I recently watched a new television program focused on a couple divorcing and all that goes with such a life changing event. A particular episode focused on the couple meeting with a mediator in an effort to talk out the issues. Towards the end of the meeting, in a very judgmental tone and with all of the non-verbal cues that go with judgment, the mediator asked how the children were taking the news. When it became clear that the couple had not yet told the children, the mediator indicated that they needed to tell the children right away. This took place without any discussion about how and when this would happen. In fact, the mediator followed up by a straightforward command to “just tell them.” This hit me the wrong way and left me thinking about the process of when to speak to the children about the divorce and the best way to do so. Continue Reading
The Superman myth means many things to many people. It is uniquely open to interpretation. While a key element of the Superman story is Superman’s amazing capabilities, he also had certain weaknesses. Such may be the case with Jon Peters, a talented producer in the Superman franchise who is being sued by his ex-wife, Mindy Peters, over what Mindy claims was a gift entitling her to a stake in the Superman profits. Continue Reading
Negotiating a divorce settlement is stressful even under the best of circumstances. Real property owned by the couple (such as the marital residence) is often part of the negotiation. Knowing how to obtain a fair, impartial and accurate assessment of the value of real estate is integral to the process. Once the value is determined, there are many options available for the distribution of the property. The choice of options depends on the priorities of the parties and the economic situation of each family. Continue Reading
When a family goes through the divorce process, there is often an emphasis placed on co-parenting – both parents sharing the responsibilities of caring for the children. It is important that spouses and co-parents find an approach to child custody and timesharing that suits their own family’s background, circumstances, needs and preferences. Continue Reading
January is a month that people often decide to make life changes. If you and your spouse have made the decision to separate or divorce, you may be thinking about how to proceed. Choosing the right process is an important decision because it will affect how negotiations take place. There are three main processes: mediation, collaborative law and litigation. For couples that want to make their own decisions, rather than have a third party decide, the choices that make the most sense are mediation and collaborative law. Negotiations in both of these processes take place outside of the court system in a series of meetings. In both processes, the couple actively participates and sets its own pace. Both processes are voluntary, meaning the process can be ended at any time for any reason. Both processes are also confidential. That means that discussions and all materials developed for these processes are generally not admissible in any subsequent court or contested proceeding. Both processes offer a full opportunity to obtain the information needed to make decisions. Continue Reading
Just a few days ago, social media was trending with its usual celebrity gossip and sports news, but an interesting family law case in Michigan snuck into the mix. A judge in Michigan sent three children to juvenile detention for refusing to have lunch with their father (if you haven’t had a chance to read the story, click here). As a collaborative lawyer who tries to help clients avoid hostile court battles, this story especially peaked my interest. After seeing much commentary and debate on the situation, I gave some thought to my own take on the story.
The plot of this very engrossing courtroom drama revolves around an Israeli woman’s desire for a divorce and her husband’s refusal to agree. Viviane, the wife, needs a gett, which is a divorce document that is only obtainable in Israel by going through the rabbinical court. The process can take years and there is no civil recourse. It is up to the husband, Elisha in this case, whether to give the wife a divorce. This film shows that personal freedom can be difficult, if not impossible to achieve. I will leave the issues of how much liberty was taken with the story or whether it accurately depicts the rabbinical court for others to discuss. My focus is the contrast offered up by the film in individual freedom and the right to make choices in marital agreements that benefit both spouses and their children. Continue Reading
The importance of keeping the children’s interests at heart and the best ways to handle communication with children is often emphasized through the divorce process. No matter how old the children may be, they react to their parents’ divorce in different ways. What happens to the children after the divorce process is completed? One parent may be moving out of the family home and starting new in a different place and, in some cases, the family home may be sold and everyone will move. While it is a new beginning for that parent, it is also a brand new home for the children. What can you do to help make your new residence a comfortable second home for your children?
I recently read an article discussing a current “phenomenon” of the Gray Divorce – a term used for couples divorcing in their later years. Although I can’t say I like the name for it, I was prompted to do my own research as to why older couples are now choosing divorce at a higher rate than in earlier years. Over the years there has been somewhat of a cultural shift when it comes to the traditional definition of marriage. The lines between acceptable and unacceptable have become blurred, including general views on divorce. In years past, there was a social stigma attached to divorce, and along with specific religious issues, divorce was not a viable option for many people. However, because a lot of those ideals have become more relaxed over the years, couples who might not have been able to divorce in the past can do so now. While cultural and religious changes can account for some divorces, there are other reasons to consider for older generations as well.
Now that the holiday season is upon us, people tend to get pulled into a bunch of different directions. From holiday planning to finishing up odds and ends before the New Year, the holiday season can bring forth a lot of stress. Last year, I wrote about tips for a happy and successful holiday season. This year, I’m expanding on my list to include some more helpful information.