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A Fair Way on WS Radio: Part 2

Rich Gordon, Principal Mediator for A Fair Way Mediation Center, chats about the benefits to choose mediation over litigation when it comes to divorce and the book “Stress-Free Divorce, Part II, a guide for couples entering into the divorce process.


PLEASE CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW!

 

Social Media Considerations During a Divorce

Because going through the divorce process is a challenging and stressful experience, most people feel the need to seek support from their friends by sharing and discussing their feelings and frustrations. While doing so with a few friends over coffee or beer is fine, the danger is in sharing emotions with hundreds of friends and acquaintances on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn, as it can lead to unforeseen consequences.

Here is a list of a few mistakes you can avoid making and how they can have legal repercussions in your divorce proceedings:

1) Try to keep the split quiet for a while, or decide to announce it together to keep the atmosphere amicable. In addition, avoid negative comments about your ex, especially if you share mutual friends on social media platforms. You don’t want your friends to feel pressured to take sides. If you can keep the split amicable, avoid blocking your ex on social media, especially if there are children involved as you still may want to share some posts, while keeping others private.

2) Keep your social media posts positive or neutral. Avoid sharing personal details and doing your dirty laundry online. Not only does this put a drain on your personal relationships, but your current or prospective employer may also have access to those posts one day.

3) If you are friends with your ex on social media, avoid posting pictures about your new single life, including going on dates or having fun without your former partner. While your ex may feel animosity towards you when viewing this type of posts, you will only delay the healing process on both sides. It is best to keep private matters private until the divorce is final. Spying on your ex on social media can also delay healing. It is best to focus on yourself and activities that bring you peace and joy.

4) The most important mistake of all is to post any information that may be used against you in a court of law. Anything you say in writing could affect many aspects of the divorce process, including the separation of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, child custody, etc. This includes emails, text messages, and anything you post on social media, even as a private post. If you block your ex but share mutual friends, those friends could forward those posts to your ex. For example, imagine stating that you have a low income job on your financial forms to avoid paying spousal and child support but bragging about getting a new job or a bonus, or taking expensive vacations on social media. Lying on your financial statements is a crime. Therefore, any electronic proof that you lied about your income is admissible in court, and a judge can even subpoena you if you refuse to share those posts.

5) Avoid at all costs deleting online accounts after posting negative or compromising information as this constitutes destruction of evidence and could have legal consequences. Remember that people can always take a screen shot of your posts before you delete them. The best way to stay out of trouble is to avoid posting anything online that you don’t want to tell the whole world and become permanent. Keep a low social media profile, be cautious and discreet until the divorce is final, and remain amicable with your ex as much as possible. Keep in mind that if your children aren’t on social media yet, one day they will be. Think about what you want them to see when reading about this difficult time in your life.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation call 619-702-9174.

What You Need to Learn About Divorce Before Asking for One

Many couples find out the hard way how draining a divorce can be, both financially and emotionally. For this reason, it is essential for anyone contemplating divorce to do his/her research and get educated about the process before filing a request for divorce with the court. There are several legal options to consider, including litigation, do-it-yourself and mediation, and some of them are more costly or lengthy than others. Not one option works for every situation or couple, but the best option is always the one that encourages communication and cooperation between the separating partners.

Today, many couples have unrealistic expectations about their divorce. Tabloid papers and Hollywood movies tend to emphasize animosity and conflict between partners. While litigation is seen as a more traditional and trusted option, the process automatically puts spouses on opposite sides and on the defensive. Most divorcing couples can find common grounds to avoid aggressive litigation in court. For this reason, litigation should always be the last option to handle the divorce process.

Because of the cost associated with many divorces, especially when using attorneys, some couples try to save money by choosing the do-it-yourself (DIY) divorce. Depending on the couple’s relationship, assets, debts, and family situation, a DIY divorce could end up costing a lot more than expected if conflict occurs and couples can’t agree. In addition, unless both spouses are highly educated about family law, they may leave many issues unaddressed by handling the divorce themselves, which may delay their final divorce judgment for several months, or possibly years. Finally, couples opting for a DIY divorce also have no recourse left once they have agreed on everything and the final divorce papers are signed. Taking on this extra risk and responsibility to save a few dollars in the process is often not worth it.

Couples seeking divorce will be most successful when working together on a low-conflict resolution. Divorce mediation is often the best venue for parties open to negotiating and to reaching a compromise on the many aspects of their divorce, from the division of community assets and debts, the division of retirement and pension plans, child custody, child support, visitation schedules, spousal support (alimony), and any other issues relevant to the couple. Because divorce mediation helps couples reach their own decisions, a final marital settlement agreement (MSA) can often be completed in just a few months.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation or call 619-702-9174.

How LGBT Couples can Benefit From Mediation for Separation or Divorce

In San Diego, July is the time to celebrate Pride in the LGBT community. The annual San Diego Pride Parade is among the largest in the United States and it took place on July 15, 2017. When the June 26, 2015 US Supreme Court ruling finally made same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states, LGBT couples celebrated around the country and many were finally able to make their commitment to each other legal. As more LGBT couples live in a domestic relationship or get married, they may experience the same rewards and challenges of opposite sex marriages, including the possibility of separation and divorce down the road. These events can be difficult and stressful for many couples, and LGBT couples are not exempt.

Whether LGBT couples decide to dissolve a domestic partnership or a marriage, they need to make decisions similar to heterosexual couples regarding many aspects of their relationship. These include the division of assets, personal property and debt, spousal support, child support and custody, pet custody, division of retirement and pension plans, and any issues related to health and life insurance. As various states continue to grant (or sometimes challenge) equal rights to the LGBT community, it is important for LGBT couples to seek legal guidance and protection that will stand the test of time.

Laws regarding LGBT couples and families’ rights are changing fast and they can differ greatly from state to state, which can make conflict resolution even more complicated if couples move from one state to another. For this reason, there has been a rise in the number of attorneys and family mediators who specialize in LGBT relationships and can address the specific needs of this community. If you are an LGBT couple who decided to separate, it is important to choose a mediator who is highly knowledgeable in LGBT legal separation, domestic partnership termination, and marriage dissolution, and who has a lot of experience understanding and helping LGBT couples and their unique situations. A good way to find out if a mediator is a good match for you is to take advantage of a mediator’s free first consultation (link to blog post How to choose the right divorce mediator for you). By asking specific questions, you can decide how much experience a mediator has in addressing the diverse needs of today’s ever-changing families with sensitivity and understanding. You should always ask if the mediator is specifically trained in same-sex couples issues and is sensitive to the nuances in these relationships.

Both heterosexual couples and LGBT couples can benefit from mediation instead of litigating through attorneys. In many cases, mediation will be less expensive, less hostile and the divorce process will be completed in less time. Divorce and separation mediation enables couples to remain in control throughout the process and handle their unique issues personally. Through mediation, same-sex couples can make important life decisions that they will be able to live with, instead of relying on third-party decisions made by attorneys or the courts.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation, call 619-702-9174.

When is it time to call Children Protection Services?

divorce-child-protection-servicesEach state has its own version of Child Protection Services, more commonly known as CPS. In California, CPS is part of a county’s Social Services Department. The department directs any reporters of possible child abuse or neglect to call right away to report it.

Who to call?

Depending on the situation, there are different phone numbers to call:

-  In San Diego, if you suspect that a child has been abused or appears to be at risk of being abused, you should call the CPS hotline at (858)560-2191 or toll-free (800)344-6000. 
-  However, if you know that the abuse has already occurred, you are asked to call local law enforcement.
-  Finally, if you witness the child abuse in progress, you should call 911.

Who can call CPS?

Many people think they have to be related to the child in order to report child abuse or neglect. In reality, anyone can call CPS, and by law some people are legally mandated to report it, including child care providers, educators, medical professionals, mental health professionals, clergy members, and law enforcement officers.

What are the reasons for calling CPS?

Calling CPS should always be taken seriously and should never be done out of spite to punish a parent. However, not reporting child abuse or neglect could have some very serious consequences on a child, so it’s important call if you have any “reasonable suspicion” regarding a child’s health and well-being. If you are worried about your own safety, be aware that CPS keeps the reporter’s name and contact information anonymous, so the abuser will not know who made the call. The main reasons for calling CPS are:

-  A physical injury purposely inflicted on a child (not by accident) 
-  The willful harming or endangerment of a child
-  Any cruel or inhumane corporal punishment resulting in a traumatic condition|
-  The sexual abuse, assault, or exploitation of a child
-  The negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for the child’s welfare, whether the negligence is accidental or purposeful

Unless you witness the child abuse or neglect as it happens, it is sometimes hard to know if it is taking place or not. Here are a few warning signs to look for if you are suspecting a child is being mistreated:

-  A child with frequent injuries or unexplained bruises, who shies away from touch and flinches at sudden movements, or is afraid to go home, may be experiencing physical abuse
-  A child who seems anxious, fearful, withdrawn, lacking in attachment to the parent, or shows a range of extreme behaviors, may be emotionally abused
-  A child wearing filthy or inappropriate clothes for the weather, displaying bad hygiene, being left alone or unsupervised for long periods of time, or missing school, may be experiencing neglect
-  A child who displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his/her age, or tries to avoid a specific person, or runs away from home, may be the victim of sexual abuse

When in doubt, it’s important to be on the safe side and make the call to CPS. A child won’t automatically be taken away without CPS investigating the situation first, so the sooner the call happens, the better.

To learn more about the mediation process, complete our request for a free online evaluation, and to receive a free 30-minute phone consultation, visit us at www.afairway.com, or call 619-702-9174.

 

A Fair Way Mediation Featured on Impact Makers Radio

In this episode of “Let’s Talk Divorce!” Rich Gordon, Founder of A FAIR WAY MEDIATION CENTER in the Greater San Diego Area, CA, talks about how being a Family Law Divorce Mediator drives his passion for helping couples to break up nicely.

Rich, in a behind the scenes conversation with Radio Talk Show Host, Stewart Andrew Alexander, “A Fair Way Mediation has considerable experience mediating disputes in traditional marriages, same sex marriages, domestic partnerships, and alternative relationships throughout the San Diego County.

Listen to Radio Show HERE