Monthly Archives: September 2014

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is an alternative way of working through divorce that can save you time and money, and help ease your desire to pull your hair out in frustration. An experienced mediator will guide you and your ex toward an amiable agreement by being a helpful and knowledgeable, yet impartial, third party. Mediators can be useful even after divorce is settled to resolve issues between ex-spouses.

How Does It Work?

The goal of divorce mediation is to settle issues that arise from divorce and separation while diffusing hostile emotions and allowing both parties to speak for themselves. A mediator will guide discussion, keep both parties calm and focused on the task at hand, and draw up a draft of the agreements made. In some cases it may be appropriate for both clients’ attorneys to be present at the mediation meetings. Whether your attorney is present or not, you should seek their advice and expertise on the legal consequence of the agreements. Once you work out matters of child support, division of property, parenting time, and other important issues, your attorney will sign and submit your agreement to the courts for approval and legal enforcement.

What are the Benefits?

  • Most mediators charge hourly rates that are far less expensive than court fees. There is also no retainer fee up front, so there is little to no financial risk.
  • While most traditional divorces take a year or more to finalize, divorce mediation can take as little as 2 to 3 months to settle, depending on the cooperation of the parties involved.
  • Mediators are informed and knowledgeable about important legal matters, but are also able to put complicated legal terminology into language everyone can understand.
  • Mediators are skilled professionals who are able remain calm and keep heated discussions under control.
  • Mediation is beneficial to children because not only will both parents be less hostile and stressed in their every-day life, but children will also see that their parents are able to communicate and work through their differences in a calm and mature fashion. This will teach them important lessons on how to behave in difficult situations with peers.

Is Divorce Mediation Effective?

Mediation is a great way to solve important issues while avoiding the hassle of the courtroom. If you have unresolved issues even after mediation, you can decide to go to court to settle a few minor issues rather than a whole slew of problems that would further delay the legal process.

Knowing what issues are most important to settle in mediation will increase the effectiveness of your meetings. For more information on how to prepare for mediation, click here. (Link to “How Should I Prepare for Mediation?”)

Divorce mediation is not a replacement for seeking legal advice from an experienced family law attorney such as Brad Crider of Crider Family Law. Consider consulting with your attorney to find out if divorce mediation is right for you and let Brad begin helping you prepare for divorce mediation today.

What is Parenting Time?

In the event of a divorce where children are involved, a judge will grant one or both parents primary “legal decision-making rights” (also referred to as custody rights) based on the best interest of the children. The courts generally believe it is best for a child to have both parents share parenting rights and responsibilities and be actively involved in their child’s lives. However, some cases require that one parent have primary custody rights and the other parent be allowed limited parenting time. Previously referred to as “visitation”, parenting time is the term most often used to indicate how often and to what degree the non-custodial parent can spend time with their children in the process and aftermath of parental separation and divorce.

The amount of parenting time the mother and father receive is determined by several factors. While mediation and court interference may not be necessary if both parents come to a mutual agreement, the court must still review the desired parenting plan to ensure that the safety and well-being of the child are not at risk by granting either parent certain legal rights. If there is abuse in the home or either parent has been criminally convicted, for example, proof must be shown that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with that parent. Special needs and other medical problems are also determining factors of a child’s parental involvement and living circumstances. If you have concerns about your child custody rights and privileges, you should consult a trained legal professional like Brad Crider who can get you and your children the rights you deserve.

The age of each child is also taken into account when determining parenting time privileges. If, for instance, a child is very young, the courts generally allow short, frequent visits rather than extended overnight stays with the non-custodial parent. As children become older, it may be necessary to change the agreed upon parenting time schedule. Even if both parents voluntarily agree to a change in the agreement, it is important to request the change be made by court order so that it can be enforced by law.

When it comes to providing for the needs of your children, each family circumstance is unique and the terms of your custody agreement are significant. Let Brad Crider help protect the safety and well-being of you and your children. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side that is ready to fight for your rights and privileges will make a difference in determining your children’s future.

Changing My Child Support

After the divorce is finalized and child custody agreements are settled, often times the circumstances of one or both parents change. In such cases, it is possible and usually necessary for the existing child support agreement to be changed. According to Arizona law, “Any order for child support may be modified or terminated on a showing of changed circumstance that is substantial and continuing…” A.R.S. 25-503(E). If you believe your change in circumstance warrants a modification in the child support order, you should consult a family law attorney who can adequately determine if you are entitled to a child support modification.

Some common examples of circumstances that warrant a child support modification include the loss of a job, a significant increase or decrease in income, acquisition of another dependent or having another child, the onset of a disability, or a change in health insurance coverage. When any of these occur, it is important to act quickly to expedite the process. Be sure to document the significant change to appeal to the courts. If you are aware of any of these changes in the life of the parent with whom you share the child support order, be sure to contact your Crider Law attorney to help you through the process every step of the way. Your child is entitled to the best care and support they can receive, and we’ll help ensure your child receives it.

In some cases, provisions may be made for the child support order to be reviewed every three years without prior evidence of “substantial and continuing” change in circumstance. To determine the best course of action for your individual needs, consult Brad Crider, an experienced family law attorney. He will evaluate the needs of your family and determine the best options for you.

Supporting a Friend Through Divorce

All legal consequences of divorce aside, it is important to remember that divorce is an extremely emotional time for all parties involved. The loss of a partner is difficult and the grief of the separation can be manifest similarly to how one grieves after the death of a loved one. Even if your friend was the instigator of the divorce, they are still going to feel alone if they do not have a good support system to turn to.

Listening to your friend’s concerns may be all it takes, but more than likely they will need healthy distractions and a good friend to make sure they get back on their feet. There is nothing you can do to fix the situation. Try to actively listen and be patient with them. Regularly invite your friend to do enjoyable one-on-one activities with you like camping, running, fishing, or rock climbing. If you see signs of excessive drinking or drug use as coping methods, suggest helpful professional resources to them like a good therapist or family law attorney. Unless you are a therapist, try not to diagnose a friend’s symptoms as depression or anxiety. Everyone handles stress and loss differently, so the safest and quickest way to recovery is professional guidance.

A friend going through divorce may turn to you now more than they ever have before. It is important for you to let them know that you want to listen, help, and support them through it. Not only will your friend need emotional support, but they may have a hard time completing regular tasks without the partnership of their spouse. Wherever possible,s offer to help your friend take care of housekeeping, landscaping, errands, and maintenance issues they may not have the motivation or time for. When children are involved, be mindful of the children’s needs and offer to help in whatever way you can. Creating a support group of friends and family members for a divorcee will ease their burden and ensure that your personal life does not suffer from trying to balance the burdens of your loved ones.

Work-Life Balance

When you are going through a divorce, your personal life is often very unstable. It can be difficult to balance your emotional and physical well-being while maintaining your reputation as a business professional and a responsible parent. To avoid becoming overwhelmed by your added responsibilities, here are some tips to maintain the balance between your personal and professional life and avoid jeopardizing your career.

Keep it Private

While you may want to vent to co-workers about your frustrations, it really won’t help in the long run. If anything, it will only distract you and your co-workers from the work that needs to be done. Sharing your personal life with close friends is encouraged, but the workplace is not the appropriate setting to discuss your divorce. You should however talk to your boss privately to explain that while you are going through a personal matter, it will not affect your work ethic or your attitude in the workplace. Your boss can then help hold you accountable to that commitment.


Do your best to keep work at work and your personal life at home. Try not to make personal calls to your lawyer or your ex while at the office. Likewise, try not to run reports and make business calls while at home. Staying focused on your job while at work will increase your productivity and might even give you more time to take care of personal matters after hours. When you walk into the office, leave your personal problems at the door. You can pick them up when you leave for the day.

Use Time Off Wisely

You may have to take some time off to attend court hearings or pick up your children from various activities. The divorce process can take up to a year to finalize, so save those sick and vacation days for times when you need to take care of divorce matters. Working as much as you can during this time period will help keep your mind off the grief. It will also ensure you have more income to take care of yourself and your children.

Take Care of Yourself

The emotional turmoil of divorce can often lead to a lack of motivation. It is important that you keep up healthy habits such as proper diet and exercise, hygiene and housekeeping, and household budgeting. Staying on top of these things will prevent you from quickly becoming overwhelmed with your responsibilities in the home. Get enough sleep so you have enough energy to function well at work.

Most importantly, don’t forget to have a little fun. Cherish the time you get to spend with your children and make time for friends and family on the weekends. Occasionally reward yourself with “you-time” by doing something you love.