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Rethinking Divorce as a Team Effort

September 19, 2016

There are so many aspects to divorce that it’s difficult to know where to start. Hiring a mediator or attorney is difficult enough without making the more mundane decisions about the car, the furniture, and living arrangements.

Often a divorce involves a person splitting off from a bigger family unit, with sudden responsibility for property, finances or kids. When we think of divorce services, we think of agreements or court decisions, but we don’t often consider the practical and emotional legwork involved in sticking to those agreements or making changes happen. Another thing to consider is the timing and coordination of these efforts, and how much this matters when considering tax implications, school schedules, college applications, emotional and physical health, not to mention routine DIY. That’s why it may be better to think of the divorce process as a team effort involving attorneys and/or mediators, therapists, and people to help with practical maintenance, from DIY to shopping. Beyond your attorney or mediator, the following are some players you might consider on your divorce team:

• Therapist – It’s important to make sure you have an outlet for your feelings besides your friends, relatives, or people who may be too close to the divorce.

• Tax Advisor/Financial Advisor – A tax or financial advisor will look out for your interests and also help to educate you if you haven’t been responsible for your finances previously.

• Design Consultant – A design consultant, architect or builder may be your friend when you’re considering how to make the best start in a new space, or how to alter an existing space.

• Handyman/Mechanic, Mr/MS Fixit – Someone to advise on the house, car and garden, and to take care of small jobs may be ideal when your mind is occupied with your divorce, or when your spouse was the one responsible for these tasks.

At Boileau Conflict Solutions, we start with a team approach. A lead mediator, an assisting mediator, sometimes a consulting mediator, often a psychologist and in some cases an outside attorney are the building blocks of our team. We can also connect you with outside services to help you build your new life after divorce. We work with design partners 3 Riverz Creative, to help you with decisions in moving into and designing a new space. If your marriage is in trouble and you don’t want to face into the heartache of divorce, we can also provide marital mediation sessions. Please contact us today to see how we can help.

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A Tale of Two Lives: Divorced and Living Together in the Bay Area

September 8, 2016

Most of us are familiar with the classic closing scenes from a divorce: boxes packed, car backing slowly out of the driveway, children sad but learning to adjust to two homes and a new life.

If you’re living and renting in the Bay Area you may never even get to experience these divorce scenes. High rents in places like San Jose mean that couples who would rather live apart are compelled to share the same space, at least until a satisfactory arrangement has been found. If there’s some good news, it’s that while living together you can now work out all other aspects of your separation. In a significant move for couples renting in the Bay area, California law now allows you to officially separate while living under the same roof.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

A previous decision had established a one size fits all rule that meant the date of separation had to be correlated with the date of moving out. This was a rule that had serious consequences when it came to issues such as determining spousal support (marriage over ten years is considered longterm marriage). Thankfully “Davis” has been overturned and the changes will take effect from January 2017. Instead of just living arrangements, judges will be able to consider other factors in a separation, like establishing separate bank accounts and taking separate vacations.

With high rents and cost of living, it’s common in the Bay Area for divorced couples to stay living together, “nesting” with their kids, or in the same apartment as roommates. This may be the most practical arrangement financially, but it’s not easy. Establishing boundaries is a necessity, both for emotional well-being, and to establish the grounds for separation. Working with a mediator to set up practical and emotional boundaries may be crucial for couples considering this arrangement. Everything from doing separate laundry to learning to treat your spouse as a roommate or business partner may have to be finely tuned. If these arrangements aren’t agreed on by both parties, misunderstandings and resentments can add tension to the situation.

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we understand the unique concerns of divorcing couples living in the Bay Area. Our mediation solutions specifically focus on how the phenomenology of the living environment affects our everyday interactions. We work with a design firm, 3 Riverz Creative, that supports divorcing couples in redesigning their living spaces after divorce. Please contact us today to see how we can help.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

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Why Gray Divorce Is Different

August 29, 2016

Overall, the divorce rate in the US might be lowering slightly, but there is one big exception – people over fifty. What’s known as “gray divorce” has doubled since 1990.

Gray divorce is something that perhaps inevitably occurs as longevity increases and the prospect of spending the rest of your life in an unhappy marriage becomes less appealing. Another factor in grey divorces is that a significant portion of them involve first marriages. When baby boomers were young adults, the trend was to marry earlier, so many of these divorces involve splitting lives that have been entwined for 20, 30 and even 40 years.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

Because gray divorces often happen in the run up to retirement or shortly after, a big concern is how to split finances equitably, but also responsibly, in a way that provides for the welfare of the divorcing parties in the future. The cost of divorce alone can make a significant dent in the finances of couples who have been saving for old age. The complexity of gray divorce, sensitive issues involved, the need to opt for a less costly option, and the need to make responsible agreements providing for both parties may make mediation a much more sensible option than depleting shared assets through costly litigation.

Those who are considering gray divorce should be aware that in many ways gray divorce is a different process. For example, the longer a marriage goes on, the more spousal support becomes a factor. Another branch of complexity is financial commitments from a previous marriage. Long term funds for security like pensions, annuities and social security will need to be considered in the reckoning of how to divide assets. Other issues may include second and third homes. Especially in gray divorce these family homes or holiday homes beloved by children and grandchildren for years may hold far more than financial value.

Timing and good planning is important in gray divorce when there are penalties for withdrawing early in the case of pensions, and when divorce may have tax implications. The good news is that AARP research has shown that after gray divorce, most people develop a positive outlook to life and move on in healthy ways.

We Can Help

If you’re considering divorce later in life, Boileau Conflict Solutions can help you work together to come to an optimum arrangement that suits your financial and personal needs. We specialize in helping people in financially and emotionally complex situations find a way through. We understand the practical implications of divorce and the difficulty of starting a new life. We aim to provide tailored solutions, and can even work with our design partners 3 Riverz Creative to manage the process of moving into and decorating an apartment. Please contact us today to discuss how we can help.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

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Redesigning Your Space, Redesigning Your Life

August 15, 2016

After a 3 year marriage, interior designer Kerra found herself living alone for the first time in her life. In the condo she had shared with her husband she felt surrounded by too many memories and decided to make radical changes, surprising even herself by selling almost every piece of furniture she owned. She went about crafting an entirely new and feminine space, making design decisions she hadn’t been able to make when she was living with other people.

As an interior designer, Kerra was able to do what many divorcing partners dream of but don’t have the resources to tackle.

Her story is inspirational (you can read more about her design overhaul here: http://www.today.com/home/see-how-woman-reinvented-her-home-her-life-after-divorce-t84396), but for many who are facing the difficult decision of splitting their entire lives – friends, family, care of children, money, house and everyday possessions – it is a dream that won’t be realized. Often during divorce, at least one spouse needs to buy a new residence and sometimes in a hurry. Buying a new place amid the stress of divorce, a full-time job, children and bills is difficult as it is, so decorating and design takes second place.

This is unfortunate, because our living spaces determine the daily choices that we make. Whether we have a workspace at home (if we work from home for example) can make such a difference to our relationships and the flow of our daily lives. After divorce, an opportunity to redesign a space in a way that is no longer a compromise with your spouse can be the first step to rebuilding a better life.

A Solution

Fortunately, 3 Riverz Creative is there to assist with this transition. A design firm that works in conjunction with Santa Clara Mediator and Boileau Conflict Solutions, one whole department is dedicated to helping people make the best design decisions possible during a divorce transition. The approach is scientific and mathematical, based on phenomenology and psychoanalysis and a deep understanding of how our spaces effect our daily wellbeing.

The service is completely tailored to your budget and designed to help you make the best decisions, including light, paints, furniture, rugs, woods and metals and patio, all quickly and with maximum efficiency.

3 Riverz Creative can coordinate with you through tele-communication such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime. The professionals on the team are highly qualified and are at work while you work, sifting through the best design solutions for you, and happy to do all the spadework necessary to have your new house or condo in order for you.
Kerra’s advice to others who are going through a divorce: “Everything can be reversed, in our homes, in our lives. Don’t be afraid.”
Please contact our partners 3 Riverz Creative at 3riverzcreative@gmail.com to see how we can craft a design solution for your new life.

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Good Parenting Plans Take the Sting out of International Child Relocation

August 9, 2016

In international child relocation, sudden changes can make all the difference. If one parent has to suddenly relocate with their company, or follow better opportunities abroad, an international parenting plan may be necessary.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

Recently, Brexit exposed many companies and individuals to potential fallout. California has one of the largest alien populations in the US, from out of state and abroad, and according to the LA Times, quoting the LAEDC, “there are about about 1,145 British-owned stores, offices and other establishments in Southern California that employ nearly 55,000 workers, the second-largest source of foreign-owned establishments in the region behind Japan.”
Whether a parent has to move a few hundred miles away, or across the Atlantic, child relocation can be fraught with complications, making respectful and healthy agreements an asset to a child’s future. The two parents involved in this situation are the “moving” and “non-moving” parent. It’s not uncommon for a child to be uprooted very suddenly in California. The law dictates that when the moving parent already has full custody of the child, the child can be relocated for any reason. In contrast, when a joint custody arrangement has been agreed upon and the divorce decree finalized, the courts will check off certain considerations, some of the main ones being that the “international relo” is in the child’s best interests and that there is a reason for it, ie a job, marriage, and, that the non-moving parent’s relationship with the child will not be impaired by the move. The latter consideration needs to be stressed, as not only must the change not be detrimental to the child’s wellbeing, the child’s relationship with the non-moving parent must be maintained and even strengthened.

This could mean that regular skype meetings and travel could be the responsibility of the moving parent so as to maintain the child’s relationship with the distant, non-moving parent. Who pays for travel and how the parenting schedule is worked out (especially when time-zones are involved) introduces complexity to the issue. Thus good parenting plans are the cornerstones of healthy relationships between children and parents going forward. California recognizes that people are increasingly mobile, but the law surrounding international child location is complex and evolving. In developing a robust international parenting plan, it’s important to make time to carefully review and understand the law in relation to your case.

How We Can Help

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we have successfully mediated international parenting plans when one parent wants to go abroad. Sometimes a parent wants to return home or seek other opportunities abroad directly after divorce. We have also handled situations where international relocation is petitioned years after divorce. As well as international parenting plans, we can also assist with interstate parenting plans. Whatever your situation, we understand the demands and complexities of parenting arrangements, and specialize in helping both parents find their optimum agreement for themselves and their child.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

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Radio Conversations Now Available as Mediation and Psychoanalysis Book

August 5, 2016

Dr. Kevin Boileau follows up his previous two books on mediation, The Myth of Mediation Neutrality: The Psychoanalytic, Phenomenological, and Linguistic-Structural Approach to Mediation and A Game Theory Approach to Mediation: Overcoming the Prisoner’s Dilemma with a new compilation of weekly radio shows, Radio Conversations Concerning Mediation and Psychoanalysis, co-edited and co-authored by radio co-participant Nazarita Goldhammer. This is an accessible introduction to an ontological alternative to the humanist self of the Western Enlightenment. For psychologists, philosophers, writers and thinkers of all stripes who are interested in the historical and theoretical understanding of the self, Volume 3 in the mediation series consists of conversations on mediation and psychoanalysis. The weekly radio show covers these topics in a casual straightforward style. Episodes are available to listen to at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/epis-radio. Please visit Amazon.com to read more about the mediation series and other books by Dr. Kevin Boileau.

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Child Support and Income Considerations for Business Executives

July 18, 2016

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.

How do you know what parts of your living are defined as income for child support? The first thing that needs to be understood is that California distinguishes between income based on need, such as public assistance programs or child support payments and earned or other income. But it gets more complex: some appellate courts have also ruled that spousal support payments between the same parents must also be excluded, and there are other exceptions.

As a rule of thumb, the income of a business owner or executive going through a divorce is the gross revenues of the business minus business expenses. These calculations can often be complicated and the advice of divorce professionals who are adept in the financial aspects of divorce can be necessary when making an assessment.

There are many sources that are considered income for child support purposes in California, including rent, salaries and wages, commissions, bonuses dividends and pensions. Disability benefits (such that is designed to replace income) are also considered.

Business owners and executives in particular will want to know what their income constitutes, as this might not be immediately clear for people involved in new ventures, or people receiving benefits or stock options through their work.

Another thing to be aware of is benefits as income, through employment or self-employment, which reduce living expenses. This might include rent-free housing, meal allowances and benefits that would normally have to be paid for. It is up to the courts to decide to include these, at their discretion.

Stock that is received during the sale of the business or that cannot be liquidated is not considered income for child support purposes. Sometimes however the courts have looked at stock’s marketability, so it’s advisable be aware of individual cases, and go by guidelines rather than hard and fast rules. In some cases, unexercised stock options have been considered income. Future, speculative income can’t be used to calculate income for child support purposes.

In short, California works out income for child support purposes based on certain principles, but there are many exceptions. As a business owner or executive working in an evolving business, income calculations for child support may be complex. Once these have been worked out with an attorney, you will have a better view of how to proceed when coming to the optimum divorce agreement for you and your divorcing spouse.

How We Can Help

At Boileau Conflict Solutions we specialize in providing expert financial analysis in divorce and business mediations. Currently we are California’s only mediation firm offering full in-house business appraisals. We work with your CPA to assist you in getting a handle on your mutual assets and coming to the best agreement for both of you. Please contact us today to see how we can help.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced family law professional.