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Planning your Divorce Part II: Living in an Expensive City and Using Mediation to Plan Your Exit

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. If you have any questions about your individual situation it is best to seek the advice of an experienced legal professional.

Here’s a scene from twenty-first century life that many are all too familiar with. You’re thinking of divorcing. You want to exit stage left, but you live with your spouse in a city where property prices are high, and rent even exceeds the average mortgage (think San Diego, New York, Boston or the Bay Area). You may have kids, or you may not. You and your spouse may not have a high collective income. Whatever your income, the cost of where you live (and expenses like childcare and a college fund if you have kids) means you can’t afford sudden changes in income. Imagine also that your spouse earns significantly more or less than you. If they earn less, they might be in a transitional stage like pursuing a college degree or nurturing an early stage business. You want to support them and make sure they’re OK, but your marriage is clearly over.

Because your situation is unique, there is no one size fits all solution. For most people, it isn’t possible to skip out of your marriage easily without leaving a mess behind. In our divorce mediation practice, we often work with people who have complex personal and financial lives, including income inequity between partners, or an income to costs ratio that requires delicate budgeting. We are financial experts who also bring psychoanalytical nuance to divorce negotiations.

Don’t Walk Out On Your Spouse, But Do Make the Process More Efficient

In a city like San Diego where costs are steep, the job market is thriving but educational barriers to entry can be high, your financial equilibrium can be fragile. You may be responsible for a less well-off spouse for at least a short duration of time after a marriage. The following are some reasons why just walking out on your marriage usually isn’t an option (but mediation can make the process more efficient):

  • What you share – It’s not always clear what is marital property and what isn’t. Say for example one partner started a business before the marriage but had help from their spouse. Or one partner brought debt into the marriage. Mediation can help you determine how to identify, value and agree upon the distribution of property you accumulated during the marriage
  • Not losing out in an expensive property market – Failing to plan if you own or rent property can lead to big losses: for example losing a place with affordable rent if you both can’t agree on who takes it, or holding on to property rather than making the most of the market. Mediation can help you agree on a strategy for getting the best out of these variables.
  • A plan for the kids – The kid’s college fund, daily living expenses and much more can be affected by a hasty exit from a marriage, whether due to poor planning or the costs of unnecessary litigation. Not to mention the emotional costs of easing the transition for kids. As mediators with psychoanalytical expertise, BCS can help you determine how to work together to do the best for your kids
  • Ready availability of cash, and tax considerations – Liquidity and credit can be a big problem in divorce if partner’s credit histories are entangled or one partner earns significantly less. Especially if one partner owns a business, the changes divorce brings need to be carefully planned for.
  • Negotiating shared space if you need to live with each other – Unfortunately partners may often need to figure out how to get along in the space even after they’ve decided to divorce, if it isn’t yet financially viable for one partner to move out. Mediation can make negotiating this difficult situation easier.

Who We Are and How We Can Help

We are caring, well-educated mediators who are skilled in applied financial mathematics, the law psychoanalysis, and game theory. We strive to efficiently comprehend your situation and its opportunities for sustainable and agreeable resolution. This may include a review of your parenting plan, spousal support calculations, community property equalization, settlement agreement, and all other aspects of your case. We can either confidentially present you with a private analysis, or mediate the conflict with both of you until resolved. Any resolution you come to will be informed by a deeper analysis of the conflict that can be psychoanalytic and/or more financially-focused. Conflict analysis can result in a more optimized understanding of the net community property, which adds value to the overall estate, benefiting you both. The sooner you can resolve your conflict, the sooner you can begin to craft a sustainable future for you and your children. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives, and we often work with individuals from several cultures and countries, dealing with the national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. If you are looking to radically rethink your space after divorce or negotiate your existing space with an ex spouse or co-parent, our partners at 3 Riverz Creative use phenomenology to rethink spaces creatively for wellbeing. You can visit us at our offices in Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and San Diego, CA. We can also be reached by Telephone, Zoom or Facetime. We are available 7 days a week and at urgent notice. Please contact us to see how we can help.

Read more on this topic:

https://www.glamour.com/story/how-to-prepare-for-divorce

https://www.forbes.com/sites/catherineschnaubelt/2019/03/01/preparing-for-divorce-first-get-organized/#4f1b780c5926

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