by Diana L. Martinez Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC
As a family law lawyer, I really look forward to my time on duty to volunteer at Riverside County Superior Court for VSC (Voluntary Settlement Conference) day. It is offered two Fridays per month and is THE most successful mediation program in the nation with an over 90 percent success rate!
Why? Because, in order to be a mediator on this panel, you must have the highest training and qualifications as both a family law lawyer and as a mediator. Not only do we donate our time, we must be in practice at least 10 years and have hundreds of hours of mediation training and practice under our belts. Other family law mediation programs that either do not have a structured program with high mediator qualifications, or that pay retired judges to do this work, enjoy a success rate below 60 percent.
Judges have an incredibly difficult job. It takes very specific skill sets to be a good judge. But being a talented judge does not, in and of itself, make you a good mediator.
Note: To avoid the clumsiness of using “child/children,” “children” is intentionally used throughout this article
It is clear you care about doing the best you can for your children through the separation and divorce process, because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths. You and your children will get through this difficult time.
Consider the following tips to help you prepare to talk with your minor children.
Agree on a time when you and your spouse can talk with your children together. Siblings need the support system they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they will have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them; for instance, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
One of the most difficult steps in the divorce process is talking about your decision with your adult children. It may feel like admitting a failure, or letting them down.
Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members and should be treated as such, even when your children are no longer “kids.” Children who are adults when their parents divorced consistently report years later the news of their parents’ divorce “rocked the very foundation” of their world.
You are making a good start and doing the best you can. You are reading this blog post. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is perfect. Breathe deeply; you and your children can get through this difficult time together. These tips will help guide you through this process.
Schedule a time when you can speak with your children together and preferably in person. Siblings benefit from the support system they can provide each other. When you are scheduling the time to talk, tell them you have something important to discuss with them. Assure them no one is sick or dying. If they ask you what you want to talk about, tell them
Although divorce rates in the United States have seen a decrease in the last decade, divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010, one out of every 20 people in the U.S. who divorced was over the age of 65! Now, with the retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation (persons born between 1946 and 1967), the numbers of divorcing seniors is expected to escalate. This phenomenon is often referred to as “gray divorce.”
Some reasons for this increase in gray divorce include the following:
There’s no longer a social stigma for seniors divorcing.
Seniors are living longer and are generally healthier.
Our culture promotes happiness.
A few years ago, a Chicago area billboard advertised divorce with a message that life was too short to be miserable.
Are you a senior and contemplating divorce? Have you helped a parent, colleague or friend who was in their 50s, 60s, or older get through their divorce? Does it make sense financially for a senior married couple to divorce?