if it’s just a matter of having an agreement made formal. It is an additional expense, but when you consider that this is the rest of your life, it’s one well worth it.

If mediation is becoming a high-conflict situation, being represented by someone more rational about the situation than you are is always beneficial. Many couples today have both lawyers and mediators, and the process is still less expensive.

A lawyer that isn’t dealing with heartbreak on top of legal fights and is fighting for your rights could even make the mediation process go smoother and sometimes even faster. It’s all situation specific, every case will be different.

Is mediation legally binding?

Once your matter goes before a judge and the seal has been set on your mediation agreement, this is a contract that is legally binding.

So for example, if you run into problems with custody sharing, real estate conflicts, or things of this nature after your entire divorce is finalized, any enforcement agencies you work with to resolve those conflicts will refer to this order as law. The mediation agreement is a more informal and less expensive process, but it is a serious one, and legally binding once the process is complete.

What are the biggest benefits of mediation?

Mediation sends the message that you are willing to conduct a legal matter in a rational and concessional way. In addition to the costs savings, the courts love it when they see a mediation matter come to the table. The court system today is clogged, and family law is always an emotionally wrenching situation.

Judges don’t want to see people arguing over 70 pages of nasty text messages, and they don’t want to spend all night the night before reading that nonsense either. They want to see clean facts aligned with the law, and parties that are conducting themselves reasonably and in line with the best interests of all involved, particularly the children.

When you bring a mediation matter before a judge, you are alleviating the court system of further stress, and no judge will ever hold that against you.

Should You Go To Divorce Mediation?

Only you can answer that question on divorce mediation. When you are undergoing this legal matter, however, it never hurts to investigate the process. Keep the emotions out of it, and you will find that when it comes to weighing the benefits and risks, divorce mediation is quicker, less expensive, and more beneficial for all parties.

Wouldn’t you rather take your kids to the ocean for the first time than paying legal bills? Get more of your divorce mediation questions answered in a free consultation with California attorney Gerard A. Falzone.

Divorce Mediation vs Divorce: Which Is Best For You And Your Ex?

divorce mediation vs divorce which is best for you and your ex

When starting a marriage and family, nobody expects things to end in divorce. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life. Between 40 and 50 percent of U.S. marriages end in divorce. If you are apart of that statistic you now need to debate, divorce mediation vs divorce.

The practice of family law has come a long way. Couples that wish to end their marriage amicably can do so through the process of mediation. This process has become quite popular over the last decade.

Of course, mediation isn’t for everyone. Some situations require litigation.

Divorce Mediation vs Divorce

If you and your spouse are facing divorce, you should understand your options before moving forward. Let’s discuss the difference between divorce mediation vs divorce.

What is Divorce Mediation?

During any divorce, some level of negotiation is necessary. Depending on the situation, this could involve property ownership, distribution of assets, and child custody.

The goal of mediation is to negotiate the sensitive elements of a divorce outside of court. Couples do this by hiring a mediator to guide them through the process.

The mediator acts as a neutral third party and helps you and your spouse come to an amicable resolution. Their role isn’t to make these decisions for you, but to help you and your spouse determine what’s best for you and your children.

At the end of mediation, you and your spouse will have come to an agreement regarding the details of your divorce and can then finalize the paperwork. This is often done with attorneys present as well.

Let’s break down some of the details of the process.

The Mediation Process

Once you’ve hired a divorce mediator, you’ll schedule your first meeting. Keep in mind the process will likely take several sessions.

At the initial meeting, you and your spouse will each get to speak openly about the situation. This gives the mediator a better sense of where each party stands.

The mediator will then ask any questions they have if anything is unclear. They’ll make sure everyone is on the same page with regard to information pertaining to the divorce.

You’ll then discuss the areas in which you and your spouse agree and disagree. This will give the mediator a sense of what needs to get resolved through negotiation.

There’s a good chance you’ll need to gather some information after the initial meeting. This could include property or asset information.

Coming to an Agreement

The second stage involves negotiating terms in order to come to a resolution both you and your spouse agree on. The mediator may choose to tackle the easier issues first and move on to more complex matters down the road.

During this stage, conflict may arise between you and your spouse. This is when your mediator will step in and help you brainstorm ideas in an effort to come to a resolution.

The mediator will also push you to be open with each other and express your opinions and emotions. They’ll help you understand the value of listening to your spouse’s option, even if you don’t agree with it.

Your mediator will also help you come to a compromise that benefits both parties. Once you’ve reached an agreement on each element of the divorce, you can start wrapping things up.

Benefits of Mediation

One of the most beneficial elements of divorce mediation is that it’s much less stressful on the children. It promotes a more peaceful resolution in which parents have a chance to think about their children’s best interests.

Mediation is also much more cost effective than traditional divorce. You avoid having to pay an attorney for lengthy litigation.

You’ll also end your divorce on relatively good terms. This is beneficial if you have to continue working with your spouse to parent your children.

Traditional Divorce

During the traditional divorce process, each party hires their own attorney. The attorneys will negotiate on behalf of their clients to try to get the outcome they desire.

When the attorneys can’t reach an agreement, the process moves to the courtroom and litigation begins. Each attorney will prepare their case to present in front of a judge.

This may even involve bringing in witnesses and other experts. In some cases, the children may even have to get involved and become a part of the court proceedings.

A family law judge will hear the arguments and decide on the outcome. They’ll dictate all the details, including child custody, support, the division of assets, and parenting requirements.

When Is Traditional Divorce The Best Option?

Although divorce mediation allows the parties to come to a peaceful agreement, sometimes it simply won’t work.

In some instances, one spouse is intent on intimidating and bullying the other. They feel that if they do this enough, they’ll get whatever outcome they desire. In these situations, the party that’s getting bullied may need an attorney to help them stand up for their rights.

Sometimes emotion gets in the way and makes mediation impossible. One spouse may either lash out at the other or refuse to communicate at all. Many times this happens when adultery has taken place and the victimized spouse is either hurt or angry.

If one spouse is attempting to hide assets or cover up information, litigation is required. In these situations, one party may be so determined to be the victor, they’ll do anything to keep the marital assets.

Another common reason for a traditional divorce is when one party either leaves or makes themselves difficult to contact. This could be intentional or because of other personal issues such as a drug or alcohol problem. In these cases, a court will need to intervene.

Divorce Mediation vs Divorce, Which Will You Choose?

Divorce is a stressful and emotional process, regardless of how you go about it. However, if you and your spouse feel you can come to a peaceful resolution, consider mediation.

When this isn’t an option, a traditional divorce proceeding may be necessary. Knowing the difference between divorce mediation vs divorce will help you decide what’s best for you.

We provide a wide range of family law services in Alameda and surrounding areas. Contact us today.

Preparing And Organizing Your Divorce Mediation List

preparing and organizing your divorce mediation listYour marriage is over. Now what? You know you don’t want a nasty in-court divorce procedure, but what is divorce mediation really like?

In short, it’s the most amicable choice. You don’t have to be best friends with your soon-to-be ex during the mediation process, but you do have to be friendly.

Both parties need to agree to this method and willingly participate in the sessions.

Before you start making your divorce mediation list, talk to your partner about logistics. Who will pay the mediation fees? Will it be split it down the middle?

You could agree that the person who makes more pays or the person who asked for the divorce pays. It’s one hundred percent up to you and your personal situation.

Making Your Divorce Mediation List

Once you’ve found a mediator, figured out the fees, and glanced at the process, it’s time to start your divorce mediation list.

The Master List

While you’re together, make a list of your assets. Every single one! Don’t denote which asset belongs to who or who they’ll go to – just make a comprehensive list.

This doesn’t have to be everything you own, but it should be things you care about. Property, vehicles, bank accounts, credit cards, insurance policies, anything worth dividing up.

If you’ve collected an intensive DVD collection and it means a lot to you, count that. This major list of things you’ve collected during your lives together will save a lot of headaches.

Your mediator can help divide them up equally or come up with solutions you weren’t aware of. It cuts down on tension and makes the outlook of your divorce clear.

Records

Once you have your list of assets and property, move on to records. What proof is there of your life together?

We’re talking about proof of income, house titles, car titles, social security, joint accounts – anything and everything. What are your ongoing expenses? If you’re separated, look at the bills from the last time you weren’t.

What were you spending on bills, loans, insurance, gas, groceries, and the like? Having as much information as you can will help you fill out your financial affidavit with ease.

If you fill it out and a court finds you were trying to hide an asset, they’ll hold that against you. Remember, things you sign are legally binding documents.

You need to be forthright with the truth or it could halt your divorce process.

Make An Issues List

With the logistical stuff jotted down, you can approach some touchier issues. You don’t have to figure them out on your own, that’s what your mediator is for!

This issues list can hold a wide range of things. What are you concerned most about in the divorce? We’ll make a separate list for children later.

Are you concerned about living situations? Cost of living and alimony? What about holidays, relationships with in-laws, and extended family time.

Do you expect to have family events together? Is your ex invited to family reunions, if they attend with the kids? Does it feel fair to cut them off if you have a large extended family they’re close with?

Get all your deep dark fears out on the paper. They’re not doing you any good circling around your mind. You don’t even need them to be in question form.

If they’re not something you’re willing to discuss yet or don’t know how to approach, do this on your own. Write down, I’m scared that ___ will happen after we divorce.”

These are things you can address with your mediator, therapist, or partner one on one. Putting them down on paper helps them transfer from your emotional mind into your logical one.

It may not solve your worries, but it should start to make them easier to process.

The Kid List

If you have children or fur babies, you’re likely worried about how your divorce will affect them. That’s relevant and you’re a good, loving parent for wanting to make it easier on them.

Studies show that it’s better for children to see an amicable divorce than to continue to be in a high-conflict household. Hopefully, that makes you feel better about your choice.

Things to think about and put on this list are:

Custody Agreements

If you’re separating with kids, neither of you will have full custody, unless it’s a very bad situation. Even if someone has more time than the other, you’re still co-parents.

How will you address changes in home locations? Will you try to live close to each other so your move doesn’t affect zoning? What about neighborhood friends and afterschool activities?

Who will take who where and when?

If you decide to hire a nanny, is that a cost that you two split or is it up to the individual co-parent to pay the nanny on their time?

Holidays are another matter. Who gets Christmas and Thanksgiving? Birthdays? You can alternate, but make sure the system is in place.

Do not bring your kids into this discussion yet. If they’re old enough, you should involve them in the process, but not until you have a better grasp of what will happen.

The List of Lists

Along with the specific lists in this article, here is a general grouping of things you should discuss:

  • Legal Child Custody
  • Finances
  • Child-related finances
  • Pets
  • Property and money
  • Insurance
  • Group debt
  • Guardianship and Wills
  • Alimony or Support
  • Housing Situations
  • Medical expenses
  • A list of non-negotiables

Make a list of things neither of you is willing to give up. Each person should make their divorce mediation list alone and then you can discuss them together.

If you have clashing non-negotiables, bring this up with your mediator. They’ll help you find a solution.

Following Through

A divorce is a messy process. You can make a divorce mediation list, but the general task doesn’t get easier.

Trust that yourself and your partner are making the right decision to separate and try to be kind. You will get through this and you’ll adjust to your new realities.

If you have children, show them how to handle disagreements with love and understanding. It may not heal their hurt, but it’ll shape their expectations of love.

None of this is possible without a good mediator. You can’t do it all yourself, at least not without losing your mind. Our specialists have helped many families become separate units and we can help you too!

All you have to do is call us.

How Long Does It Take To Divorce Through Mediation?

how long does it take to divorce through mediationIf there is a divorce looming in your near future, you’re probably feeling a whole host of emotions. Sadness, fear, anxiety, and stress are just a few of the things on that list. And when the thought of all the necessary business of divorce hits you, you probably feel exhausted to boot.

But divorce doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. If you and your spouse are amenable, you can decide to mediate your way through this difficult time rather than go through painful litigation.

Exactly how long does divorce through mediation take? We’ll discuss that and more today.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a process of divorce that allows both parties to take control. Instead of leaving the decisions up to a judge, you will be able to make the choices for your own future.

This method is especially good for parents and people who will need to continue to co-exist despite the divorce.

In addition to being faster and easier than a traditional divorce, divorce through mediation has a higher rate of compliance because both parties came to terms on the agreement together.

How Does It Work?

A mediated divorce involves a person called a family law mediator. This is a person trained to help people resolve their divorce issues. They act as the communication between the couple.

The mediator’s job is to make sure that everyone has their chance to speak without being interrupted. He helps clarify the points that both parties make and asks questions to keep the conversation on track with clear communication.

The mediator will also give you information about how the legal system works and what alternatives you can take to avoid them.

In general, you, your ex, and the mediator will get together in a couple of sessions that range in length from one to two hours.

The first meeting is when you will point out the things that need to be talked about and how important they are. It’s also where you will find out all of the paperwork you will need to gather up in order to speed the process along.

From there on, you’ll use each meeting to talk about the different compromises you need to make in order to meet everyone’s needs. The mediator gives information about the legal system and helpful hints for how other people have handled similar problems.

Eventually, you will meet an agreement and the mediator writes it up for you and your lawyer to approve.

How Long Does It Take?

The answer to this question varies because every marriage and every divorce is different. If you have a lot of assets that you need to divide, or if you and your spouse have a hard time seeing eye to eye, it could take a lot longer.

However, if you can both come to terms pretty easily, you could be looking at a very short process.

One of the major benefits to divorce through mediation is the fact that you won’t have to appear in court. This cuts down on the length of time considerably.

In general, easier cases take about three or four two-hour sessions that the mediator spreads out over a course of a month or so.

Here are a few of things that impact the length of divorce through mediation.

Your Assets

If you have a lot of things that you need to divide, it could take a while. There are more decisions to make.

Likewise, if you’ve come to an agreement on pretty much everything and just have one or two things to work out, the process could go smoothly.

Children

There’s no nice way to put it: children make divorce difficult. People are usually willing to compromise when it comes to financial matters. But when you add children to the mix, it gets sticky.

Expect to spend a while in mediation when it comes to the custody of your kids. But it’s worth it, you want something that’s going to work for all the parties involved.

Willingness to Compromise

Your mediator can’t tell you what you have to do. They don’t make the choices or give orders. They’re only there to help you compromise and meet a mutual agreement.

If you and your spouse aren’t willing to meet in the middle on some things, it’s going to take forever.

Complications

There are a number of complications that can make your mediation go a little longer than average. However, that’s still a small price to pay when you consider the cost and time that goes into a traditional divorce.

It’s very rare for a divorcing couple to agree on everything. But even if you can’t agree on basically anything, there is still a purpose behind mediation.

Even taking one or two items off of the list of litigation can cut down the length of time you are in court.

In fact, even if you and your spouse can’t get along, there’s still reason to attempt mediation. Even though couples who are amicable usually choose this route, it doesn’t mean it’s a rule.

It’s part of the mediator’s job to help both parties communicate even when emotions run high. It is possible to get through mediation even in situations like these.

Managing Divorce through Mediation

Divorce is hard, that’s a simple fact. It’s exhausting and it can sometimes make you feel like you don’t want to even get out of bed in the morning. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can make divorce as painless as possible when you choose to settle divorce through mediation.

For more information getting divorced and what you need to do to protect yourself, visit us today!

The Truth About Divorce Mediation

the truth about divorce mediationDeciding to get a divorce seems bad enough, but going through all the details of it is even worse. It’s hard to change your life in such a drastic way, especially when you have children and certain assets to think about.

How are you supposed to get out of this sticky situation and move on with your life? Is there a way you can do what you need to and minimize others’ pain in the process?

Look into divorce mediation.

This is one of the most beneficial tools available to couples who have decided to go separate ways. But unfortunately, not everyone understands what mediation is.

Many couples have a knee-jerk reaction to take things to court or settle things their own way, without realizing what mediation services can do for them.

Here’s the truth about what the process looks like and how it can help you.

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is when two individuals who want a divorce go to the same professional for guidance. The mediator meets with them at the same time, helping each person voice their needs, concerns, and terms. Their role is to help the two individuals come to an agreement as smoothly as possible.

The mediator does not make decisions for either party and they do not speak on behalf of one spouse or another. This person can, however, help the two parties reach a mutual understanding regarding everything from child visitation/custody to financial assets and retirement distribution.

It’s a lot to talk over and there are many details to consider.

This is where divorces can “get ugly”, but with a mediator, things don’t have to necessarily be that way. The point of seeking this kind of help as opposed to an attorney is to settle things cordially in a way that’s mutually beneficial.

The Benefits Of Divorce Mediation Services

If the friendly nature of divorce mediation isn’t enough to convince you about these services, there are a few more benefits to consider. While this may be the end of the road for your marriage, it’s the start of your next chapter. Mediation can make the transition from one point in your life to the other much easier.

Here’s how:

It’s Easier To Stay On Good Terms

Say you want a divorce but you’d still like to have your ex-spouse in your life. Maybe you’ve realized there are better options out there or you’re simply committed to making a kind relationship work for the sake of the children.

Either way, a divorce battle is not a great way to start your new friendship. Having a mediator present for the divorce process, though, does salvage the good that’s left and help you both start anew.

The Decisions Made Are Fair And Productive

Before you can focus on moving on, you have to make sense of what’s left of your marriage. There’s more to separating and starting over than packing up your clothes and finding a new place to live.

Actually, who is going to get the house? Who will have the cars, the furniture, the nice dishes, and so on? These can seem like tough decisions to make but they don’t have to be.

Your mediator can help you decide everything step-by-step. They will keep you and your spouse focused on the practical matters rather than letting your emotions get the best of you.

A Court Battle Is Avoided

There are divorced couples who can stay cool and collected, and then there are those who can’t stand to be in the same room. The latter is typically what leads to court battles and family drama, which can drag out the divorce process.

A mediator helps you avoid all of that. Even if you’re not on the best of terms with your soon-to-be ex right now, the right professional can bring you both back to a common ground.

They bring you to your senses and make you focus on the matter at hand rather than holding onto past wounds or playing the blame game. This is a much more productive approach, and it tends to work out better for all involved.

Mediation Makes The Future More Secure

Whichever way you handle your divorce, you have the whole future ahead of you. But, the decisions you make right now will affect the way of life you live later.

Mediation creates a contract that thinks ahead. It sets rules and guidelines for both parties involved in case certain circumstances change.

Plus, the experience of divorce mediators helps them bring creative solutions to the table. They show you and your spouse different ways to think about what you want/need from the divorce.

The Myths Of Mediation

It’s good to know what to expect from divorce mediation services, but it’s also in your best interest to beware of mediation myths. You’ve likely heard a few exaggerations about this divorce solution.

Things like:

It’s Better To Fight For What You Want

Some people will encourage you to take things to court rather than try to talk it out. They may want you to get that “big divorce check” out of compassion for you or think they know how it goes from headlines and TV shows.

Either way, more often than not, the best way to really get what you want is to go through mediation. This solves things from a rational perspective rather than putting you and your ex at each other’s throats.

You Risk Settling For Less

What if the settlement process is easier, but you don’t get everything you wanted? This is another fear that leads people to court or other divorce solutions.

Again, mediation is all about creating a fair deal. It helps you get what you need out of the divorce while giving your spouse enough to move forward with, too. Most importantly, it’s a clean way to get things settled without putting children or other loved ones in the middle.

Mediation Is Always The Answer

As beneficial as divorce mediation can be, it’s not right for everyone. If you feel like your spouse is hiding important details from you, or if they’re a struggling addict or have some other sort of condition that may affect their thoughts/behavior, think twice before going to mediation.

The former may keep you from getting the fair deal you should have because you can’t discuss things you don’t know about. The latter isn’t fair for anyone because addiction and mental illness keep the person affected from thinking straight.

Deciding If Divorce Mediation Is Right For You

Are you sure divorce is the answer to your marital problems? Are you ready to move on, but feel wary about a possible court battle?

There’s a better answer to your problems. In fact, divorce mediation can help you and your spouse find all the divorce answers you’ve been looking for. To get the process started, contact us today.

What To Ask Before Signing Your Divorce Decree

what to ask before signing your divorce decree

Getting a divorce may seem like the start of a new life, but it’s important you consider every angle before signing the final divorce decree.

The last thing you want is to end up in a more difficult situation than you’re in with your husband or wife. Sometimes getting out of a marriage turns out to be the wrong decision. In fact, one study showed that 22% of divorcees regretted their decision.

In addition to ensuring this is the best move for your relationship, you also need to make sure all the terms of your divorce are reasonable. A divorce decree isn’t an open and shut deal. There are many components you need to consider.

To help you out, we’re going over some common questions you need to ask before signing your divorce decree. These questions will help bring some clarity to the situation.

Is the Marriage Really Over?

The most important question to ask is if the marriage has truly run its course. Sometimes couples divorce as a result of years of struggle and emotional separation. They feel divorcing is their only option.

It’s important you and your spouse discuss this thoroughly. You have to be open about your feelings in order to avoid going through with the divorce only to regret it.

If you’ve hit a rough patch you can’t seem to get over, have you considered couples therapy? You may be able to resolve some of the issues you’ve been having and get things back on track again.

Divorce is a major life change. There will be financial hurdles, emotional hardships and learning how to live on your own again. It’s important you and your spouse are 100% certain that the relationship needs to end before signing the divorce decree.

Are You or Your Spouse Only Threatening Divorce?

Sometimes a person threatens separation or divorce out of anger or emotional pain. They may even use the threat as a tactic to get what they want.

This threat is also used to exert dominance over the other spouse or as an attempt to be taken seriously.

For whatever reason, this not the correct course of action. A marriage should end because both parties know in their hearts it shouldn’t go on.

Ask yourself if you genuinely want a divorce or are just threatening it to get what you want. Or, do you feel your spouse is doing this?

If the answer is yes, you should first look into marriage counseling. You may find more healthy ways to resolve your issues.

Are the Division of Assets Fair?

Before signing a divorce decree, you need to make sure all assets are divided equally and to your satisfaction.

This is something that many couples run into problems with. If the division of assets aren’t nailed down before the divorce gets finalized, there could be trouble down the road.

You’ll want to make sure your divorce attorney gets involved in the separation of assets to ensure you’re not getting taken advantage of. Each state has different laws regarding this. However, laws that apply to the distribution of marital assets don’t always garner a fair outcome.

Vehicles and property are two items that typically cause the most problems. If possible, try to come to an amicable decision regarding these assets and make sure the terms are clearly written into the divorce agreement.

Once you sign the decree, the terms are difficult to change.

Are Our Children’s Best Interest’s in Mind?

One of the most sensitive aspects of a divorce involves children. Depending on their age, this could be a very confusing time for your kids. You need to make sure you have their best interests in mind.

Unfortunately, sometimes couples are so angry with each other, they forget how impactful this time is for the children.

If you and your spouse are sharing custody of your kids, make sure the terms make it easy on them. They need to have ample time with each of you, so make sure your decree sets a fair and logical schedule.

You also need to nail down the financial obligations now so that no conflicts happen in the future.

It’s important you also work around you and your spouse’s work schedules so that the practice of joint custody goes as smoothly as possible. Not only will your children benefit, you’ll make it easier on yourself as well.

Are Your Finances In Good Shape?

At the beginning of a divorce proceeding, the judge will likely prohibit both of you from selling the marital property. You also can’t use joint bank accounts or credit cards for major purchases.

Judges do this so that one spouse won’t take advantage of money or assets that are still jointly owned.

If you or your spouse have any major purchases or legitimate financial transactions to complete, you’ll need to do this before the divorce happens.

It’s best to go over all these things with your spouse and come to an agreement on all financial matters. Once you both sign the divorce decree, you can then split your finances, meaning all checking and savings accounts and any credit cards you have together.

You’ll also need to agree upon the resolution of any debt you’ve acquired together.

What Will Your Living Situation Be?

It’s important you decide what the initial living situation will be before signing the decree.

Who’s staying in the house? Who’s moving out and where are they moving?

You need to make sure the decree is fair to both parties. The person who must move needs to be able to afford a new residence. This is especially important if children are involved.

Making sure this all gets squared away before signing the decree ensures you avoid a messy situation and potential conflict.

Don’t Sign A Divorce Decree Until You’re Ready

If you’ve come to the conclusion that divorce is the only option, it’s imperative you understand the terms of the decree. You also need to ensure they are fair and balanced.

Signing the decree hastily could mean serious issues down the road.

If you need a qualified divorce lawyer to help you through the process, we can help. Contact us today.