Frequently Asked Questions About an Amicable Divorce
- How Will the Professionals for Amicable Divorce Help You in Your Divorce?
- How Can a Divorce Be Amicable?
- What is the Purpose of the Amicable Divorce Meetings?
- What is the Process For Amicable Divorce?
- How Does Amicable Divorce Work?
- How Do I Know if All Assets Have Been Disclosed in Amicable Divorce?
- How Does Amicable Divorce Help Children?
- How Does a Family Pay the Bills When the Parents Separate?
- What Are the Financial Consequences of the Divorce?
- How is the Divorce Finalized?
- How Does Amicable Divorce Compare to Other Processes?
- Communication in the Amicable Divorce
- How is Amicable Divorce Different?
- What is Arbitration?
Most divorcing couples want an amicable divorce with a fair settlement. We have gathered a group of professionals who can help keep a divorce amicable. You will find divorce lawyers, psychologists, accountants, business valuators, and a real estate professional.
Most divorcing spouses don’t want the divorce process to add to the pain of the dissolution of the marriage. The way a divorcing couple conduct themselves in the divorce determines how their family will survive the divorce. The divorce lawyers can be conducive to an amicable divorce or the divorce lawyers can cause more rancor and disagreements.
How Will the Professionals for Amicable Divorce Help You in Your Divorce?
Divorce lawyers need to advise their clients of their rights and obligations. It is important for the divorcing couple to understand what can happen and frankly, what will not happen. The lawyers at Professionals for Amicable Divorce are experienced and grounded. They will provide you with important information so that you can make knowing and intelligent decisions about your future. They will help you focus on what’s important to you and guide you in ways to help your family survive the divorce. You can find family-centric solutions to the issues facing you in a divorce without giving up your rights or your financial future. An investment in your family at the time of divorce will enable your family to function together in meaningful ways after the divorce. ^TOP
A divorce can be amicable if the divorcing couple communicates frankly about their needs and desires while resolving the many issues that face them at divorce. The spouses need to understand their rights and obligations under the law and they need to consider what’s best for their family.
The divorce lawyer will meet with you privately to understand everything about you that needs to be considered in formulating a comprehensive settlement proposal. Many factors need to be weighed to arrive at equitable and fair solutions. ^TOP
Shortly after you retain your lawyers, they will schedule several four-way meetings—meetings with the divorcing spouses and their lawyers. It is important to meet early and frequently. Many family lawyers will schedule three four-way meetings three weeks apart to deal with the pressing issues of a separated and divorcing family. Even if there is inadequate information available, temporary solutions, without prejudice to the rights of either the husband or the wife can be put into place. We have found that early intervention on the issues of child custody and family support help keep the divorce amicable.^TOP
Amicable Divorce involves a flexible approach to reaching an out-of-court solution for a separating couple’s problems. The more that lawyers and clients share common assumptions and goals about the process in advance, the better the process will be.
Amicable Divorce involves a series of joint meetings with husband and wife and their lawyers. At the first meeting with parties and counsel, the attorneys will refer the parties to a co-parenting counselor if there are children. The lawyers will discuss what needs to be done and lay ground rules for each party’s conduct and participation.^TOP
At the first or second meeting, without prejudice, preliminary distribution and characterization of some of the assets can be made, as well as division of responsibility for credit card debt and the mortgage and tax payments. The parties will discuss their current budgets and income. Retirement and savings accounts should be frozen and the value of the assets as of the date of separation values should be established, if possible. When separate tax returns will be filed, the relevant deductions attributed to each party will be determined.
A discovery list should be considered and tasks assigned. Mutual experts and appraisers where possible for houses and businesses can be chosen. Later, of course, if one party disagrees with a joint appraiser they are always free to find another appraiser. Finally, the discussion should be summarized by a list of tasks for the parties and their counsel involving such things as separating automobile insurance, and finding out the cost of COBRA coverage, etc.
It is the job of the lawyers to set and schedule a series of meetings, to send out meeting memos, and to keep everyone on task.^TOP
No agreement resolving financial issues concerning distribution of marital assets and liabilities can be entered without full disclosure. Both husband and wife must certify that all assets are on the table. If one spouse believes that there is less then full disclosure, the lawyers in the Amicable Divorce process may resort to the court to compel disclosure of all assets. ^TOP
Meetings with the co-parenting counselor will help the parties learn how to inform the children about the divorce and set a temporary custody schedule. This schedule can then be a basis for temporary child support. The parties may benefit from receiving tips on how to familiarize the children with the idea of having two homes and how to have conflict-free exchanges of custody.^TOP
How Does a Family Pay the Bills When the Parents Separate?
At four-way meetings with the attorneys and the divorcing couple, temporary support can be calculated and an interim agreement executed so there is tax deductibility, enforceability, and a mutual understanding as to the tax filing arrangements: timing, amount of payments, and each party’s share of the payment. Simultaneously a temporary custody arrangement should be put in place, presumably with the prior help and input of the co-parenting counselor.^TOP
After the parties have done their homework and completed their tasks, an asset distribution schedule can be set up. If the parties want to use a financial planner, they can evaluate the long-term consequences of alternate proposed distributions and retirement, career and college plans. If they are dissatisfied or have questions about their future, alternatives should be presented to the other party. It should be noted that in cases where there is little money to go around, a neutral Certified Divorce Planner or financial mediator can greatly cut costs by handling the financial settlement aspects of the case, provided both parties have had the opportunity to receive advice from their lawyers.^TOP
Finally, a permanent settlement should be negotiated. Documents should be reviewed and signed. The final settlement should include finalizing alimony and support figures, a custody schedule if there are any children, a complete and comprehensive distribution of assets, and a contract which, when executed, provides for a total separation of the parties, both economically and physically. Lawyers can give them the gift of complete separation, if that is what one or both of them want.
Divorcing couples can always choose to speak to each other and maintain good relations after divorce, as well as make modifications to their final agreement. If complete separation is not accomplished at this time, then parties may be burdened by the future additional expense of attorneys and possible litigation, as well as frustration in disentangling themselves further.^TOP
Many of our professionals – mental health, financial and legal – have been trained in mediation and collaboration as well as having received the appropriate advanced degrees. Professionals for Amicable Divorce was formed to bring the benefits and skills from the collaborative and mediation disciplines to couples who did not want the incentivizing restrictions of the Collaborative Process (which includes a contract never to go to court) and the mediation process (which usually denies parties the benefit, support and presence of counsel during the negotiation process).
In mediation the divorcing couple make their own agreement with the assistance of the mediator who acts as an agenda setting facilitator, but not counsel to either the husband or the wife. Mediators do not advocate positions for the husband or the wife. Couples who wish to mediate issues need to be prepared before they enter the mediation. They need to understand their rights and obligations for an informed negotiation process.
In Collaborative Divorce, the husband and the wife each have an attorney advocate. They are likely to negotiate a settlement for child support, alimony, distribution of property, and custody as they would in Amicable Divorce, however they must sign an agreement not to take any issues before the court. If they determine that litigation is required or that they need the court to resolve certain issues, both husband and wife must discharge their collaborative attorneys and hire new attorneys to take them into the court system. This restriction tends to place an incentive on the husband and wife not to allow negotiations to break down. They strive to reach an agreement so that they don’t have to start all over again with new attorneys.
Amicable Divorce, on the other hand, has the virtues of both mediation and collaborative principles with advocacy of the positions of the husband and wife going through a divorce. ^TOP
Amicable Divorce is a dramatic departure from traditional divorce. Unlike a traditional litigated divorce which promotes conflict, Amicable Divorce facilitates the divorce by reducing conflict and, by design; the process improves communication between the divorcing parties. The lawyers, financial advisers, and co-parenting counselor in Amicable Divorce are experienced in promoting constructive communication to facilitate the divorce. Other professionals are available to assist the restructured family if needed.
Research by John Gottmann on divorce has shown that divorce is primarily caused by negative emotions. When the “Four Horsemen” of negative emotion, that is defensiveness, stonewalling, criticism and contempt, are reduced it is possible to work out a divorce that promotes a healthy future for the divorcing family. The divorced parents and children are the immediate and lifetime beneficiaries of the positive relationships that may flourish.^TOP
Planning for the future changing needs of all members of the family is paramount in the process and fundamental to an Amicable Divorce. This future orientation allows the divorcing parties to prioritize their needs both in terms of their relationships with their children and their financial goals.
Unlike the typical high conflict divorce, Amicable Divorce allows the possibility of reconciliation. Damage to the fragile relationship is not exacerbated by the inherent roles of opposing lawyers representing each party in the divorce. Sometimes this path to meaningful communication leads to an opportunity to reinvent the damaged marriage and rebuild the family.
Amicable Divorce is an alternative that sustains and nurtures the family during what has traditionally been one of the most harsh and stressful life experiences for all family members. ^TOP