For parents of minor children who want to know what ALL the options are when thinking about getting divorced, listen up. A mind works best, like a parachute, when it is open. There are very creative ways to divide the property and share the children if both parties look at the prize: the well-being of the children. They didn’t ask for this drama and it’s possible to protect them if you two work on it. The idea of ​​”working on it” may sound strange to a couple who is about to break up simply because their relationship isn’t “working out,” but if they have children together, their work will never be done. There will be weddings and grandchildren and vacations for the rest of your life. If you start World War 3 now, with the kids caught in the middle, they’ll have to do a lot of ducking and cover while your verbal bullets whiz over their heads.

Take a step back and focus on the children. Regardless of perceived mistakes that have or have not happened to you, this is where you are right now and playing the blame game may make you feel better, but it is not productive. A little rational thinking instead of falling victim to your own feelings is what is most needed right now. The more you focus on anger, the more anger you will feel. Now focus on the children. Who has been the primary caretaker? If he’s been a stay-at-home mom or a parent, guess what, he’ll probably have to go back to work because he won’t muster enough support to continue living the life he’s been accused of. So if you’re both working, then you really have a chance to see a joint custody situation. It’s hard raising a child alone. Sometimes you really need a break for your own good.

5/2 2/5. This is a very popular child cast plan that gives children a consistency that is dependent. One parent always takes Monday and Tuesday while the other parent always takes Wednesday and Thursday and weekends come and go. This means that you will never be away from the child for more than 5 days at a time. Sometimes the weekend goes to Monday/Tuesday and sometimes it goes to Wednesday/Thursday. Having a lot of time with and without the kids allows you to plan a personal and work life that many people enjoy.

On the financial side, if you have a bitter, uncooperative, self-employed spouse, try to gather support. It’s impossible unless they feel like paying you. This is going to be a fight to the finish and you will probably never collect what you are owed. The last thing you want is to go to war with someone like that. So now we talk about the most important decision you will ever make. What kind of divorce do you want? Some people want to go with their guns on. There are a LOT of attorneys who love clients like this because they know they can make a lot of money off of you. But if you have a self-employed spouse, you NEED their cooperation. You know what your grandmother used to say about catching more flies with honey. A lengthy, costly, and contentious divorce will not produce a viable outcome when the party owing support is self-employed. They will put in the effort and do so much creative bookkeeping that you will end up paying them.

We create our lives from our intention. That may sound counterintuitive. You didn’t intend for your marriage to end, did you? Good intention is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets. If you both intend to break up with as much cooperation and generosity as possible, you will BOTH be better off financially and emotionally. I always tell people the same thing, you can split the pie two or four ways. How do you get more? When you use divorce mediation, you eliminate attorneys. The average fee in California, when both parties have their own attorneys, is $20,000 each, but the truth is that the more you have to lose, the higher your fee will be. California divorce lawyers are the only types of lawyers whose fees are protected by the equity in your home. They KNOW they are being paid. Do you think the case will take longer or be resolved quickly when you have a lot of assets? Human nature being what it is, certain lawyers will make sure the case doesn’t settle until there is nothing left to fight about. For more details, read Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Nothing has changed since the 19th century.

The vast majority of people know what they have. There are no hidden Swiss bank accounts in most divorce cases; however, attorneys will spend thousands of dollars to uncover, take depositions, and serve subpoenas. Why buy more than you need? Would you do that with a house or a car? Why would I do it with a divorce? I’m not saying mediation is for everyone, but if the two of you are decent people who just want to date, no one is trying to hurt the other, and you are both honest and trustworthy about money with enough honor to keep your word, then you are the perfect client for mediation.

Divorce is a challenging transition, but an experienced mediator will help you in a way that is peaceful and respectful of both of you. Mediation prices are determined by experience and where you are, so make several calls, interview several mediators to ensure you are fully informed. In my own practice, the whole process, on average, takes 4-7 hours, but there is some homework that needs to be done before working with me. Ask the mediator what percentage of his cases are settled and how many meetings he took. In California, the average cost when both parties have their own lawyer is $40,000, so what the mediator charges will be a small fraction of that. The financial benefits of mediation are obvious, but more importantly, you will feel comfortable enough with your spouse to co-parent your children. This is the best gift you can give your children. I should know, I was one of those kids caught in the middle. That’s why I do what I do. Using mediation instead of litigation brings some sanity back to the divorce process because the adversarial system destroys families. So ask yourself, what kind of divorce do you want? Peaceful divorce is an idea whose time has come.