Articles Posted in Separation and Divorce

Divorce and custody disputes are often material for tabloid front pages. Celebrity splits never seem to fall out of favor in the media, even though there are alternative and appropriate dispute resolution methods designed to minimize the hostility. Headlines for years have centered on Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie – the once happy Hollywood couple nicknamed Brangelina by the media. The couple filed for divorce almost two years ago, yet updates on their relationship continue.. Just recently, reports came out about a “bitter” custody battle allegedly being waged by Jolie. When two parties go from a seemingly happy relationship to a contentious court battle, it might seem like the hopes for respectful and productive negotiations are gone. This does not have to be the case in a high conflict situation because the collaborative law process has created an environment where the focus is on the children and the structure encourages dignity and respect rather than inflame underlying hostilities.  Continue Reading

The Russian film Loveless, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, is an intense, provocative drama that can be viewed on many levels.    It is a comment on what happens when a marriage breaks down as well as a critique of modern Russian society.  Continue Reading

A benefit of using collaborative law for separation and divorce is that the parties can work together with a team of professionals to create a situation that works for everyone, including the children. Collaborative law allows attorneys and other neutral professionals help develop creative and practical solutions with a focus on the unique needs of each family. When there are children involved, decision-making and parenting access schedules can easily become positional discussions out of fear of loss or anger.  That being said, most couples are eager to make their own decisions rather than have a third party decide the family’s fate. Most parents want to find a way to work together on a parenting plan that prioritizes what works best for the whole family. Continue Reading

Entering into a negotiation with uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing.  Thinking that we know all of the answers before a negotiation starts can lead to less flexible, positional thinking.  A reasonable agreement in divorce is different for each family.  For that reason, we can enter into the negotiation with uncertainty about what is best for one particular family so long as we are flexible in considering available options and work in good faith to find the most reasonable solution.   Some individuals chose to stay in limbo due to uncertainty about outcome.  The uncertainty can lead to fear – that may prohibit productive thinking. Continue Reading

The divorce process involves the uncoupling of many aspects of life. Perhaps the most talked about is the financial aspect.   Creating and understanding your own financial snapshot can be an important step in making the divorce process a productive one.  A fair resolution will address how to divide assets and debts fairly and what the cash flow looks like moving forward. Continue Reading

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

calendar-series-1-1192580-300x225January 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