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Showing posts from August, 2017

Home for the Holidays!

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Ah, holidays and vacations. Can we ever have too many of them? But you’re going to have to look at them somewhat differently now that you’re ending your marriage. It’s true that some divorced parents are still able to celebrate the big holidays together, but for most a schedule must be agreed on. Thankfully, it’s really quite straightforward.
The easiest days to work out are the parents’ birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. As for the children’s birthdays, well, not many children would be upset to find out they’re celebrating twice, and that goes for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day, too.
Slightly more complicated are the three-day holidays that occur throughout the year. There’s Martin Luther King, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, and residents of this state, Nevada Day, otherwise known as Halloween! Parents need to take account of their work schedules when deciding where the kids will spend the long weekend.
Remember, too, that Chris…

Is your world a little wobbly?

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Ending a marriage and rearranging family roles is sure to put you off balance much of the time. Keep in mind you are 'birthing' a new life for you and your family. If you've actually had children, you know there is anxiety, pain, and joy in the birthing process. You can expect the same with divorce. Focus on the future, and you'll get there before you know it.

What? I Have to Disclose My Finances?

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Generally, yes, if you want to talk sensibly about what you need to live on. And your ex has to do the same. For your own sake, you need to be able to get a handle on your assets and debts, and you need to come up with an honest estimate about what your monthly income and expenses are likely to be, just to be able to sleep at night. The numbers you enter may affect child support calculations, spousal support payments, and certainly asset and debt distribution. So be honest with yourself.

It's helpful to use the Clark County Family Court's Financial Disclosure Form (FDF) as a starting point. You can find that form here, download it, and fill in as much as you can. What you can't fill in, you're going to have to research in order to estimate numbers.

This is a court form that judges look at in divorce proceedings but that does not have the same weight in mediation. Litigants who complete these forms have been know to demonstrate a highly refined skill of fantasy and rid…

Where Will Your Children Spend Their Time?

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For many co-parents, scheduling their time with the kids is gut-wrenchingly difficult. They never had to do this before when they lived as a family, nor did they have to assume both parental roles when they were with their children. So this is a tender topic and mediators know this.

Before delving into this, a few things to keep in mind:

1.Children do not like to stay still. They are balls of energy and want to keep doing things. They are not like a ceramic cat who will sit wherever you put it and keep you company.

2.Since they learned to say “no” to you, they have been busy unconsciously or subconsciously trying to separate from you, to become their own selves.

3.The older they get, the more important their own circle of friends is to them, and the less time they want to spend with adults.

4.As they get into their teenage years, the Clark County Family Court recognizes a principle known as teenage discretion, meaning the closer they get to the age of majority, the more authority they h…

Making Legal Decisions for the Children

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Okay, you’ve made the decision to end your marriage/partnership/relationship. If you have children together, the next step is to work out what to do with them. I’m not talking about putting them in an orphanage (common before the twentieth century for parents who couldn’t afford to support them alone) or sending them to relatives who might be a bit better off. I’m talking about how the two of you make major decisions that affect the kids, who’s responsible for them, where they’re going to spend their time and just how that time will be scheduled. It also includes what happens on holidays, vacations, and birthdays. (Dealing with grandparents, other family members and new partners/significant others is for another post.)

[In order to keep the use of synonyms down, I’ll simply use ‘you’ and your ‘ex’ when referring to the members of the couple. And if I need a personal pronoun I’ll use ‘him’ or ‘he’ or ‘his’. That is a random decision.]

You’re going to have to discuss and negotiate these i…

Regarding Parenting Discussions

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I strongly subscribe to the statement on parenting discussions made by my own mentor, Robert Kirkman Collins, J.D., in his marvelous book, Divorce Mediation: Common Sense and the Crisis of Divorce, and quote it in full here:

The single most important issue in divorce negotiations is working out the arrangements by which children can maintain meaningful and significant contact with both parents after the adults start to reside in separate households.

There are four basic principles that should be honored during these negotiations:

1. Mother and Father know best. More than any licensed professional or academic study, the two people in the room are the best experts on their particular child.

2. Every child and every parent is different, and have a right to have their needs addressed.

3.Every child changes, and should have parental arrangements that have age-appropriate modifications, rather than one fixed at the stage they happen to be on the day of their parents’ divorce.
4.The level of detai…

Where Do I Begin?

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It really depends on what role you are playing in this process. It doesn't matter if you're the husband, wife, father, or mother, nor is it affected if you are straight, gay or transgendered. If you are the one who wants to end the relationship, you are the moving party. Your soon-to-be-former partner is the nonmoving party, whether they want the breakup or not.
It's especially true for the moving party that s/he is certain this is the right thing to do. That may mean real soul-searching on your part. Or it may not. If you've been uncomfortable, bored, disinterested, or turned off for a while, you may not need to reflect very much. And if you've already found another person who rocks your boat, in your mind you may be already out of the relationship.
Some people slide right from total lust to feeling nothing without even noticing it. One day they wake up and realize they don't know the other person in the bed. It's pretty hard to reverse that final emptine…

Wants versus Needs

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I must have seen umpteen TV programs where people with opposing viewpoints sit down and try to talk about an issue. But what really happens is that each person brings their version of the ‘truth’ to the table with the goal of persuading the other person to accept it as gospel. Now, when everyone is trying to do that, no one is going to succeed. More importantly, no one is going to hear. Because in order to accomplish this feat of getting the other person to accept your version of truth, you usually resort to talking loudly, talking over them, disrespecting them, demeaning them, and generally trashing any ideas they may have. It’s a lose-lose situation.
So how can we talk to each other? That requires us to go beneath the positions that most people present as their argument. All of us do this. Take this situation. John Doe works a late shift at the factory, getting home each night at 1 am. He likes to unwind by cracking a beer and putting on some Lady Gaga music. After about an hour, he’…