The Smart Divorce® Weblog

Move forward with focus, hope, and confidence.


Leave a comment

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

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

By 

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


1 Comment

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)


1 Comment

Be Creative with Your Mediation

New on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio:

We welcome back our guest, Mark Baer (http://www.markbaeresq.com/), a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and who has been practicing for twenty years.  Mark shares his opinions and views about the family law system, how it can be better and provide more creative ways on getting through divorce.  Deborah Moskovitch, Steve Peck and Mark explore a variety of concepts regarding mediation.  This program isn’t just a standard outline of mediation, but shakes it up a little in this controversial and lively discussion.

 

Divorce Mediation

Mark Baer

How do you think outside the box in mediation? Mark Baer encourages you to ponder as we discuss:

  • The way in which bias impacts family law litigation
  • Why “evaluative mediation” is not really mediation, even though most lawyers and judicial officers believe otherwise
  • Whether family law attorneys should have higher ethical obligations than other attorneys
  • Funding your children’s college/university education when child support isn’t enough or stops
  • What money represents

There seems to be a major disconnect between the way the public views mediation and how the attorneys and judicial officers view as mediation.  This is a conversation that is steeped in controversy.  Tune in and then let us hear your thoughts on our Facebook fan pages…and don’t forget to like us.   The Smart Divorce http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Smart-Divorce/202908933137654 and www.Facebook.com/DivorceSourceRadio


2 Comments

How to Be Smart About Mediation

Understanding what mediation is as a process, and finding the right mediator, are critical elements to developing  smart and long lasting parenting and financial agreements that are predicated on informed, thoughtful decision making.  A good mediator will discuss what your goals are for the process, what is important to each of you and will help you to craft a plan that addresses those goals and intentions.  This is important to understand, as all mediators are not created equal!

Our guest, Cara Raich, (http://www.srmediators.com/mediators/cara-raich-esq/)  (http://mediatetrix.wordpress.com/) explores the specifics of mediation in this episode of The Smart Divorce, with Deborah Moskovitch and Steve Peck.   Cara is a mediator and attorney who specializes in helping people find non-adversarial resolutions to conflict. She mediates a wide range of cases including divorce, family conflicts, and organizational and civil disputes.

Cara is dedicated to helping her clients avoid the challenges and acrimony that frequently accompany adversarial proceedings. She does this by enabling her clients to come to realistic and informed agreements that work for them and their families. Cara believes that separation and divorce are family matters with a legal element, not a lawsuit that happens to be about a family.

To understand how these goals are accomplished in a fair and reasonable manner – and gain perspectives on alternative ways to view mediation and settlement we discuss:

  • What does neutrality really mean?
  • What are the process choices that people have when contemplating divorce?
  • How do we as a society view divorce?
  • What is a successful divorce?
  • What is the role the law will play in your divorce? Is the law relevant, determinative or something in between?

This interview will surely help you understand the many aspects of mediation.

To listen, click on the link http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/be-smart-about-mediation/ 


Leave a comment

What Are the Benefits of a Divorce Coach?

I will be a guest speaker at Riverdale Mediation, 40 hour mediation program on Monday, March 7.  This is what I will be speaking about:

Day three begins with a class discussion led by renowned divorce consultant Deborah Moskovitch. Is there a difference between a coach and consultant? What are their respective roles? What kinds of clients might benefit from these type of professionals?

For more information or to register for this program check out the brochure.

2012 Basic Med Agenda copy and their link http://www.riverdalemediation.com/


Leave a comment

Mistakes We Make During Divorce and How to Avoid Them

This time the spots are switched, I’m interviewed by my c o-host Steve Peck on his show, Divorce Source Radio. Tune in to hear the mistakes often made during divorce.

Divorce is an extremely emotional time in our life and under stress, we don’t always make the right choices.

The legal system is confusing and frightening and we sometimes let our anger get the best of us creating a battle with our soon to be ex that can last a lifetime and affect the lives of our children and our finances.

In this episode, DSR host Steve Peck, speaks with Divorce Consultant and author of The Smart Divorce, Deborah Moskovitch on how to avoid costly mistakes during divorce.

Listening to this show if you are new to the process of divorce can save you thousands of dollars in legal expenses, the relationship with your children and your sanity.

Click on the link below to hear the interview, to save time, money– and your sanity.

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/mistakes-we-make-during-divorce-and-how-to-avoid-them/


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

Here comes the judge………what he has to say

For an insightful perspective of what goes on in the family courtroom, the video attached is a must see for anyone in the throes of divorce.  Why is it so important to stay out of court – because you want to avoid the tug of war between parents and the disastrous effects it can have on children

Watch this captivating interview with Susan Ormiston who talks to family court judge, Justice Harvey Brownstone, who has spent 14 years refereeing ugly custody disputes, writing a book detailing his experiences on the bench.

http://www.cbc.ca/national/blog/video/crimejustice/tug_of_war_extended_interview.html

If this isn’t enough to keep you out of court, then read this powerful research by Dr. Robert E. Emery.   Dr. Emery conducted a 12 year study on high conflict families — who had originally appeared in court because they had filed for a contested custody hearing.  He compared two groups – those that litigated the outcome vs mediation.
The outcome:
5 hours of mediation caused nonresidential parents to see their children much more often 12 years later
Compare these rates to the dramatic drop off in contact after the typical divorce in America
For example, 28% of nonresident parents who mediated saw their children weekly 12 years later compared to 9% who litigated and 11% in the national averages

For more information and a full review of the study, click on the link

http://emeryondivorce.com/divorce_mediation_study.php

Our goal as parents is to put our children’s best interest first.  It isn’t always easy, but it’s a goal we need to achieve!


2 Comments

The Smart Divorce Workshop Series – Space Still Available

The Smart Divorce® Workshop Series

 

These workshops are appropriate for individuals contemplating or already experiencing a divorce. Strategies for reducing financial costs and personal turmoil will be presented. Participants will learn what to expect legally and emotionally, and so be able to move through the process with confidence and focus while saving time and money. A subsequent session will address parenting issues, how to work with parenting experts more effectively, and available resources. Feedback from therapists and lawyers has indicated that The Smart Divorce Workshops have helped to prepare individuals for the process and make them better clients.

 

I have added two new workshops to the series called – Taking Control of Your Finances – with guest speakers Atsuko Hiroaka and Aaron Nimon, both Investment Advisors of BMO Nesbit Burns. The focus of these sessions is to help manage and effectively deal with your financial concerns; how to overcome your fears and understand the financial considerations as you work through the divorce process and postdivorce concerns.

 

Click on the link for more information: the-smart-divorce-workshop-f09-2-finr1

 

Program details:

 

The Smart Divorce: Learning the Basics – February 4, 2009

 

The Smart Divorce: Taking Control of Your Finances – February 11, 2009

with Guest Speaker, Investment Advisor – Aaron Nimon of BMO Nesbit Burns

 

The Smart Divorce: Parenting Through Divorce – February 18, 2009 2008

 

The Smart Divorce: Taking Control of Your Finances – February 25, 2009

with Guest Speaker, Investment Advisor – Atsuko Hiroaka of BMO Nesbit Burns

“Your seminar game the confidence I needed to start my divorce. I know what to do now and feel I’m not alone.” Dave C. Toronto

“I met a client who took your seminar today. An educated client makes this work so much easier!” Jacqueline Vanbetlehem, Mediator and Family Therapist in Oakville

Location: 12 Lawton Boulevard, Toronto (Yonge and St. Clair)

Registration Fee: $25 per workshop

Call The Smart Divorce at 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com

SPACES ARE LIMITED, CALL TODAY


Leave a comment

The Smart Divorce Workshops


New workshops have been added:

Limited space is available in The Smart Divorce® Workshops. These workshops are appropriate for individuals contemplating or already experiencing a divorce. Strategies for reducing financial costs and personal turmoil will be presented. Participants will learn what to expect legally and emotionally, and so be able to move through the process with confidence and focus while saving time and money. A subsequent session will address parenting issues, how to work with parenting experts more effectively, and available resources. Feedback from therapists and lawyers has indicated that The Smart Divorce Workshops have helped to prepare individuals for the process and make them better clients; while saving them time money – and their sanity.

Program details:

The Smart Divorce: Learning the Basics –

September 16, 2008

The Smart Divorce: Parenting Through Divorce –

September 23, 2008

Time: 7:30 – 9 pm

Location: 12 Lawton Boulevard, Toronto

(Yonge and St. Clair)

For more details, click on the pdf file below:

the-smart-divorce-workshop-invitation-sep08-pdf

If you feel that you could benefit from these workshops or for more information please contact Deborah Moskovitch at 905 695 0270 or by email at info@thesmartdivorce.com.