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Archive for December, 2014

HOW TO COMPLETE A CASE INFORMATION STATEMENT

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divorce case information statementThe Case Information Statement (CIS) is a very important document that helps establish a person’s life style for the purpose of determining multiple factors in a divorce, including alimony and child support. Personal and family finances such as income/partner’s income, personal/joint life style expenses, and expenses of children are to be truthfully detailed on the Case Information Statement. Making sure this information is accurate is crucial because it is required to be certified as true, which means any misinformation whether intentional or unintentional will cause significant problems in the divorce process. It must be filed with the court no more than 20 days after the Answer or Appearance is filed.

The Case Information Statement is a very involved document that requires significant time and attention. We walk our clients through this process and ensure that there are no inaccuracies.

To get familiar with what this document entails please review our guide:

HOW TO COMPLETE A CASE INFORMATION STATEMENT

Divorce Mediation and Children

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Divorce Mediation and Children

One of the main concerns of parents going through or contemplating divorce is the affect it will have on their children. While it is commonly thought that this will be solely negative, the impact greatly depends on how the conflict is handled and how well the spouses are able to communicate as parents. Divorce mediation and children may involve custody and or child support mediation are increasingly popular alternatives to litigation because focus is put on open communication and compromise.

Mediation vs. Litigation

A 12 year study conducted by Dr. Robert E. Emerydivorce mediation andchildren – whose research focuses on family relationships and children’s mental health – found that divorce mediation had a positive impact on family relations. Couples were randomly assigned with litigation or mediation, making it clear that the outcomes were linked to the method of divorce. Mediation lasted an average of only five hours, was problem focused, and sensitive to emotions.

After 12 years only 9% of the nonresidential parents who litigated saw their children weekly compared to 28% of those who mediated. Telephone contact was also more prevalent among the nonresidential mediation group with 52% of parents speaking to their children weekly compared to 14% of those who used litigated divorce.

In addition, residential parents saw nonresidential parents more positively, giving them better “grades” in all areas of parenting from running errands to discussing problems.

Collaborative and Non-Adversarial

Being that mediation is a collaborative process both parents actively participate in developing a healthy and fair parenting plan. Working together closely during mediation sessions allows parents to come to a mutual agreement on each specific issue. This can include weekly schedules as well as schedules for holidays, birthdays, vacations, and other special occasions.

Mediation helps avoid the adversarial process that comes with litigation and the flexibility in communication makes it easier to include children in decision making. Instead of worrying about parents battling in court, children may feel more open to share their feelings knowing they will be listened to by parents who are committed to problem solving together.

Contested divorce is inevitably full of conflict and easily leads to having children feel as if they are stuck in the middle, even when both parents have the children’s best interests in mind. Mediation gives parties a chance to work through issues without major conflict and learn to separate their personal interests from their children’s interests in the process.

Creating Effective Relationships

divorce mediation and children nj

One of the most beneficial ways divorce mediation affects children is the new relationship it helps parents develop with one another. Because parenting after divorce is a whole new dynamic it requires the development of new types of relationships – with both the ex-spouse and child. Spending energy on blaming one another for the failed marriage takes away from valuable effort that can be spent on nurturing these new relationships.

Mediation is a way to set aside blame and begin learning how to work together to effectively raise children. Mediation teaches parties to communicate effectively and develop new skills to create solutions for the future; these same problem solving and compromising skills are crucial to healthy parenting and stress reduction.

5 TOP REASONS NOT TO MEDIATE DIVORCE

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What to Consider Before Opting to Mediate Divorce

While divorce mediation has significant benefits, it is not appropriate for every situation. There are numerous factors that must be considered before deciding to mediate divorce or opt for traditional litigation. It is important that you and your spouse both understand what mediation is and that neither party is being pressured into it.

mediate divorce

Waste of Time and Money

While mediation can be economical and time saving in many instances, it is not always so. If both parties are willing to cooperate with the process the outcome will likely be positive; however, if one or both spouses do not intend to be honest and open to compromise, it is likely to fail. Failed mediation means that litigated divorce is the next step. Both spouses must find their own attorneys (the mediation attorney cannot represent either party) and pay attorney and court fees associated with a new divorce proceeding. Information revealed during mediation may not be used in court, which means the discovery process must generally begin from the beginning. In addition, both parties are left with the bill from mediation and a loss of time.

Emotion

The dynamics of one failing marriage are never identical to another. Couples who plan to mediate divorce must consider their current and past personal relationship, and each spouse must consider their own emotions. While one couple may be amicable, agree to one another’s wishes completely, and have a minimal amount of negative, resentful, or sentimental emotion surrounding the divorce, another couple may find themselves too emotionally involved and angry to sit together through hours of mediation. Gauging where your relationship falls between these two ends of the spectrum will help you and your partner decide if mediation is right for you.

Power Imbalance

If one spouse is more articulate, has all the financial resources, or abusive to the other it can surely be detrimental to the divorce mediation process. For instance, in a marriage with a history of domestic violence mediation is likely not an appropriate choice as the victim may feel pressured or intimidated during sessions. Spouses who are victims, have fewer resources, or are inarticulate will usually have a more difficult time asserting themselves during mediation.

Court Procedure

The formality of the court in litigated divorce can be beneficial when it comes to power imbalances, truth, fairness, and evidence. Attorneys are able to use the court to have witnesses testify or produce evidence, while mediators cannot force the truth to be given by all parties. Court procedures also help ensure that both parties are treated fairly, whereas mediation is less able to help protect a party from an aggressive or intimidating spouse. This can play a crucial role in making sure the less aggressive spouse does not unfairly settle and lose what is rightfully theirs.

No Legal Advice

Even if a mediator is an attorney, they are not allowed to provide either side with legal advice. They are to act as a neutral party and are unable to speak to the parties about the divorce outside of mediation sessions.

Choosing to mediate divorce is a great alternative to litigation but it is not recommended in all cases.  Deciding whether to mediate or litigate may be decided early on, as early as the contemplation of divorce.  On the other hand, you may decide to mediate at any time during the litigation process. For instance, once a complaint is filed both parties could inform their attorneys that they wish to mediate.  Their attorneys could be present at the mediation sessions or they may mediate without attorneys. This option allows for the parties the benefit of being provided with legal advise during the mediation process through their individual attorneys.

Each case is significantly unique and an experienced mediator can help determine if mediation is appropriate.  At Armour Law Firm we recognize the importance of serving these diverse needs and provide mediation, collaborative divorce and  traditional litigated divorce services.