Michael and Andrea Dunn were married in June of 1987 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They have been living in the greater Boston area for 17 years. They have two children: Joshua, age 12 (grade 7) and Jessica, age 10 (grade 4).
For the first five years of their marriage, Andrea was employed as a middle manager at a large bank in Boston. Despite rather promising career prospects, Andrea and Mike decided that all family members would benefit from full-time parenting during Josh’s early childhood years. When Jessica was born, two years later, it made sense to continue the arrangement. Andrea enjoyed being home and Mike agreed it was working out well.
Two years ago, Andrea decided to return to school on a part-time basis. She began to take graduate courses at a local college. During this time, Michael was building his practice as an accountant. Financially, the Dunn’s were doing well. They owned a 4-bedroom colonial in Sudbury and were living comfortably on Mike’s gross salary of $165,000.00 per year.
The Dunn’s, however, have decided to embark on divorce proceedings. The reasons for the divorce are unknown—to us. Perhaps you and your spouse are facing a similar situation. Now that you have decided to separate, what should you be thinking about, what questions come up, and how do you begin the divorcing process?
Some Relevant Questions for Couples Embarking on Divorce
What assets does a couple have besides the marital home (e.g., bank accounts, businesses, retirement funds, vacation homes, stocks, stock options, cars, boats, etc.)?
What is the net value of each asset?
What does it cost the Dunns to live now?
What will it cost them to live separately, considering one or more different living situations?
Will they need to sell their home to support two households?
What is the economic impact of Andrea going back to work (e.g., daycare)?
What future expenditures have they planned for or are aware of? (e.g. extracurricular activities, college savings, orthodontics)
Issues Around Children and Parenting:
How will they continue to parent their children?
Where will the children live? Full-time? Part time?
Who will pay for daycare or will the at-home parent be compensated for providing daycare?
Who will have the children on which holiday and for what school vacations?
Future Plans and Goals:
What is each one’s immediate goal?
What are their thoughts, plans and objectives—a realistic look at their wish list?
In the case of a husband having his own business, what is the wife’s share?
All of the above include decision-making in the following areas:
Fate of assets and liabilities
Support of all family members
Health care (insured and non insured)
Education of children and perhaps, continuing education of parent
If you are contemplating divorce, simply reading this article may be stressful. Mediation is designed to lower the stress level. The mediator has the advantage of being able to guide a couple through much of the detailed decision-making in a relatively short time. The mediator has both parties in one room; the emphasis is on joint decision-making and the focus is on the well being of all the family members. Dr. Lynne Halem, CMDR’s director has been mediating for more than 22 years and during that time she has seen only a small percentage of her clients return to mediation following divorce—and many had a mediation clause in their agreement.
We invite you to call our office with any questions regarding mediation.
Please Call Our Office For Answers To Your Questions – 781.239.1600