Attorney and Family and Divorce Mediator, Rosalyn A. Metzger, concludes her three-part article on the Mediation process with a discussion on how child-related issues can benefit from the process. To read the first two articles, see “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part I: The Process” and “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part II: Financial Issues.”

Mediating Parenting Time and Related Issues

Mediation of Child Issues - photo of young boy dressed in jeans and striped shirt holding hands with mother and father is following behindOne hot-button issue in divorce is often the children. Some people get stuck on “50-50” parenting time. However, you are well advised to consider all of the circumstances when trying to sort out the best parenting plan for your family. While New Jersey links child support to the amount of time the children share with each parent, in mediation you can separate those two issues so that money is not the guiding factor.

This second article from attorney and mediator Rosalyn A. Metzger on Mediation focuses on how the process addresses financial issues involved in divorce. To read the first article, see “The ABC’s of Mediation – Part I: The Process.”

Negotiating Financial Issues

Mediation Financial Issues - photo of notebooks labeled "assets", eyeglasses, pens, and laptop on a tablePart of divorce mediation involves financial issues. Although you won’t need any documents for the first session, you will need to begin assembling financial statements, preferably from the same end date so that the values come from the same time frame. This way, when you reach the financial issues that are part of every divorce, you are prepared. It often can take a while to obtain all of the financial information necessary.

Rosalyn A. Metzger, Esq., a member of the Rotolo Karch Law team and a Family and Divorce Mediator certified by the New Jersey Association of Professional Mediators, is the author of a three-part article on Mediation, an alternative to traditional divorce proceedings. This week, Ms. Metzger explores the Mediation process.

Divorce mediation: photo of three men and one woman sitting at conference table with laptop and coffee cupYou are thinking about getting divorced. You do your research on the internet. You may contact an attorney, or maybe you just want to go straight to a mediator. How does all of this work? Do you need a mediator and an attorney? But wait – isn’t mediation supposed to save money? How can using three people – an attorney for each spouse, plus a mediator – be less expensive than using just one? Good question!

Mediation is a process where you and your spouse, or partner, elect to forego the nastiness and expense of litigation to try to work things out. Your main concern, as you tell the mediator, is for your children. You want to spare them the fallout of a high conflict divorce that will wind its way through the courts over a period of years. Good for you!

Tax-implications-400-07978565d-300x200Filing for divorce in New Jersey is not complicated, but negotiating financial matters and property distribution issues in the  divorce proceedings can be. As couples simultaneously close the door on one stage of their life and work toward building the next stage, they face a number of decisions that, if not handled correctly, could have significant consequences later. One of the biggest problems is couples often make these decisions based on emotional reactions rather than a full understanding of future implications. This is especially true when it comes to tax matters.

Tax planning should play a prominent role in the divorce process. Unfortunately, the tax implications of many divorce-related decisions are often misunderstood, if not overlooked, by emotionally wrought couples. A recent Forbes magazine article, “Taxes and Family Law: A Cheat Sheet of What You Need To Know” just scratches the surface of some of the things you should understand about taxes and their impact on your divorce process. After reading the article, it’s easy to understand why some people choose to add a tax professional to their divorce team.

relocation-400-07509883d-300x150A recent decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court has changed the way divorce courts now decide cases involving the relocation of children.

When considering divorce matters dealing with the custody of children, courts apply the “in the child’s best interest” standard.  One exception to that has been the issue of moving children out of state against the other parent’s wishes. In those cases, the courts instead considered whether or not such a move would “cause harm” to the child. Until now, that is.

To learn how a recent ruling has changed the courts’ approach to this relocation issue read, “Court changes rules for divorced parent who want to leave N.J. with child.”

visitation-400-04555027d-201x300It is generally believed children benefit from healthy relationships with both of their parents. That’s why in divorces, parents often are awarded joint custody. In this way, they continue to share in the decisions and responsibilities of raising their children, as well as in the physical custody of those children. Sometimes, however, courts will not award joint custody but instead will grant visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. That is unless that parent is deemed unfit and the courts believe such visits would not be in the child’s best interests.

If your divorce involves child visitation, you will want to avoid making mistakes that can lead to conflicts between you and your ex. One of the most important things to look for is that your final divorce decree contains the specific terms of the visitation agreement. To learn more about child visitation agreements and what to watch for, read “Child Visitation: It’s a Post-Divorce Fact of Life.”

gray-divorce-400-05339652d-300x201Gray divorce — the term given to couples age 50 and older who terminate their marriages — seems to be a growing trend.

The National Center for Health Statistics reported that in 2015 there were 10 divorced people for every 1,000 married people age 50 and older in the U.S., compared with 5 divorced people for every 1,000 married people in that age group in 1990. In the 65+ age group, the 2015 divorce rate was 6 for every 1,000 married persons, which was 3 times the 1990 rate. See “A costly ‘gray divorce’ can upend your retirement plans.”

While couples at this stage of life may not have to worry about such issues as child custody and support, divorce still takes an emotional toll and can endanger the couple’s retirement funds. If these funds are not properly divided and transferred, the couple risks tax consequences and possible penalties that can be devastating to their financial well-being. To learn about important steps to take to protect your retirement funds in the event of a gray divorce, read “5 Retirement Moves for Recently Divorced Couples.”

political-400-04968548d-300x189It has long been said that there are two topics of discussion to avoid if you want to maintain your relationships – religion and politics. Never has that been truer than now it seems, especially as it pertains to politics.

A recent study by the Virginia-based polling company, Wakefield Research, found that more couples are breaking up or heading to divorce court now than before due to political disagreements, specifically the election of Donald Trump as President. The study further pointed out that millennials are leading this trend. What does this say about our outlooks toward relationships and about our personalities in general? To find out, read “Married Couples Splitting Over Trump, Study Says.”

divorce precautions - photo of young girl in pink top holding yellow umbrellaNot all couples facing divorce do so amicably. Those who do usually fare better in the long-run; for those who don’t, however, a little preparation can help you avoid making serious mistakes both during the divorce process and in its aftermath.

Individuals involved in contentious divorces have found themselves left in dire financial straits, or have lost their homes or even their children because they failed to take precautions before proceeding with their divorce. A recent article on workingmother.com offered guidelines for preparing for divorce in order to protect both you and your children legally, financially, and physically. For details, read “How to Prepare Yourself and Your Children for a Divorce.”

social-media-divorce-2-400-08158573d-300x200Many people today use social media to engage with family and friends, especially those they don’t get to see on a regular basis. These platforms provide an easy means for publicly sharing accomplishments and milestones, or passing along amusing or entertaining stories. Problems can arise, however, when people share information of a more private nature, like their divorce.

Divorce is an emotional process. It isn’t unusual for people going through divorce to seek support or sympathy, but using a public venue like social media to solicit that support can backfire in a big way. So can carelessly posting about your social activities during this process. To learn about the dangers of discussing your divorce in social media or posting about your social engagements without censorship, read “3 Social Media Mistakes Divorcing Couples Make Every Time.”