An integral part of a divorce agreement is the custody and parenting piece. Parents are able tailor a unique plan that addresses how co-parenting will work post-divorce. Working cooperatively to develop a plan that reflects the parents’ schedules and the family’s needs helps to alleviate stress and provides stability for the children. Custody provisions detail how major decisions concerning the children will be made. Parenting plans can include many details about how the week will work, including: when each parent will be responsible for the children, pick-up/drop-off times and locations, holiday schedules, and communication preferences. These plans can also address special terms related to COVID, domestic and foreign travel and significant others. All of the provisions should be clearly laid out to eliminate confusion and possible frustration. Of course, some families prefer a more flexible, liberal schedule; especially with older children and that can be memorialized as well. Each family has a unique situation and the parenting plan should be consistent with the parents’ priorities and values as well as their work schedules. If the Children are young, parents can include a provision concerning when the parenting arrangements will be reviewed. Provisions that address what happens if there is a disagreement can also be included. The following are considerations for co-parenting agreements: Continue Reading
The effects of the COVID pandemic are being felt throughout the world in big and small ways. The impact is seeping into the many aspects of daily life. As we all adjust to remote attendance at work, school and other activities, the COVID pandemic has brought home the importance of family relationships. Couples planning their wedding (or expecting to be married soon) have had to rethink the timing and nature of the event. Romantic partnerships have been tested and priorities reassessed.
While some couples have chosen to adjust their wedding plans and are having virtual ceremonies for family and friends to attend via live stream or Zoom, others have opted to trim down the guest list and attempt to celebrate safely and socially distanced. For many couples, the best plan has been to postpone the wedding until a return to “normalcy.” For these couples, there may be a silver lining. Continue Reading
There is a distinction between irreconcilable and reconcilable differences when it comes to separation and divorce. The focus of this article is on the reconcilable ones. When the relationship changes to a point where there will be a separation and divorce, there are certain issues that need to be addressed so that both parties can financially disentangle and move on with their lives. Emotional disentanglement takes time. When there are children, emotions can be purposefully directed to a cooperative parenting plan so that the children can benefit from the qualities that each parent brings to the family. For more on co-parenting agreements, please see my article entitled: Co-parenting, Where do I start? Continue Reading
When initiating the divorce process, selecting the right attorney may seem challenging and stressful. Finding someone who aligns with your process choice and objectives can help the process move more smoothly. Just as there are different process choices for your divorce, there are different attorney styles. Having a consultation with an experienced family law attorney helps to determine whether the attorney has the requisite experience for your matter and whether he or she will conduct the negotiations in a way that comports you’re your intentions and goals.
There is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to a legal matter, including divorce. Parties should ideally agree on the process that will promote a mutually beneficial outcome. In working toward that goal, finding the “right” attorney is also an important decision. In choosing an attorney, some of the considerations that clients can keep in mind are outlined below.
Even as some states loosen stay-at-home restrictions and businesses slowly start to reopen, many areas of everyday life remain effected by the Coronavirus. One of the major disruptions to everyday life has been the operation of local and state courts, and how issues and disputes are being resolved. While some areas are using video conferencing to conduct court business, other courts remain closed, putting a hold on the parties’ abilities to reach resolution. The divorce process has not been immune to these disruptions, as many family courts remain closed except in the case of emergency. Facts constituting an emergency are scrutinized. For individuals already engaged in the divorce process at the onset of the Coronavirus quarantining, or for those seeking to begin the process with the stay-at-home order already in effect, out-of-court divorce processes may provide resolution and relief. 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.
When starting the divorce process, understanding the difference between the available process choices can help create the healthiest environment for the process to proceed. In addition to a traditional adversarial courtroom process, mediation and collaborative divorce each provide a process that focuses less on confrontation and more on an optimal result for both parties. While both mediation and collaborative divorce are non-adversarial, they each have key differences that should be considered when choosing the right process for your divorce. Continue Reading
The collaborative process offers many benefits to parties that are willing to work together to reach a solution in a non-confrontational environment. When parties put in a good-faith effort to communicate respectfully, a mutually beneficial solution can be reached. Part of respectful communication includes not only speaking in a respectful way; it also means actively listening with that same respect. During the divorce process, parties are understandably stressed and/or anxious, and this may affect how discussions progress. When both parties come to the table eager to have their points heard, the equally important aspect of listening may sometimes be overlooked. With this in mind, I have compiled some considerations to aid in the active listening process during a collaborative discussion: Continue Reading