• How To Save $37,500 On Legal Fees AND Protect Your Co-Parenting Relationship

    This will probably surprise you but divorce is NOT a legal issue, it is a personal issue and most people should get a divorce with little or no lawyer involvement. If you want to have the smoothest divorce possible the solution is to resolve your problems outside of court.

    1. Avoid Lawyers and Courts as much as possible! The first thing you should know is that our legal system is not child-focused or family-friendly; it is adversarial by nature. The emotional and financial price you pay when you each hire separate divorce lawyers is higher than you can now imagine. Before I became a divorce attorney I was a special education teacher. My Masters is in Special Education, focusing on teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I came to the law with a powerful bias to act only in the best interest of the children. That is NOT the focus of most divorce lawyers. Many divorce lawyers are very comfortable spending a client’s college fund instead of quickly and economically helping the couple to negotiate a fair deal. After 8 years of litigation and witnessing the total financial and emotional devastation of too many families, I vowed to no longer take adversarial divorces and to do only divorce mediation. In the following 3 years, after working with over 185 couples with 100% success rate, I am convinced that divorce mediation should be the solution of first resort for 85% of the couples who are contemplating divorce.

    2. Learn the divorce laws in your state. It is easier to deal with a situation when basic information is already known. In the 8 community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) property division is pretty clear. What ever was totally owned prior to marriage or received by gift or inheritance is separate property that goes to the spouse who owns it. If it was partially paid for using wages or income earned during the marriage, the “community” gains an interest in it that can be calculated. Division of property in community property states is one of the easiest issues to deal with because it is so clear cut. But what about the other 42 states? These states use an equitable distribution system to divide marital property. Each state has its own rules that can be ascertained prior to starting the divorce process. So there is some uncertainty in non community property states but an experienced lawyer/mediator generally knows what the court will do in most situations and can be a valuable guide to couples who are unfamiliar with the laws. All states have some kind of guideline child and or spousal support rules. Paralegals in your area will have the state program or otherwise be able to help you determine what support should be. There is nothing to fight about. Would you think of arguing about whether or not 2+2+4? It is a math problem that does not require a court fight unless someone is hiding income.

    3. Acknowledge that PARENTS are the best people to decide child issues! Custody is the issue that needs to be settled outside of court! The bad feelings that come from litigating child issue will ruin any ability to co-parent later. A judge might look at the papers you file for a few minutes but often they are looking at your papers while the attorneys are arguing. You only get a limited amount of court time and then a decision will be made by a stranger who does not know or care about you or your children. It makes NO SENSE to put yourself at the mercy of lawyers and judges who will tell you how to raise your children. A far better approach is to use the services of a child therapist or another parent who has successfully raised their own children. Go to a therapist or trusted friend and let them act as a judge. They have more insight into the two of you than a judge would. Why make strangers rich by hiring lawyers? It is to their benefit to keep the two of you fighting.

    4. Find out about the alternative to divorce court: mediation. In litigated divorce cases, child custody and visitation issues can be the most contentious and emotional. As described above, you can and should deal with child issues outside of court. If the parents can agree to a custody arrangement, which they eventually do in 90% of custody cases, they can avoid court altogether. Why should a couple wait until they are on the courthouse steps to make a deal? Only 10% of custody cases are litigated. The courts typically apply a “best interest of the child” standard in determining who should get primary custody. You know the parents themselves are in the best position to decide how their children should be raised. When a couple works together in mediation they are in control of the final outcome, not lawyers or judges. When the couple has an intention to effectively co-parent by always keeping the best interest of the child foremost in their mind, they will produce a much more satisfying outcome than if a solution is imposed upon them from above. Child custody issues are the most inappropriate issues to be decided within an adversarial system. The win/lose game that is played in court always results in tension between the parents. Not only will this tension negatively affect the health and happiness of the parents but the children will be caught in the middle of a battle, ducking verbal and emotional bullets as they fly over their heads. The adversarial system does not protect the co-parenting relationship of parents and should be avoided if at all possible. An emotionally vulnerable client in the hands of a “zealous advocate” who is more concerned with enriching themselves than in helping their client is a dangerous combination. Working with an attorney/mediator protects the couple by having an expert giving them legal information in a way that does not encourage them to fight.

    5. How to find the mediator who is right for you? The phone book is full of divorce attorneys. How do you know who to trust? When looking for a mediator it is best to avoid the wolves in sheep’s clothing. You do not want an attorney who primarily practices adversarial law. While it is best to use a mediator who is an experienced lawyer so they can give accurate legal information to the couple, you want to use someone who focuses primarily or better yet, exclusively on mediation instead of litigation. Ask the mediator how many mediations they have done (the more the better), what their success rate is, how long it takes and the cost. Then compare the answers to see who the two of you like best.

    In conclusion, the primary thing to keep in mind is that avoiding divorce attorneys and court should be your #1 priority if you want to protect your health, spirit, co-parenting relationship and pocketbook. The divorce process is an emotional and personal situation, not a legal situation. Because so many people have already been divorced, there are no more mysteries. All the legal questions have already been answered so an experienced divorce lawyer who is acting as the mediator, will have a good idea of what the court would order. There is no reason to fight. But mediation is not for everyone. Approximately 15% of the population are high conflict personality types. You have met these people before. They have problems with all the people in their life, at work, school, home, family, etc. They thrive on drama and create a lot of problems for themselves and others. Ask your friends if that sounds like you or your spouse. If so, consider if that really works in your life. With a powerful intention you can create more peace by changing your outlook and actions. You may even save your marriage. If both of you agree that it is best to move on as single people and are rational enough to work together instead of making divorce lawyers rich, then take a good look at mediation. You only get one chance to create a peaceful divorce. Your children will thank you for not putting them in the middle of a nasty court fight.

    Ms. Rachman has been a family law attorney since 1996. For more information about how divorce mediation works please go to http://www.divorce-inaday.com where you can hear a very informative audio program about the differences between mediation and litigation. If you are considering divorce it is important to have all the information before you proceed. You only get one chance to have a “good” divorce and you owe it to your children to consider mediation.

  • Divorce Mediation Set to Become Mandatory Before Litigation in South Africa

    After reading this brand new article, you will be able to impress your good friends with miracle amount of knowledge concerning Divorce Mediation you have gained on this matter

    Divorce mediators in South Africa will always be liberated to operate with no type of regulation when it comes to training and skills. Because the introduction of the “Children’s Act 38 of 2005″ in April 2007 there has been moves to possess divorce mediators accredited via a national accrediting human body.

    National standards have already been drafted for working out of family and divorce mediators, along with the accreditation of mediators, in anticipation of the draft Mediation Rules being gazetted which can make mediation before litigation in contested divorces mandatory.

    The standards for training and practicing of mediation have already been located in international standards. With no system of accreditation predicated on these standards there is absolutely no regulation of the caliber of service disputing parties are becoming, and whether such mediation services actually adhere to the meaning and rules of mediation.

    You will find intentions soon to create it a legal requirement of all disputed divorces in South Africa to be mediated before parties can litigate. These plans are based on the “Children’s Act 38 of 2005″ which states that matters involving kids must be resolved with reduced conflict and minimal time delays.

    Divorce mediation is considered non-adversarial, unlike the adversarial system of litigation, and the intention would be to further adhere to the Kids’ Act which states that the very best Interests of ther Daughter or son are Paramount. Quite simply, where divorces involve kids, the very best interests of the kids come prior to the interests of the parents.

    Handy Hint: While you are reading a crucial content regarding any topic in which you are interested in just like “New Jersey Divorce”, you may require discovering more relevant ideas. If you could copy and paste the term “Divorce mediation New Jersey” into search engines, you will be resulted loads of information and results which help you learn more regarding subject matter.

    Further for this, the introduction of mandatory mediation before litigation relieves the pressure of exorbitant cases waiting to be heard by High Courts in the united states, reducing exorbitant wasting of both money and time.

    Draft Mediation Rules have been drafted to manage the procedure of mediation before litigation in courts, that will require the divorce mediators to be accredited. The guidelines explain the procedure to be followed whenever a case is brought before court, and known mediation. It is anticipated these mediators would need to be accredited with a recognised national accrediting human body, like the National Accreditations Board for Family Mediators (NABFAM) that will have affiliate bodies in each one of the 9 provinces. These affiliate bodies will result in accrediting mediators in each one of the provinces. It’s now only a matter of time prior to the Rules are gazetted.

    Many legal experts argue that mandatory mediation will delay the settling of contested divorces since among the requirements is that voice of the kid should be heard and given due consideration. They argue that in such instances the voice of the kid will have to be heard with a qualified professional like a Psychologist which may require more hours, and extra expenses to both parents. Proponents of mediation counter this argument by saying the advantages of mediation outweigh the expense and time allocated to professional opinions which may eventually provide families with a much better settlement agreement when it comes to fairness, balance of power and meeting the requirements of kids.

    Seeing is believing, however occasionally we could not all experience every subject in our human being. This quick content concerning Divorce Mediation wishes to make up for that by offering you valuable resource of ideas on this topic.

    Find out more about New Jersey Divorce or Divorce mediation New Jersey on our web page

  • What Is Divorce Mediation?

    Divorce between a couple arises out of differences which are beyond resolution. Divorce is an emotional and painful process. It becomes more complicated and stressful when matters such as dividing property, child care and joint interests are involved. The divorce cases are time consuming in courts and prove expensive. So, to avoid the sufferings, nowadays more couples seek divorce mediation as an easy way out.

    The divorce mediation is facilitated by a neutral third party. In it all the issues related to divorce are presented to the mediator and discussed threadbare in many sittings and a consensus is arrived between the spouses. The agreement drawn by the mediator is agreeable and binding on both the spouses. When agreement between the couple on some tricky issues is hard to arrive, then the mediator holds separate sessions with the spouses and discusses the issues.

    The first step is to identify a neutral mediator and meet him or her in person and understand clearly what does divorce mediation mean and what steps are part of the mediation. Once convinced about the mediation process in a couple of sittings, the couple signs the mediation agreement which involves a fee too.

    The divorce starts with filing for separation in a court. The mediator may also help the couple in this process if not already done. If he or she is a qualified divorce attorney, they may also help in the legal issues and in the paperwork. The contentious issues between the couple are discussed as a whole or issue wise. The mediator gives shape to the final draft of the agreement which the court formalizes on mutual consent of the couple.

    In situations where mediator is not competent on legal issues, an Attorney’s services are sought in negotiations and paperwork. As divorce mediation is preferred to other means as it is less complicated and mutually agreed upon.

    Kum Martin is an online leading expert in legal industry. He also offers top quality articles like:

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  • Divorce Mediation How Does it Work?

    Divorce mediation is often a less trying method of resolving differences. However, financial matters must be carefully evaluated. Understanding what financial records to bring to divorce mediation sessions is critical to successful outcomes. Having the right records will help avoid conflicts.

    Financial Complications and Divorce

    When couples are divorcing, there is already a great deal of stress and emotions are generally running high. One way to keep divorce mediation from turning into a shouting match is to have the proper financial records with you when attending your mediation sessions. It may surprise you what financial records you should bring to a divorce mediation. For ease of reading along, we will discuss these records by breaking them out into easy to follow sections with a description of the appropriate proof required to prove each category. These categories are most easily described as:

    Personal assets – assets that are owned in the name of only one spouse Joint assets – assets that are owned in the name of both spouses Personal liabilities – debts that are owed by only one spouse Joint liabilities – debts that are owed by both spouses Company assets – if one spouse (or both) have their own business these are the assets of the company Company liabilities – if one spouse (or both) have their own business these are the liabilities of the company Contingent assets – assets that will be acquired upon the death of the current owner or settlements Contingent liabilities – debts that are cosigned by one or more parties to the divorce

    Personal and Joint Assets and Documentation

    Divorces mean that there is going to be some division of property between the parties involved. Mediators are trained to ask the right questions to find out what assets may be owned by one or more parties. Here are some of the potential personal assets that a divorcee may have and what documents are required to prove the value of those assets:

    Income – standard income from a job will be required to be proven during divorce mediation. In most cases, the most recent months paystubs will be sufficient to prove income that is ongoing. If there has been a decrease or increase in income, it is a good idea to bring at least the last two or three years of tax returns to a divorce mediation;

    Bank accounts – checking accounts, savings accounts, individual retirement accounts and certificates of deposit should all be disclosed during a divorce mediation. Accounts that are held in single names or as joint marital accounts should be disclosed. The documentation that is required is typically an up-to-date bank statement that is not more than thirty days old. In the event that any of these accounts do not provide a monthly statement, it is a good idea to contact the appropriate bank and request a value in writing;

    Brokerage and mutual fund accounts – any financial accounts held by a brokerage including mutual fund accounts, stock accounts, DRIPs (dividend reinvestment plans), or other securities in the name of either one party or both parties to the divorce. The documentation generally consists of the most recent monthly (or quarterly) statement along with an up-to-date statement showing the value within the last thirty days;

    Retirement accounts – retirement accounts that are held at an employer, bank, broker dealer or other custodian will require the most recent statement. Contact all custodians and obtain a current valuation as well as a statement indicating how often a retirement account is being funded;

    Life insurance policies – while not all life insurance policies have a cash value, proof of these policies as well as statements from the insurance company indicating the cash value should be provided. It is also important to note that if these life insurance policies show the spouse listed as beneficiary, the mediation may result in them being kept on as beneficiary.

    Remember, this list applies to all accounts whether they are in one name or are in both names. This list also applies to other assets which may be jointly held by a third party including children, parents, etc.

    Please go to page 2 for information about liabilities and other financial records you need to bring to your divorce mediation meetings.

    Divorce Mediation ListFully disclosing the liabilities of both parties to a divorce mediation is a necessity. This can help prevent future issues. Debt that was incurred by one or both parties during a marriage must be addressed during the divorce and failing to do that can cause financial challenges in the future. Here we will discuss what types of liabilities that documentation can and should be provided during the mediation process.

    Personal and Joint Liabilities and Documentation

    Proof of liabilities owed by one or two parties to a divorce are a vital part of what financial records to bring to a divorce mediation. Without an accurate list of the debts that are owed by the parties involved in the mediation, there are liable to be problems later. When couples divorce and their finances are entangled, it is helpful to make sure that they are accurately represented during the mediation process. Here are some of the liabilities that must be disclosed during the mediation process.

    Credit card bills – whether the debts are in the name of one or both parties to the divorce, a full statement of credit card debt must be provided to the mediator. This is often a fairly simple process as they can be handled by supplying the most current statement. It is important that inactive cards be reviewed, especially if they are in both names, as they may need to be cancelled;

    Automobile loans – those who are going through the divorce process should disclose any and all automobile loans during mediation. Generally, auto loans are payable over a maximum of five years but regardless of how much time is left on the car loan note, proof of the loan as well as the balance should be provided. Do not forget auto leases when creating a list of liabilities;

    Home loans – whether the marital home is owned by one or both parties to the divorce, a current copy of the mortgage payments due monthly will be required. If the couple (or one person) has investment property, these documents should also be brought to a divorce mediation. First mortgages, second mortgages and home equity loans all have notes that are attached to them. Copies of the notes as well as a current statement of how much is owed on each loan should be obtained;

    Student loans – if either spouse has student loan obligations, proof of these obligations will be required. Remember, most student loans are in the name of only one person, though the couple may have co-signed a student loan for a child;

    Retirement plan and/or insurance loans – loans that have been taken out against insurance policies or retirement plans should also be discussed during a divorce mediation. These loans not only have an impact on the value of these plans but they also may require payments on a monthly or quarterly basis;

    Child maintenance debts – if either spouse was previously divorced, there may be a maintenance agreement in place with a former spouse. These debts should be included as part of the liability discussion in a divorce mediation;

    Personal loans – if either spouse has borrowed money from a friend, family member or the company they work for, a statement of the original loan amount, interest payments and balance should be provided.

    In order to ensure that liabilities are disclosed completely, each party may wish to consider requesting a free copy of their credit report. This will help ensure that all liabilities are accounted for and that additional debt is not a surprise to either party later on.

    Please continue to page 3 for a discussion on other pertinent financial documents regarding owned business ventures

    Divorce Mediation and Additional Liabilities and AssetsAssets and liabilities that are not owned in their entirety by either party to a divorce may still have a financial impact on the mediation process. When a couple agrees to divorce mediation, these business and contingent liabilities and assets may need documentation to support their existence. While they may not have an impact on negotiations, it is helpful to have the financial records available.

    Business Assets and Liabilities During Divorce

    The financial picture of a couple who is involved in any business is generally more complex than that of couples who are employed by companies. In the event that one or both are owners or part owners in a business venture, the following items should be provided during divorce mediation. Having an accurate financial picture of the net worth of an individual and a couple is a necessity in determining the division of assets and liabilities. When couples are in the process of divorce and one or both parties have an interest in a business, they will need to know what financial records to bring to divorce mediation sessions for the best outcome.

    Profit and loss statement – an up-to-date profit and loss statement should be provided during the mediation process. This can be prepared either by an accountant (and audited) or be completed by the individual involved in the company. Whichever method is used, it must be accurate;

    Business tax records – in most cases a divorce mediator will require at least one and possibly more years of business tax returns. This is especially important for well established business ventures. Remember, the more information that is provided during mediation, the fewer questions that will arise later;

    Business banking records – all banking records including checking accounts, lines of credit, loans, savings accounts, etc., should be proven during the mediation process. Providing these records up-front will prevent disputes later in the process;

    Lease agreements – copies of all lease agreement including vehicles, property and/or equipment must be provided. This will help provide a better overall picture of the strength (or weakness) of the company.

    Divorcing couples that have one or more parties involved in a business often have employees, key life insurance policies and other financial obligations. Any documents that show the overall financial status of the company should be provided during the divorce mediation process.

    Contingent Liabilities and Assets

    Another typically overlooked group of assets and liabilities may require specific financial documents to bring to a divorce mediation. this group of assets and liabilities would be contingent on an offsetting event. Some of the items to consider are:

    Loans where either party is a co-signor – If either spouse is a co-signor on a loan there is a chance that they could be liable in the future for that loan. This may be a car loan, home loan or student loan. While this may not have an impact on the ultimate divorce settlement, there may still be valid reasons for their disclosure;

    Transfer on Death (TOD) assets – These assets are passed on only in the event of the death of the current owner. While the assets are not currently owned, oftentimes there are rules that prohibit these items from being transferred to any other party. This is true with beneficiary deeds or assets that are part of an irrevocable trust.

    While these assets and liabilities may not be considered as relevant during the divorce mediation process, it may still be helpful to have the documentation available in the event that a question arises.



    Nolo – Law for All

    Will Collaborative Divorce Work for You? http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/will-collaborative-divorce-work-you-29837.html Stoner, Katherine; Divorce Without Court A Guide to Mediation & Collaborative Divorce http://www.nolo.com/products/divorce-without-court-DWCT.html Divorce Mediation FAQ http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/divorce-mediation-faq-29035.html

    Author’s personal experience

    Image Credits:

    Assets via freedigitalphotos.net/Kittikun Atsawintarangkul Liabilities via freedigitalphotos.net/Salvatore Vuono Business assets and liabilities via fredigitalphotos.net/worradmu


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  • Legal information: Divorce mediation

    With today’s divorce rates at an all-time high, many couples in distress are wondering whether there is anything that they can do to help ease along the process. In most cases, divorce is by no means an easy process. Individuals cope with the break up of relationships in many different ways, and it is not surprising that many couples will find themselves in a seemingly endless cycle of arguments and frustration. Fortunately, however, there is another option: Divorce Mediation.

    But, what exactly is “Divorce Mediation”? For the most part, mediation can have a variety of definitions, but when it comes to divorce mediations, couples are generally required to sit down together with an unbiased third party (the mediator) and discuss the issues surrounding their divorce. The mediator is typically a certified marriage and family counselor who has training in communication and negotiation and can provide divorcing couples with a clear cut agenda that addresses the unresolved issues in their marriage and helps them reach agreements that satisfy both parties involved.

    Couples in turmoil frequently find that attempting to discuss these issues when they are alone with their partners can often lead to explosive arguments peppered with personal attacks and a series of tangents (typically drudged up unresolved issues from the past) leaving them without a resolution and even more frustrated than before they began to “talk.”

    Often, when individuals are simply “too close” to the issues at hand, they can become blinded by their own attempts to get across the main points in their respective arguments, essentially ignoring their partner’s points, and subsequently leading to a lack of resolutions. The mediator’s training in communication and negotiation skills will help keep couples focused on the MAJOR issues so that each issue can be tackled independently in a much calmer environment.

    There are a variety of theories and techniques that are used by mediators in divorce mediations; however, each session is generally designed to help you and your partner overcome the unresolved issues that cause conflict in your relationship (i.e. division of debt and property or child custody and support) so that a settlement can be reached more swiftly and so that you can both be satisfied with the results of your divorce proceedings.

    Many divorcing couples may feel as though the last thing they want to do is talk to each other. Unfortunately, the more that a lack of communication exists, the more probable it is that misunderstandings will occur and ultimately lead to resentment. Before you and your partner make the decision to enter into divorce mediation, however, be sure that you are equally committed to reaching a speedy and satisfactory divorce settlement. A number of factors contribute to the success or failure of divorce mediation, including how much effort and dedication you put forth in the process. Regardless of your circumstances, divorce mediation will at least help you and your partner achieve a crucial step in setting the foundation toward reconciliation in your relationship, whether you decide to remain together or go your separate ways.