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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Divorce, Mediation | 0 comments

The Advantages of Divorce Mediation

When a couple chooses to pursue a divorce, it often entails lengthy court battles, costly attorney’s fees, and emotional and psychological duress. For this reason, some couples who might otherwise choose to end their marriage may put off divorce.

There is an alternative means to ending marriage, however, one which is faster, much cheaper and less stressful, and which results in solutions that are more agreeable to divorcing couples – divorce mediation. Meditation enables couples to settle all divorce-related issues, including distribution of assets and liabilities, child custody and visitation rights, child support and alimony, in an amicable way. A mediator, who acts as a go-between the couple and their lawyers, offers suggestions and helps the couple reach a settlement quickly.

The process of mediation does not require the couple to be represented by lawyers. Through a third party called the mediator, this private and confidential process can proceed, giving the couple significant freedom in settling all the relevant issues. Other benefits of the mediation process include:

  • cost – while a divorce case may take the court weeks or months to settle, mediation may take only hours.
  • confidentiality – in mediation, only the couple and the mediator know what transpired during the process. The divorcing couple’s lives and what they agree on never become part of the public record.
  • compliance – since the solutions arrived at are products of mutual consent, compliance to these agreements is more likely.

Though mediation is steadily becoming a popular option, it is not perfect for all couples, particularly those in contentious relationships who cannot meet an acceptable middle ground. To determine whether mediation is the right option for your divorce settlement, it is best to consult with a qualified divorce attorney about your situation and learn more about the differences between divorce processes.

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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in Child Support, Divorce | 0 comments

Child Support and Parental Obligations

Child support is one of the most difficult issues divorcing parents need to settle. It refers to the amount of financial assistance the non-custodial parent, also known as the obligor, ought to pay to the obligee, that is, the custodial parent, the guardian, the caregiver or, in the absence of all these, the state – for the support of the child.

Parents are legally obligated to support their biological children after divorce. This legal responsibility is recognized worldwide, especially by the nations which are members of the UN. In the US, this parental obligation is further enforced by the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, which also enumerates the factors that ought to be considered when resolving child support issues.

The financial support is supposed to help cover the basic needs of the child, such as food, shelter, clothing, education and health care; it is usually paid only until the child’s 18th birthday, or until they finish high school. Some of the factors considered in resolving the issue include the present income of the parents (income includes wages, commissions, dividends, workers’ compensation benefits, and unemployment benefits, among other things), the age and needs of the child, the parent’s capacity to contribute to child support, and the cost of the child’s needs.

Besides the monthly or periodic payments by the obligor, he or she may also be asked by the court to contribute to the child’s future financial activities and needs, such as vacation, camp, dental and medical care, and school expenses. There is no specific federal ruling, though, regarding the necessity of support for children who have already reached the age of 18 but still want to pursue higher education; nor is there a final court ruling regarding the continuity of the payment of support upon the death of the obligor or non-custodial parent.

The factors considered and the rules governing child support vary from state to state. Consult with an experienced child support lawyer to learn more about this issue.

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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Divorce, Mediation | 0 comments

Mediation: An Alternative Way to Seek Divorce

The process of ending a marriage and settling all related issues legally is often emotional and fairly complex, which can make some couples have second thoughts about ending a marriage which is otherwise unsustainably. Nevertheless, couples who wish to end their marriage do not necessarily have to undergo a traumatic, costly, time-intensive process. In fact, there are a number of ways in which a divorce can be pursued simply and effectively, as long as both parties are willing to work together.

While it is true that some divorce cases can only be settled in the court, it is also true that divorce through mediation can help husbands and wives settle their divorce amicably, sparing them time in court and costly legal fees. Mediated divorce, which is quickly becoming a more popular way of reaching a divorce settlement, allows couples to decide on their own how they wish to separate and to draft their own agreement. This type of settlement also helps to diminish the pressure connected to divorce, allowing individuals to stay in control of the whole process.

Meditation is aimed at helping couples find the most ideal solutions to all divorce-related issues. With their respective lawyers (hiring a lawyer is optional, though highly recommended) they discuss things before a mediator until they come to terms that are most agreeable to both of them. Though a mediator may offer his or her opinion at times, he or she cannot force any agreement on the spouses.

Some of the reasons why this alternative to more traditional methods of divorce is more preferable include: it greatly reduces time and money spent; it allows couples to see the most agreeable solutions themselves; it promotes confidentiality, free from courtroom spectators and reporters; it allows the couples to communicate freely and effectively; and, most of all, it puts the couple in total control of the process and the outcome.

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Posted by on May 20, 2013 in Alimony, Divorce | 0 comments

Who is Entitled to Receive Alimony

Alimony or spousal support is one spouse’s lawful obligation to give monetary support to his or her former partner after separation or divorce. In the past, spousal support typically consisted of the husband paying his former wife. Modern practice, however, typically has a more gender-neutral viewpoint, instead requiring any spouse with significantly more financial assets to provide support to the other spouse.

Rules regarding this important divorce-related issue and the factors that help determine how much support ought to be given and who ought to receive it vary from state to state, so if you are interested in pursuing a divorce in North Carolina, you should contact a Raleigh divorce attorney to better understand how the law will apply to you specifically.

Alimony usually falls under four different types:

  • Temporary – this is otherwise known as “pending the suit,” from the Latin pendente lite; it is given when spouses decide to separate even before they get divorced.
  • Rehabilitative – the spouse who earns less is the recipient of the support, but only until he or she acquires work and becomes self-sufficient.
  • Permanent – so long as the supporting spouse is alive or the beneficiary has not remarried or died, the financial support to the one earning less is given continuously.
  • Reimbursement – this support takes the form of repayment to a spouse for the expenses, such as education, he or she has made during marriage.

Some of the factors affecting decisions on alimony cases are: duration of the marriage; age of the spouses when the divorce began; income of the spouses and their financial prospects in the future; health of the divorcing parties; and fault in marital breakdown.

More than 10 years of civil union or marriage usually merits permanent alimony. However, the amount of this alimony can vary significantly, and even those who receive permanent alimony may no longer be able to support themselves at the standard of living to which they may have become accustomed in their marriage.

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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Asset and Property Division | 0 comments

Asset Division: Community Property

When a married couple seeks a divorce, it must decide how to split its debts, assets, and property. If the spouses cannot negotiate a decision on its own, the divorce court will handle it for them.

The laws for how a court determines asset division vary from state to state. Most states follow an equitable distribution model, but Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin use what is called “community property.”

community property is split evenly

In community property states, all of each spouse’s assets and debts are split right down the middle. Each spouse will be responsible for half of the debts accrued through the marriage and will be entitled to half of the assets.

However, there is a chance that a spiteful spouse will rack up new debt after making the decision to divorce, knowing he or she will be responsible for only half of it afterwards. An attorney can help you recognize and fight this unfair financial manipulation in court.

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