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.
As the popular wisdom goes, you can choose who you marry but you can’t choose your in-laws. Much of the time this means putting a brave face on it and tolerating your partner’s parents, showing up to family functions and making an effort to keep things positive, no matter the personalities involved. On the other hand, it’s important to know when you should protect yourself – and your marriage. Sometimes in-laws’ interference is emotional, but too often, it is financial and can seriously hurt one partner in the event of divorce. This kind of interference often happens when family money is involved and there is a financial imbalance in the relationship. Partners can be pressured into rushed prenups or unfair divorces. Sometimes parents can even invite themselves to mediate a divorce or prenup, or are invited by a partner to do so, regardless of how the other feels about it. Even if this is well meaning, it can have far reaching consequences. Though you might feel worried about causing offense, it’s OK to insist that neither your in-laws or your partner’s attorney can be neutral. A partner’s attorney is paid to represent them, and in-laws have personal and family interests at heart. Only a paid professional – ie a mediator – can be neutral. In mediation, a neutral third party is paid to facilitate parties to come to their own agreement. This can be incredibly beneficial for one partner or a relationship dominated by overbearing in-laws. Using mediation you can restore power to yourself and faith in your relationship.
At Boileau Conflict Solutions we often mediate in divorces or prenups where there are power imbalances or external influences like in-laws and family money. If there is a power imbalance, mediation will uncover it, as solutions will be designed to drive towards mutual, not solitary benefit. If you are overwhelmed by the demands of your in-laws, partners or parents, mediation provides a time to slow down the process, so documents can be reviewed in the light of the interests of the couple, and NOT the interests of in-laws or the family bank account.
First, Protect Yourself
- You may feel compelled, but you do not have to sign or agree to anything you don’t want to, or don’t understand. It’s OK to ask for time and choose a neutral process to have your voice heard.
- In mediation you can keep your attorney. Mediation is its own separate process.
- If you are short on money or under time pressure (say if you are due to be married), mediation is cheaper than hiring a lawyer and typically resolves quickly. For parties in an inferior financial position, this can be critical.
- If there are hidden or unconscious interests, mediation can uncover them. At BCS we have psychological and financial expertise that can pin down both the dynamics and the facts of your relationship in an efficient way.
- The goal of mediation is mutual – it is not as easy for self-interest to hide behind a process that is designed to take you into account
Now, Deal with Your In-Laws or Parents
- If your goal is approaching your partner or in-laws with an olive branch, mediation is a more sensitive way of dealing with difficult conflicts
- Using tools such as game theory and psychoanalytical approaches, at BCS mediation can be a way of discovering people dynamics and learning to work with them. This can improve your relationship with your in-laws and your spouse or fiancé.
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. Our specially trained divorce mediator-accountants can also help reveal and investigate the proven financial facts of a divorce to make a full financial appraisal of your divorce and to suggest creative solutions for financial planning after divorce. If you are struggling in your marriage but don’t want to get divorced, we offer marital mediation that helps you resolve conflicts over a variety of issues from parenting, sexuality, finances, careers, family, spirituality, and more. Marital mediation is goal oriented, time limited, and practical, and often results in clearly written agreements that are private, but can also be drafted as postnuptial agreements with legal significance if needed. Our high-level divorce mediation services are tailored to the needs of people with complex lives or divorces that may be difficult or protracted. We work with individuals from several cultures and countries, and can help with national and international relocation issues associated with divorce. You can visit us at our offices in Boulder, CO, Campbell, CA, Irvine, CA and Beverly Hills, 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.