Mediated divorces can allow couples to divide debt and assets in a fair way that the couple decides. It may go without saying that dividing debt can be even more contentious than assets. Here are some thoughts about handling debt in your divorce.
Get It on the Table
When you sit down to mediate your divorce, address debt before anything else. Lay out all the different kinds of debt you have, from mortgages and car payments to credit cards. You may find that by discussing the hard stuff early, you can come to an agreement about how you want to approach the rest of the process.
It may be a good idea to acknowledge the debts you will have to divide before you even begin legal proceedings towards your divorce. At least make sure you are on the same page as to what debts you share, even if you donâ€™t yet decide what to do about them.
Get Your Credit Reports
Get copies of your individual credit reports from the major credit agencies. You are entitled to a free report every year. This is a good time not only to take stock of what liabilities you share, but where you stand as an individual.
Types of Debt
You may encounter many different kinds of debt as you go through the process. Some of the most common forms of liability that come up in mediated divorces include:
- Mortgages on homes or vacation properties. This is often the largest issue to solve and couples must decide whether to sell the house to pay off other debts, hang on to the property, have one spouse buy out the partner or look at other alternative solutions.
- Student loans are a very common debt, especially as education costs rise. Generally speaking, whoever took out the loans remains responsible for paying them off.
- Revolving or loan debt from credit cards or personal loans can be a problem, especially if the cards or loans are jointly owned. The couple usually splits these debts down the middle but there can be disagreements over who owns what part of the debt that must be resolved during mediation. This kind of debt can involve retirement loans and home equity loans as well as credit card and personal loan debt.
- Car leases or loans can also be contentious, especially if both couples use the car. In general, one partner will buy out the other with that partner getting to continue using the car, though other arrangements can sometimes be made.
Before you begin to fight it out and let the courts decide for you who takes what, consider a mediated divorce settlement. This will allow you both to sit down and talk, preserving your partnership and respect for one another while fairly deciding on how debt will be divided and discharged.
If you are going through a divorce and need help dividing debt, we can lend a hand. Call Jones Divorce Mediation today for a consultation or to begin the process.
Anger and a degree of bitterness are to be expected in a divorce. That being said, the best result always comes when the partners can overcome this rage and approach the proceedings calmly. Anger clouds your ability to see things clearly, and will interfere with your ability to come to an equitable settlement.
Compromise over Selfishness
Many couples succumb to greed during divorce proceedings. The desire of one partner to have everything because they feel they deserve it, or wishes to punish the other, becomes a barrier in settling the coupleâ€™s differences. This can lead to the failure of negotiations, which in turn results in adversarial and expensive litigation.
Greed often leads to the loss of money rather than gaining more. As you overcome your anger, also be willing to compromise. Take what is yours but be willing to give your spouse what is theirs.
Both parties must be organized and willing to take an active part in negotiations. The less you have your ducks in a row, the less likely you are to understand all the factors you have to deal with. Know what your assets are and where they lie, and be willing to hash things out piece by piece.
Level the Playing Field
You have made a decision to be partners in romance, life and finance. Just because the romance ends does not mean the partnership is completely over. Meet over a level playing field. Eject blame and forget about the sins that led to where you are. Work together as partners one last time and your divorce will go much more smoothly.
Seek Help if You Need It
Be willing to seek help when you need it. If you think you will hit an insurmountable impasse, running to litigation may not be the best answer. A mediated divorce might be just what you need. By getting rid of your pride and bringing in a neutral third-party, all of the above may be achievable.
If you have questions or need information about a mediated divorce, we are available for a free consultation. We are ready to help; drop us a line today!
Divorce rates are still high in our culture, with some estimates still saying that almost 50% of marriages end that way. Many of these failed relationships involve children, and divorce is a painful process for kidsâ€”at least as difficult as it is for the divorcing parents. Even as the process becomes a selfish one by nature, parents still love their children and want to spare them pain. It becomes very important to work to keep your kids out of the conflict as much as possible. Here are some ways that you can work to keep your kids and divorce separate and protect them as much as possible.
Kids and Divorce
Divorce is a really hard time for children. No child wants to see their parents split up, and as hard as it is for you to face life anew without your partner, divorce is the end of their world to a child. Itâ€™s vital for them to continue to see that both of their parents love them and will continue to be in their lives so that they can deal with the pain and stress, process it and move on just as you need to do so.
One of the most important aspects of parenting is being a role model for your child. Children look up to their parents and seek to emulate them in all ways. You want to be a positive representation of the type of person your child should be. This means always presenting yourself in the best light. You have anger, bitterness and resentment: thatâ€™s to be expected. What you must not do, however, is let your child see those emotions. Remain rational and calm at all times in the eyes of your children, and stay that positive role model they so respect and love.
Disagreements and Blame
A divorce, by its very nature, means hashing out harsh disagreements. Never let your child see blame. Never talk ill of your spouse. Never put your child in the center of your marital problems. They need to understand that this is not their fault, that mom and dad have issues that they need to work out, and they must never be asked to choose sides. Itâ€™s not fair to you, your spouse, or your children.
One of the best ways you can overcome the anger and rage, and help to keep your kids and divorce separate is to pursue a mediated divorce. With this approach, you and your spouse get to maintain and rebuild your partnership while making the decisions that are best for you and your family.
Part of the success of mediation is that you are helped to overcome your anger and hostility and are able to move forward as partners once more. Even if your romance fades, your ability to work together must remain.
If you are facing divorce and would like to know more about how mediation can help you avoid bitter court battles and stress on your kids, we are here to help.
Arbitration, the process of settling a dispute between two parties unable to reach an agreement in mediation, can be a difficult process when domestic violence is involved. An arbitrator must be trained in screening for domestic violence and power imbalances to ensure the safety of the parties he or she represents. Domestic violence is a serious matter that the arbitrator will address to make sure arbitration proceedings go smoothly.
Screening for Domestic Violence
Parties involved in arbitration must be interviewed separately by an arbitrator or someone who is trained to recognize signs of domestic violence or power imbalances in a relationship. People involved in arbitration may be subject to domestic violence and issues of power and control. Domestic violence, which can be physical or psychological, can threaten the safety and health of parties involved in arbitration.
The screener may be your arbitrator, a social worker, a psychologist or other mental health worker. A lawyer representing a party in an arbitration or giving legal advice can be a screener as well.
It is the job of the screener to determine whether or not a party is fit to participate in the arbitration process. If the arbitrator has reason to believe the consent of either party to arbitrate is not genuine, they should not continue arbitration proceedings. There is no advised screening method for family arbitration, but methods exist that can be modified to fit it.
If the screener determines a personâ€™s safety may be compromised during the arbitration proceedings, they must take precautions to ensure the well-being of that party before arbitration can begin.
Domestic Violence and the Arbitration Process
In arbitration, the arbitrator makes informed decisions based on the law of Alberta. The arbitrator is able to safeguard any victim of domestic violence or issues of power and control because they make the final decisions. It is considered an offense if an arbitrator does not report a suspected case of domestic violence.
Get a Free Consultation
Call us for a free, confidential consultation. Our trained professionals can help guide you through the process of arbitration, which is more efficient and affordable than court trials or litigation lawyers. Jones Divorce Mediation Inc. works hard to ensure safe arbitration proceedings are available to anyone who needs it.