In this blog post we are going to look at matters that may need immediate decisions made such as support and custody/visitation of the children. When people are in transition from a married couple living together to two household units there are a number of matters to be figured out. The issue that almost every couple has is the division of the incomes of the parties and the payment of the obligations. In my mediation sessions, I ask the parties to ‘pencil out’ their expenses or anticipated expenses if they haven’t moved yet. A good tool for this is page 3 - Expenses - of the Income & Expense Declaration. That is a very basic list of expenses so you can also look at your expense records and see what you are spending your money on.
This is a time of reckoning for both parties. Often, if one of the parties doesn’t want the divorce and feels like a victim, the negotiation of how to allocate the income of the parties for short term living expenses and moving has an emotional charge on it. Likewise, there are complex emotions surrounding where the children will spend their time. These issues are best discussed with the mediator – a neutral third party, rather than preparing paperwork with (usually) ugly, hurtful, and emotional allegations. These emotions are often said out loud to each other in my office, and often need to be said. But this can be part of the process of the separation of the family and it is much safer to have them said in my office with the three of us than in court papers which are public documents where anyone can go to the courthouse and read them.
When the parties reach an agreement on how to handle the finances and children for the short term, we can write out a temporary agreement. We can adjust it as time moves forward and the circumstances of the parties change.
This scenario is vastly different from the one in which the parties file motions with the court and put their often ugly and angry allegations about each other into public court documents. There are often many court appearances to resolve even simple issues that can run into the thousands of dollars.
We are here to help and answer your questions about the process.
Contact Us to Learn More.
Email us at Debra@DebraCrawfordAnnis.com, or call us at 831-372-3900 or text us at 831-275-5291 (275-LAW1).