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Divorce Mediation

/Divorce Mediation

Mediating a Divorce After a Long-Term Marriage

{2:30 minutes to read} I am often pleasantly surprised when couples who have been married for 20, 30, 40 years or more are able to come to mediation to be divorced. Sometimes I wonder whether I could have done that; whether I could sit next to my soon-to-be ex-spouse and say out loud, “I want to divorce you and move on with my life. I want to live alone and not be married to you anymore.” How incredibly difficult would that be in a private setting, but here we are, saying this in front of the mediator, a stranger whom we just met. […]

If You Can’t Bargain for Yourself, Maybe Mediation Isn’t for You!

{3:48 minutes to read} One of the elements of a successful mediation is the client’s ability to bargain in their own self interest. Often, I have one spouse who is more concerned about what is going to happen to their soon-to-be ex-spouse than they are about themselves. When I see that, I say, “Listen, your spouse is concerned about him or herself, and you’re concerned about them also, so there are two people concerned about them but who is expressing concern for you. For this mediation to be successful, you have to speak up for yourself and play a part in constructing what you both believe is a fair settlement.” […]

If I Get Divorced, I Get to Keep the Dog, Right?

{3:00 minutes to read} Pets play a very important role in our lives. In my life I have a dog. I don’t own a dog, I have a dog and the dog has me. No one really owns a living creature. We live with them and have a relationship with them, and that relationship is very special to us. To pet owners, pets are like children and we grow very attached to them. With a divorcing couple, it is not that unusual to create an agreement where both parties have visitation rights with their pets. It’s good for the divorcing couple and good for their pets. After all, we are divorcing the other spouse; we are not divorcing our pets. Non pet owners may have difficulty understanding the importance of not interrupting the everyday contact with your beloved pet. It matters little if the pet is: a cat, a dog, a parrot, a gerbil, a hamster, or even a horse. Pet owners who have had a long relationship with their pets do not want that relationship interrupted by the divorce. […]

Are You Ever Too Old to Get Divorced?

{2:42 minutes to read} A couple from Eastern Europe had been married about 65 years. This was their second marriage. They had a bunch of kids who were now in their 60s, and mom and dad decided it was time to get divorced. They had been unhappy for the last 25 years. Their attorney called me and said that he knew this was a little unusual because of their age, but he had spoken to both of them and they really needed to get it done. He said, “I was wondering who makes a career out of doing unusual mediations, and I thought of you.” […]

An Advisory Schedule for Spousal Support: What Does That Mean?

{2:00 minutes to read} For years, divorce professionals, attorneys, mediators, judges and lawyers have all been asking for spousal maintenance (formerly called alimony) guidelines. Cases which had the same facts were getting different alimony awards from different judges. In some cases very, very different: Disturbingly different. After the Miller Commission conducted hearings, the law revision committee spent 5 years trying to arrive at a formula of spousal maintenance, while special interest groups exerted their influence. Toward the end, Judge Sunshine and Eric Tepper, whom we all admire, were involved in the final phase of review. […]

Can We Share Future Earnings After the Divorce?

{2:42 minutes to read} During a recent mediation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the husband and wife were smiling and seemed totally at ease. The husband was a hedge fund manager, and being a risk taker, he had started several hedge funds, then gone bankrupt. Currently, he is operating a very successful hedge fund with a very promising future. His wife, who is a successful doctor, had supported him not only financially through a series of ups and downs, but emotionally. Fast-forward 20 years later, and they are now getting divorced. They’ve both experienced some lean years, but now things have turned around. He is making a lot of money, and the prospects for making even more money in the next few years are excellent, so the couple wanted to make an agreement that would address the husband’s future earnings. […]