How Does the American Dream Play into Divorce?
America truly is the land of opportunity. It is a place where we can set goals, achieve them, and experience success. It is also a place that has evolved a great deal in the past 100 years. Traditionally, there was once one spouse who stayed home to care for the house and children. The other spouse worked to provide the family with financial support. More recently, however, this format has changed. Now, the majority of households are dual income. For more information about how quickly the amount of two income households has increased, check out the chart found in this article. This means that both spouses work, and balance how the children and household responsibilities will be cared for. Often times, the spouses plan all of their finances around both incomes. This can be really tricky upon divorce, as those dual incomes were once used to support a certain standard of living that may no longer be realistic.
As a divorce mediation attorney in Orange County, I play the role of an expectations manager in a lot of my cases. Spouses come to the divorce mediation process thinking that they will be able to afford the same things they were able to when they were combining their incomes. Unfortunately, the math just doesn’t support this. Although the law says that we are always trying to achieve the same standard of living as enjoyed during the marriage, it is often just not possible. Therefore, as a divorce mediator, I have to start from scratch in helping the couple understand what they can afford moving forward.
Typically, if the couple is already living apart they will have an idea of what their separate living expenses are. They may have separate rent and utilities already. If this is the case, our discussion focuses more on dividing the assets and making sure that child care costs are covered. If, however, the couple is still living under the same roof the discussion can be more challenging. In these cases, we may need to discuss what steps the couple will take to separate households and how each person’s living expenses will be covered. This can often be a very detailed conversation.
Fortunately, the nature of divorce mediation supports this type of discussion. If you go to court, a judge will not have the time to sit down and problem solve for your financial difficulties. He or she will have to make decisions for your financial future in a relatively limited amount of time. In divorce mediation, however, you will have your divorce mediation attorney’s full attention when you talk about how you will fulfill your financial obligations. Your divorce mediation attorney will be able to provide suggestions and possible solutions for you and your spouse.
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