Whether you are in the early stages of questioning your marriage or caught up in ongoing post-judgment conflict, the non-adversarial process is a better choice than traditional litigation. Through Mediation or the Collaborative Law Model, we approach basic procedural issues and your unique circumstances, in a civil, private and respectful forum.
Dissolution of the Marriage is the same as Divorce. In Connecticut the terms are used interchangeably. Broadly speaking, lawyers think it’s a legal process, therapists think it’s an emotional process, and finance professionals think it’s a finance process. For most people, it’s a painful process. Litigation only makes it worse.
It’s necessary and important that the legal designations and arrangements are fully understood, but with Mediation or Collaborative Law, you have enormous discretion to decide how you want these designations to apply to you and your children.
You can get any number of opinions about how and what assets should be divided, but what do you and your spouse want to do? What is in your mutual best interests? What is in your individual best interest? How do you even begin to have these conversations? Assets might include a house or other real estate, retirement accounts, bank accounts, portfolio accounts, or tangible property. Is there a family business? Is there an issue of current or future inheritance? How is all this characterized?
Divorce in court is about division of assets and liabilities. And, unfortunately, kids. But how does one live day to day? For Divorce purposes, a Financial Affidavit is prepared which is a snapshot of your finances, but what are you really taking a picture of? Which of you is good with money? Who has historically paid the bills? Is there an imbalance of power or are you both in synch on money issues?
Disentanglement is often the most difficult part of divorce. Should it come before, after or during the divorce process. Should we sell a house? Close Accounts? How do you divide Retirement? Where do the kids go? What happens on holidays? Who gets what? Who pays what? It’s easy to talk about rules, but it’s not always easy to apply them. How do you pull the threads that make up the fabric of your family and create a new pattern that works for everyone?
Kids are the most important element of any discussion, but often not the easiest element to figure out as part of a dissolution. Age of the child, health, parenting styles, new and blended families, learning issues, money, friends, child care, school choice, babysitting, work schedules, time. Big challenges. For some couples, there’s no argument. Rather just a question of setting goals and creating expectations that work for everyone. For other parents, resolution is elusive. It’s always best to have the time to think things through.
A legal and essential discussion, dependent primarily on earnings, but can be made a creative part of any comprehensive financial resolution.
Don’t forget the mortgage. And the second mortgage. Credit card debt? Family loan? Personal guarantees? Your College Loans? Your kids College Loans? Business liabilities? Loans against Retirement?
This includes existing and future liabilities and planning to maximize how assets and liabilities are divided and whether and how support or alimony is part of your agreement. It is a significant piece of the puzzle.
Basic information is the first step and understanding how that information applies to you and your circumstances is the second. There is no substitute for a face-to-face consultation to help you organize and answer the questions that are buzzing around in your head.
Susan chose to eliminate litigation from her family practice and devote herself exclusively to Mediation and Collaborative Law. Her choice means that she provides a positive and constructive format and process for couples and families facing divorce. Susan chose to stop going to court to solve problems on the courthouse steps. What choice will you make?