As a matrimonial attorney, clients consult me while pursuing mediation typically in the context of wanting to make informed decisions. Particularly in a complex case, a client may find the amount of information offered by the mediator daunting, or may wish to better understand the refinements of a particular issue. Accordingly, I am retained as a kind of sounding board. The client attends the mediation session and then discusses with me what he or she has learned, how it impacts his or her personal case, and what other issues may flow from that particular topic. Having the client feel more comfortable and informed can enhance the future mediation sessions.
Following up on my previous blog about the use of professionals during the divorce process, here is my interview with David Cote, who is a Financial Advisor with a top NYC based wealth management firm, and with whom a number of my clients have consulted.
What is the role of a financial advisor during the divorce process?
The role of a financial advisor during the divorce process is to help one or both parties to develop a financial plan that allows them to get on with their lives post-divorce. A divorce requires a separation of assets, followed by new management of your daily expenses and savings. A financial advisor can be very helpful with both these important items.
The divorce mediator is a professional in matrimonial matters but must remain neutral in order to facilitate a conversation between the parties and help them create their own separation/divorce agreement. In this capacity, the mediator cannot take sides or give advice to either party. However, there are times during the mediation process when parties may need advice from other professionals.
The mediator will provide information such as:
What the child support calculations are in New York State
The differences between marital and separate property
Possible tax consequences to investigate before making final decisions on divisions of assets Continue reading
“I am feeling torn and guilty.”
There are times when you may feel afraid to be too close to a divorcing couple. Suddenly, your marriage may seem like it could also be in danger. This is a normal reaction for some and may require a little distancing from those friends.
But divorce is not contagious, one does not catch it like a virus. Sometimes, bumps in your marriage may just trigger a thought that your life is not perfect. But no one’s life is perfect! Most of the bumps do not mean that a divorce is the answer, and can be dealt with in other ways.
However, if you need to take a temporary step back, you may want to tell your friend that you are not abandoning them, you just don’t want to get in the middle. Let them know that they should not be afraid to ask you at any time for help with the kids, to run some errands, cook a meal, or do anything to relieve them from a chore.
I grew up in Paris, France and thought that I would live there the rest of my life. Then one day, my husband came home from work and announced that he had been offered a great job opportunity in New York City and that we needed to move. As a family with three young children, where the husband was the main breadwinner, whether I liked it or not, it was hard to pass on this offer. So the 5 of us picked up, packed up, and moved to the US of A!
But what happens when a couple is divorced? They are living close to each other now, so that they both have easy access to the children, but suddenly one person has an opportunity, or a desire, to move elsewhere. Is the other one supposed to follow so that they can still both be close to the children?
Some couples may be having a hard time with day-to-day life together but have not decided to throw in the towel just yet. They are not ready to seek a permanent separation and/or divorce, giving up on all that they have done to create a home together. However, living in close quarters may have become very strained and they may decide that one will move out temporarily while they try to work things out. During this time, they may choose to see a marriage and family therapist together and/or work on their own specific issues with an individual therapist.
That was my initial reaction when my soon-to-be husband brought up the subject of us entering into a prenuptial agreement. I recognize now that I totally misunderstood what my fiance intended, and that in our case, the prenup was just an agreement to protect our children from our previous marriages in the event that one of us died.
Prenups do not necessarily signify a divorce or an anticipation of a failed marriage. They may not even include a mention of divorce if the parties do not wish to discuss that possibility. Prenups may just spell out some agreements that you and your fiance would like to make regarding some important decisions that will result in a more successful marriage.
Part 2: Dealing with your former in-laws after your divorce:
In Part 1, we talked about how parents and in-laws may be affected by their children’s divorce and some things you can do to maintain a positive and open communication with them post-divorce. In part 2, we are going to look at how your divorce may affect your relationship with your in-laws.
During your marriage, you may have grown close to your in-laws and want to preserve that relationship for yourself as well as for your children. Your in-laws will be your children’s grandparents forever, as will their uncles, aunts or other relatives. Here are a few things that you may want to consider: Continue reading
In thinking about parents and in-laws caught in the midst of their children’s divorce, the issue can be looked at from the point of view of the couple getting divorced as well as from the point of view of their parents and in-laws. The impact of divorce on parents and in-laws is often disregarded and forgotten, but addressing some of the problems that may arise could help smooth the path for members of both families.
Part 1: Dealing with a son or a daughter-in-law after their divorce
Divorce Prep Experts (DPE) is an organization created in an effort to help those who are contemplating or facing divorce. I have been invited to be on the New York City panel of experts and we are presenting a 3-hr seminar on Thursday, February 28, 2013 from 6-9 PM:
“It’s My Life & It’s My Divorce…How To Stay In Control & Protect My Future”
The seminar will consist of 7-minute presentations by a selection of experts on the topic of separation and/or divorce, followed by a Q&A session. This seminar will provide valuable information on the different issues that may be part of a divorce process.
In October, I was interviewed by Christina Nitschmann, Founder of Savvy Customer Service Consultants for her weekly Savvy Central Radio show on BlogTalkRadio.com in which she highlights various business experts.
Christina said that as the child of a horrible, long and highly conflicted divorce, she thought that the only way to get divorced was by hiring separate lawyers and going through an adversarial and litigious process. She was not aware until recently that mediation was an alternative for separation, divorce and other family conflicts, and was interested in talking with me to get more information.
Choosing mediation over an adversarial legal process will help you build a parenting plan of your choice. Together, you and your spouse can put in place the parameters and many details that you think will work best for you and for your children. The mere fact that you are cooperating in building this plan sets an example of communication for your children and will translate into a positive outcome for everyone. When children are confident of the love of both parents, they adjust more quickly and easily to divorce.
Cooperating with your ex for the sake of your children can seem overwhelming in the early stages of the divorce. Try to put aside your relationship issues, your hurt and your anger towards one another and put your children’s needs first. Your marriage may be over but your family is not and your children need to know and feel that you will both continue to love them and be there for them despite the break up.
Peaceful, consistent, and purposeful communication between parents is essential to the success of co-parenting. You may think about your dealings as a business partnership where your “business” is your children’s well-being. Communicate as you would a colleague—with cordiality, respect, and neutrality.
- It’s better to wait until you have a parenting plan in place and have figured out where everyone is going to live before you tell the children that you will be separating. The idea of separation may be scary for the children and they need to be reassured among other things as to where they will be living, going to school, if they can still see their friends, and how they will spend time with each of you. By having those important decisions in place, you can let your children know that things are under control.