I recently met a couple who arrived for divorce mediation services, because one party's co-worker advised that mediation was cheaper than hiring a lawyer. As usual, I began our meeting with an explanation of the mediation process (they had been invited to visit my blog).
Clients call about a Rhode Island Divorce, asking if a mediator can help them completely avoid Family Court as they go through a divorce. Although the answer is "No" as the Court is needed to grant the divorce, there are ways to reduce the court's role in resolving the disputes between you and your spouse. This is also true for unmarried people with issues concerning their children and support.
During a Rhode Island Divorce, one party may buy out the other spouse's interest in their jointly owned real estate. One spouse applies for the mortgage refinance, requesting cash money coming out in order to pay the other spouse for his/her share of the equity. In a divorce, this is considered "extenuating circumstances" and it's not considered a "cash-out" refinance that can mean higher interest rates and require stricter loan - to - value requirements. At the time of the refinance, the "bought-out" spouse signs a Quit Claim deed to the party retaining the home (or other parcel of real estate).
Many couples, use their cell phones to take photos/videos of themselves and partners in various forms of undress and performing certain sex acts. Usually, these photos/videos are taken with an expectation of privacy, that they would be shared only between the parties (often husband and wife). These photos can be used as revenge in a divorce. In a recent episode of HBO's "The Newsroom", one newscaster was mortified when an ex-boyfriend posted compromising photos of her online.
Issues concerning divorce do not always end when the Final Judgment is entered. Experience has shown that many couples return to court for several reasons. One of the most common reasons leading to a revisit is to modify child support when either party's income changes significantly. Another purpose is to modify a parenting schedule if a party moves to a different location, changes job locations or as the children get older, a change is necessary as their needs change.
A divorce client called me for advice based upon dynamics of the ongoing divorce mediation. She said that the mediator, having prepared an initial draft of a Memorandum of Understanding, did not want to revise it based upon a recent development. The incident that caused the client to call was that the husband finalized plans for the kids to attend summer camp for 4 weeks and told the kids about it without discussing the same with the mother. Camp time interfered with her time with the children and she wanted input into the identity of the camp that the children would attend for the first time. The mediator suggested that the lawyers make the modification. Should she leave mediation and ask the lawyer to resolve that issue?
As a mediator and lawyer, I meet people seeking divorce or unmarried couples with relationship problems. The happy years ended often leaving anger and bad memories. Our brains remember negative memories more than positive ones. We hear more negative than positive feedback, so we remember the bad more. When unhappy couples meet to resolve issues for their separation and divorce, they are inclined to remember just the bad and in turn become negative in negotiations.
More and more Rhode Island divorce and mediation clients arrive with the statements regarding their bank accounts, retirement accounts and believe that since the account is in his or her sole name, that it is not a "marital" asset. Unfortunately, unless there is a prenuptial agreement in place with appropriate provisions, I need to discuss with them the nature of divorce law in Rhode Island.