What does the new tax reform mean for you? Here is a brief overview with an article from CNN. Most notably for divorce, spousal maintenance (i.e. alimony) will no longer be eligible to be claimed as a deduction for the paying spouse and will no longer be taxed as income for the receiving spouse. We will discuss the impacts further in a later post.
Not all mediators are attorneys. Not all attorneys are mediators. What does that mean? If you choose a mediator who is not an attorney, then that person can help you and your spouse make certain decisions but they cannot provide legal information to either of you and they cannot draft or file the actual divorce papers. Similarly, choosing separate attorneys means that you and your spouse will proceed with your divorce using the traditional court process.
There is another option...
The majority of couples can navigate a divorce with the assistance of one trained professional: an attorney who is also certified as a divorce mediator. This means that you and your spouse have someone working with you both who knows, and can provide you with, legal information and the consequences of the decisions you are making. This professional can guide you both through the entirety of the divorce process without having to go to court and can draft all of the required court papers.
*Contact me today for further information or with any questions you might have.
Have you ever wondered how divorce and social security benefits interact? Here is some information from (and a link to) the Social Security Administration.
"When you handle the process this way, you not only save yourself stress and embarrassment, but also your loved ones – including your children."
This article was originally published in FYI Magazine, the fastest growing home and lifestyle magazine for Jewish women. By Sara Freed.
Separation and Divorce is emotional and stressful on its own; but adding the holidays into the mix can cause everything to feel amplified. Taking time prior to this time is important to temper expectations and plan for new traditions.
(Article below is copied directly from The Global Dispatch
www.theglobaldispatch.com/the-main-benefits-of-mediation-in-divorce-cases-49763/) Author: Joao Pedro
"When faced with the prospect of an impending divorce, most people immediately think about going to court. However, the thought of dragging your personal life before a judge can often be terrifying for many individuals, and can add extra stress, anxiety and upset to a situation that is already tense and in some cases, unwanted. Many married couples who are planning to end their marriage do not realize that there’s actually a calmer, less daunting alternative to the courtroom in divorce mediation. Mediation is performed by an unbiased third party, known as a mediator, who will help the couple to come to agreements on various issues in a safe, secure environment outside of the courtroom. Mediation can make divorce cases much easier to deal with for all parties if they do go to court, and in many cases, mediation can even help couples to avoid dragging their divorce through the court altogether.
Less Daunting: Nobody likes the idea of having to go to court to fight somebody who they once vowed to spend the rest of their life with, but if you and your ex-spouse don’t seem to be able to agree on anything when it comes to ending your marriage, you might feel like you have no other option. This is where mediation comes in – with the help of a trained third-party, you will both be able to speak without arguing and address the most important issues that you will both need to face during this stressful time, such as decisions about finances or children that you have together. Divorce mediation will allow you to speak clearly and openly, encourage you to compromise, and help you to get the results that you need.
Better for Children: For many married couples who have children, divorce is a stressful ordeal for all of the family. Going to court can only make things worse in many cases, and even if your children do not actually attend any of the court hearings, simply being in this family situation can have a long-lasting effect on them and their emotional and mental well-being, something which could even cause problems with their health or education at the time and even in the future. Since mediation is a much less aggressive, calmer method of working things out, it’s not only good for parents’ stress levels, but it can be a far better choice for your children, too.
Cost Effective: Another benefit of choosing mediation over going to court when it comes to getting divorced is that it almost always costs less than litigation. If you can manage to work through most of your issues and come to agreements about the main things affected by your divorce in mediation, there’s a much smaller chance that you’ll need to go to court, or it’s likely that the only court visit you will need is that one in which you’ll finalize the divorce. Because of this, if you’re already on a budget and don’t want your divorce to end up costing you dearly, mediation could be an excellent option to consider.
Who Can Benefit from Mediation: Although mediation in divorce can definitely have a lot of positive benefits for everybody involved, there are some cases where mediation may not be the best choice. Mediation works well for couples who are divorcing but are still able to have a conversation, respect each other’s opinions and ideas, and can get their point across in a mature, non-aggressive manner. Cases where domestic violence or abuse is involved, for example, will probably not benefit as much from mediation and are best handled in court. On the other hand, if you are separating from your partner due to other reasons and do not have any charges to bring against them, mediation is definitely worth considering. It’s important to remember that mediation will require you to discuss important issues such as finances, children, pensions, custody, alimony, sale of joint assets, and more, so if you think that either you or your partner will find it difficult to do this, perhaps mediation is not for you. It’s a good idea to openly discuss your concerns with your divorce attorney to ensure that in opting for mediation, you are making the right decision.
Getting divorced is never an easy process, and for couples who go to court, it can be even more stressful. Thankfully, mediation is an alternative, less daunting option which allows you to work out your issues and come to important agreements without going in front of a judge."
It might sound strange (and is definitely not what you would expect to hear) but when couples come to me in a time of turmoil and unrest, this is sometimes the end goal and something we work toward together. Think of it this way: your current relationship is not working; and when children are involved, you two are going to have a relationship with one another for many years following this divorce. What kind of relationship do you want that to be? The process of this divorce can have a very powerful impact on that outcome. I view part of my job as helping the two of you lay the foundation in creating that new relationship. By working together and communicating with one another, hopefully you can carry that forward into this new situation of no longer residing in the same house.
I am a mediator who is also an attorney and an attorney who is also a mediator. This article is an opinion piece from Illinois that highlights why that can be beneficial for you. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/illinois-divorce-mediation-non-attorney-mediators-pose-risk-300177345.html
I utilize my knowledge and background in both areas to provide a comprehensive, all-encompassing service when couples seek a divorce.
There are many different "styles" of mediation (with facilitative, evaluative and transformative being the primary three). Every mediator has their own way of mediating, and communicating, with their clients. Utilizing my therapy training, legal knowledge base and personal style, I would foremost characterize myself as using the facilitative style of mediation. Given that I am also an attorney, I am able to provide couples with legal information while remaining a neutral guiding participant in their productive discussions. I truly want to understand where my clients are coming from in their desires but I also want to help the couple arrive at agreements that best serve their unique situation.
I have always been a firm believer that being a good listener enables the best communication and results. I try to practice this behavior throughout my interactions with clients and I hope that my clients respect my willingness to listen to both spouses. I do so with the belief that I need to truly hear everyone in order to help them arrive at the best decision for their specific family situation.
Here is one person's opinion on why listening is so helpful, and important, in mediation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alison-patton/secrets-of-a-successful-divorce-mediation_b_7103136.html