Marriage alters property rights between the marital partners. Premarital Agreements are mature goals for successive partners, yet somewhat fatalistic to the ideology of true love in a young couple. Relationships between a man and a woman may be blessed to result in offspring, who may witness curses later in the form of paternity law suits, child custody, child visitation and child support disagreements. Children also bring us the legal structure of adoption and guardianship.
California decrees the word is “dissolution” as if that would somehow reduce the agony of the psychic aftermath. While some lawyers inflame the circumstances, some of my best experiences have been realized in facilitating reconciliations. Couples therapy, which is more appropriately considered “individual” therapy, is crucial to reconciliation.
I love mediation. But I hate divorce mediation. There’s one exception: a mediator mediating two legal advisors, who can privately inform their individual clients of their rights. A mediator is a neutral, and can often facilitate an agreed-upon resolution between knowledgeable parties on opposite sides of an identified issue of contention, like business partners, or a landlord who wants to keep the lease and a tenant who wants to stay arguing over a repair cost. How does that deal with personal hurt, fear, need, and suffering? I understand the goal: don’t let the lawyers control. So why not devise a fair proposal before protracted litigation; an agreement can be founded on carefully-thought-out, calm consideration, even if there’s a bitter pill. Yet, sometimes emotions run too high, and all-out “war’ is the only way through it.
Divorce or Legal Separation?
There are seven issues of a divorce. Three involve minor children: child custody, child visitation, and child support. Another three pose issues for all couples: spousal support, division of community property, an attorney fees. That’s six issues, the same six, for legal separation. The seventh of a divorce is a termination of a spouse’s status as a married person. It just happens; there’s no battle over that. There should be a really good reason for a legal separation goal, since most often, the six potential battles exhaust any necessity for a truce. I like to say, if you get through the six, and the makings of a relationship are still there, spend some time rediscovering yourself, then date, and remarry, if you wish.