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The Meaning of Alternative Dispute Resolution: And how it impacts your divorce

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

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Shared cusstody on The Smart DivorcePeople who need family lawyers are different from people who need other types of lawyers. If you are going through a separation or divorce, or if you need help with child custody or access, child or spousal support, or a children’s aid society issue, your case is about your life.

John Schuman with Deborah

John Schuman with Deborah

The lawyer you choose, and how the separation agreement is settled will also determine how amicable or adversarial the divorce process is, once again impacting your life.  In this episode of The Smart Divorce with Deborah Moskovitch, family law lawyer, John Schuman helps us understand the differences between all of the Alternative Dispute Resolutions to consider when coming to a separation agreement.  We discuss the importance of staying out of court, but also when it might the only option.   John has litigated before every level of court in Ontario, so readily understands the outcomes – not only from a decision perspective, but the impact on emotions as well.

For more on John Schuman, visit: http://www.devrylaw.ca/ and read Nobody Asks Where I Want to Live at:http://www.devrylaw.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/ConsenttoTreatmentandParenting.pdf.

Don’t forget, Like us on our Facebook pages, The Smart Divorce and Divorce Source Radio.  Join the community!

To hear this podcast click here


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What are the dispute resolutions?

You have choices and options to arrive at your separation agreement.A smart divorce means doing the research and gaining the understanding of these options so that you are making your decisions with confidence.

Do it yourself

This is the situation when separating couples to try reach an agreement without legal counsel.When I conducted my research for my book, The Smart Divorce, not one lawyer recommended this option. They didn’t support this option because they felt it is imperative that people understand their rights in terms of what they are entitled to and financial responsibilities and obligations with regard to spousal support and child support.For example, you could be giving away or not getting your most important assets; you might not be doing what is in the family’s best interest.If you do decide to go this route, you should at least consult with a lawyer first to get independent legal advice to understand your rights.

Negotiation

Think of negotiation as taking your wish list regarding how you divide your assets and what your parenting responsibilities should be and use this list as a starting point for what you end up with. It’s me and my lawyer versus you and your lawyer finding a compromise– all with the goal of reaching an acceptable middle ground.It’s me versus you with our lawyers beside us.Usually, we’re both trying to get as much as possible.

Now if you have to go to court, negotiation takes place too.The purpose of negotiation here is using it to avoid trial. When people file lawsuits there’s an expectation that there will be some maneuvering and bargaining and eventually a settlement will occur rather than full blown court with trial.The typical pattern is to use the threat of trial to get people to bargain and stay out of court.

Mediation

Mediation is using a mediator – It’s using the help of a neutral third party to help the divorcing couple reach a separation agreement together.A mediator is the problem solver helping the couple arrive at an agreement by helping them communicate with each other– a good mediator will help the couple identify issues and explore choices that they hadn’t thought of on their own.

Another benefit is that for some couples mediation is more cost effective because they are splitting the cost of a mediator, rather than paying hours separately with their individual lawyers.Many lawyers and clients like it because it gives both sides more control over the final outcome, but it does require that you be willing to work together, there is honesty and full disclosure about the finances.

A mediator can be a lawyer or a mental health professional.Most lawyers prefer that when you are mediating financial matters that your mediator be a lawyer.

Collaborative family law

The concept is that the lawyers work strictly toward settlement. Clients and their lawyers sign a contract in which they agree not to go to court, and to provide full and complete financial disclosure. The purpose of collaborative law is to create an environment in which the separating couple feels safe, in which both parties feel that they are able to make informed decisions about their own destinies, and in which they can work constructively despite their fears, anger, and feelings of revenge.

The lawyers fulfill their traditional role of advising their own clients on how the law applies to their individual situations. But they also help their clients to reframe their thinking–to develop goals as opposed to taking positions, and to make good and ethical choices. If either client wishes to end the collaborative process and go to court, both lawyers and other members of their firms must remove themselves from the case.

Arbitration

Arbitration is much like litigation in that you go to court in a sense, but it is outside of a courtroom. It is a private process. The divorcing spouses together with their lawyers pick a decision maker, who is usually a retired judge or senior lawyer with family law experience.

What happens in arbitration is that the decision being debated between the couple is imposed by the arbitrator.Unlike mediation, no one helps the couple come to an agreement; the decision is made for them. And, usually, if you don’t like the decision, it can’t be appealed which means, you can’t argue it out again for the decision maker to change his or her mind.

Litigation

I’m not saving the best for last; this is last because litigation is usually the option of last resort.Going to court.It’s emotionally difficult and financially, very expensive.

Who remembers Perry Mason?– when you’re up on the stand and your lawyer is asking lots of questions and all of a suddenthere is this aha moment by the judge and yes, it’s determined you are right and the other side is wrong and justice is served.It’s his word against hers and the battle starts from there.The lawyers try to poke holes in your persona showing that you are unfit.That’s why it is called the adversarial process.There is one winner, and one loser.It’s not a win – win situation. It’s a war and there are distinct sides.

Like arbitration, the decision is made by a third party.Unlike arbitration, you can’t pick your decision maker and the judge doesn’t always have family law experience.Another difference is that arbitration is private, going to court is public.Being public means that there is a public record of the dispute.

For a more comprehensive analysis of the dispute resolutions readThe Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers Counselors and Other Experts (available wherever books are sold)


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Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce

Have you watched the new documentary on HBO – Don’t Divorce Me!  If you haven’t already done so, I strongly suggest you do.

This is the most incredible program providing a voice to children of divorce.  They share their do’s and don’ts of what their parents are doing right and wrong throughout the divorce process and beyond.  The important tips they share are:

  1. Don’t use your kids as messengers
  2. Let them know that the divorce isn’t there fault
  3. Don’t fight
  4. Love your children (too much)
  5. They want to spend time with both mom and dad
  6. Keep the kids out of the middle
  7. Try to make sure that your parents get both kids kind of equally
  8. Don’t ask me to spy

These kids are smart are tell parents in such a powerful way what they could be doing better.  Children are the ones that live out the divorce…..so let’s give our children the best chances and listen to their message.

If you’re having trouble coping emotionally, understanding the importance of putting your children’s best interest first, healing through the divorce process for a happier, healthier future, then you will definitely want to check out The Smart Divorce ToolKit – a cost-effective and valuable divorce support resource.

I’ve written previous blog posts about The Children’s Best Interests.  Check them out:


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Find a Problem Solving Divorce Attorney, Not a Conflict Creator

Our guest  on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source radio , Mark Baer (http://www.markbaeresq.com) is a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and has been practicing for twenty years.  He received a great deal of media attention regarding his opinions that the family law system in the United States destroys families and his views on better and more constructive ways of handling such matters.  His articles have appeared in Forbes, The Los Angeles Daily Journal and Valley Lawyer Magazine.   Columnists from the Pasadena Star-News, the Los Angeles, Times and other newspapers use Mark as a resource for their columns.

Problem solving is a hallmark of a good lawyer.  We explore this outlook and learn what you need to consider when looking for a lawyer.  To learn more, Mark has written the must read article Things to Consider in Order to Select an Attorney Who is a Problem Solver and Not a Conflict Creator (http://www.markbaeresq.com/Pasadena-Family-Law-Blog/2011/September/Things-to-Consider-in-Order-to-Select-an-Attorne2.aspx)

Topics in this program include:

  • What is a problem solving lawyer
  • What is a problem creator lawyer
  • Finding your problem-solving lawyer
  • How to look for a mediator that’s right for you
  • Problems with lawyers and the legal system

To listen in click on this link

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/find-a-problem-solving-divorce-attorney-not-a-conflict-creator/


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TV’s Divorce Court Celebrity Judge Lynn Toler with Thoughts on Divorce

Our guest, award winner and mentor, Judge Lynn Toler (http://judgelynn.com/toler_divorce_court/) is smart, talented and creative – and judge on one of television’s most successful courtroom drama series: DIVORCE COURT.

Judge Lynn Toler is a former municipal court judge who now hosts the nationally syndicated show, Divorce Court. She is also a bi-monthly contributor to News and Notes on NPR and became host of the prime time TV show Decision House in 2007. In 2006, Judge Lynn published her book, My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius. Praised as an “awe-inspiring memoir” by Essence Magazine, it not only chronicles her life as a child raised in the shadow of her father’s mental illness but provides practical advice for anyone seeking more and better emotional control

Having completed more than two thousand episodes, on DIVORCE COURT, Judge Lynn Toler turns up the heat on court shows in this half-hour, relationship oriented series. Viewers experience the drama firsthand as husbands and wives square off in real-life courtroom battles.  Judge Lynn shares her wisdom and insight of the legal process, how to have a much smarter divorce…..or even save your marriage.  And, she speaks of her mission to gain awareness about teen violence.

Topics in this program include:

  • How communicating better might help you avoid divorce
  • What a judge can and cannot do
  • The emotions of court; what to do to get a better resolution
  • The inherent unfairness of no fault divorce
  • The surprising truth about teen violence and what parents should be aware of Domestic violence – an explanation, coping and managing
  • The limits of the legal system
  • Intelligent mediation
To hear this fascinating interview click on the link:


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Getting through divorce while saving time, money – and your sanity.

Introducing The Smart® Divorce Resource Toolkit

The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is now available, order yours today– one easy phone call or email, to get this valuable resource.  It’s one of the  most comprehensive programs providing a full overview of the divorce process — and endorsed by judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals.  The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit will help you make smart decisions for you and your family – taking you through the entire divorce process, removing the mystery and misconceptions about the outcomes of divorce, how to cut down on your legal bills and so much more.

This comprehensive resource  provides an understanding of all aspects of the divorce process; helping you understand the two sides to your divorce – the “emotional divorce” and the “legal divorce”

Move through your divorce with focus, hope and confidence.

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit makes the divorce process easy to understand, helping you to be strategic while making sound, smart decisions.  After all, information is knowledge and knowledge is power.

   Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit. 

Included in The Smart Divorce Toolkit are tips, strategies and ideas, packaged as never seen before.  This smart toolkit comes with:

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit is designed specifically to meet your needs — to help reduce stress, educate and inform you about the divorce process in a cost effective, easy to understand way. Guidance and information from leading family law lawyers, mental health professionals, and parenting experts well versed on the needs of those in the divorce process are included.  And, it’s put together in one smart package, making it uncomplicated, and effortless to understand.

The Tool Kit contains 4 CDs covering the myriad of issues, concerns and questions most people have about divorce – removing the mystery, complexity, and confusion about divorce.  Also included are Smart Guides which add another layer of detail to The Smart Divorce Audios, and provide a step by step plan for going through the divorce process.

The Smart Divorce Audios. 

These unique and informative CDs provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through it with focus, hope and confidence.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.

Tip sheets that support the information in the audios providing detail and understanding of the specific topic.

Smart Guides:

  • Planning for a Smart Divorce
  • Getting Your Finances Organized for Divorce
  • Coping with the Stress of the Emotional Divorce
  • Coping with Stress in a High Stress Environment
  • Understanding Your Divorce Options
  • Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer
  • Smart Co-Parenting
  • Living Separate and Apart
  • Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds
  • Divorce Financial Check List
  • Understanding Marital Property Laws
  • Important Financial Steps Required to Prepare for Divorce

Don’t delay, order your kit today

Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit.


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Introducing – The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new product called: The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.  The purpose of the Tool Kit is to provide organizations, lawyers, mental health professionals and others in the divorce arena with a resource to help their employees and clients divorce with focus, hope and confidence.  The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is one very smart package developed specifically to meet an individual’s needs.

This valuable Tool Kit is designed to reduce stress, educate and inform about the many aspects of the divorce process, and is cost effective and easy to understand.

Divorce or a breakdown of a co-habitation relationship is an extremely emotional process. While divorce is a personal matter the emotional impact can spill over into the workplace suddenly making it a public affair. There are so many unknowns about divorce that people are often confused, filled with fear and unsure of how to navigate the process.  In an effort to better heal and deal with divorce process privately, many individuals seek therapeutic counseling.  However, not all therapists are equipped to help their patients understand the specifics of divorce to alleviate many of their concerns i.e. the legal process, financial impact or custody and access issues.  As a result, an individual’s world is temporarily turned upside down, triggering unsettling and distressful emotions. The effects of the emotional distress in the workplace can be devastating.

On a classic rating scale of stressful life events, divorce consistently ranks No. 2–second only to the death of a spouse or child. The process of getting divorced is an emotional roller coaster which can impact people’s ability to be mindful on the job. Although divorce is primarily a personal heartbreak, the effects spill into the workplace; at the extreme – costing one to lose their job – not to mention a good portion of their wealth, and it can even affect the organization’s reputation.  People often feel overburdened and lack confidence; it is not surprising how many buckle under the pressure.

It is well documented that divorce reduces worker productivity.  If one were to do a cost benefit analysis of the effects of divorce in the workplace, one would find that the financial costs to the organization can be enormous.

I understand only too well how devastating the emotions of divorce can be, taking over the legal process while wreaking havoc on one’s career, causing a meltdown on so many fronts, and  the difficulty in overcoming the challenges  of raising children on your own.  It is for these reasons that I created The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.    I know how important it is to treat your divorce as a business transaction, and arm yourself with as much information as possible.

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit includes:

The Smart Divorce Audios.  These unique and informative audios provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through divorce with clarity.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.  12 very valuable tip sheets that support the information in the audios and cover other important issues; providing detail, strategies and tips for managing a specific divorce related topic.

In addition to the extensive information available in The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit, some organizations may also find it beneficial to offer workshops.  These presentations will provide greater clarity about divorce and managing through the process, in an effort to minimize stress, while maximizing an employee’s attention at work during this often distracting time.

The Smart Divorce® facilitator guided workshop

  • Workshop 1- The Smart Divorce.  A 1 ½ hour overview of the divorce process based on the book, The Smart Divorce. The divorce process in explained in broad terms, while providing an understanding of the emotional divorce and the legal divorce
  • Workshop 2- Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds.  A one hour presentation focusing on considerations when blending families.

Note: Each workshop includes PowerPoint presentation and facilitator script.

Don’t miss out on the introductory offer and save $50 when you place an order a minimum order of 10 kits.  Or, try it out and order just one Toolkit.

For more information click on the link.   To learn more about this unique and innovative program, and how it may help your organization or practice, please contact Deborah Moskovitch at info@thesmartdivorce.com.

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit _ Flyer


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Finding the best attorney for your divorce

Tune in to this very informative program on Divorce Source Radio.

In this program we revisit the first step when considering a divorce, selecting the proper attorney for your divorce.

Our guests include renowned Michigan Family Law Attorney and Divorce Source Radio Legal Correspondent, Henry Gornbein and from Toronto, Deborah Moskovitch, a professional Divorce Consultant and author or The Smart Divorce and host of The Smart Divorce Radio show.

Topics discussed will include:

  • How to go about selecting the proper attorney?
  • Should you hire the first attorney you visit or shop around for an attorney?
  • What to expect in your initial consultation with a prospective attorney
  • Questions to ask a potential attorney
  • Watch for attorneys who bring you in with unreasonable expectations or perpetuate conflict
  • We’ll discuss Mediation and Arbitration.  Are they the less confrontational form or divorce?
  • And much more
To listen and download this informative program click on the link below:

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/finding-the-best-attorney-for-your-divorce/


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A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court

There are many myths and misconceptions about what goes on in a Court Room.  When it comes to justice, all too often couples are disappointed by the outcome – and end up with large legal bills, family drama which causes an all out war, and a resolution that leaves couples disillusioned.

Our guest, Justice Harvey Brownstone, a sitting court judge, best-selling author of Tug of War, and host of Family Matters TV (http://www.familymatterstv.com/); helps us understand what really goes on inside the court room, and a judge’s mind.  Justice Brownstone has been called  a maverick judge who is a pioneer that is unilaterally changing the public image of the judiciary.

This honest and thought provoking interview will change the way you think about litigation, and how you work through the divorce process. We are fortunate to have Justice Brownstone share his thoughts and enlighten listeners as to what really goes on in Court, and what really matters.

Topics in this program include:

  • The impact of litigation on the family
  • What is really in your children’s best interest
  • The importance of a legal consultation
  • A frank discussion about divorce, relationships and so much more

To listen to Justice Brownstone’s interview click on the link:

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/a-judges-verdict-on-the-bitter-realities-of-family-court/


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How do you get a smart divorce?

Learn more about being smart about divorce with Deborah

Hear Deborah talk about The Smart Divorce

I was interviewed about The Smart Divorce and dealing with the many issues surrounding divorce with host Christine Williams of On The Line

Click on the link to watch the interview which aired on April 19, 2010.

You’ll hear a lot of information about getting through divorce, some personal stories, and guidance about the divorce process.

http://ctstv.com/ontario/player.php?ctsvidID=17595&show=On%20The%20Line

ON THE LINE with Christine Williams has been recipient of six prestigious international awards.  The program features current affairs issues and in-depth discussions about a range of topics with authors, experts and advocates.