Divorce Mediator Vs. Divorce Lawyer. What you need to know.

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important decision you will make during your separation process. Depending on which one you chose can determine the cost, longevity, and emotional output of your divorce proceedings. Here is some information you need to know when making this important decision.

Meditation Litigation
Decision Making & Control Proactive! You are in control of the outcome and the decision agreed upon reflect you and your family's unique needs! Reactive. Lawyers and Judges rely on precedent which results in a loss of control and power.
Cost Financial responsible and cost effective Financially draining on your assets
Communication Fosters an open and honest dialogue of issues. Encourages expression of positions, interests & needs. Communication between parties is discouraged by counsel. Opportunities to express concerns are limited.
Confidentiality All information shared during the meditation process is private. All information, including financial, becomes part of the public record of the court.
Emotional Atmosphere Cooperative, comfort and less stressful. Adversarial and contentious (you vs. them mentality)
Impact on Children Minimized! The needs of the children remain central to decision making. Often overlooked. Children may be used as pawns in legal proceedings.
Meeting Tone Business-like & informal. Formal and intimidating.
Duration of Process Time efficient by design. Court dictated & lengthy.
Future Intersections Stage is set for future agreements. Stage is set for future disputes.

Table from http://modernfamilymediation.org

If you are unsure if you need a lawyer or a mediator, give us a call. At Clarity Divorce we have both mediators and lawyers who work with you for the best outcome for you and your family. Contact us below or give us a call at 343-887-5053.

Avoid using your Children as Pawns in your Divorce

Too many adults divorce because they fail to effectively communicate with each other. They still have to remain in contact with each other though due to the children they have results from that marriage. It is very important to avoid using your children as pawns in your divorce though. Too many people do it, and the children are the ones that suffer for it.

Keeping the children from seeing their other parent as a way to get back at them for the hurt they have put you through is common. That is a way that many divorced couples punish each other. Yet the children are the ones who suffer from it because they are missing out on that relationship. Unless the other parent isn’t fit to have the children alone then you need to let them go at the set visitation times.

Many children do miss the other parent when they are staying with one. This can hurt the parent they are with. Yet it is important to understand that children have unconditional love for both of their parents all the time. Allowing the children to call the other parent when they miss them or even as a standard ritual before bed can help to relieve their anxiety. It will also allow them to enjoy their time with each parent more.

While children do need to know what is going on as far as the divorce is concerned, they don’t need to know all of the details. Important issues that have to be discussed between the parents should be done privately. Remember that little ears can hear a great deal so make sure they aren’t even around when you are talking about sensitive issues.

When issues arise that involve your children you will need to work together to resolve them. When the parents are offering the opposite solution just to be difficult it only hurts the child more. For example if you have a high school student that has been cutting school you need to come up with a course of action to make them responsible. If one parent thinks it is a big deal and the other parent doesn’t mind then it become an ongoing issue.

Children of divorced parents are going to follow the guidelines of the parent that is in their favor on set issues. I guess you could say it is one of the few perks that children of divorces couples are able to exercise. Yet this can lead to many more issues down the road. So instead of using the children to drive your ex spouse crazy find ways to work as a team to do what is in the best interest of your children.

Never under any circumstances should you be passing messages to your ex spouse through your children. That isn’t their responsibility and too often these children are being told to say things they don’t want to repeat. You also don’t want to be asking your children for information when they return from a visit.

It is fine to ask them what they did and if they had a good time. However, you will be overstepping the boundaries if you are asking specific questions. They shouldn’t have to tell you what was said, who was around, and other details of their time together with the other parent.

If you are having a hard time coming to terms with your divorce, seek professional counseling. You will be able to work through your emotions and set goals for your future. You don’t want to dwell on what has taken place or suppress your feelings. You want to be able to have a good life and to be there for your children in a positive way. Make sure you always stop to consider how our actions are going to affect your children before you engage in them.

child custody tears families apart

Divorce…Where Do I Start?

Perhaps you have made the decision that you are wanting to separate, or maybe you haven’t completely decided yet. Perhaps your spouse has left or made the decision that they don’t want to be a part of the marriage anymore. No matter the situation, knowing where to start can be the hardest part. There is so much contradicting information out there, some of it false some of it accurate. Who do you trust? Your friends and family are telling you one thing, the internet is saying something else.

At the SDRC we like to keep things simple. The best place to start is a consultation.

What is a consultation: This is a one-on-one meeting with one of our mediators who will sit with you alone to discuss your case. They will talk to you about what is happening, what has been happening, what your expectations are, and what you are struggling with. Once they have all of the information, they will assist you in coming up with a clear road map to move forward in the most cost effective, and least emotionally draining way possible for you and your family.

What is road map? A road map for us is clear a path and a step by step way to support you through the process. Whether your spouse wants to participate in an amicable separation or not, we can help you navigate the family law system.

What additional resources do you have? If your case is highly adversarial, we can still help! We work closely with our lawyers and team members to assist in resolving very difficult cases. During your consultation our mediators will be able to assess what resources, if any that your case requires. From there we work with you as a support through the entire process. With us you are never alone.

If you or someone you know is separating and doesn’t know what to do, leave us a message below and we will be there to help.

Additional Expenses to Consider for your Children when you are Divorced

The expenses for caring for children continue to rise, and that doesn’t make it any easier for divorced parents. Each it attempting to keep their own household going. At the same time they often try to share expenses for their children. One of the parents should have both medical and dental coverage on the children. This may be court ordered or due to a mutual agreement between the parents.

  1. It is the responsibility of both parents to pay for such care that their children need. Have a plan of action so that it won’t be a problem later on. For example if one of you is paying for the premium on the insurance then the other parent should pay for the co-pays and deductibles. Discuss the care that is needed before it is done so that both parents agree to go forward with it.
  2. Childcare is another expense that can add up when a divorce takes place. Perhaps one of the parents was the caregiver and now both are in the workforce. The parents should decide on a childcare provide together. It may be a licensed facility, a nanny, or even a family member. The cost of childcare should be second to the quality of care that your children are receiving though.
  3. Inevitably there will be additional expenses for your children. Who is going to pay for school clothing and supplies? Many parents who pay child support assume that they pay enough for such items with that monthly check. Yet it may be just enough to help the family with food and shelter. You don’t want your children to go without due to money being an issue.
  4. Many children love to be involved in extracurricular activities as well. It can be sports, dance, or clubs. There will be expenses involved as well based on fees, special clothing and shoes needed, and even enrollment fees. Parents need to be willing to share such expenses so that their children can take part in such events.
  5. Summer is also a time when there are more expenses for children. They may want to go swimming lessons, camping, or even to a summer camp. All of these things cost money and someone has to pay it. Some feel the parent who makes more money should cover the cost. This is up to the parents though as many want to do everything like that 50/50. Yet the problem could come in when one parent can’t afford their share.

As you can see there are plenty of additional expenses to consider for your children when you are divorced. They really haven’t changed from when you were married. Yet if you were the parent who didn’t take care of such issues you may not have realized how much they cost. Make sure you are willing to discuss these expenses with the other parent. You want to do what is in the best interest of your children.

If you are unsure of what to expect before, during, or after your divorce CONTACT US today for a consultation.

talking to kids about divorce

Parenting Through Divorce

Parenting in general can be difficult. When you are dealing with divorce, parenting can be that much harder.

How do I tell my kids? What is the best schedule for them? How to we make the transition easier for them? How can I support them through this difficult time?

Remember they did not chose this, join us for the answers to these questions and more.

child custody tears families apart

Custody: Working Through The Battles

Are you in a heated custody battle? Do you question if spending time with their father is important to children? Far too often we see fathers denied access to their children.

One of the most difficult aspects is that yes, fathers are different than mothers. They have a more difficult time filling the mother role, they have a more difficult time being nurturing or dealing with emotions. But does that make them bad? Does that mean that they shouldn’t see their children?

I’ve decided to divorce…now what?

I’ve decided to get separated from my spouse, now what?

Once the decision to separate has been made, a new whole new wave of questions and concerns come washing in. There are things that you can do to prepare for the next steps in the process. Hopefully you and your spouse are in a position where you can still discuss important matters. If this is not the case, you can still take the following steps, but know that your case will be somewhat more difficult.

  1. Decide on logistics. If possible discuss logistics with your spouse. Here are some items that should be discussed:
    1. Who if any wants to keep the matrimonial home? What mortgage is left on the house?
    2. Custody and access. Custody is decision making rights. Who will get to make the decisions about the children? Access is the visitation schedule. Is it going to half and half? What is a schedule that work for both parties?
    3. Decide on what you agree on and what you do not. If there is nothing that you agree on, that is ok!!
  2. Gather all information. Get together all of your financial information such as debts, assets, RRSPs, and pensions. Gather information about what you had before the marriage. Gather mortgage information, pension information, business information (if there is one), savings, credit card information, cars, and any other financial information.
  3. Mediation Vs. Litigation. It is important that you have a clear understanding of mediation and litigation. In short mediation is the process where both parties come to the table to negotiate, and litigation is where both parties have separate lawyers. At the SDRC we advocate towards mediation because of its emotional and financial benefits.

Once you have gathered your information, and have had the hard conversations about logistics, you can now move forward. It is much easier to go through the process if you and your spouse are willing to work together but if this is not the case, there are options. If this is the case, the best place to start is to book a consultation. During the consultation Diane will go over your situation and help you to come up with a clear plan to move forward. If you are ready to move into mediation or would like to book a consultation, contact info@claritydivorce.com or give us a call at 343-887-5053.

blending families

Blending a Family

Blending a family can be a very delicate process, and many times if not done properly can cause years of conflict. There are many factors that determine how to move forward with blending a family. For example, if there are children on both sides, if the children are older or younger, what the current access arrangements are for the children.

All of these circumstances determine how to approach blending a family to ensure as much success as possible. Just the fact that you are asking if you are ready is a good sign because it shows that you are being proactive. Here are some suggestions prior to blending a family.

7 Ways To Support Your Children Through Divorce

It may no longer be taboo, but it still hurts.

Can divorce be what is best? Yes! BUT the reality is that many divorces end with pain, anger and hostility. When this happens the children are thrown into the middle of a battle that they did not choose. Always remember, this is not what they chose. Most children want peace and unity among their parents. Far too many times parents lose sight of the fact that it is THEIR decisions that put children in these situations, it is THEIR decisions that has caused turmoil and confusion, it is THEIR decisions that has broken up the family. Not the child’s.

Here are 7 ways that you can best support your child through this difficult transition:

  1. Remember that your children live YOUR consequences.
  2. Be there for them through whatever they are feeling. Whether they are mad, sad, hurt, angry, or scared…be there. You may not be able to fix it or make it better, but just be there, listen and support.
  3. Don’t speak poorly of the other parent. Your children are doing the best they can and they don’t want to hear about all the bad things you have to say about the other half of them. Essentially when you say that the other parent is bad, you are saying that half of them is bad too.
  4. Be compassionate. This is just as new to your children as it is to you. Understand that they are treading through the waters and trying to find their way, their spot, their center.
  5. If you notice any changes in their behavior, GET THEM HELP! Children often want to please everyone, and they want everyone to be happy especially their parents and therefore it is difficult for them to fully and openly express themselves. They need someone neutral, someone not involved what so ever in their lives to empty out what they hold on to. It is not shameful to find someone (a professional) for your child to talk to.
  6. Keep new partners AWAY! This cannot be stressed enough. Yes 8 months may have passed and your children seem to be ok… but they are still processing, they are still recreating their family, their are still changing and learning. Adding a new partner will always bring up feelings for your children and has the potential to cause a lot of issues for them.
  7. Rebuild with them. When the family is intact and the children view their parents as “mom and dad” not as people or individual people. They don’t question their roles or where they stand in the family because the role of mom and dad is taken. When a separation happens, children and youth must recreate their relationship with each parent as an individual, they must re-establish the roles.  Take time to to rebuild your relationship with your children in the new family setting.

If you would like more information about how you can support your child or if you believe your child would benefit from talking to someone please contact us at 343-887-5053 or click HERE.