phone469-406-4320

address2329 Coit Road, Suite B, Plano, TX 75075

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Collin County child support mediationIf you are planning to get a divorce, you and your spouse will need to resolve many different issues related to your finances, the property you own, and your ongoing needs. If you have children, the divorce process may become even more complex, and you will need to address multiple types of issues related to child custody. In many cases, divorce mediation offers the best way to resolve disagreements and create a settlement that will provide for the needs of both you and your spouse. During the mediation process, you will need to understand how to address child support for your children.

Texas Child Support Laws

Child support obligations will depend on the decisions made about the physical custody of children. When children live with one parent for the majority of the time, that parent will usually receive child support payments from the other parent. To calculate child support, the net resources of the obligor parent will be determined, and a certain percentage will be applied to this amount based on the number of children that a parent will be supporting.

To calculate a parent’s net resources, all forms of income that a parent receives will be considered. This will not only include their regular wages and any bonuses or commissions, but also self-employment income, money earned through interest, royalties, or dividends from investments, severance pay, pension benefits, distributions from a trust, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, capital gains, and certain types of Social Security benefits or veteran’s benefits. Net resources will then be determined by deducting federal and state income taxes, Social Security taxes, and union dues.

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Collin County child custody mediatorsIf you are a parent who has chosen to end your relationship with your partner, you will need to make multiple types of decisions about how the two of you will handle child-related issues going forward. Whether you are going through a divorce or ending a relationship as unmarried partners, you will need to address how you will work together to make decisions about how your children will be raised, the amount of time that children will spend with each parent, and multiple other concerns about how you can provide for your children’s ongoing needs. Child custody mediation can be a great way to reach agreements on these matters while minimizing conflict and ensuring that you will both be on the same page about issues related to your children.

Tips for Success in Child Custody Mediation

During mediation, you will work together with the other parent to make decisions about how you will share custody of your children. A neutral mediator will help you identify the issues that will need to be resolved and provide you with guidance on how you can reach agreements regarding these matters. Ideally, you will be able to create an agreement that will allow you to cooperate with each other to provide for your children’s ongoing needs. You can do so by following these tips:

  • Be prepared - Before beginning mediation, it is a good idea to write down your goals and expectations. This will allow you to compare your position with the other parent’s expectations and identify disagreements that will need to be resolved. You can create a proposed schedule for parenting time and visitation, while also detailing how you expect to address ongoing decisions related to your children. By considering these issues before beginning mediation, you can determine whether you will need to make changes to your expectations or whether compromises will be possible.
  • Avoid personal attacks or disputes - You will want to do your best to put aside conflicts with the other parent about why your relationship is ending or any grievances about how matters have been handled in the past. Mediation is not the time to lay blame for a divorce, rehash old arguments, or complain about relationship issues. Instead, you will want to focus on working together to make decisions about issues related to your children and reach agreements on how you will cooperate as co-parents going forward.
  • Focus on your children’s best interests - When making decisions about child custody, it is important to put your children first rather than focusing on your own needs and desires. Thinking about what is best for your children will allow you to reach agreements that will allow them to be happy and healthy when spending time with both you and the other parent. Ideally, you will want to find ways you will be able to work together to provide for your children’s needs while also encouraging your children to maintain close, loving relationships with both of you.

Contact Our Collin County Child Custody Mediator

Whether you are going through a divorce or need to address child custody issues as an unmarried parent, a skilled mediator can help you resolve your disputes and create agreements that will protect your children’s best interests. Our Plano family law mediator can help you address these issues successfully while minimizing conflict and ensuring that you and the other parent are prepared to provide for your children’s needs. To arrange a free consultation, contact us today by calling 469-406-4320.

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Plano divorce mediatorsDivorce is an adversarial process. While you and your spouse may have functioned as a team while you were married, now that you have chosen to end your marriage, you will each be looking to protect your own interests. This is necessary, since you will each want to make sure you reach a fair outcome while ensuring that you will be able to move forward with your separate lives. However, even though you and your spouse will no longer be a united front, this does not mean that you need to prepare for high levels of conflict as you complete the process of dissolving your marriage. Instead of fighting legal battles, you may be able to complete your divorce without the need for an attorney.

Most divorces are completed through the creation of a divorce settlement, since the process of divorce litigation can take a great deal of time, and it can be very expensive for both parties. Rather than arguing matters in court, you and your spouse will present the court with an agreed divorce settlement, and after this settlement is approved by a judge, your marriage will be terminated. But how can you get to this point, and how can you make sure you will both be satisfied with your divorce settlement? In many cases, the best way to address these issues is through mediation.

Reaching a Divorce Settlement Through Mediation

The process of negotiating a divorce settlement can be time consuming, and both you and your spouse will want to make sure your interests will be protected in the decisions that you make. By working with a neutral mediator who is experienced in addressing divorce-related issues, you can make sure you will meet all of your legal requirements, and you can reach fair and workable agreements. Your mediator can guide you through productive discussions, explain how the divorce laws apply to you, and help you find solutions that you can both agree on.

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Plano property division mediatorEnding your marriage will require you and your spouse to make many decisions about how you will separate your lives from each other. Since you have most likely accumulated multiple different types of property during your marriage, determining how to divide your money and assets may be a complicated matter. Fortunately, divorce mediation can be a beneficial way to reach agreements on these issues and create a settlement that will provide each of you with the financial resources you need.

Addressing Multiple Types of Marital Property During Divorce Mediation

Recently, we looked at some issues that you may need to address when dividing valuable assets such as your home or a family business. In addition to those forms of property, you will also need to make decisions about other assets you own, including:

  • Financial funds and investments - If you have money in bank accounts, or if you own stocks or other investment assets, you may agree to divide these assets equally between you and your spouse. However, you may also agree that one spouse will keep a larger portion of these funds, while the other spouse will keep other marital assets that are around the same value. Your mediator can help you make decisions about how to divide financial assets fairly.
  • Retirement accounts or pensions - If either spouse has retirement savings in a 401(k) account or IRA, the funds in these accounts may be divided between the two of you. Pension benefits earned by a spouse during your marriage may also need to be divided based on how long you were married while these benefits were being earned. A mediator can explain the issues that will need to be addressed when dividing these types of assets, including how you may use qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) to withdraw funds before reaching retirement age without being subject to penalties or taxes.
  • Vehicles - While you and your spouse may each retain ownership of your primary vehicles, you may need to address any differences in the value of these vehicles. For example, if your spouse’s vehicle is paid off, but you still need to make several years’ worth of payments on the loan for your vehicle, you may be able to negotiate a settlement in which you will receive enough funds to pay off your loan.
  • Household items - There are multiple pieces of property in your home that will need to be divided, including furniture, kitchen utensils, household appliances, decorations, artwork, or collectibles. With the help of a mediator, you can reach agreements that will allow both you and your spouse to keep items that are important to you, while also ensuring that you will have what you need as you establish new living arrangements.
  • Debts - In addition to assets, you will also need to determine who will be responsible for paying the debts that are owed by you and your spouse. You will both be responsible for paying any joint debts, such as credit card balances. Your mediator may help you make arrangements to pay off as much of your debts as possible during your divorce to ensure that you will both be on sound financial footing as you begin the next phase of your lives.

Contact Us for Plano Divorce Settlement Mediation Services

During your divorce, our experienced mediators can help you and your spouse work together to reach agreements on how you will divide the property you own. With our help, you can create a divorce settlement that will provide for your needs going forward. Contact our Collin County divorce mediators today at 469-406-4320 to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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Texas divorce mediationIf you are planning to end your marriage, you and your spouse will need to address a variety of complex issues related to your property and finances, as well as other legal issues that will affect the two of you. While the divorce process can sometimes be lengthy and expensive, divorce mediation provides the option to complete this process more quickly and efficiently. As you prepare for divorce mediation, you will need to understand the issues to consider as you and your spouse negotiate a settlement that will address ownership of assets such as your home or a family business.

Considerations for Homes and Businesses During the Property Division Process

During divorce mediation, you and your spouse will work with a neutral mediator to address all of the issues that must be resolved before your marriage can be legally dissolved. As part of this process, you will make decisions about how you will address all of your marital property, which includes any assets or debts you have acquired during your marriage. Your goal is to reach agreements that will provide each of you with a fair share of your marital property, ensuring that you will both have the financial resources you need to succeed as you move forward after your divorce.

As you negotiate a property settlement, you may need to address ownership of high-value assets, including:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_b2ap3_thumbnail_summer-divorce.jpg70 percent of parents experience stress related to summertime planning, according to a poll of 2,000 parents. Over half the parents polled said they were ready for their kids to go back to school after only one week.

Why are parents so stressed out over summer planning and what can they do about it?

Causes of summertime stress

In many households, both parents work which makes figuring out what to do with the kids when they are home all the time over summer break a major source of stress. Parents identified several key causes:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody.jpgYou love your children, and you knew when you filed for divorce that you and your ex would always share a connection because of your kids. You might have heard stories from family members or friends who have gone through lengthy court battles regarding child custody issues. That doesn’t mean that it has to be the same in your case. In fact, you don’t even have enter a Texas court; you can choose to mediate your divorce instead.

There are several helpful tips that you can use during mediation to avoid parental conflict. By keeping your children’s best interests in mind, you and your ex can learn to work as a team to resolve any child custody issue that arises during mediation sessions or after you finalize your divorce.

Controlling your emotions is the key to peaceful child custody discussions

Divorce typically evokes a wide range of emotions in people. You might feel at peace and confident about your future on one day, then feel sad or angry the next. In order to avoid co-parenting conflicts, it’s best to reserve child-related discussions for the days that you feel you have control over your emotions and are able to stay calm.

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Determining how you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse intend to raise your children after your divorce requires careful consideration.

When you organize and write down your thoughts before attending mediation, you stand a better chance of remembering points important to you when parenting plan discussions begin.

Exercising control

You know your children better than anyone and certainly better than a judge. Preparing a parenting plan as part of divorce mediation allows you and the other parent to maintain control over the future of your children. You can be sure that your plan addresses their best interests and helps them adapt to new family relationships in the post-divorce world.

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When you got married in a Texas church, courthouse or other location, you no doubt expected to be with your spouse for a lifetime. Whether you’ve been together less than five years or more than a decade, if there are underlying issues in your marriage that are unresolved, it can do a lot of damage to your relationship. There are certain issues, in fact, that many spouses say were causal factors in their divorce.

Just because you experience one or more of these issues does not necessarily mean you will wind up filing for divorce. However, such issues are common among people who do.

Communication, intimacy and loyalty are important in a marriage

Perhaps you and your spouse have drifted apart over time and have found that you don’t have as much in common as you once did. It’s one thing to have different personalities but quite another to feel that your spouse is not supportive of you in your marriage. The following list shows issues that are often precursors to divorce:

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There are a variety of reasons for one spouse to be more stubborn than the other when divorce mediation begins.

The pro-mediation spouse may not know how to handle the problem but the mediator will know what to do.

Emotions play a role

Emotions come to the surface in one way or another during a divorce. Parties who choose mediation normally do so because it is a much calmer, more respectful way of ending a marriage and moving on as compared with litigation. In addition, couples appreciate maintaining control over the outcome instead of having to abide by the decisions of a judge. Still, mediation is a path to divorce, and one spouse may be more emotional, more stubborn and more inclined to fight the inevitable than the other.

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Parenting is undoubtedly both a rewarding and challenging experience in your life. When you decided to file for divorce, you knew from the start that it would have a significant impact on your children’s lives. Like many other parents who can relate to your circumstances, you were determined to cause the least amount of disruption possible, starting with creating a solid co-parenting agreement.

When you choose to mediate your divorce, you and your spouse agree to avoid litigation at all cost. This means that you must agree to peacefully discuss all child custody issues, including where your children will live, whether you will share physical and legal custody and other important matters. There are numerous other issues that you can incorporate into your co-parenting plan, however, to help your children cope with the changes in their lives with as little stress as possible.

Remember to write out terms for birthdays, holidays and special events

It’s common to focus on the priority issues when you’re mediating a child custody plan in a divorce. It’s also a good idea to include terms of agreement regarding where your children will spend their special events and milestone occasions, including holidays after your divorce. If you and your co-parent get along well, you might decide to share special occasions together so that your kids can be with both parents at the same time.

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An impending divorce brings major concerns and puts you on an emotional roller coaster.

If you and your spouse have decided to mediate your divorce, good planning and organization will keep you focused as you work toward creating a mutually satisfactory agreement.

Gather information

Mediation is a confidential, low-stress process that usually runs smoothly. However, you can help it along by gathering the information you need so as to be ready to work with your soon-to-be-ex on a settlement agreement. The list of documents you will need includes but is not limited to:

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When you decide to file for divorce in Texas, you must resolve numerous issues to achieve a fair settlement. Especially if you have children, you may encounter challenges if you and your ex disagree about certain matters, such as custody or property division. The fact that you want to mediate your divorce rather than litigate means you must be willing to cooperate and compromise to accomplish your goals.

The problem is that certain issues may affect mediation sessions without your necessarily being aware of it. For instance, if you have an implicit or explicit bias that pertains to a specific issue, that bias may influence your while you’re discussing the topic during a mediation session.

Most people have implicit biases without realizing it

If you have an implicit bias against something or someone, it exists in your subconscious mind and may affect your words or actions without you being aware of it. Perhaps, you have an implicit bias against people who pay child support that makes you generalize and suspect that most people try to get away with paying as low an amount as possible.

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If you worry about parenting with your ex-spouse after divorce, consider taking a cooperative approach. Collaborating in the face of a challenging relationship will support the well-being of your children in this situation.

Try these strategies to handle coparenting issues after your marriage ends.

Create a parenting plan

When you and your former spouse agree on a parenting plan, you can tailor the custody schedule to your family's needs. Once you have a court-approved plan in place, avoid conflict by sticking to its provisions regarding communication, holiday and vacation time, parenting time, and transportation to and from visits.

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You may have noticed signs that your marriage was in trouble. Then again, there may have been a particular string of events that had irreversible effects on your relationship. Either way, as you prepare to settle a divorce, it’s important to keep several issues in mind, especially finances. Many Texas households include spouses who both work full-time. When you transition to a single income lifestyle, it can present challenges.

Thinking ahead and careful planning can help you make sure you can provide for your needs as you move on in life. If you’re a parent, the importance of financial issues in divorce is intensified. Not only are you concerned about the ability to make ends meet for yourself, but your children’s well-being is a top priority.

Texas is a community property state

In addition to making child custody decisions and writing terms of agreement for a co-parenting plan, you and your spouse must also resolve property division issues to finalize your divorce. Texas is different than most other states in that property division proceedings operate under community property guidelines. This means you and your ex will split all marital property 50/50 in divorce.

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During your divorce, your children are likely to be your top priority. If you plan to share physical custody of your kids with your ex-spouse, you must pick a spot to exchange them at the end of your scheduled parenting time.

You and your ex-spouse may have some strong disagreements about where to hand off the kids. Fortunately, mediation is often a ready way to settle these disputes. Before beginning mediation, though, you may want to choose a few potential exchange locations.

A neutral hand-off site

While it may seem natural to exchange the kids at your home or your ex’s, doing so may cause unnecessary friction. When beginning the mediation process, you may need to convince your children’s co-parent to explore other hand-off sites. Picking a neutral location is usually smart.

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Your children might be observant, intelligent people, but they are not adults. No matter how much they might seem to understand a particular adult issue, they can only understand it with as much fullness as their age level and maturity allows. If you recently informed your children that you have filed for divorce, they might have said that they understand, but that doesn’t mean they understand it in the same way you do.

Like all good parents, you want what is best for your kids. No family has a perfect life, not even those with parents whose marriages last a lifetime. Rather than centering your focus on the fact that your divorce is happening, it’s helpful to keep several things in mind as you provide love and support to your children while you all adapt to a new lifestyle.

Direct correspondence with your ex is best

It’s understandable that you might not want to see your ex on a daily basis after you finalize your divorce. While you negotiate child custody issues and after you sign an agreement, however, it will still be necessary to correspond with each other because you are co-parents. Sadly, many Texas parents fall into a habit of using their children as messengers when they don’t want to talk to a co-parent.

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If you have chosen mediation over litigation for your divorce, you are far from alone. From saving money on legal costs to maintaining control over child custody, support and property division decisions, there are many reasons that couples opt for an out-of-court settlement instead of a drawn-out legal battle.

However, while mediation offers many benefits, the process may take work, patience and compromise on the part of both spouses.

Ensuring your mediator has all needed information and documentation well in advance is an important first step. Also important is preparing yourself, mentally and emotionally, to take a problem-solving approach rather than a combative one.

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When you’ve made a major decision, it might take weeks, even months, to implement it. If your decision involves filing for divorce, and especially if you have children, there will be numerous important issues to resolve before you can leave the past behind and move on in life. Divorce mediation is often a swifter process than litigating a divorce in a Texas court. In fact, saving time isn’t the only benefit of mediation.

Would you be surprised to learn that you can finalize your divorce without ever stepping foot inside a courtroom? Many people hesitate to learn more about mediation because they mistakenly believe it’s only used in business negotiations or think they will still have to go to court to settle their divorce.

Divorce mediation saves time and money

As mentioned earlier, if you want to settle your divorce as quickly as possible, mediation may be a better option than litigation. The last thing you need is to become entangled in a long, drawn-out court battle over issues you can resolve in a peaceful manner by agreeing to a few stipulations ahead of time.

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Posted on in Divorce

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may dread the possibility of a contentious court battle.

Some say mediation is a great alternative but is it? Here are four mistaken ideas about divorce mediation.

The mediator takes sides

The mediator is a neutral party who cannot and will not take sides in a divorce. The divorcing couple has control over the mediation process, and the responsibilities of the mediator are to guide the parties in effective communication, to diffuse anger or emotional situations and to help them resolve sticking points.

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