Divorce After 20 Years of Marriage or More

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

  • Divorce after 20 years or more is a complex undertaking with a lot at stake.
  • There's very little guidance on how things should be divided and decided and both family and financial dynamics will play key roles in how you move forward.
  • Here's what you can do to understand the issues you'll be facing and plan a smart course of action to preserve wealth and minimize legal bills if you're divorcing after 20 years or more.

If you've decided to divorce after 20 years or longer, you're probably feeling very alone. Like you're the only couple in the world facing divorce after 50.

But despite what you hear about the falling rate of divorce proceedings, getting divorced after 20 years of marriage - even after 25 and 30 years for that matter, is not only common these days, but it's on the rise.

According to Bowling Green University's National Center for Family & Marriage Research, from 1990 to 2012, the divorce rate for 55 to 64-year-olds more than doubled, while the rate of divorce for the 65 and older population tripled!

There are many reasons for a divorce at midlife - also known as gray divorce.

But regardless of why older couples are choosing to divorce after staying together for so many years, it’s important to understand that divorce in a long-term marriage is markedly different and much more complicated than divorce after 10 years or less.

Let's take a closer look at how divorcing after 20 years of marriage (or more) can impact the specific financial, emotional and parental issues you'll face as you go through your divorce.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

Facing a Gray Divorce? Watch Out for These 7 Critical Issues

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • If you're an older couple divorcing after a long-term marriage, it's referred to as a gray divorce or late life divorce.
  • In a gray divorce, there are a number of critical issues you need to be aware of so your divorce doesn't go sideways.
  • If you don't want to waste money or time on your divorce, or add stress to your life, here's what to do to get the best result.

While the overall divorce rate has flattened for most age groups, there is one segment of the population where divorce rates are actually increasing - couples in long-term marriages.

A phenomenon known as gray divorce.

Certainly divorce is difficult no matter how long you've been married or how old you are. But if you're divorcing after a long-term marriage, there's a whole lot you need to know - and watch out for!

Topics: Divorce Mediation

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

Ok, that’s it – you can't do it anymore. You’re done.

You’ve tried your hardest, but you just can’t seem to make your marriage work.

You want a divorce.

But how do you start a divorce conversation with your spouse without devastating them or triggering an all-out war?

One of the most common questions we're asked about is how to tell your spouse you want a divorce.

Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but here are a few tips for how to ask for a divorce nicely and help make an uncomfortable conversation go as smoothly as possible:

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support Divorce Mediation Popular

The 5 Divorce Options and How to Choose The Right One

By Equitable Mediation

What Are My Options for Divorce?

I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. But I bet you never thought your marriage would be one of them.

No one does.

Making the decision to end your marriage was (or will be) one of the biggest and most difficult decisions you have ever made in your life.

And you didn’t take this decision lightly.

But what you may not have realized at the time was that this would not be the only important decision you’d need to make. It was actually the first of many…

The next thing you’ll need to decide is how to get a divorce.

So what ARE the divorce options available to you?

And how do you choose the option that’s right for you in your particular situation?

We will answer those questions and more in this post.

Topics: Planning for Divorce

Child Support in California in 2021: More Complex Than You Might Think

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a mom or dad preparing to start a divorce in California, your children are most likely your number one concern.

And they should be.

You love your kids and want the world for them.

So now that you're getting a divorce, how do you make sure they get the financial support they need in order to live healthy and happy lives?

That’s where child support comes in.

And there's a lot more to California child support than you might think.

Safeguarding Your Children in 2021 with Child Support in Illinois

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a parent preparing to begin a divorce in Illinois, there’s no doubt your children are your number one priority.

And they should be.

You love your kids and want the world for them.

So now that you're getting a divorce, how do you make sure they get the financial support they’re entitled to and their needs are put first above all else?

That’s where child support in Illinois comes in.

And there's a lot more to determining Illinois child support than you might think.

How to Ensure Your Child's Well-Being in 2021 with Child Support in NJ

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a mom or dad preparing to start divorce mediation in New Jersey, your children are most likely your number one concern.

And they should be.

You love your kids and want the world for them.

So now that you're getting a divorce, how do you make sure they get the financial support they need in order to live healthy and happy lives?

That’s where NJ child support comes in.

And there's a lot more to child support in New Jersey than you might think.

Think it's Easy to Determine PA Child Support in 2021? Guess Again!

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As parents getting a divorce in Pennsylvania, you're probably worried sick about what your divorce will do to your kids.

Emotionally and financially.

You love your children and want the best for them. But you're concerned your divorce is going to make it harder for them to get the financial support they need in order to live healthy and happy lives.

That’s where the Pennsylvania child support guidelines come in.

But there's a lot more to know about PA child support in than you might think.

Calculating Child Support in NY in 2021: More Than Just a Simple Percentage

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a parent getting a divorce in New York, your children are bound to be your number one concern.

And they should be.

You love your kids and want the world for them. So now that you're facing divorce, how do you make sure they get the financial support they need in order to live healthy and happy lives?

That’s where child support comes in.

But there's a lot more to child support in New York than you might think.

How to Safeguard Your Kids' Well-Being in 2021 with Washington State Child Support

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As parents starting a divorce in Washington, your children are most likely your number one concern.

And they should be.

You love your kids and want the world for them.

So now that you're ending your marriage, how will you ensure they get the financial support needed to minimize the effect your divorce will have on them?

That’s where child support in Washington State comes in.

But the Washington state Child Support calculator has a number of complexities and limitations, and coming to agreement may be harder than you think.

8 Michigan Child Support Questions You Should Be Asking in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a mom or dad preparing to start divorce mediation in Michigan, your job is to minimize the impact your divorce will have on your children.

One of the ways to do that is to have a detailed parenting plan in place. To ensure the children see both of you as much as possible.

The other way is by providing them the financial support they need in order to live healthy and happy lives.

That’s where Michigan child support comes in.

At first it may seem calculating Michigan child support is easy. Just plug some numbers into a Michigan child support calculator and you’re done.

But it’s not nearly that simple.

The reality is there's a lot more to child support in Michigan than you might think.

Here are 8 important Michigan child support questions you should be asking (with answers) so you can not only get educated, but also get the best possible outcome for your kids.

Determining Spousal Support in Washington State in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Your marriage is ending and the same worries and fears keep circling through your mind:

“Will I have enough money to keep the house?”

“How will I be able to make ends meet?”

“What will I do for health insurance?”

“How will I be able to pay my bills and save for retirement?”

In divorce, all of these fears are normal and have the very same thing in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one issue that's more emotional, more stressful, causes more disagreements and is harder to resolve than any other.

Whether you call it spousal support, alimony or maintenance, coming to agreement on an amount of money that one ex-spouse will pay to the other to cover their expenses, while still having enough money left to cover their own, is difficult, to say the least.

And the topic of spousal support in Washington State is a complicated one.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at this complex and controversial topic. And shed some light on what a divorcing couple can do to come an alimony agreement they both find fair.

Determining Alimony in NJ in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Spousal Support New Jersey

You’re at the crossroads of a divorce and the same worries keep flooding your mind:

  • “Can I afford to keep the house?”
  • “Will I be able to pay my bills?”
  • “How will I get health insurance?”
  • “Will I have enough to be able to save for my retirement?”

All of these fears are typical in divorce mediation in NJ and have one thing in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one topic that's more stressful, more emotional and more difficult to resolve than any other.

Whether you call it alimony or spousal support, coming to an agreement that will require one ex-spouse to pay money to the other ex-spouse to support their lifestyle is challenging, to say the least.

Determining Alimony in California in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Spousal Support California

You’re at the crossroads of a divorce and the same worries keep flooding your mind:

  • “Can I afford to keep the marital home?”
  • “Will I be able to pay my bills and meet my financial responsibilities?”
  • “How will I get health insurance coverage after my marriage ends?”
  • “Will I have enough financial resources to be able to save for my retirement?”

All of these fears are typical in divorce and have one thing in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one topic that's more stressful, more emotional and more difficult for parties to resolve than any other.

Whether you call it alimony or spousal support, California couples needing to come to an agreement that will require one ex-spouse to pay money to the other ex-spouse to support their lifestyle is challenging, to say the least.

Understanding Alimony in PA in 2021 and The Challenges of Resolving It

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

You're at the crossroads of a divorce in Pennsylvania and your mind is spinning with anxiety and worries as you lose sleep thinking about:

  • Whether or not you'll be able to afford to keep the house;
  • Whether or not you'll be able to pay the bills;
  • Whether or not you'll be able to get health insurance coverage;
  • And whether or not you'll have enough to save for your retirement.

All of these fears are typical in a divorce (especially if you've been the dependent spouse) and they all have one thing in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one issue that's more stressful, more emotional, and more difficult for Pennsylvania couples to resolve than any other.

And that's PA alimony.

Coming to an agreement that will require one party to pay money to the other party to support their lifestyle after the marriage ends is challenging, to say the least.

The Challenges of Determining Alimony in NY in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Your marriage is ending and the same fears keep rushing through your head:

The house: “Will I have enough money to keep it?”

The bills: “How will I be able to pay them?”

Health insurance: “Will I be able to get coverage?”

Retirement: “Will there be any money left to save for the future?”

In divorce, all of these fears are normal and have the very same thing in common:

Money.

And when it comes to money and divorce, there's one issue that's more emotional, causes more disagreements and is more challenging to resolve than any other.

Whether you call it alimony, spousal support or spousal maintenance, New York couples needing to come to agreement on a matter that will require an ex-husband or wife to give money to their former spouse is challenging, to say the least.

And the topic of alimony in NY is a complicated one.

In this post, we'll take a closer look at this controversial and complex topic. And shed some light on what a divorcing couple can do to come to an alimony agreement they both find fair.

Determining Alimony in Michigan in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Spousal Support Michigan

You and your spouse have decided to divorce. And you've got a lot of worries on your mind.

Things like:

  • “Will I be able to stay in the house?”
  • “How am I going to make ends meet?”
  • “Can I really afford my own health insurance?”
  • “Will I ever be able to retire or contribute to my IRA / 401(k)?”

These fears are typical for couples seeking a divorce in Michigan, and have one main thing in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one topic that's more painful to think about, more sensitive to discuss, and more challenging to resolve than this one.

So whether you call it alimony or spousal support (the commonly used term in a Michigan divorce), or maintenance, coming to an agreement that will require one ex-spouse to pay money to the other ex-spouse to support their lifestyle is complicated, to say the least.

Determining Illinois Alimony in 2021

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Your marriage is ending and the same fears keep rushing through your head:

  • The house: “Will I have enough money to keep it?”
  • The bills: “How will I be able to pay them?”
  • Health insurance: “Will I be able to get coverage?”
  • Retirement: “Will there be any money left to save for the future?”

In divorce, all of these fears are normal and have something in common:

Money.

When it comes to money and divorce, there's one issue that's more emotional, controversial and challenging for spouses to resolve than any other.

Whether you call it alimony or divorce maintenance, coming to agreement on a matter that will require an ex-husband or wife to give money to the other ex-spouse to support their future lifestyle after the marriage is challenging, to say the least.

And the topic of alimony in Illinois is a complicated one.

How to Prepare for Divorce – 54 Experts Share Their Best Tips

By Equitable Mediation

Going through a divorce or legal separation is a complicated and overwhelming ordeal.

So if you’ve made the decision to divorce or are facing divorce proceedings because your spouse has stated their intention to end the marriage, you might be wondering what first steps you should take to get through this difficult process as quickly and amicably as you can.

Knowing that steps taken up-front can make the entire divorce process more peaceful, fair and drama-free, we asked 52 experts (in addition to Joe and me) to reveal their best and most insightful tips on preparing for divorce with simple, actionable tips.

We also asked a number of former clients who are now divorced what, if anything, they would have done differently to make their divorce more peaceful, fair, cost-effective and/or easier on their kids. And what divorce advice they have for others getting ready to start the divorce process with children.

NEW SECTION: Finally, in light of recent circumstances, we asked experts to share tips for how individuals and couples who were intending on starting a divorce (prior to the Coronavirus pandemic) can best deal with the stress of life on hold and sheltering-in-place with someone they no longer wish to be married to.

I hope you find all of the following insights helpful during your own divorce preparation!


Topics: Planning for Divorce Popular

How to Have an Amicable Divorce

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • The way you conduct yourself during your divorce will lay the groundwork for your life afterwards. That's why you're smart if you want to have an amicable divorce.
  • Not divorcing amicably will really cost you.
  • Here's what an amicable divorce looks like and what you must do to have one.

After years of soul-searching and months of counseling, you’ve made the difficult decision to end your marriage.

But don’t want your divorce or separation to be a knock-down, drag-out brawl.

One where you and your spouse hate each other when it’s over. Spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on divorce attorneys or litigating in court. And scar your children for life by destroying their family.

Instead, you want to have a peaceful divorce.

But you don’t know how or if it’s even possible.

So before you do anything, let’s first take a closer look at what it means to divorce amicably. And discuss five things you'll need to do to plan an amicable divorce process from the start.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

Should I Get a Divorce?

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

When is it time to divorce?

There can be countless reasons you're wondering when to divorce.

Infidelity.

Finances.

Sexless marriage or lack of intimacy.

Or maybe you've simply grown apart.

Regardless of the reasons, how do you know if what you're going through is just a rough patch or something more lasting? Are you justified in feeling the way you do?

Are you making more out of things than they really are? Can your marriage be saved?

Or is your marriage beyond repair?

Making the decision to end your marriage may very well be among the biggest decisions you will ever face in your life and it will affect you for many years to come - especially if you have children.

And while there’s no easy answer to the question, “Should I get a divorce?” there are certain signs of divorce and things to consider that may help you decide if you should stay married or when to leave a marriage.

Topics: Considering Divorce

How to Tell Kids about Divorce, Help Them Cope and Be Good Co-Parents

By Equitable Mediation

They're often feeling a tremendous sense of guilt and responsibility, even though they had nothing to do with this adult decision to end a marriage.

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to care for and protect your kids. So what's the best way for how to tell children about divorce? And what are some good ways for helping children cope with divorce?

When it comes to divorce and its effects on children, what do kids understand based on their age and developmental stage? How as parents can you spot and address problems?

What are some tips for healthy and successful co-parenting when divorcing with kids? And finally, what are some children books dealing with divorce?

This post is all about divorce with children.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support

Should We Stay Together for the Kids?

By Equitable Mediation

You may be wondering about divorce and its effect on children and asking yourself if you should get a divorce or stay married for the sake of your kids.

What parents who love their children wouldn't?

But does staying together for the kids do more harm than good throughout the years?

In order to settle the age-old debate on whether or not you and your spouse should end your unhappy marriage and divorce or stay for the kids, we asked a panel of experts to share their advice for parents.

Topics: Considering Divorce

Divorce Mediation vs Lawyer: Which is Right for You?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

The decision to get a divorce is a very difficult one no matter where you live or what the circumstances.

But while some may think the decision itself is the hardest part of the divorce process, the choice of using divorce mediation vs divorce lawyer can be an even more challenging one if you don't know the differences between the two.

With a little education, you can make the decision that's right for you in your situation.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

How to Save a Marriage – 32 Experts Share Their Best Advice

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

I know what you’re thinking...

Why as a divorce mediator are you writing about how to save a marriage relationship? Isn’t it your job to help couples end their marriage with a no-fault divorce?

Honestly, I was thinking the same thing…

Yes, my job is to help couples divorce peacefully and it isn't my role to provide marriage therapy and help a husband and wife find a way to save the marriage. But divorce mediation is only appropriate when both spouses are on the same page.

If one of you wants to end your marriage but the other wants to know how to save a marriage on the brink of divorce, there’s not much I can do.

Topics: Considering Divorce

How to Find Good Divorce Mediation Near Me

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

  • The mediator you hire to guide you through the divorce process is just as important as the decision to use mediation itself.
  • Hiring the best and most competent mediator will make all the difference in how peaceful and cost-effective your divorce will be. And how fair, thorough and child-focused your agreement will be.
  • Here are the criteria to use when evaluating the qualifications of a mediator. And how to determine if the person you're considering is competent and best qualified to help you.

You want a divorce.

And you want to mediate.

Which is more than I knew when my ex-husband and I made the decision to end our marriage.

We hadn't ever heard of mediation. All we knew is we wanted to get an uncontested divorce without lawyers and respectfully resolve our issues out of court. And we didn't want to go broke in the process.

A friend told me about mediation and I found a divorce mediator near me. And luckily, my mediated divorce case went quite smoothly. My now ex-husband and I completed the process in a few months and our entire divorce cost less than we would have spent on the attorney retainers alone.

But as you probably already know, making the decision to use mediation is only a small part of the divorce process.

You also need to figure out how to find a mediator for divorce who is competent and qualified.

Because the mediator you hire to guide you through the divorce process is just as important as the decision to use mediation itself.

So what are the criteria to use when evaluating the qualifications of a mediator? And what do you need to know about how to find a good divorce mediator and determine if the person you're considering is competent and best qualified to help you?

Luckily you've come to the right place because those questions and more will be answered in this post...

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

Collaborative Law vs Mediation

By Equitable Mediation

  • Collaborative Law and Divorce Mediation are two of the five ways a couple can get a divorce.
  • There are many differences between these two divorce methods including cost, time to complete and approach.
  • Here's how Collaborative Law compares to Divorce Mediation and how to decide which is best for your situation and circumstances.

If you've just made the decision to end your marriage, there's no doubt it was probably one of the biggest and most difficult decisions you ever made in your life.

But now you have another important decision to make.

How to actually get the divorce.

You may have heard mediation is more peaceful and cost-effective. But you also want to more about what is collaborative divorce process and how these two methods compare.

Let's take a closer look at collaborative law vs mediation so you can decide which one is right for you.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

10 Biggest Divorce Mediation Benefits

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • How you move through - and eventually beyond a divorce is your choice.
  • Divorce mediation enables a divorcing couple to resolve their divorce issues out of court.
  • No other divorce option comes close to offering the advantages that mediation provides. Here are all the benefits of mediating your divorce.

A Fair, Child-Focused and Peaceful Divorce is about Choices.

Going through a major life event such as divorce is a significant and stressful experience. It’s not only emotionally devastating, but the divorce process itself can be long, drawn-out and destructive to everyone involved, including your children.

In divorce, no one wins.

But how you move through - and eventually beyond a divorce is your choice.

So wouldn’t you want to choose the divorce option that’s peaceful, cost-effective and best for you and your kids?

Of course you would!

Ready to learn about divorce mediation?

Let’s dive in…

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

Community Property California: Not Always 50-50 in Divorce

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

You and your spouse were partners.

And worked hard throughout all the years of your marriage in order to achieve your financial goals.

You bought your dream house, built a sizable nest-egg for retirement, and even had enough income to treat yourself to that sweet cherry-red rag top you’d had your eye on since you were a kid. California dreamin’ indeed!

But now that you’re facing a divorce, you have questions about California community property and exactly how the division of assets and liabilities works.

You’ve heard that because California is a Community Property state, spouses split everything 50-50, but you don't know how to decipher community property vs separate property, how to untangle assets or debts that have been co-mingled during the course of your marriage and whether or not you and your spouse actually get a say in how to divide your property and debts in a fair and equitable way.

You also want to make sure that all the income you worked so hard to earn doesn’t wind up getting wasted on divorce attorneys and outrageous legal fees.

Why Divorce is Good: What You Learn About You Through Divorce

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

Years ago, when I was in the middle of a divorce, I remembered thinking I'd never be happy again.

My life was in such turmoil and I was so consumed by sadness and anger that I couldn't imagine any future where I would be over my bad marriage or divorce, let alone be able to learn, heal, grow and move on.

If you are preparing to start the divorce process or are currently in the midst of your own divorce, you can probably relate!

But I want you to know that there is a such thing as a positive divorce.

Topics: Divorce Support Considering Divorce

Coronavirus, Self-Quarantine and Divorce: Experts Share Survival Tips

By Equitable Mediation

Preparing to divorce and then COVID-19 crisis hit?

Here are some tips on how to deal with "forced togetherness" during the quarantine, so your divorce can be peaceful once it's lifted.

Maybe you made the decision to end your marriage prior to the Coronavirus crisis, but had not yet told your spouse - you wanted to prepare for divorce first so you could take steps to keep things as peaceful as possible.

Or maybe you and your husband or wife agreed to divorce and took preliminary steps to interview attorneys or mediators, but before you went ahead and hired a professional and started the divorce process, self-quarantine and shelter-in-place directives were imposed.

Then, in an instant, your divorce plans came to a screeching halt.

If you are now quarantined together in the same household, you are likely feeling trapped, stressed and overwhelmed. And that anxiety is only compounded by kids home from school, working from home, job and financial uncertainty and concerns about your health and the well-being of your loved ones.

With no end to this in sight.

So we asked experts to share tips for how you can deal with the stress of life on hold and "forced togetherness" with someone you no longer wish to be married to. This way, you can (hopefully) stay clear of going to war with each other so that when the day comes that you finally move forward, your divorce can still be peaceful.

I hope you find their insights helpful!


Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support

I Want a Divorce But My Husband Doesn't

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

Chances are, when you got married, you and your husband were both equally excited to start your new life together. Unfortunately, when it comes to ending a marriage, the situation isn’t always so balanced.

Many women call us and say, "I want a divorce but my husband doesn’t. What can I do? Can you tell me how to divorce my husband?"

If your husband doesn't want to divorce, it can be incredibly frustrating for a wife.

But let's get one thing straight right off the top...

If a woman wants a divorce, both spouses are getting a divorce.

Wives don't need their husbands' permission to divorce them. But how you proceed – and how difficult you make it on yourself and your children, is up to both of you.

You see, the way your divorce kicks-off will set the tone for the rest of how the divorce process unfolds as well as the future of your relationship as co-parents.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support

Good Divorce Advice for a Woman with Children

By Equitable Mediation

The first part of this post was written by guest contributor and parenting coach, Dana Hirt, who consciously set out to protect her three young children from the negative effects of divorce and in doing so, had a "good" divorce which paved the way to her own future happiness and the well-being of her entire family.

Dana shares her own personal divorce story and offers some tips for how you, too, can plan a good divorce.

The second part of this post was written by guest contributor and divorce coach, Tara Eisenhard, who believes that families should evolve, not dissolve, through the process of divorce.

Tara shares what a good divorce is and offers advice for how you can have a positive divorce of your own.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support Divorce Mediation

My Husband Wants a Divorce. What Do I Do?

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

When you and your husband decided you’d stay home and raise the kids, it was a decision you both felt good about.

"We’re a team" - you thought."

"What’s his is mine. And what’s mine is his. We’re building a life together."

Not once in your life did you ever think you’d one day be thinking to yourself, “My husband wants a divorce but I don't. What do I do?”

But here you are. And you’re reluctant to divorce because you're scared of what the future holds for you and your kids.

With good reason.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support Divorce Mediation

The Best Way to Get a Divorce? Hear What The Experts Say

By Equitable Mediation

Once you've made the difficult decision to divorce, you may feel a bit of relief - like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders.

But you now have another important decision to make. You need to decide which method to use to actually get the divorce.

In this post, you'll hear what our panel of experts have to say about the best way to get a divorce and which divorce method they recommend to their clients.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support Divorce Mediation

I Want a Divorce But My Wife Doesn't

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

“I want a divorce but my wife doesn’t!”

You didn’t make the decision to divorce quickly.

In fact, most husbands take at least two years from the time the thought first enters their mind until the time they tell their wife they want to end the marriage.

So what happens when as an unhappy spouse, you finally muster up the courage to have that difficult conversation, only for your wife to tell you she’s not ready or unwilling to take that step?

Or, she doesn’t deal with the situation at all, thinking that if she refuses to cooperate, the divorce won't or can’t happen?

What can you do when as a husband you want a divorce but your wife doesn’t? Will you be forced to remain in your unhappy marriage for the rest of your life?

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support

Divorce Mediation Tips and a Divorce Mediation Checklist

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

The divorce process can be an extremely stressful experience for you and your family. Even under the best of circumstances, it can leave you feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Choosing mediation is a great first step towards making your no-fault divorce go as smoothly as possible.

But here are a few additional divorce mediation tips and, towards the bottom of the post, a divorce mediation checklist, to ensure your case stays on track and out of court.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

The Importance of a Good Divorce Parenting Plan

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

As a loving parent, you know there's nothing more important than your child.

In fact, they might even be the very reason you and your spouse stayed together as long as you have, despite the breakdown of your marriage.

But now that you're divorcing, ensuring your child's well-being is your first priority.

And it starts with creating a sound parenting plan to outline how you and your spouse will effectively co-parent your children and share in their care and upbringing after your divorce is final.

Topics: Divorce Mediation

How to Cope with Divorce

By Equitable Mediation

Divorce is a stressful, major life event that can flip your life upside down.

Not only do you have to contend with the legal and financial aspects of the divorce process itself, but you also have to come to grips with the reality that your marriage is ending and "life as you know it" is changing in every possible way.

It's normal to feel out of control while going through a divorce or separation. But there are some things you can do when dealing with divorce and self-care is critical.

This post is all about how to cope with divorce.

Topics: Divorce Support

For Divorce After Short Marriage Mediation is Your Best Bet

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • The definition of a short term marriage is a marriage duration of 5 years or less.
  • Defining what is a short term marriage is important because it can affect your divorce settlement agreement.
  • Here's why mediation is the best option for a short marriage divorce.

When you said your wedding vows and married "the one," you never thought you’d find yourself reading this type of article just a few years later. And yet unfortunately, here you are.

“Better to find out now before you have kids.”

Your friends say.

“Don’t worry, there’s someone even better out there for you.”

Your parents tell you.

"Cheer up, things will get better."

Your co-workers claim.

Sure, they’re trying to be helpful, but they don’t understand divorce after 5 years of marriage or other short marriages durations are still emotionally devastating.

And even though you're hurting, angry and might be tempted to hire a lawyer to exact revenge on your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you're smart enough to know it's a very bad idea.

Instead, you want to find a better short marriage divorce option that doesn't involve lawyers or court. And won't destroy you or your spouse in the process.

Let’s take a closer look at short term marriages and divorce, and why mediation is the best option for a fair and cost-effective settlement.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

How Much Does a Divorce Cost?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • There are three main factors that impact the cost of getting a divorce for couples: Case complexities, level of conflict between the parties and the divorce method/professional chosen.
  • The cheapest option might not be best for your situation and can wind up being a lot more expensive in the end.
  • Learn more about each factor and how it affects the cost of divorce.

Paying a lot of money for a divorce is the last thing anyone wants to do.

And with good reason. Divorce can get expensive.

It can bankrupt families. Ruin lives. And steal your children's futures. So it's normal to wonder how much does a divorce cost and what are your options for getting one before you file any divorce papers.

Before taking a closer look, you'll first need to understand the things that impact how much divorce costs. As they can vary greatly from case-to-case.

Not only that, but there’s so much more to divorce and ending a marriage than just how much it will cost you.

And while it might be tempting to choose the lowest cost option, be cautious because the cheapest option might not be best for your situation and can wind up being a lot more expensive in the end.

Topics: Planning for Divorce

How to Get a Fair Divorce Settlement

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • Since guidelines on how to resolve many of the parental and financial matters required for divorce are either unclear or non-existent, it can be quite difficult to determine what's fair.
  • Everyone has their own definition of what is fair, and fair doesn't always mean 50-50.
  • There is more than meets the eye on resolving parenting plans, custody, alimony and assets/liabilities and these matters are too difficult to try to resolve on your own.
  • The best way to reach a fair divorce settlement is to use mediation. Here's why.

When you first told your husband you wanted a divorce, you may have said things like, “I only want what’s fair for both of us and the kids” or “I’m not looking to turn this in to an all-out war.”

Wise words indeed...

But wanting a fair divorce and actually figuring out what is fair in a divorce settlement are two entirely different matters.

So what are the things you need to concern yourself with and how can you come to a settlement agreement you both find fair?

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation Popular

The Real Truth Behind Divorce Mediation Costs

By Equitable Mediation

  • The cost of divorce mediation is not determined solely by the hourly rate of the mediator.
  • The competency, skill level and experience of the mediator, services provided by the divorce mediator, and thoroughness of the mediator's process are other factors that contribute to the cost of divorce mediation.
  • The only way to ensure your divorce mediation will be as cost-effective as possible is to hire a mediator who is experienced and highly skilled, provides a comprehensive service, and has a thorough process.
  • Here's how each factor affects what your overall divorce mediation will cost.

True or false?

The average cost of divorce mediation is determined solely by the mediator’s hourly rate?

Survey says…

False!

It might be hard to believe, but the hourly rate of the mediator only has some (but not much) bearing on what your divorce mediation costs will ultimately be.

So if it’s not only the hourly rate of the mediator, what other factors should you be concerned about?

Topics: Divorce Mediation Popular

Divorce After 10 Years of Marriage? Why Mediation is Key!

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

  • There's a lot at stake if you are divorcing after 10 years of marriage, and there's very little guidance on how things should be divided and decided.
  • Involving lawyers in your negotiations will only make things worse and cost you more time and money.
  • Here's why things get complicated in a 10 year marriage divorce and what you can do to put the needs of your children first and divorce peacefully and fairly.

You've reached the milestone of being married 10 years. So you figured you already got past the hardest parts in a marriage.

Things like:

  • Your first year of marriage negotiating the "right way" to load the dishwasher and whether or not to put the toilet seat down;
  • The 7-year itch;
  • And raising your kids through the terrible 2's.

But regardless of any of those things, something still changed, and here you are getting a divorce after 10 years of marriage.

And after a decade together, there's so much at stake.

Because you both have a lot to lose, you'll need to choose your divorce method carefully.

So what can you do when after a 10 year marriage, divorce is inevitable? And you don't want your divorce proceedings to take forever, cost a fortune or destroy your family in the process?

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

Does Marriage Counseling Work?

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

There are many reasons that lead a couple to seek a marriage counselor. They could be experiencing a lot of prolonged conflict or other problems between them, one or both might have been unfaithful or there could just be silence between them.

But no matter the reason(s), when a couple does finally go to see a couples counselor, they’re often at a stage where it’s their very last hope.

Marriage counseling sessions can help a couple address the issues they’re facing now and also lay a foundation to help them better deal with future issues.

And while sometimes, one spouse already knows they want to divorce and they’re bringing the counselor on board to help soften the blow, most go to counseling because they truly want to try to work things out and save the marriage.

But does marriage counseling work? How long should a couple invest in marital counseling?

And what are some signs to indicate that their relationship is getting back on track? Or signs to indicate it might be time to throw in the towel and call it quits?

By the way, I know first-hand that marital counseling shouldn't only be considered successful if the marriage can be repaired. Because it can also be successful if it helps a couple recognize they’re not in a healthy relationship and then gives them the encouragement they need to focus on a respectful divorce using mediation.

I asked a panel of respected therapists how to know if marriage counseling is working. Here’s what they said…

Topics: Considering Divorce

My Wife Wants a Divorce. What Should I Do?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Sure, you knew things weren't perfect in your marriage. But it seemed like you got along pretty well.

Didn't argue much. And both spent a lot of happy times with the kids.

But something along the way changed for your wife.

Maybe it was a shock when you heard the news or maybe you saw it coming. But either way, you're saying to yourself, "I can't believe my wife wants a divorce. What should I do? Should I let my wife divorce me amicably?"

It's rare for both spouses to be on the exact same page about divorce at the exact same time. What's more common is wife wants divorce, husband doesn't. Even if the husband is fully aware the marriage has broken down.

That might not make you feel any better, but now that you know your wife wants a divorce, you need to know how best to proceed without losing your kids (and your shirt) in the process.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Support Divorce Mediation

Equitable Distribution: Who Gets What in a Divorce?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

You and your spouse worked hard throughout all the years of your marriage.

You bought a house, saved for retirement, maybe even treated yourself to a new car or truck.

But now that you’re divorcing, you have questions about what is equitable distribution, how to know what is marital property versus non-marital property, and just who gets what in a divorce - and how it's determined.

You want to make sure that all the money you worked so hard for doesn’t wind up getting wasted on legal fees.

And you don’t get the short end of the stick when it comes to the equitable division of marital property in your divorce.

Seeking an Out of State Divorce? Mediate!

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

If you’re looking to get an out of state divorce, you might think your only choice is to hire divorce attorneys for the process.

Even though you'd rather use divorce mediation instead.

If you're like many divorcing couples, you might think that in order to use mediation, you and your spouse need to be in the same state at the same time. So you can sit face-to-face and work out the terms of your settlement agreement in the mediator's office.

And because of that, out of state divorces using mediation are just not possible.

Or are they?

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

The Most Catastrophic Mistake to Avoid in a Stay at Home Moms Divorce

By Cheryl Dillon, Divorce Coach

Regardless of whether you're the one driving the decision or are on the receiving end of such shocking news, for stay at home moms divorce and the end of a marriage can be utterly terrifying.

The worries pour in and flood your mind filling you with anxiety. You lose sleep thinking about:

  • Will I be able to afford to stay in the house?
  • How will I pay off those credit cards?
  • How will I be able to put my kids through college?
  • How will I save for my retirement?
  • Will I receive enough child support and alimony (spousal support / maintenance)?
  • Will I have to get a job and join the work force? If so, how will I do it?
  • How will I support myself and my children after the divorce is finalized?

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

In a stay at home mom divorce, all of this boils down to fear. And money.

And it makes perfect sense given you don't currently have full-time employment and don't earn an income and you haven't had a career or been in the workforce since the kids were born.

And you may not even have visibility into the household finances.

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

Is Divorce in Illinois without a Lawyer Possible?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Now that you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may be wondering how to get a divorce in Illinois without a lawyer.

Maybe you're asking this question because you have a friend or family member who went through the divorce process in Illinois using lawyers. So you know how long it took and messy it was. And you want to avoid that happening to you.

Or perhaps you and your spouse get along reasonably well and you want to keep things civil for the sake of your kids. You don't need Illinois divorce lawyers stirring the pot and creating disagreement where there wasn't any before.

Or maybe you simply don’t want to waste money on a pricey divorce. Illinois lawyer retainers cost $3,500 to $10,000 per person and you've heard even a "straightforward" divorce process in Illinois using attorneys can cost $25,000 or more!

No matter what the reason, the good news is... Yes, you can get a divorce without a lawyer! And you don't even have to risk making costly mistakes the way you would with a do-it-yourself divorce.

What am I Entitled to in a Divorce?

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

"What am I entitled to in a divorce?" is a question that almost everyone going through a divorce asks.

And it’s not easy to answer.

That’s because each situation is as different as the marriage that’s dissolving.

Not only that, there’s usually a big difference between what's being proposed and what is fair – even when the numbers on paper look like a 50-50 split.

So how do you know if you’re getting what you're entitled to in a divorce? And how can you be sure you're not giving up something you should be getting in your divorce settlement?

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

Pros and Cons of Bird Nesting Divorce Plans

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

For many divorcing parents, keeping the children in the family home is top priority.

And with good reason.

For some, the marital residence may be the only home they've ever known. And depending on the age of the children, change may not be something they're excited about or you think they can handle.

As parents going through a divorce, you might feel that keeping your kids in the family home is in the child best interest because it will provide some stability during this time of intense transition. So you think setting up a nesting plan may be the way to go.

But before you proceed, keep in mind there are a number of additional issues you'll need to deal with when making this type of bird nesting divorce arrangement.

That's why it's so important to work with an experienced divorce mediator.

One who can not only help you determine if this type of plan is right for you, but also help you understand and come to agreement on all of the other issues directly related to birdnesting custody or nesting plans for divorce.

Topics: Divorce Mediation

Community Property and Divorce: Not Always 50-50

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

You and your spouse were partners.

And worked hard throughout all the years of your marriage in order to achieve your financial goals.

But now that you’re facing a divorce, you have questions about community property and exactly how the division of assets and liabilities works.

You’ve heard that for couples divorcing in a Community Property state, spouses split everything 50-50, but you don't know how to decipher community property vs separate property, how to untangle assets or debts that have been co-mingled during the course of your marriage and whether or not you and your spouse actually get a say in how to divide your property and debts in a fair and equitable way.

You also want to make sure that all the income you worked so hard to earn doesn’t wind up getting wasted on divorce attorneys and outrageous legal fees.

Mediation vs. Do it Yourself Divorce

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

It's Saturday morning. You're standing at the kitchen sink.

And you hear it mocking you.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

That pipe under the sink has been leaking for weeks. And the bucket just about needs emptying again.

Between the kids' activities, homework, your travel schedule and everything else going on in your life, you just haven't had time to fix the darn thing.

But today is going to be the day...

Your wife keeps telling you to just hire someone. But you insist you're going to fix it yourself. It's a leaky pipe. How hard could it be?

Four hours and one flooded kitchen later, you finally give up.

The water from the now exploded pipe got under the fridge, shorting out the cooling coil. And while you were under there, you somehow managed to break the garbage disposal by hitting it with your wrench.

That leaky pipe which looked oh-so-simple to fix is now going to cost you a lot more than you had originally planned...

Topics: Planning for Divorce Divorce Mediation

How to Get a Divorce in California without a Lawyer

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

If you and your husband or wife just made the decision to split up and end your marriage, you may be wondering how to get a divorce in California without a lawyer.

There could be many reasons you’d want to avoid attorneys in your divorce:

  • You and your spouse want to keep things civil for the sake of your children: You don't want California family law attorneys putting your kids in the middle of your proceedings and using them as poker chips. Because even though your marriage is ending, you don’t want to destroy your kids and want to remain good co-parents moving forward.
  • You don’t want to lose years of your life trapped in a never-ending court battle: You have friends or family whose California divorce process took 2-3 years to complete and they never got that time back or recovered emotionally. Your time is precious and you want to heal and move forward as quickly as possible.
  • You don’t want to waste your financial resources on expensive legal fees: You’ve done some research and learned that the cost of retainers for California divorce lawyers average $5,000 to $10,000 per person. And you've heard that a divorce in California using attorneys can cost $25,000 or more! You’d rather spend your hard earned money on your kids and your future.

No matter what the reason, the answer is YES - you CAN get a divorce without a lawyer!

And not only that, but you don’t have to risk making expensive mistakes like you would with a do-it-yourself divorce method.

Considering Lump Sum Alimony? Avoid These 5 Mistakes.

By Joe Dillon, Divorce Mediator

Ask anyone who's been ordered to pay spousal support how they feel about having to write a check to their former spouse every week or month.

You’ll probably be met with a few choice words...

The fact is - most people want to just move on after a divorce, sever ties and go their separate ways.

Unfortunately, when there are alimony payments involved, it can feel for the payor as if this separation never truly happened, which can ultimately lead to frustration and bitterness on the part of the payer.

That’s why some divorcing spouses choose an alternative to the weekly “check in the mail” alimony approach.

A concept known as a lump sum alimony buyout.

Topics: Divorce Mediation