Who qualifies for spousal maintenance/alimony?

Who qualifies for spousal maintenance/alimony?

By: PK Jordan

Divorce is on the horizon.  You have many concerns running through your mind.  You were provided for over the years, but now you’re facing new changes in your life.  Over the years, you have been a stay-at-home Mom or have very little job experience.    Nobody ever plans for divorce.  The reality is how are you going to live on your own and pay your bills???   Mediation can help you explore those options.  Below are some areas that you may qualify for spousal maintenance/alimony:

Is your education obsolete?

  • Have you been out of the workforce for a substantial amount of time?
  • Was your job a stay-at-home mom for a long period of time?
  • Do you have a chronic health condition that limits you for working outside the home?
  • Do you have a special needs child that needs 24-hour care?
  • Medical insurance is too expensive to get on your own due to medical needs?
  • Where you married for a long time?
  • Did you participate in building a business with your spouse?

Keep in mind every state has its own criteria on who qualifies for spousal maintenance/alimony.  The items of qualifications need to be verified with the State’s Law.  The areas of possible qualifications are only provided for informational purposes.  This article is not invented as legal advice or determination.   Each case is unique and needs may vary from family to family.

East Valley Mediator can help you in figuring out your spousal maintenance need.  We would be glad to assist you in this matter. Call today for a Free Consult.

We assist families and business owners through Video Conferencing for mediation services.  (Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

Seeking reimbursement on outstanding bills from your spouse

Seeking Reimbursement on Outstanding Bills from Spouse

By PK Jordan

You are recovering from the Christmas season.  The kids are starting sports and they have outgrown their soccer shoes or their basketball shoes.  You say to yourself “I just bought those a few months ago.”  It is easier to share the burden when there are two incomes,  but you don’t want to ask for assistance from the other parent and deal with the hassle that can come with it.

Reimbursements

Fast forward to a failed reimbursement issue(s) with your spouse or soon to be ex-spouse.  This is a common problem in many families.  I have some solutions in preventing this from happening.  Let me provide some explanation on why these issues occur.

  1. Parent makes the decision without consulting the other parent.
  2. Parent who is expecting reimbursement thinks they are entitled to continue their life style as it was during marriage.
  3. Some parents have not made the distinction that there are no longer two combined incomes.
  4. Parent fails to explain before the expense was incurred.
  5. Parent fails to put the agreement in writing for the approved expenses between parents.

Solution to Reimbursement:

  1. Before incurring the expense, email the other parent to give them an opportunity to review and assess.
  2. Give the other parent specifics: Ex. Sports.  Time, Location, Frequency, duration of season, cost.
  3. Let the other parent know how you can share in taking the child(ren) to sport practices, doctor appointments, etc.
  4. Don’t have an expectation that they have to help all the time with transportation.  ASK them to help you.  Don’t assume they will say “no.”
  5. Medical appointments do your best to give the other parent 48 hours or more notice on regular appointments.  Ex. Child is sick. Let the other parent know as soon as possible in an email and maybe call.  Parents should not withhold care when a child is sick.

Why the other parent objects to making payment:

  1. Parent is not communicating with them and there is a heavy expectation of payment without asking first.
  2. Other parent wants to be consulted, included and not looked at as an ATM.
  3. Other parent wants to be respected.  HUGE one.
  4. Give every opportunity to the other parent to be included on the decision making when it comes to their child.  Do not make any unilateral decision.  (Ask me about this one.)
  5. Be reasonable on expenses if you are asking for reimbursement.  Provide the other parent with some options.  Ex. Shoe prices. List 2-3 shoe stores.  This lets the parent know that you are being mindful about the expense.

Lack of cooperation on reimbursement:

  1. Courts will most  likely find in favor of the parent who asks and puts everything in writing
  2. Courts will examine the actual need and determine the reimbursement.
  3. Costs you will incur for lack of payment can far exceed what is due to the other parent.
  4. If you are not in agreement of the expense, provide a good reasonable explanation as to why you cannot participate in the expense.  The judge will look at your explanation.

Do the right thing by your child.  It will pay off in the long run.  Besides, you have many opportunities to celebrate in your child’s milestones!

Trust yourself.  If you could use some assistance on refining your existing parenting plan or need to make one, please contact our office for a free consultation.

We assist families across the United States through Web Mediation. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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Physical Stress During Divorce

Physical stress during divorce

By PK Jordan

There is financial stress, work stress and then there’s the stress at home in managing your family.  Sound familiar? You take everything in stride because everything appears normal to you.  NOW you are coping with going through a divorce or just finalized your divorce not too long ago. 

You are getting sick more often, you’re on edge; you’re sleep deprived or just wondering “why is this happening to me?”  Trust me; there are many families that understand what you are experiencing.  When it comes to divorce, it is all in “how we manage and react” to this new season in your life. 

Managing your stress alone is not a good idea.  This is a stress like no other.  It has been 8 years since my divorce and it was not easy, but I did have help during it.  Here are some suggestions on support partners:

Emotional Support:

  1. Your parents.  Objective support that will tell you when you are doing wrong.
  2. Family Counselor can help you go through the storm that comes with divorce.
  3. If you attend church: Women’s Ministry, Celebrate Recovery, or Pastoral Care.
  4. Your friends.  Support that will build you up and not judge you. That includes not judging the other parent.  Judging the other parent only fuels the fire.
  5. A Life Coach can assist you in making a plan and helping you find balance in your life.

Financial Professional Support:

  1. Financial Planner that can help you with a new financial plan for you and your children for your future. 
  2. Accountant/CPA can help you forecast into your future based on past years experience to anticipate future penalties or taxes to protect you properly.
  3. Budgeting specialists can help you stay on track concerning your finances and minimize the stress.
  4. Personal Bankers can help you manage your families banking needs.
  5. Meet with your insurance agent to evaluate your existing accounts to see if adjustments need to be made.  Ex. Deductibles, coverage amounts, etc.

Health Support:

  1. Manage your blood pressure.  Learn what a healthy blood pressure is for you.  Ex. Pharmacies have a free blood pressure check machine.
  2. Keep attending your doctor visits with your primary care physician to manage your care. Ex. Depression, Anxiety, chronic illnesses.  Do not ignore your healthcare!
  3. Do not let your adrenal glands work overtime during stress.  This is a danger zone!
  4. Managing your headaches with regular massage therapy or chiropractic care.
  5. Eat before 6pm when possible.  Eating too late can interfere with your sleep patterns and your stress.  Make good choice on your food selections.
  6. Exercise regularly.  Walk for 30 minutes 2-3 times per week, or workout at the gym.  This is critical to manage your stress and allow yourself a “time out” just for you

Managing your symptoms as they relate to stress:

  1. Frequent headaches and migraines.  Chart them down on a calendar.
  2. Lack of sleep.  Chart when you are well rested.  Evaluate what you did the night before.
  3.  Stomach aches. What are you eating?  How often are you engaged in turmoil?  Chart it.
  4. Unexplained body pain.  Pain that feels like: stabbing, sharp, chronic, specific areas, etc.  This is a sign that something is not okay.  Stress sometimes exaggerates pain in our body.  See a doctor.
  5. Anxiety or Overwhelmed.  Feeling like an emotional roller coaster?  Your doctor or natural path doctor can help you manage the emotions you are experiencing during this season in your life.

What you are experiencing is real and should not be ignored.  When your body is under attack, you need to be in communication with professionals that can help support you during this season. 

During my divorce I had a great support system, but I sure lacked in other areas.  My health!  I was too busy managing everything else in my life, kids, work, and litigation in court to notice my health was suffering.  My body paid a huge price.  I was warned by four doctors to get my stress level under control.  I went from being super active to my body shutting down one February morning with uncontrollable pain.  It took two years to be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.  I was sick for two years.  I was exhausted for the longest time and would take two naps a day.  I had an iron deficiency and had multiple iron infusions just so that I can feel better. I had over five procedures to verify loss of blood and two feet surgeries to minimize pain while walking.

Today a lot of my symptoms have improved dramatically.  With managed care from medical professionals and returning back to the gym, I feel like a new person.  Managing your stress is key!!!  You cannot do it alone.

Remember this season is temporary.  Your outcome will depend on “how you react” to your circumstance.  If you would like to know more about how mediation can help you, we offer a free consultation.   

We assist families across the United States through Web Mediation. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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Divorce Paperwork Checklist

Divorce Paperwork Checklist

By: PK Jordan            Divorce Paperwork

You are filing for a divorce and many ask themselves, “How do I prepare for divorce?”  The best thing you can do is, gather copies of all of your important papers.  What is considered important papers?  Here are some suggestions:

  • Tax returns 3 years
  • Bank statements  (Checking & Savings) of ALL accounts one year worth of each
  • Retirement accounts (401k, IRA, SEP Acct., etc.)  4 quarterly statements
  • Stock Trade Accounts – 4 quarterly statements
  • Real estate property Warranty deeds for each property
  • Mortgage loan statements
  • Credit card statements 12 months for each account
  • Money market account 12 months statements
  • Business tax returns – 3 years of completed returns (includes Schedule C, K1, etc.)
  • Business itemized annual expenses (accountant can provide this for you)
  • Copy of Business LLC, Partnership, Corporation Agreements
  • Life Insurance Policy Statements
  • Disability Policy Statements
  • Insurance Coverage: autos, boats, trailers, ATV’s, etc. (for each vehicle)
  • Copy of Titles for autos, boats, trailers, ATV’s, etc.

There are many other documents needed, but this will get you started.  These documents will be needed by your mediator, attorney or the courts for review to determine child support and or possibly spousal maintenance if you are eligible.

Why are these documents needed?  

It will help your mediator, attorney and the courts in assisting you in your divorce to determine the assets and liabilities in your case.  Nobody knows the expenses better than you do on what it costs to provide for your family.  An evaluation of the expenses will be based on the needs of your family.  Your input is very helpful in determining what a reasonable child support would be for your family.

When you visit your mediator, attorney or the courts, always provide a COPY of these documents.  You keep the originals.  Remember, if you don’t know how to read these documents, ask your trusted professional.

Serving others is an honor. What you think and say matters to your mediator!

We assist families across the United States through Virtual Mediation through Video Conferencing. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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Mediation Topics for Divorce Sessions

Mediation Topics for Divorce Sessions

By: PK Jordan             Divorce Mediation Topics

Often times there appears to be a mystery on what is involved in a divorce proceeding.  Well, I am here to eliminate the mystery and to give you a snapshot of things for you to consider during your divorce.   Here are some of the topics of discussion:

  • Parenting Plan
  • Substitute for Childcare
  • Asset Distribution
  • Debt Distribution
  • Financial Asset Allocations IRA’s, Social Security,  401(k)
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Insurance(s)  Life, Auto, Health, Disability
  • Division of Personal Property
  • Real Estate Distributions
  • Small Business Dissolution in Marriage
  • Taxes (Personal/Business)  IRS, STATE, Privilege Tax to State
  • Dependent Tax Deduction and Schedule for your children
  • Educational needs for the children
  • Medical needs for the children
  • Legal Fees
  • Future Modification(s)
  • Pet care
  • Grandparent visitation

There are many other topics of discussion during a divorce mediation session.   I want you to be prepared for what is to come in the beginnings of your divorce.  Your decisions are not to be taken lightly and being prepared is important.

 Mediation is a great way to start your proceedings.

Many courts require the parties to seek resolution by working with conciliation services or a mediator before you can go before a Judge.  In mediation, you will be heard, your ideas will matter and you are given the opportunity to be involved in the decision making of your families future.

If there are other topics you would like to discuss, mediation is a place where you can cover your areas of concern.  With my clients, it’s not always about the money, but about specific emotional needs of assurance for their future.

We do interview teenage children (with the parent’s involvement) on questions they want us to ask during the session with their minor children in private.  This has helped a lot of families for parenting time and preserving the relationships of the children with their parents.  This allows the minor children to be heard and it assists parents in making the parenting plan to best suit their families needs.

Serving others is an honor. What you think and say matters to your mediator!

We assist families across the United States through Virtual Mediation through Video Conferencing. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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Communication comes with Challenges

Communication comes with challenges, but tomorrow brings promise

By: Pk Jordan               Communication Challenges

Communication can seem easy for most, but at times it is really challenging.  In a business setting if your feeling emotionally stressed about a matter, take a time out for yourself.  Collect your thoughts.  Then you can write your proposal or objective with ease and keeping the objective positive.

Personal matters. Same rules apply.  If you feel pressure in your chest, your temperature is hot, then slow your roll.  Relationships are paramount in all of our lives.  Especial family and friends.  Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself time to return to the matter.

Be future focused rather than pulling the trigger now when your communication skills are lacking at the moment.

Today happened, tomorrow brings promise.

Serving others is an honor. What you think and say matters to your mediator!

We assist families across the United States through Virtual Mediation through Video Conferencing. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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10 ways to effectively communicate with limited emotions

By PK Jordan         Communication During Divorce

 

Communication in the midst of a divorce is not easy

Communicating with your spouse during a divorce can be difficult.  You are trying to figure out how to navigate during the divorce.  The question you are having are:

  • How will I survive this divorce?
  • How can I financially make it on my own?
  • Will, he/she, take everything and leave me nothing?
  • What about the kids?
  • Where will I live?

You are hurt, and you want to tell the other spouse off.  I don’t blame you, but by doing so, you will have a lot of regrets later for many reasons that you are not thinking of during a heated exchange with your spouse. Here are some ideas that I can highlight for you:

  • Your spouse can record you and use it for a later time ex. the court or play it back for the kids
  • Stress can overwhelm your adrenal glands and can exaggerate health conditions beyond your control
  • Children can overhear your conversation, and that will leave a lasting impression for years to come
  • A lack of control of your emotions can greatly impact your negotiations with the other parent
Mediation can help you communicate with your spouse

The thought of speaking to your spouse, seeing your spouse or hearing them overwhelms you with either anxiety or anger.  If this is the case, then we have some work to do.  Realize you have a choice.  I don’t recommend you speaking to them while you are a hot head.  It is important to treat each other with the mutual respect that way you both can effectively communicate and come to an agreement.  Below are some suggestions on how to effectively communicate with your spouse.

10 ways to effectively communicate with limited emotions:

  • Before speaking on the phone, think and speak from a good place and open heart
  • When asking for something, put it in writing ex. email
  • Limit your communication if you’re upset (give yourself 24 hours before calling or emailing)
  • Write your communications as if a judge is going to decide your case.
  • If you have children: if you don’t have anything nice to say about the other parent, keep it to yourself
  • Have a designated number for the other parent to call you or your children ex. magic jack
  • Remember to receive something; you have to give something
  • Examine the why, what, when, where, and the how of your communications
  • If there are kids, make it about the Kids.  Your agenda should not be a priority
  • Take time out for yourself so that you are centered and healthy

Why is texting not a good option for communication?

Texting is instant and loses translation on how people feel.  The communication is short and not always to the point.  If a spouse wanted to use your texts later in court, it will most likely not translate well before a judge.  Email can be instant, but the content in your email will reflect better communication by you in a more formal setting.  It will cause you to think, review and decide whether to send it now or tomorrow.  A text is instant, and you are living in the NOW moment and feel as though you can’t wait until tomorrow.  I am telling you to resist the temptation.  You will thank me later.

Remember Text messaging and emails are forever, you can’t take it back once you send it.  It’s a permanent record.

Should you consider having a designated phone number?

I put this out there so that you can preserve a piece of sanity and reclaim some control in your life.  I have used this method myself, and it works wonders.  Many years ago I had to disconnect my home phone and change my cell phone number.  When I looked at my caller ID, I had tightness in my chest and anxiety.  While at the airport one day a stranger suggested a simple thing “Have you considered changing your number and giving them a designated number?”  The thought did not cross my mind until then.  I didn’t want to incur a monthly bill, so I learned about magic jack.  $40 a year.  That was a no-brainer.  Here is what you can gain with a designated number:

  • Regain calm when the phone rings
  • Meets the requirements of the court having a number for the parent to call or an email to communicate with you
  • You can choose how to communicate with the other parent when you want to (this does not mean you ignore the other parent)
  • Other parent does not control you anymore
  • Allow you to take a step back when you are not in a good place to communicate
  • The aim and fire approach is no longer available.  You are now in control of your emotions.

The importance of putting everything in writing?

Email is a great way to have a record of your agreement with the other parent.  If you ever have to go to court, a judge can see the agreement and see how you communicate with the other parent.   Your communications will give the judge insight of your parenting styles.  Ex.  If you both parents agree on a sport for your child to participate in and how you will split the costs, you now have a record of your agreement.  If one parent does not honor the agreement, then a judge will make their ruling based on your agreement.  Verbal does not always hold up in court

Serving others is an honor. What you think and say matters to your mediator!

We assist families across the United States through Virtual Mediation through Video Conferencing. Call today for a Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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10 ways to have successful negotiations and not litigate

10 ways to have successful negotiations and not litigate

By:  PK Jordan    Mediate don’t litigate

 

What is mediation?

Mediation is defined as the process by which the participants, together with the assistance of a neutral person or persons, systematically isolate disputed issues to develop options, consider alternatives, and reach a consensual settlement that will accommodate their needs. Mediation is a process that emphasizes the participants’ responsibility for making decisions that affect their lives.

10 ways to successful negotiations in mediation:

  • Come with an open mind during mediation
  • Remain in control of your emotions
  • Make your own decision together
  • Ability to see the other persons point of view and respect them for it
  • Creative negotiations are welcome
  • Looking forward and not backward
  • Actively participate in the sessions
  • Supporting and understanding of the other parties ideas.
  • Ability to let go of past conflict once you have made an agreement
  • Making litigation a last resort

What if we already agree on some things?

Fantastic! The first thing that we want to do in mediation is to identify what you already agree on. We will use those points of agreement as a foundation for your overall agreement. Sometimes, the concepts that make sense to you on certain easy issues can be applied to resolve other issues as well. We will want to be sure that your agreement is well-informed and that you are aware of the many issues that you may want to consider. What is included in your agreement is up to you? Our goal is to support your decision-making and having a working agreement that you both can support.

What can I do to ensure a successful mediation?

Perhaps the most important thing any mediating party can do to ensure a satisfying and successful mediation experience is to prepare for the mediation discussions by seeking clarity as to individual desired outcomes and perceived standards of fairness. Being able to listen to the other party’s point of view, even when you don’t agree with it, will allow you to develop options that meet both of your needs. It is in the ability to see the whole picture from both perspectives that a mutually satisfying agreement will arise.

What are our chances for success in mediation?

My best estimate is that over 90% of mediating parties reach a comprehensive resolution, with at least half of the remaining 10% reaching at least some significant substantive resolution (e.g., parenting arrangements or financial resolution, but not both). I find this success rate to be high,  and believe the reason is that a motivated client recognizes the opportunity mediation provides.

My goal is to assist you in effectively, comfortably and confidently representing yourself (with any desired assistance by legal counsel) in mediation. In mediation, you will be making all of the decisions. The mediator has no decision-making power. Thus, it is important for you to consider how you can best represent your interests in mediation, as well as the results that you would like to create in mediation.

Serving others is an honor. What you think and say matters to your mediator!

We assist families across the United States through Virtual Mediation through Video Conferencing. Call today for a  Free Consult.

(Courtesy of East Valley Mediator 480-788-4187)

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