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Rich Gordon's picture
Principal Mediator

A Fair Way Mediation Center offers a relaxed, compassionate atmosphere in an informal setting that encourages a calm and objective approach.  This is a safe space that avoids the stress and embarrassment that courtroom procedures can inject into any divorce or separation.  All couples are welcome, whether traditional or same sex families. An experienced Mediator, Mr.  Gordon has worked in all facets of alternate dispute resolution (ADR), with both individuals and organisations.  He brings a friendly approach that is conducive to cooperation.

While we often think of mediation for divorce, it is a less known fact that mediation can also be used to draft prenuptial agreements. Today many couples are getting married at a later age, or getting married for the second or third time. This changes the amount of assets and debt they are bringing into the marriage and explains why some couples feel that a prenuptial agreement can help laying out their financial path.
When people consider the financial implications of divorce, they often think about the division of property and personal assets, spousal support and child support. Rarely do they consider that they will also need to divide debt. And that’s where things can turn sour. Along with a few other states, California is a “community property” state, which means that any assets acquired and any debt incurred by either spouse during the marriage (but before the date of separation) belong to both spouses equally, even if only one spouse incurred them.
Estate planning is the complicated process involving the older generation passing on its wealth to the younger generation. Unfortunately it can be the source of many disagreements, and even court litigation. With all good intentions, many parents create an estate plan so their loved ones won’t have to deal with lengthy probate court proceedings. However, parents often talk to attorneys only, and don’t involve their heirs in the discussion, assuming they will embrace the estate gifts they receive.
When couples get a divorce in a community property state such as California, all assets acquired during the length of the marriage (but prior to separation) must be equally divided. Separate property, which includes any asset acquired before the marriage, is not included under community property. California courts define this dividing process as “equitable distribution”, to ensure that both spouses get their fair share when it comes to splitting up personal property, real estate property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, pension plans, family businesses, and insurance policies.
A special-needs child, especially one with severe physical or mental restrictions, will most often require lifelong care. That’s why parents who special-needs children need to think long-term when divorcing and make sure they can provide a secure financial future for their children. In this case, special care must be given to the sharing of financial responsibilities, estate planning and the child’s transition to adulthood.
While a divorce affects all parties involved, the separation process is even more difficult with special-needs children. California law requires that all decisions made in regards to child custody and visitation be “in the best interest of the child”. That’s why it is very important to negotiate the many details of the child custody agreement up front to avoid future issues or concerns.
Spousal support, or alimony, is one of the most challenging issues to handle during a divorce, especially since it affects a spouse’s financial dependence or independence in the long run. Unlike child support, which is almost always calculated using California guidelines and standards, spousal support is more complex to determine and can be subject to much greater discretion by a judge. That is why mediation is a positive alternative for both parties when it comes to negotiating spousal support amounts.
It’s easy to imagine why a divorce can be a cause of such difficult and stressful times for most couples. When LGBT couples decide to part ways, whether it involves dissolving a domestic partnership or a legally recognized marriage, they need to make similar decisions to heterosexual couples such as property and debt division, child support and custody, pet custody, spousal support, financial and tax issues, or health and life insurance.
Getting a divorce is not an easy process for anyone, but for a military couple it may be even more complicated. There are often formalities, procedures and divorce rules that only apply to military families and can be confusing. Not only does the military have their own procedures, but the California Family Courts have their own set of complicated laws. Our mediators can help you navigate through both these systems in the most expeditious and stress-free way.


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