How to Prepare for a Peaceful Divorce

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how to prepare for divorce and keep it peaceful. Here are my best tips:

The first tip I would offer would be to do some real soul searching to understand why the marriage is ending.
It’s easy to put all the blame on your spouse, but that’s not fair to either of you. When you assign all the blame to the other person, you are making yourself a victim. Having a victim mentality gives you a sense of powerlessness.
To have a peaceful divorce, both people need to feel like they are on even ground.

Also important is to keep the lines of communication open.
Having an open, rational dialogue with your spouse will go a long way to maintaining the peace. I remember when I was growing up, my mother always told me, “It’s not necessarily what you say, it’s how you say it.” Often we don’t realize how people are affected by the things we say, so think before speaking.
Using the services of a good mediator can help keep the lines of communication open.
Sometimes a couple that had communication problems during the marriage will learn from the mediator how to have an open and honest exchange of information, while expressing their needs and expectations in a positive way.

Finally, try to avoid “knee jerk” reactions.
Let’s face it, divorce is stressful. When we’re under stress we don’t always think before we act – add to that your spouse pushing your buttons and it’s easy to see why that happens. In my personal experience, most of my knee jerk reactions didn’t go so well for me.
When confronted with an issue, stop for a minute, take a deep breath and think about the best way to handle the situation. It’s ok to say, “Let me get back to you on that” or “Can we talk about that later?” so you have time to think the situation through.
Using these three tips will help make what could be a hostile situation much more amicable.

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Your real friends will be there for you

Sometimes when going through a divorce people will isolate themselves. Try not to do that. You will know who your true friends are and they will be there for you.

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Multitasking After Divorce

Sometimes during and after a divorce, people find themselves facing a task that the other spouse always handled. For example, the person who never paid the bills has to open new credit cards or refinance the house. Or the person who was not the primary care-giver needs to comfort a sick or unhappy child. With the marriage ending, both spouses have to do all the family jobs from financial management to childcare, and it can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning.

In divorce mediation, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, we advise our clients not to be afraid to ask for help –from family members, friends or outside professionals. As we work on the parenting and financial agreement for moving forward, many people worry about how they will be able to manage. After all, in most relationships, the responsibilities are shared to some extent. One person does the cleaning, while the other cooks. One person does the driving, while the other pays the bills. One person is the main financial earner, while the other is the primary child care provider. When you go from two people to one, each person has a lot more responsibility, and you should not expect that it will be easy to do it alone.

We recommend that divorcing couples seek assistance from outside sources or from their network of family and friends. For example, if you haven’t done any investing before, it may be worthwhile to consult a financial advisor. And you may need to rely on a babysitter to pick up some of the childcare duties. Asking for help is not a sign of defeat. Rather, it is often a necessary step towards getting you back on your feet and establishing a new routine.

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Dividing the Holidays

With Thanksgiving upon us, divorced or divorcing families are now thinking about how they are going to spend and share the holidays this year. Which house? Who gets the kids? Who buys which gifts?

At Westfield Mediation, LLC, our divorce mediation clients often ask us – – what is the best way to deal with Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve and Day? There are several good options, and the answer really depends on your specific family traditions, and how close – geographically and emotionally – each parent is to his⁄her extended family. In divorce mediation, we craft a personalized plan for sharing or alternating holidays that works for your particular family.

Still, it is important to keep in mind that divorce generally changes the way families spend the holidays. As a result, there will likely be times when your children are with the other parent, and not with you. The goal in divorce mediation is to address the scheduling issues up–front to minimize conflict and stress, so that everyone knows what to expect, and the holidays remain enjoyable and fun for all.

Another issue that often arises during Christmas and Hanukkah is gift-giving. To the extent possible, we suggest that…

Continue reading this excellent article recently posted on our site submitted by Westfield Mediation, LLC a New Jersey Divorce Mediation firm in Westfield, NJ.

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Divorce Over 50 Mediation and Retirement

The rate of divorce among couples over the age of 50 has increased dramatically in the past 30 years, and the trend is expected to continue.  For those over 50 getting a divorce retirement planning is in the forefront of the issues to be dealt with.   Those mediating their divorce need to be sure to use a divorce mediator who possesses the knowledge to draft an agreement that protects both parties assets in retirement.  Click here to read an article on Divorce Mediation and Retirement by Westfield Mediation.

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What if You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

making divorce affordableWe’ve all heard the horror stories of how expensive divorce can be.   Believe it or not getting a divorce doesn’t have to break the bank.   Proper planning, keeping an open mind, forgetting revenge and most importantly hiring the right professionals for your particular situation will all help keep the costs down.

Julia Jones, family law attorney at Livesay & Myers, P.C.  has some great suggestions  for getting divorced when you think you can’t afford to.   In her recently posted article on she says many people want to be smart about moving forward with divorce but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on the litigation process.   She suggest that if you find yourself in that situation, the following are less expensive options and ways to mitigate the litigation costs in your divorce while still employing an attorney:

  1. Reach a Settlement
  2. Mediate or have a Four-Way Settlement Conference
  3. Prepare and Simplify
  4. Seek Pendente Lite Relief

To see the full text of the article visit What to Do When You Can’t Afford Your Divorce

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50/50 Parenting Plans

A lot of people come to divorce mediation thinking that they want a 50/50 parenting plan. It sounds like a great idea – fair, even, and good for the children. And it is all these things. However, it is also hard to make it work unless both parents are both flexible and committed to the plan.

Under a 50/50 parenting plan, the children spend half of their time with each parent. That means that the parents will have to live near each other and near to the children’s schools. We often recommend that parents split the week – for example, one parent gets Monday and Tuesday, while the other gets Wednesday and Thursday; and then they have alternating weekends. This way the kids know which house they will be at each day; and neither parent goes too long without seeing their children. This consistency is good for children who generally thrive with routine. It is also good for the parents – they know which days they can work late or socialize after work…. Continue reading this excellent article recently posted on our site submitted by Westfield Mediation, LLC a New Jersey Divorce Mediation firm in Westfield, NJ.

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Can you afford to get divorced?

Can You Afford to Get Divorced?
Westfield Mediation, LLC
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There are really two parts to the question — “Can you afford to get divorced?” One, can you afford to go through the process of separating from your spouse and two, can you afford to live on your own.

The process of getting divorced can be expensive. One way to minimize the costs is to go through divorce mediation. In mediation, instead of each spouse hiring a lawyer, they use one mediator to help them come to an agreement on issues of parenting, child support, alimony and distribution of assets and debts. The process saves time and money and allows for creative solutions. In addition, while lawyers may ask for a large retainer up-front, mediation is often “pay-as- you-go”, allowing you more financial flexibility. By using one less expensive mediator instead of two high priced lawyers, divorce mediation offers a cost-effective path.

Secondly, can you afford to – Continue reading

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When it rains it pours

We’ve all heard the saying “when it rains, it pours” and when you’re going through a divorce that’s often the way it feels. Personally, when I was going through my divorce it seemed like there were times when it was just one thing after another. I had to keep reminding myself that if I wanted to see the beautiful rainbow I had to endure the rain. After the storm the sun would come back out and just like magic there would be a rainbow. Hard as it may be, try to look at things in a positive light during this trying time in your life.

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There can be a silver lining in divorce

Life changing experiences such as divorce often gives the opportunity for a fresh start. Instead of getting caught up in bitterness or blame it can be a time of introspection, a learning experience. The fact of the matter is that no one is perfect. Both parties to divorce need to recognize their own shortcomings and mistakes and take responsibility for them. Once that is done it is easier to move on with the confidence that the same mistakes won’t be made again.

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