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CA family lawyerThe end of a marriage can be a difficult, stressful time, and resolving the legal issues that must be addressed during divorce can be a complicated undertaking. In many cases, couples choose to use mediation to reach an agreement on these issues, allowing them to avoid the financial and emotional costs of fighting their battles in court. However, the mediation process is often misunderstood, and people are not always aware of the pros and cons of divorce mediation. Here are some common myths about mediation:

  • A mediator will decide in one spouse’s favor - During mediation, couples will work together with the mediator, who serves as a neutral third party, helping them reach an agreement. The mediator cannot make any decisions; instead, they will help spouses understand the legal issues that must be addressed and work to reach mutually agreeable compromises.
  • Couples cannot consult with their attorney or other experts during mediation - During mediation, each spouse can speak to their own attorney, who can help them understand their rights and provide legal advice about the decisions they make. Spouses can also work together or separately with outside experts such as accountants or appraisers to ensure that they fully understand issues related to their finances and the property they own.
  • All outstanding issues must be resolved during mediation - Spouses may be able to address and agree on many of the issues involved in their divorce, such as the division of property, child custody, or spousal support, but there may be situations in which an agreement cannot be reached in some issues. In these cases, spouses can incorporate the decisions they have made into their divorce settlement while asking the court to make a decision on any outstanding issues.
  • Mediation is always preferable to litigation - While mediation can be beneficial for many couples, it will usually only be helpful if spouses are willing to work together and compromise with each other. If one or both spouses refuse to budge on certain issues, they may derail the mediation process, reducing or eliminating the benefits that mediation can provide.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Mediation Attorney

If you are considering divorce, the Law Offices of Benita Ventresca can help you understand whether mediation is the best solution for you, and we can work with you and your spouse to address your legal issues and reach a mutually beneficial agreement. If you are unable to resolve your divorce issues through mediation, we can provide you with dedicated representation throughout the divorce process, ensuring that your rights and best interests are protected. Contact a Los Gatos, CA divorce lawyer today at 408-395-8822 to schedule a free consultation.

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CA custody attorneyEnding a marriage through divorce is often best for all family members, including parents and children, since it can eliminate conflict and tension in a home where a couple’s relationship has broken down. However, parents and children often struggle to adjust to their new reality following divorce, and continuing conflict between parents can make things difficult for everyone. Since both parents want what is best for their children, they should try to work together even after they are no longer married, cooperating to raise their children. Here are some tips for avoiding common mistakes that parents make during and after divorce:

Maintain consistency - It is best for children to have a consistent routine and expectations at both parents’ homes. Following regular schedules for meals, baths, chores, and bedtimes can help them avoid uncertainty. Parents should also work together to ensure that they follow similar rules and disciplinary procedures at both houses.

Avoid competition between parents - Parents should not spoil or overindulge their children in an attempt to influence their children’s preferences between parents. It is also important to avoid speaking negatively about the other parent, criticizing their disciplinary choices, or overriding their rules.

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CA divorce attorneyWhen parents decide to end their marriage, they will likely put a great deal of thought into how their minor children will be affected. In addition to determining how the issues of child custody and visitation will be resolved during divorce, parents often work together to provide their children with emotional support and reassurance, helping them adjust to their new reality of splitting time between two separate households.

Parents of adult children who no longer live at home may not have as many legal issues to resolve during divorce, but they should still be aware of the impact that the end of their marriage will have on the members of their family. Adult children of divorce are often affected in the following ways:

  • Emotional reactions - Parents may believe that children who have established themselves as adults will be less affected by their divorce, but it is important to understand that they will still be likely to feel a great deal of anger and sadness, and they may need some time to adjust to their parents’ new situation.
  • Commitment issues - Children whose parents have divorced are often hesitant to enter new relationships, or they may remain in a bad relationship because they are afraid to repeat their parents’ mistakes.
  • Taking sides - Parents of minor children often work to keep kids from being involved in conflict, but parents of adult children may feel they can be more open about the reasons their marriage failed. This can cause children to feel like they need to choose one parent over the other, which can damage their relationship with both parents.
  • Acting as a confidant - Parents may feel that they can confide in their adult children and lean on them for support. However, a lack of clear boundaries can result in a great deal of stress and anxiety for children.
  • Concerns about the future - The instability that results from divorce will likely cause children to worry about their parents’ ability to financially support themselves, who will care for them as they get older, and how inheritance issues will be handled.

Contact a Los Gatos Divorce Lawyer

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California family lawyerThe Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was passed by the States Congress last December, resulting in the most major federal tax reform of the last 30 years. This law affects nearly everyone in the U.S., and discussion of some of its changes, such as a lowered corporate tax rate and an increased standard deduction, have filled the news as financial experts examine its impact. However, one lesser-known aspect of the law is important for divorcing couples to understand, since it will affect how spousal support (which is traditionally called alimony) will be taxed.

How Alimony Is Taxed

Previously, when a spouse who earned a larger income paid spousal support to their former partner, they would be able to deduct this amount from their taxable income, and the payments would be considered taxable income for the spouse receiving them. However, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act changes this, so that alimony will now be treated like child support. For divorces finalized after December 31, 2018, spousal support will not be tax-deductible for the payor or taxable for the payee.

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Posted on in Mediation

California divorce lawyerDivorce is rarely an easy decision, but when couples take steps to end their marriage, they are likely ready to leave a relationship that is not working and move on to the next stage of their lives. However, the process of divorce can be incredibly complex, and people are often unprepared for the costs involved in the legal process of dissolving their marriage. However, if couples are willing to work together to reach a resolution, they may be able to use mediation, which can allow them to complete the process more quickly, efficiently, and effectively. Divorce mediation provides the following benefits:

  1. Cost savings - Litigating a divorce in court can be incredibly costly. Each spouse will typically need to hire an attorney, and they will be required to pay for the time their lawyer spends preparing documents, communicating with the other spouse’s lawyer, discussing the case with them, and attending court. When using a mediator, however, the couple will typically split the fees for mediation sessions or any other services the mediator provides (such as preparing documents), and mediation can result in savings of 40-60% over the costs a divorce completed through litigation.

  2. Time savings - A litigated divorce can be a lengthy process, requiring multiple court dates that depend on the availability of the spouses, their attorneys, and the judge. In contrast, mediation allows a couple to resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce (including the division of property and decisions regarding child custody and visitation schedules) in a much faster and more efficient manner.

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