Many people wonder what divorce mediation is. Here, in this interview, I explain the benefits of divorce mediation for couples and families: http://www.looktvonline.com/is-divorce-mediation-for-you-video
There are times when couples choose to own real estate together even though they are divorcing. Usually it is the marital residence which they chose to keep. It is important that they understand some basic real estate issues in order to make decisions on how they should own the property in order to meet their expectations if one of them die while the property is jointly owned.
In New York State, the majority of married couples own their homes as Tenants by the Entirety. To create a tenancy by the entirety, the deed transferring the property to a married couple must name them as Tom Doe and Natasha Doe, “husband and wife”, or “tenants by the entirety”, or even “his wife”. Once the tenancy by the entirety is created, if one spouse dies, the other spouse is automatically the owner of the entire property. Even if the magical words are missing, it presumed a married couple owns a property as tenants by the entirety.
The important fact to remember is that only a married couple can own property as tenants by the entirety. Once the divorce is finalized, the tenancy by the entirety is dissolved. Under New York State law, unless other steps are taken, the divorced couple becomes Tenants in Common. The consequences are significant. Tenants in Common each have a percentage ownership in the property. Either owner can transfer his or her share to a third party. No permission from the other owner is needed. Absent an agreement to the contrary, either tenant in common is entitled to live in the property. There is basically no requirement that costs to maintain the property be shared and there is definitely no requirement the costs of improving the property be shared. Equally as problematic is that upon the death of one owner, their percentage share goes through their estate. Either their will or if no will exists, the laws of intestate succession dictate who will become the new Tenant in Common. The horror story most often told is when the first wife and husband own the marital residence as tenants in common and then years later, the husband dies leaving his entire worldly estate to his new wife. The result is his two wives now own the first wife’s home as Tenants in Common. While I have yet to meet someone who actually had clients involved in this scenario, the story could easily be true.
The parties may choose different options to address the problem of Tenancy by the Entirety converting to a Tenancy in Common. The memorandum of understanding should set forth the intention of the parties and their course of action to achieve their desired outcome. One choice is to have the deceased spouse’s share to go to a specific party or group. Some examples are the couples’ children, their grandchildren, or someone else both owners desire to have a share in the ownership of the property. Another choice is to have the deceased spouse’s share go to the surviving spouse. This option can be secured through an agreement that each spouse will prepare a will which sets forth the required alternative. Many attorneys prefer another solution. They have the parties deed the property to themselves as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship. This type of ownership functions just like the Tenancy by the Entirety but without the requirement the parties be husband and wife. The new deed will list the parties “as joint tenants with rights of survivorship”. From that point on, if one party dies, the other party owns the entire property.
While the couple can do the research to determine the options they believe they should pursue, it is important they discuss with their attorneys and their accountants to be sure they fully understand their choices and then to be sure they complete whatever option they choose correctly to avoid problems in the future.
What a loaded question filled with so many questions and uncertainties. But, many of us ask, should I get a divorce or not?
It may be a question you have been considering for years, or it may be a relatively new thought. Whatever your thought process has been, it is not one to be taken lightly. Many decisions have to be made and impacts to be considered, but my philosophy has always been, “A good divorce is better than a bad marriage.” I chose to divorce years ago, because it was the right decision for me and my family. However, it is a very personal decision that is very specific to each individual family and situation. If your final decision is to go through with the divorce, then you may need to contact a group such as Hibberts Solicitors in Nantwich to help guide you through the complicated legal processes associated with divorce.
Your personal philosophy on divorce (or separation) is unique to you. You may be conflicted on the best thing to do, especially if you have children. Many people feel that to stay together for the children, no matter the state of the marriage, is the best thing to do. While others believe the opposite, that children will be better off if their parents choose to end an unhappy marriage. If there are no children in your marriage, you still must weigh the impact of divorce and separation. What are your religious beliefs? Social impacts? Financial consequences? Marriage and Divorce are processes that affect our family and loved ones, as well as those around us. If you decide to go through with the divorce and are based in Pennsylvania, it would be wise to familiarise yourself with the pa divorce laws.
I cannot answer whether divorce or separation is right for you. You must decide that for yourself and decide in what environment you want to raise your children, look at what influences you (church, family, friends) and consider your options. Ask yourself how you can be happy, what is important to you and be the best person/parent you can be.
Mediation helps couples who have answered the question to divorce or separate and are ready to begin the process, as well as helping couples who don’t know the answer and would like to try marital mediation to work on issues in their relationship. Mediation offers you options and a process that is private, confidential and effective.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”—Stephen R. Covey
Think back to your recent conversations. How many times have you listened to your friend, co-worker or family member talk, all the while formulating your response?
As your good friend speaks about her latest frustration with her husband, are you readying an empathetic reply, all set to agree what a lousy thing her husband did? As your teen expresses anger over not being allowed to do something ‘everybody else’ does, are you rehearsing your defensive ‘we’ve got our own rules’ response? As your co-worker worries about an upcoming project deadline, have you already pro-actively thought of five ways she could improve her chances of meeting that deadline?
You may have the best of intentions when doing this, but you are cheating the person you are listening to at the same time. When people are speaking with you, the most validating thing you can do is to give them your full attention. Hold eye contact with them. Listen quietly without interrupting until they are finished. Don’t be afraid of not having an instant answer—did they even ask you a question? A few moments of silent reflection on their words is ok! It shows that you heard what they were saying, value their thoughts, and are open to what they need and want from you, if anything, beyond listening.
One way we can show that we were truly with them when they were speaking is to reflect back to them what they said. Restate what they said, using some of their own words: “So you felt that Dan was not following through on agreements you made to share the work of keeping the house clean.” Name the emotion they had as they spoke: “It sounds like you are feeling untrusted, and that makes you angry.” “Your deadline is next week, and you’re worried you won’t be ready.” Ask them if you understood them correctly.
Then gage whether or not they want your judgment, ideas or sympathy. If they do, this is a great time for that part of the conversation—when someone feels really heard by you, they are the most open for constructive dialogue.
When people are in stressful situations, the body cannot distinguish between real and perceived threat. The greater the perception of threat, the stronger the biological response is likely to be. This is particularly true if the current threat is tied to a previously stressful or dangerous situation which triggers the memory center of the brain.
Under acute stress (also known as the fight-or-flight response) the body’s sympathetic nervous system is activated by the sudden release of hormones. This triggers what Goleman (1996) dubbed the “Amygdala Hijack” whereby the rational brain is literally shut down. An amygdala hijack exhibits three signs: strong emotional reaction, sudden onset, and post-episode realization if the reaction was inappropriate.
While it takes the body 20 to 60 minutes to recover from the fight or flight response, the brain recovers in as little as six seconds. However, the same response can be re-triggered, sometimes by the person thinking about the same situation. It is therefore important to break the cycle.
What to do?
Show Empathy: Empathy, unlike sympathy, is not saying “gee, I feel sorry for you.” It is demonstrating that you “get” how the other person feels because you can imagine yourself feeling the same way in a similar situation. You can powerfully demonstrate empathy by giving the person your undivided attention. Turn toward them and face them, match their energy level, and use appropriate facial expressions.
Reflect What You Hear: Because there is no way to access the reasoning part of the brain, don’t try. Instead mirror what the person is saying as closely as possible in their own words. Don’t paraphrase or take any ownership or exhibit any agreement. Simply state back way you are hearing starting with the words “So you…” or “You are feeling… because….” Eventually, the person will calm down and you can then start to talk tentatively about what you need to accomplish.
Work with a Mediator: It can be hard to try to do this on your own, which is why working with a mediator can be a great way to make progress. The mediator can manage the strong emotions and conflict so you can both get your needs met.
Source: Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Goleman, D. (1996), USA: Random House Publishing Group
The New York State Bar Association Task Force on Family Court issued its January 2013 Final Report. Finding No. 5 of the Final Report sets forth the conclusion which many in the mediation field already believed to be true – the mediation programs in NYS Family Court “should be greatly strengthened, expanded and funded.” The Task Force noted the loss of many family court mediation programs due to budget cuts and recommended funding for mediation should not only be re-instituted but should also be increased in Family Courts. It concluded that mediation is very effective in dealing with a range of situations, such as child support and child custody cases. It is well worth the time to read the Final Report and the comments regarding mediation. It can be found at http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Final_Report_9_21_2012.
The mediation process for separation or divorce answers all the same questions and resolves all the decisions that you would in a litigated divorce that goes to court.
A mediated separation or divorce takes less time, is less costly, is private and the decisions are made by you, the clients. Clients sit in a comfortable office with one mediator to make decisions
The typical mediation process looks like this:
1) A one hour initial consultation is set-up with one of our mediators. We answer all your questions and go over the process in detail. You decide if the process is a good fit for you and your situation.
2) After the initial meeting, it typically takes 3-4, 1 ½ hour sessions to go over issues surrounding parenting plan, equitable distribution and support issues. Depending on your specific situation it may take more or less sessions to resolve all the issues.
3) Once your decisions are made, the mediator writes a Memorandum of Understanding that summarizes all of your decisions. One last meeting with the mediator is required to review the Memorandum and make any changes.
4) You, the client, take your Memorandum to an attorney of your choosing to review the document and make the appropriate filing.
The mediation process doesn’t necessarily involve attorneys until the end of the process, and keeps you out of court. The results are: more money stays in the pot for both households, you can set the pace of the process and not be at the mercy of the court system, you make the decisions that are best for your specific situation and communication is established between the parties that fosters cooperation in decision making. The emotional benefits of working cooperatively together are lasting.
After divorce, parents often are challenged on how to communicate effectively. Mastering such communication skills can be very difficult especially when a lack of communication or hostile communication skills may have contributed to their divorce. Despite the difficulty, it is important to communicate since good communication can reduce post-divorce conflict. It is a common assumption by many mediators that limiting post-divorce conflict between the parents will assist kids to adjust. In addition, it seems logical that less conflict will reduce the stress in the lives of the parents, too. I as well as some of my colleagues in the mediation field were eager to have the communication process improved by the electronic age. We believed that e-mail as well as cell phones for calling and texting, were going to be a fantastic resource for parents and that having a good internet and phone bundle like the kind found over at https://www.satelliteinternetnow.com/hughesnet-voice/ would benefit them greatly. Fortunately, there were folks willing to do scientific research on the subject.
At the University of Missouri a group of researchers studied the use of communication between divorced parents. The parents used electronic calendars, e-mails, and cell phones in their efforts to co-parent. Lawrence Ganong and Marilyn Coleman and their team discovered that despite the use of electronic communication, the parents reported a wide range of ratings about the level of their post-divorce conflict. The technological tools ranged from helpful to harmful. The parents with good co-parenting relationships used electronic communication in effective ways which improved their communication. Unfortunately, parents with poor co-parenting relationships sometimes used these tools to harass, control and mislead the other parent. It seems that while technology can be a useful tool it is does not cure or correct the underlying communication problem. If you want more information on this interesting study, check it out in the Family Relations Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies. Volume 61, Issue 3, pages 397-409, July 2012 published by the National Council on Family Relations.
Sometimes as we go through our busy lives, we are negatively affected by the actions of those around us. The idiot who pulled out in front of us, the teenager playing their music too loud, the creep who pulled into the parking spot we were going to take.
I know how easy it can be to react in ‘justified’ anger: “I had the right of way”, “The sign says ‘Quiet'”, “He saw me waiting for that spot”. How could that person be so selfish? You feel they have purposefully acted against you.
Maybe. But what if they didn’t? What if the person was just not very good at judging distances (because their eyesight isn’t what it used to be and they are trying to find the right treatment through sites like https://sharpe-vision.com/austin/)? What if the teen didn’t realize how loud his music was (because he’s lost his hearing from playing his music too loud)? What if the creep was distracted by the baby in the back seat and really didn’t notice you waiting?
How differently would you feel if you knew that this person had simply made a mistake? We may be pointlessly putting ourselves in a bad mood, feeling put upon, or worse, starting a confrontation. To put things in perspective and to keep myself from reacting in situations like these, I have devised the following trick:
I pretend the bad driver is a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure she cuts people off daily. I imagine the teen is my son. Enough said. And I imagine the parking spot stealer is myself, because I have actually done this without realizing it until being told afterwards. Because I know that my family, friends and I are fully capable of making these mistakes, and I would hope that the person impacted by our actions would forgive me and those that I love, I do the same for them. And if I’m wrong, and the person IS just being a jerk, well, that’s his/her problem, and one that will do them a disservice in life. But, it doesn’t have to affect me.
Experiencing a divorce can bring with it a profound sense of loss. Yet it can also represent an array of possibilities. It is important to manage your sense of loss, and honor the grieving process when you divorce so that you will be able to construct a healthy future for yourself, and your children if you have them.
Things you might consider when going through divorce include:
Working with a mental health professional. Even if only through the period of separation and divorce, many people find it helpful to have someone to talk with who is neutral and supportive.
Taking good care of yourself. We all know we should eat well, get plenty of rest and exercise, but during times of stress this is particularly important.
Giving yourself a break. The difficult process of uncoupling means that you might not always do the right thing. When you mess up, apologize, forgive yourself and resolve to do better.
Doing what brings you joy. Remember that you still have a right to be happy. Take time to read a new book, watch a favorite show, play a sport, work on an art project, catch a meal with a friend, go for hike, wear something special, pet your cat or dog–whatever it is that makes you happy.
Using mediation as your process for divorce can also help. The ability to keep communicating through this difficult time can help you construct a healthy future for all of those concerned. The mediator assists by providing information, facilitating the conversation, and helping manage conflict and strong emotions if they arise. With mediation, you have direct input and make the choices that you feel are in your best interest, rather than relying on someone else to tell you what to do. After all, you are the expert in your own life.
Contact one of our mediators today to learn more: 585-586-1830.