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Family Law Newsletter

  • Personal Injury Awards: Ownership Rights and Division Between Spouses
    Upon termination of a marriage by divorce, one of the most difficult problems is often division of the couple’s real and personal property. Although there are considerable differences in the way states treat property acquired by... Read more.
  • Division of Retirement Benefits Upon Divorce
    Upon divorce, all debts, property and assets must be divided between the spouses according to applicable percentages set by state law. In equitable distribution states, the court divides marital property (or property acquired during the... Read more.
  • Taking Unsafe Toys Away From Children
    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates the distribution of 15,000 types of consumer products that pose an unreasonable risk of injury or death to the public. As young children are particularly susceptible to... Read more.
  • Taxes, Filing Returns and Married Couples
    For federal income tax purposes, there are five tax “statuses:” single; head of household; married filing jointly; married filing separately; and qualifying widow(er) with dependent child. Status affects tax credits and... Read more.
Family Law News Links

Preventing Unsuccessful Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation, an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings, is a means to resolve the complex issues of a divorce. Mediation involves the services of a trained and neutral person who works with the parties to facilitate the settlement of disputed issues. Such person is known as the “mediator.”

In traditional divorce proceedings, the judge ultimately determines child support, child custody, spousal support and property issues. Mediation, on the other hand, allows couples to control the outcome of their divorce. Additionally, the mediation process is non-adversarial in nature, which is especially important for couples with children, as like-minded parents can establish parenting plans with minimum disruption to the lives of their children.

Preparation for Mediation

Divorce mediation is most effective when both spouses have accepted that a divorce is imminent. However, even when only one spouse has decided that they want a divorce, mediation may still be a viable option.

Special Issues That May Frustrate the Mediation Process

It is recommended that the couple be in good mental and emotional health before entering into mediation. If the mediator feels that one spouse’s emotional health is at stake, she may refer that spouse to counseling before beginning the mediation process.

Mediation may not be the best alternative in all situations. For example, mediation may not be suitable in situations where domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse are involved. Inherent in domestic violence situations are volatile feelings, and often, emotional abuse. This often creates a communication gap between the parties that even mediation cannot overcome. Where alcohol and drug abuse are involved, mental impairment and erratic behavior can follow, often frustrating the goal of mediation.

Other factors that may frustrate mediation include:

  • Spouses who lie about finances
  • Easily intimidated spouses
  • Contentious spouses
  • Spouses who feel that the other spouse is incapable of child care
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