When parties initiate the divorce process, there are certain major issues that need to be addressed in coming to a final agreement. These issues include the distribution of property and debt, support (spousal and child, if applicable), health insurance, and custody and parenting arrangements. With the Coronavirus affecting many areas of daily life, some of these common divorce issues may become more complicated as parties work through divorce negotiations. Continue Reading
I work with couples that are separating and divorcing so when Noah Baumbach’s film,“Marriage Story” first opened, I was curious and wanted to see it. “Marriage Story” renewed my strong conviction that the best ways to resolve conflict are through mediation and the collaborative law process. This marriage story shows what happens when things moves beyond a party’s control. The line in the film that stood out the most to me was: “You are fighting for something you don’t even want.” One striking moment in the film was the literal tug of war between the parents and the child. The parents in the film clearly love their son but their choices about how to resolve their dispute lead them down a difficult path to resolution.
What follows are some of the lessons to be learned from “Marriage Story”: Continue Reading
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people that is entered into before marriage and takes effect upon marriage. This document has become more popular as couples realize the importance of clarifying expectations and setting a good foundation for communication about finances (and other issues) before the marriage.
Each couple has a unique set of goals and issues to be addressed and the prenup can be specifically tailored with that in mind. Without a prenup, state laws dictate who owns the property acquired during the marriage as well as what happens upon the dissolution of the marriage.
Why get a Prenup? Continue Reading
Divorce impacts many aspects of the parties’ lives, including parenting. Whether the conflict surrounding a separation and/or divorce is high or low, the children need to remain a priority in the decision-making that must take place. Two processes for divorce encourage healthy ways of co-parenting. This article addresses the benefits of collaborative divorce and mediation as they relate to children. In both processes, the focus is on what will work moving forward and negativity is discouraged. This promotes a healthier transition for the children to their new normal. I have outlined some of the benefits below.
Collaborative divorce and mediation may provide a healthier way to address the needs of the children.
Both the collaborative divorce and mediation processes are intended to be non-adversarial. Rather than a contentious “winner take all” approach, these processes allow for the parties to work together to create mutually beneficial settlements. Although the divorce process is often stressful and it may be difficult for parties to work together, the professionals encourage respectful dialogue and a cooperative, problem-solving approach rather than an adversarial one. Trained professionals are employed in each process to help facilitate the discussions and keep settlement meetings productive. Because the goal of each process is to reach a mutually beneficial settlement, the negotiations are then able to focus on the needs of the children and how the parties can provide for those needs post-divorce. The goal is to keep the children out of the middle.
Moms and Dads that choose mediation or collaborative law usually want to create a stable, healthy environment as the family reconfigures during a separation and divorce. A well thought out parenting plan helps children and parents move forward in a positive way. Continue Reading
(There are many possibilities…)
A parenting plan outlines how separated parents will continue to care and provide for their children. An effective plan is one that is unique to the family situation and contains information about the parenting time schedule and how decisions related to the children will be made. It also outlines the plan for medical and health care coverage, education and extra-curricular activities. Some parents want a more flexible plan, and some want a consistent schedule. The focus should be on the needs of each child and what is workable and practical for the family. Continue Reading
As 2019 begins, I took some time to look back over the topics I visited in blogs during 2018. I started 2018 by writing a piece on maintaining respect during conflict resolution. Conflict resolution was a recurring theme in not only my practice, but in much of the front page news. I even looked into whether a talking stick may actually aid during an impasse in negotiations. There were many high-profile conflicts in the news throughout the year, about everyone from celebrities to politicians. It felt important for me to keep in mind the importance of respect and cooperation in disputes, and as a new year starts fresh, I wanted to highlight some of my own thoughts for the beginning of 2019: Continue Reading
As divorced parents plan the family’s first holiday season under new parenting arrangements, there may still be lingering stress and tension from the divorce. Each parent undoubtedly wants to spend as much time as possible with the children, and even when formal arrangements have been agreed upon, it may be hard to stick to the schedule. Focusing on a solid co-parenting plan and keeping the children as the main focus can not only provide for a smoother holiday, it may also lay the groundwork for the New Year to come.
Co-parenting arrangements come in all forms and are tailored for the unique needs of each family. A common arrangement is for the parents to alternate each holiday on an annual basis. Sometimes parents may opt to split holiday time equally – perhaps Christmas morning is spent with the mother and Christmas evening with the father. Alternatively, parents may arrange a holiday schedule so that the children celebrate certain holidays the weekend prior to the actual holiday, and then spend the actual holiday with the other parent.
Regardless of the arrangement, there are certain considerations for the parents, which could help, ease some of the unwanted stress and tension of the season:
The term “nesting” is used to describe an arrangement where the children remain in the family home while the divorcing parents take turns living in the family home and in another location. (The parents move in and out of the home rather than the children moving between homes.) Nesting is an option that some parents consider as a transitional parenting arrangement because they want to keep the children’s living arrangements in place for a period of time during and/or post divorce. In practice, nesting is something that requires cooperation and communication from both parents, and careful consideration should be given before nesting is used. Continue Reading
Many parents come to mediation wanting a 50/50 parenting schedule. That usually means that both parents are concerned about maintaining a strong relationship with the children once Mom and Dad separate. Shared parenting is usually a positive experience when the parents cooperate to create a workable plan that respects the bond between both parents and each child. Continue Reading