Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging things you can deal with as an adult. While no one enjoys having to hash out an agreement with his or her ex-spouse, mediation can keep things more civil than taking it to court. The team from Divorce Options San Diego—professionals who are transforming the divorce process with expert divorce mediation San Diego couples rely on for customized divorce solutions—offer these five tips to help you plan a successful divorce mediation with less stress.
1. Choose the Right Mediator
It’s important to understand that the mediator you choose doesn’t favor either one of you. Instead, he or she serves as a neutral party who helps you both come to agreements regarding the different aspects of your divorce, such as the division of property. However, mediators sometimes have more experience in certain areas that may be beneficial for your circumstances. For example, you may prefer a mediator who is experienced in helping with making financial plans if you expect yours to be complicated.
2. Do Some Homework First
You should also be aware of the laws that impact divorces in your state. For instance, California has specific laws regarding how property is divided and whether or not a person has to pay spousal support. Knowing the general expectations for your situation can help you make better decisions.
3. Be Prepared
Your divorce mediator may need you to supply information that ensures all of the decisions made will stand up in court. For instance, you may need to make financial documents available, such as income statements or a copy of your lease agreement. You may also need to find out information about any changes in your children’s schedules, such as the hours of their new daycare arrangement, so you and your ex-spouse can make a child support and visitation agreement. Make sure to always be prepared with the required information so you can avoid delays in the process.
4. Plan to Reflect Before Mediation
With mediation, the ultimate goal is for everyone to come out of the agreement satisfied that they’ve been heard and their needs have been respected. Take some time to think about what your ex-spouse might want or need before you speak with the mediator. Although you cannot fully predict what he or she might say, having an idea ahead of time can help you plan your negotiation strategy.
5. Keep an Open Mind
It also helps to remember that mediation involves going through a give-and-take process. In some situations, you may need to give up something, such as a piece of property, to get another thing you want. Remembering to keep an open mind ensures your priorities are met.
All the practical, legal, financial, and psychological aspects of fair, respectful divorce agreements can be managed by Divorce Options San Diego’s experienced, trustworthy divorce mediators. San Diego couples can rely on our comprehensive process, which is so thorough there won’t be a need for attorneys. To learn how we can help you with every facet of your divorce, call us today at (858) 281-2628.
Family breadwinners play a big role in making sure everyone has what they need. While the primary breadwinner should still expect to care for his or her children and possibly make some financial contributions to his or her ex-spouse, both spouses must also make sure to take care of themselves during this time. Here are some recommendations for how families with one primary breadwinner can approach divorce, brought to you by Divorce Options San Diego, San Diego divorce mediators who offer a one-stop shop approach for couples looking for a way to dissolve their marriages amicably and with mutual respect.
Get Your Financial Affairs in Order
The first thing you need to do is figure out exactly where you stand financially. If one spouse has been handling the money, take the opportunity to check out your debts and bank account statements together. You may also need to identify things such as where each of you will live so you can make financial decisions about your future.
Make Copies of All Documents
As you go through your accounts, make copies of everything. Although you can hopefully trust each other to be honest, it’s possible for essential information to suddenly go missing during divorces. You’ll need copies of documents such as your past tax return statements, pay stubs, and other proof of income. You’ll also need to prove your financial debts and responsibilities with copies of leases, mortgage loan agreements, and credit card statements.
Prepare for the Possibility of Spousal Support
California’s divorce laws govern whether a person must pay spousal support. If you live in California, the main breadwinner will probably be required to pay some amount of support to his or her ex-spouse. In most cases, the amount of support will be determined by factors such as the length of your marriage and the amount of your income. If a spouse is currently working but makes less, the primary breadwinner may not be required to pay as much. Either way, being prepared to work out the details about spousal support makes it easier to reach an acceptable agreement.
Try to Make Decisions Together
Divorces don’t have to be messy and fraught with strife. Instead, you can have an amicable divorce. Trying to keep things friendly is much better if kids are involved, and you can bet you’ll both be happier with the final agreement when you can both have some input. Typically, it’s better to work through a mediation process that allows you to create a customized plan for things such as child support and visitation, since the courts might not understand the nuances of your lifestyle.
Secure Your Online Accounts
Once your accounts have been divided, take the additional step of making sure your personal information is secure. During a marriage, spouses often share passwords and login information with each other, and ex-spouses don’t need to be able to access each other’s information. Each of you should go through your online accounts and change passwords and other information as needed so you’re the only one who can gain access.
However, make sure you don’t change passwords or any other account information until you have worked with your divorce mediator to develop a fair community property equalization and divide your property. If you change passwords or other information before that happens, you can create a situation in which one of you doesn’t have access to the funds (or half the funds), which can immediately cause acrimony that ultimately leads to litigation.
These are just a few ways families with primary breadwinners can prepare themselves for divorce. For couples in San Diego, divorce mediation may be the ideal choice when they’re ready to go their separate ways. If you’re interested in learning more about how mediation works and why more people are choosing it every day, call the mediation experts at Divorce Options San Diego at 858-281-2628.
During a divorce, it’s easy to focus on how your marriage is ending. However, this time also represents the opportunity to start a new chapter in your life. Although it’s true things won’t be the same, you can begin to put the pieces of your life back together and start over again. Now that the divorce process has been initiated, the time is right to focus on your future. The professionals from Divorce Options San Diego, the experts in divorce mediation San Diego couples rely on for an alternative to the often contentious and costly divorce process, advise using these strategies to make your life better than it was before.
Give Yourself Time to Grieve
You need to give yourself time to mourn the ending of your marriage. Too often, people try to jump in to dating again or make hasty decisions, such as moving to a distant location. While you may end up doing these things, you need to do so when you have a clear mind. Spend some time contemplating your marriage and allow yourself to work through the emotions that arise as it ends. Keep in mind this process can take time, but it also shouldn’t interfere with your ability to carry out your normal routine. If it does, talk to a professional counselor to work through your grief.
Some people lack the time to fully grieve. They are now single parents, have full-time jobs, and have a difficult time doing anything other than the basics. We suggest divorce support groups, men’s groups, women’s groups, group therapy, divorce coaching (which is one of our services), and individual psychotherapy if possible.
Finalize Your Divorce Arrangements
Starting over works best when you have a defined ending. Couples sometimes delay important decisions, such as selling property or dividing up their belongings. If parts of your divorce are unfinished, work with a mediator to find appropriate solutions that resolve each issue. Knowing your ex-partner isn’t going to suddenly decide he or she wants his or her share of the house or show up looking for his or her things allows you to move forward with a clean slate.
Many divorcing people move into separate houses, condos, or apartments and need help, both with the move and with the choice and design of a new residential space. Our firm can connect you to resources to help you with this transition.
Decide How the Future Should Look
This strategy sounds so simple, but it’s important to mention because people sometimes just allow their lives to unfold after a divorce. Starting over means you can do anything you choose now with the ability to make independent decisions. Consider how you would like to see yourself in the future. Some people decide to start the business they always dreamed of, while others may want to travel more. Doing something you’ve been putting off gives you momentum for rebuilding your life.
Begin to Cultivate Your Friendships
Friendships often take a hit during a divorce. You may find that some friends drop off because they feel the need to take sides. Others may become closer than ever as they lend you support. Take the time to nurture your relationships. You can also branch out and form new ones by joining social activities such as groups for people going through divorces.
Rebuild Your Identity
When you’re married, a large part of your identity is tied to your relationship status. Starting over allows you to start viewing yourself from a more independent angle. Take a class or renew an old interest that allows you to begin building a new identity.
Divorce is always emotionally difficult, so having a plan for starting over can help a great deal as you’re ending your marriage. One way to focus on that plan during your divorce is to work with experienced divorce mediators. San Diego couples can benefit enormously from the expertise of the team at Divorce Options San Diego. With backgrounds in law, finance, conflict resolution, and psychology, we empower couples to dissolve their marriages with respect and mutual satisfaction and move on to the next stage of life with optimism. To learn more about our revolutionary divorce mediation process, give us a call today at (858) 281-2628.
Even when couples wish to part amicably and agree to use divorce mediation instead of attorneys, emotional and mental stress may lead to regrettable actions during a divorce. Misjudgments may occur regarding issues such as spousal support, property division, child support, and child custody. The San Diego divorce mediation experts from Divorce Options San Diego advise couples to avoid the following pitfalls during the divorce process.
1. Not Having a Pre-Divorce Budget
Many divorcing couples don’t know all the details about their financial status. This information is required to determine asset distribution as well as spousal support. To prepare for divorce, write up a household budget showing your living expenses versus income. Without this budget, you risk not allocating enough funds for spousal support. Thankfully, spousal support duration and payments can be changed, but only if your settlement agreement includes this option. If the term “non-modifiable” describes your spousal support order, you can’t alter it after finalizing your divorce. Plus, for equitable asset distribution, a divorce mediator needs copies of your relevant financial and legal records. Make sure to gather all documents concerning your debts and assets, both jointly and individually, including tax returns, vehicle titles, property deeds, trusts, wills, and insurance policies. Additionally, make copies of your account statements, such as those for checking and savings accounts, credit cards, retirement funds, and investment services.
2. Lacking a Post-Divorce Financial Plan
After divorcing, a couple’s financial situation often changes markedly. For example, one spouse may keep the house while the other rents an apartment, or a formerly nonworking spouse must now find employment. For financial security, you must both project what your new living expenses will be and how you’ll meet them. To formulate sustainable budgets for the future, consult with a financial advisor. With professional guidance, you can devise separate financial plans for you and your spouse based on your respective incomes, expenses, assets, and liabilities. Financial planning eases the transition to a single lifestyle. Additionally, many couples don’t realize that marital assets received in divorce settlements may be taxed. Consequently, expected settlement payments can differ markedly from actual amounts. To ensure you can cover any taxes due, discuss this detail with your financial advisor.
3. Haggling Over Every Issue
To produce an equitable agreement, couples must modify their expectations. If you butt heads on each issue and refuse to compromise, you could end up in court. The purpose of negotiations is to reach a middle ground that works for both spouses. Try to be reasonable and practical when discussing settlement terms. While it’s hard to release emotional ties to assets, remember you’ll be financially responsible for them after divorcing. For example, with a house, make sure you can afford the ongoing costs of maintenance, repair, mortgage payments, and property taxes.
4. Not Giving Thought to Insurance
If you have children, you and your spouse should each purchase life and disability insurance policies. Unexpected injury or the death of an ex-spouse could result in the loss of child support, tuition coverage, and property settlement payments, leaving children unprotected financially. Regarding health insurance, after divorcing, don’t immediately cancel dependent coverage. If your ex-spouse or children have chronic medical conditions, you may be responsible for paying their uncovered healthcare expenses. While it may be possible to reinstate insurance, waiting for an open enrollment period can bleed your funds. Additionally, appraise and insure any substantial assets you gain through settlement, such as a house and pensions, and remember to update the beneficiaries on your respective wills and insurance policies.
5. Letting Emotions Overrule Good Judgment
During divorce proceedings, intense feelings can derail rational thinking, causing short-sighted choices you’ll regret down the road. Stay mindful of two goals. First, prepare yourself for future financial changes. Second, make decisions that protect the emotional stability of your family. A mediator can keep you focused during negotiations. However, it may be challenging to control volatile feelings and thoughts outside those sessions. While family and friends can be supportive, their closeness to you may prevent objective input. For help in maintaining your equilibrium, see a licensed counselor. If your children are showing signs of divorce-related stress, obtain counseling for them, too.
6. Speaking Badly About Your Ex-Spouse to Your Kids
While you may be justified in your grievances concerning your spouse, don’t criticize him or her around your kids. Frequently, children fault themselves for marital problems and divorce. Bad-mouthing your ex-spouse can fuel a child’s guilt, insecurity, sadness, and depression. By speaking respectfully of your former spouse, the divorce will be less rattling for your kids. Counseling can help you keep your cool. When you must discuss your ex-spouse, see him or her through your child’s eyes. If possible, express gratitude for everything your former spouse does for the family. Then take the goodwill a step further and thank your ex-partner directly.
7. Publicizing Your Pending Divorce on Social Media
Venting on social media works against settlement agreements. If your spouse sees any negative posts, it could impede your progress. If you’ve already aired grievances, remove any adverse comments from the Internet. You might even want to consider locking down your privacy settings or temporarily deactivating some social media accounts. If you and your spouse decide to announce your divorce, discuss when to do it. A joint decision prevents unpleasant surprises. To protect the privacy of children, in your settlement agreement, you can include a policy on child-related posts. For example, you could agree to limit posts and pictures that hint of spousal separation. Additionally, ask family and friends to refrain from posting anything that casts your family in a poor light. Such publicity could sabotage other aspects of your lives, such as job prospects. Going forward, avoid mentioning any lifestyle improvements resulting from your divorce. Such bragging will only hurt your children and their ongoing relationship with your ex-spouse.
8. Rushing Divorce Proceedings
Some couples, eager to end their marriages, don’t give careful consideration to their agreements. Consequently, they may not be at peace with some of their joint decisions. Take your time to work out a mutually beneficial settlement. Generally, the mediation process can span weeks to months, and the specific length is determined by several factors. One is your thoroughness in compiling information. Another is the degree of spousal collaboration. During mediation sessions, you’ll discuss substantive issues, such as debt, asset value, property division, spousal support, child support, and child custody. Outside mediation sessions, you’ll need to meet with a financial advisor and asset appraisers. Once you and your spouse agree on all pertinent issues, the mediator will draft a settlement proposal. The next step is your joint review and signatures before presenting the agreement to a judge. Then you can face the future, confident that your family is financially and emotionally secure.
If you’re at the point where you think divorce is the right choice for you, mediation provides an ideal alternative to hiring lawyers and having to make countless court appearances. The expert San Diego divorce mediators at Divorce Options San Diego provide a one-stop shop, offering comprehensive services that cover all aspects of divorce from beginning to end, and we focus on helping couples form mutually satisfactory agreements based on trust and respect. Give us a call today at (858) 281-2628.
Divorce is one of the most stressful life events you can experience. In fact, people often find there are moments of tension even when they choose to keep things amicable. When you know your marriage must end, you can use these strategies to keep things as stress free as possible.
Agree to Use Positive Communication
Now that you’ve decided to get a divorce, it’s time to let go of the past. It no longer matters who was right or wrong during the marriage, and doing things such as name-calling only makes things worse. Make an agreement with your ex-partner to only use positive language during your discussions. If you find you’re beginning to speak harshly or argue, take a break. All your decisions regarding the divorce don’t have to be decided in one day.
Put Your Kids and Pets First
Many marriages that end involve children and/or pets. Making sure they come first is often the one thing couples can agree on during their divorces. While your thoughts about what’s best for them may differ from your ex-partner’s, this concept can remind you both of why it’s important to keep things civil. When you’re dropping off the kids or meeting for pet visitation, try to avoid discussing the divorce. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do this later, and it’s best for the children and animals to benefit from both of you showing them support.
Hire a Divorce Mediator
Divorce lawyers can sometimes create drama you didn’t even know existed. For instance, they may recommend fighting for something you really don’t care about. Pitting two lawyers against each other also sets a bad precedent for keeping things civil. Instead of using lawyers, consider hiring divorce mediators. San Diego couples who use the mediation process effectively talk through decisions that affect things such as child custody and the division of property. While this process can take some time, it can help you both feel more in control of what happens with your lives. Working things out in a mediation environment versus a courtroom is also less stressful in general.
Find Ways to Release Your Tension
Your mediation meetings will go better when you show up already relaxed and ready to communicate positively. Use this time to start taking better care of yourself. Eat right, exercise, and get to sleep on time. You can also add a few relaxation strategies to your normal routine. Try journaling about the issues that bother you surrounding your divorce. Alternatively, you can spend some time meditating upon what you envision happening in your future. Playing a sport or pursuing a new hobby also gives you positive things to focus on so you can better manage your stress.
If you and your spouse want to reduce the amount of stress involved in your divorce, the answer you’re seeking may be in divorce mediation. San Diego couples can have every aspect of their divorces handled without the need to hire attorneys, go to court, or spend a small fortune. To learn more about how divorce mediation can be the ideal option for you and your family, call the expert mediators at Divorce Options San Diego today at (858) 281-2628.
Going through a divorce is always going to be complicated, but you might run into a few additional problems if you own a small business. In addition to protecting your business’s assets, you also need to make sure the separation isn’t going to impact your day-to-day operations. Try these five tips that will help you get through your upcoming divorce without damaging your business.
1. Start the Conversation Early
While it might seem easier to hand your spouse the divorce papers and walk away, it’s always preferable to avoid a lengthy legal battle. If your marriage is coming to an end, you need to sit down with your spouse and have a serious conversation. You need to be as honest as possible during that conversation, and even though strong emotions will be involved, you need to address the practical issues concerning your business in a calm and mutually respectful way. Starting this process off right could help you avoid quite a few issues down the road. Pull together your financials, current budgets, house expenses, and paperwork from the business, along with tax returns.
2. Take a Fresh Look at Your Prenuptial Agreement if You Have One
As soon as you’re sure your marriage is going to end, you need to revisit your prenuptial agreement, if you have one. In addition to covering your personal assets, your prenup might also protect your business. Taking a fresh look at this agreement will give you a much better idea of what to expect in the coming months. Those documents usually cover marital property, personal assets, business assets, childcare, debts, and investments.
If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, see if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on your own about all the above issues. Emotions may be running high, so this may be difficult. If you can’t agree but you still don’t want the expense and turmoil of hiring attorneys and going to court, seek out the advice of an experienced divorce mediator, who can help you come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.
3. Assess Your Spouse’s Involvement in the Business
Many small business owners blur the lines between their personal and professional lives, which can make a divorce much more complicated. In California, the business is likely community property, so whether or not the spouse also worked for the business doesn’t affect that. However, if the spouse does work for the business, that is a complicating factor.
Divorce Options San Diego—experienced professionals who provide premier San Diego divorce mediation services to couples seeking creative divorce solutions—takes a unique approach and performs a mediated business evaluation, which allows both parties to participate in the valuation of the business. This is unlike other mediators and unlike litigation, whereby the parties will hire a third-party business evaluator at much higher rates and without a mediated approach.
4. Be Prepared to Divide Other Assets
During a typical divorce, the couple’s marital assets are added up and then split down the middle. When a business is involved, splitting assets down the middle can be difficult, and you might have to make a few sacrifices. As part of a fair community property equalization process, other assets, such as retirement accounts or your family home, may be divided. While that might seem unacceptable at first, it could be the best option for protecting your business’s future.
5. Use Mediation
A mediation specialist is going to focus on bringing both parties together to come up with a mutually agreeable resolution. Through mediation, you and your spouse will have much greater control over how the assets are divided. Mediators are also there to make sure both parties feel heard, which can make this experience much less stressful. Practically every divorce is going to be painful, but treating each other with empathy could help you avoid some of the most common problems separating couples run into.
Dealing with finances during a divorce isn’t easy, especially if a business is involved. Divorce Options San Diego can handle every aspect of your divorce for you, including complicated financial matters, so you won’t need to hire expensive attorneys. As San Diego divorce mediators, we offer a one-stop-shop approach for couples who are looking for a way to dissolve their marriages amicably and with mutual respect. To learn more about our groundbreaking approach to divorce, give us a call today at (858) 281-2628.
With the news cycle constantly discussing celebrity divorce drama, it seems like celebrities get divorced far more often than the average couple. It turns out this perception is true, with celebrities having a divorce rate almost twice as high as the national average. There are a few key factors that tend to make celebrity divorces so common.
Celebrities might congregate together in cities like Los Angeles and New York, but it’s important to remember they come from all walks of life, which means the average celebrity marriage can end up with intense cultural differences. One partner may be a very conservative person from a small Midwestern town, while the other is a cosmopolitan socialite who grew up hopping between international cities. These different backgrounds can cause a lot of conflict once a couple decides to settle down and have kids.
A sad reality behind the lower divorce rates of past decades was that many couples wanted to divorce but couldn’t due to financial issues. The average couple may struggle with finances to support two separate households, especially if one person has spent years being a homemaker instead of building a career. Celebrities tend to be fairly well off, so they can divorce instead of being stuck in a marriage due to financial worries. However, sometimes it costs more to divorce than to stay married, so in some cases, the logic goes in the opposite direction.
The high cost of hiring divorce attorneys is still a major concern for couples, whether they’re celebrities or not, but there is an alternative. All the financial, legal, and practical aspects of respectful divorce agreements can be managed by Divorce Options San Diego’s experienced, trustworthy divorce mediators. San Diego couples can rely on our specialized comprehensive process, which is so thorough they won’t need to hire attorneys.
Big Age Gaps
Unlike many other fields of work, the entertainment industry throws people of a lot of different ages together. There are often marriages with huge age gaps, since people of all ages have the funds to maintain their youthful looks, and many younger people may be attracted to the wealth and power of established celebrities. The huge differences in life experience that come with this type of age gap often result in marital problems. Of course there are exceptions, but in general, marriages with a big age gap are less likely to work out.
A 2014 Emory University study suggested a significant correlation between age gap and divorce. Couples with ages falling within 5 years of each other were much less likely to divorce than couples who had age gaps of 10 or 20 years. Statistically, a 5-year age gap translates to an 18 percent higher likelihood of divorce (versus just 3 percent for a 1-year age difference), and that rate climbs to 39 percent for a 10-year age difference and 95 percent for a 20-year age gap.
When celebrities get divorced, one of their most common reasons is “we grew apart.” This might sound vague, but it’s often the reality for celebrities. The typical couple spends almost every day together, getting plenty of opportunities to build a life together. However, celebrities who have to shoot on location for months, go on extended tours of the country, and fly across the world for business meetings find it more difficult to make time for each other. Over time, this sense of separation can lead to a couple with very different goals and interests.
No matter what their industries or income levels, couples who want to make the divorce process as smooth, respectful, and amicable as possible can choose a fantastic alternative to the hostility and high expense of traditional divorce: divorce mediation. San Diego couples trust Divorce Options San Diego’s experienced divorce mediators to handle every aspect of their divorces, and our focus is on ensuring fairness and mutual satisfaction for both spouses. To learn more about how divorce mediation can be the best option for you, call the expert mediators at Divorce Options San Diego today at (858) 281-2628.
When people talk about divorce being expensive, they’re normally referring to more than just the costs of spousal maintenance and child support. Simply hiring a lawyer to help with your divorce can add thousands of dollars in fees and charges. Though divorce lawyers can provide valuable support, many people find the costs are a little higher than they truly need to be. The team from Divorce Options San Diego—the experts in San Diego divorce mediation who offer a comprehensive alternative to expensive, time-consuming divorce litigation—explain why divorces are so expensive and what you can do to lower the costs.
Total Costs Rise When You Make Lawyers Handle Petty Arguments
Divorce lawyers’ basic fees already tend to be on the high side, and this really adds up when you end up using your attorney for a lot of billable hours. Higher divorce costs are often directly due to petty arguments. For example, one spouse may decide he or she only wants to be contacted through the attorney, so he or she could end up paying hundreds of dollars for the attorney to read and pass on basic messages. Couples who want to bicker and prolong the process due to hurt feelings end up costing themselves a lot more than they would if they approach the process with a view toward mutual resolution through creative problem-solving.
High Costs Reflect the Complexities of Divorce Cases
People who choose to have contentious divorces fought out in court end up with very complex cases. Their attorneys spend a lot of time and energy doing things like going over financial documents and analyzing personal property information. Each time attorneys have to go to court or prepare for yet another hearing, costs rise even higher. Since divorces can often be more complex than other legal matters, the number of billable hours can be quite high, driving up the final total costs.
Skipping the Traditional Divorce Process Saves Money
As you can see, every part of a traditional court divorce costs a lot of money. Attorneys usually aren’t raising their fees to take advantage of clients. It’s simply inevitable that a contentious divorce results in a lot of expensive fees due to all the paperwork and time involved. Those who want to save money need to be willing to rethink the entire process. Choosing to work with divorce mediators allows couples to save money and create more flexible arrangements that work best for their individual situations.
Couples looking for an alternative to the enormously expensive adversarial manner in which divorces are usually handled should reach out to the experienced professionals at Divorce Options San Diego. We’re San Diego divorce mediators you can trust to help you dissolve your marriage in a way that’s based on respect and mutual satisfaction. Give us a call today at (858) 281-2628 to learn more.