Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mediation in South Carolina - Is it right for you?

Family court mediation involves a third party mediator who meets with and assists couples in reaching an agreement regarding any domestic disputes they may be having. Many counties in South Carolina require mediation in any contested family court case, such as divorce, child custody, property division or alimony. The mediator’s role is not to decide what is best for the parties, but to facilitate discussion and dialog between the parties to help them work through the issues and hopefully reach an agreement. The mediator is there to listen and assist the parties in their decision making. However, the parties are the ones who decide what their agreement will be. The mediator can meet with the parties in the same room or can travel back and forth between the parties, whichever the parties are most comfortable with. The amount of time that it takes to mediate a can depends on the parties comfort level and the issues involved.

Certified mediators undergo training before attempting mediation. You can verify the mediator’s certification before you start the process. Meeting with a mediator to discuss the issues that need to be resolved with your spouse can also be therapeutic, as often times, this is the best chance many people have for getting both personal and legal issues heard. It can be helpful for both parties to listen to the other’s point of view, especially if there are children or custody is an issue. Often times when dealing with a divorce the parties are so winning or being right, that they lose sight of the big picture, their children. No matter how the case ends, if there are children, the parties will have to find a way to share their time. As mediation can make the court process a lot less stressful and scary for any children involved, this alone can make mediation a more attractive alternative.

Mediation can be a more economical and amicable solution to resolve family law matters such as child custody, property division, and alimony. It’s always worth a try to consider mediation if you feel willing to compromise with your spouse to settle your legal disputes. Some reasonable give and take is necessary for mediation to work. However, mediation is not right for all family law cases, such as cases where there is domestic abuse or one or both of the parties are unwilling to compromise for the purpose of settlement. In these instances, mediation is rarely effective or worthwhile.

When meeting with a mediator, be prepared to list all the pending issues, as well as what you are willing to compromise. Finding a common ground with your spouse is the ultimate goal of mediation. Finding an attorney who is also a mediator can be even more helpful. The attorney is likely able to put any agreement reached in writing to be used in court when the parties finalize their case. Remember, mediation gives the parties way more control that the court system ever will. One of the advantages of mediation is the satisfaction of agreeing to a settlement versus being told what you will be required to do. So if you feel that you and your spouse may be able to compromise, give mediation a try. If it is clear that you don’t see eye to eye, a divorce attorney is probably the best option.

If you have or are are considering a family law or domestic case in South Carolina, contact a Mediator or Attorney today for advice specific to your case.

M. Rita Metts is a licensed Attorney and Certified Family Court Mediator with more than 15 years of Family Law experience, including divorce, custody, alimony, etc. For more information visit the website at, email, or call 803-929-0577.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Reasons to use an Experienced and Dedicated Family Law Attorney in South Carolina

If you live in South Carolina and you are going through a divorce you need to hire professional staff because you will need legal advice. Hiring an experienced and dedicated attorney is the best option if you are looking at paying alimony, fighting for child custody, and much more. There are five grounds for divorce in this state, as well as jurisdictional and venue requirements.

When you hire a family law attorney for a child custody issue you are making a good decision. There are muliple factors that courts look at when considering custody which an attorney can help you with. The court process can be very stressful on children as well as the parties. When you use a professional staff experienced with divorce they can help you understand the court process and advise you of your rights throughout the entire process.

When you are going through a divorce you may have problems with mediation and agreeing to certain things in the divorce like the amount of money you have to pay or should receive for alimony and child support. You might feel you deserve custody also. Mediation is when you will sit with a court appointed professional staff that will try and make the both of you come to agreements about the divorce. Mediation is required in many South Carolina counties in divorce, child custody cases, alimony and property division, as well and other states around the nation. An attorney can help you work through agreements and possibly bypass the mediation process in the courts. Alternately if you hire an attorney who also a certified mediator, you get the benefits of both legal advise and/or mediation services, depending on your needs.

Hiring a family law attorney can help you come to agreements with your spouse during the divorce process. You do not want to fight and be bitter through the process because it can cause you to lose rights. However, if one of the parties is impossible to work with then the judge may recognize this. An attorney can help make the process more fair when it comes to alimony payments and if you even have to pay anything, child support and visitation and more.

Consulting with an experienced attorney when you are going through a divorce, legal separation, child custody, child support, adoption, alimony or property division in South Carolina is the best option you can chose. You need to consider a family law attorney because the entire process can be too stressful to endure on your own and you may lose valuable grounds by waiting. The consultation allows you to gather sufficient information to protect your family and find out your rights. Finding an experienced and dedicated attorney will help you ensure the outcome is fair and at the best interest of the child. An attorney can help you calculate alimony payments if you should have to pay them, get the most time in visitation or even full custody, and help with mediation. You need a professional staff to work with you through the entire process. Itcan even help to speed up the entire process by coming to agreements with the other party.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Divorce Lawyer

In the unlikely event you have to retain the services of a divorce lawyer, ensure they have adequate experience and you can rely on them. If this happens you will need an attorney where at least fifty percent of their work in this area and unless you're expecting problems, preferably one trained in divorce mediation who practices it professionally. Still, you also need to feel at ease with them; someone who immediately instills a sense of trust.
Attorneys that tend to follow the mediation route are good at giving settlement advice but you may need an attorney who is more familiar with courtroom settlements. To save time, always ensure you know exactly what you are going to say to your divorce lawyer and what questions you need answered.

Plan each conversation by making an agenda and write down the things you want to talk about; take notes on the content of the conversation and the amount of time spent on phone calls. Physical meetings will cost more so if an item can be dealt with by mail or on the phone this will save money.

Your divorce attorney is just a resource for legal matters so do not try to get them personally involved as that is not their function; if you need emotional support there are others who can help with this. Try not to involve you divorce lawyer with any tales of bickering that you and your ex-partner are involved in that are not directly pertinent to the divorce.

The most important aspect for you to get sorted out is the control of the situation which should be yours and then you will be able to use your lawyer more effectively. Your legal representative must be told up front that while his or her advice is essential, all decisions regarding the divorce will be made by you. You must also let them know that you expect copies of all correspondence to be sent to you for you own records and if you contact them by phone, you expect a reply within one working day.

Not all cases need a courtroom to be decided upon so you could employ a lawyer just to help you with a marital settlement, legal information or advice. For someone taking this route, it is only important that you approach a lawyer to have certain aspects explained once you have carried out you own research. Divorce lawyers can draw up or assist with marital settlements their clients have drawn up themselves, but in this scenario, if things awry at least you will have someone who is familiar with your case.
About the author: Tab Solon is an independent website builder who owns and runs mainly news sites on various topics such as and

Men v. Women: Who does better in a divorce?

While the walk down the aisle ends in marital bliss for many couples, for an equal number the end of the aisle is a place far, far away from happily ever after. People who divorce often do so in eager anticipation of reclaiming their lost independence, forgotten autonomy and an identity lost during the course of the marriage.

Upon divorce, a couple's marital property, property acquired by the two during the course of their marriage, is divided up according to the applicable state law. Parties may divide and settle their property 50/50 or in some other arrangement depending upon the given laws. The hope is that the parties are treated fairly.

But even in a situation where all the assets are divided 50/50, divorced women may find that a seemingly fair settlement is still far from equitable. Women are typically awarded custody of the children. Because our predominant social values suggest that children are best situated with their mothers, women often do the lion's share of child rearing in divorced families, even in shared custody cases.

Any parent who has ever fought a custody battle knows that child care responsibilities are a privilege, not a burden. Unfortunately, most divorce settlements fail to account for the damaged future earning potential of a woman with child care responsibilities. Since mothers usually take some time away from their careers, and since women still earn slightly less than men, it is fair to say that most women, even prior to divorce, have lower earning power than their male spouses.

The problem of lower earning power is exacerbated by child care responsibilities. They reduce a woman's available work hours, thereby making it more difficult for her to increase her income through promotions, client cultivation and so forth. This marked reduced earning capacity is not factored into a divorce, since settlements focus on dividing marital property.

Ultimately, the overall economic quality of a man's life, based on earnings and amount spent on living expenses, increases after his divorce. He continues to earn more but bears fewer family expenses. The overall economic quality of a woman's life, post-divorce, decreases.

Of course, both parents are expected and legally required to contribute to the cost of raising their children, but the law still does not provide a mechanism to compensate a woman for the earning potential she has lost based on her decisions to marry and have children. Women often opt for careers that they feel will be more conducive to motherhood, working lower paying jobs because of the fewer hours they require.

A difficulty in reforming marital property laws to compensate these women lies in the fact that many women, even in today's modern world, make career decisions based almost entirely on their family plans. Thus, a college professor who might have become a successful businesswoman had her family plans been different, has no way to show a court her lost earning potential. Her decision to take a lower paying job cannot be weighed by the court, since there is no real evidence of material economic damage.

The objective of a divorce court is to give each party what he or she fairly deserves based on their earnings during marriage. It is next to impossible to factor the broad social pressures that shape women's career decisions into a given divorce settlement.

Legal scholars must either find a way to assess the lost earning power of the female spouse, or women as a collective must find a way to have their families and make honest career decisions too. The Medieval Period may be long gone from our history, but there are still some remnants of the dark age of divorce law at work in our courts today.

The Author: Corie Lynn Rosen

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Essential parts in separation agreements

It is vital to keep in mind that even though a separation agreement can be a very potent document it cannot end a marriage; a divorce is the only thing that can end a marriage. However they can work together, while a divorce will end the marriage the agreement can take care of the particulars.
Or, it can be used on its own so that a divorce can come later, or not at all. Some separated couples get back together or remain apart but never actually terminate their marriage with a divorce.

Filing the agreement is sometimes done with a divorce but usually done when one party needs help enforcing it. It does not need to be filed with the court to be legal as long as it is correctly signed.

Some provinces cannot enforce certain terms of the agreement unless both spouses have had independent legal advice (from a lawyer) or sign a waiver of independent legal advice witnessed by a lawyer before signing the agreement. It is always smart to have a lawyer take a look at the agreement before signing it.

Make sure your spouse gets independent legal advice too. This can prevent him or her from later asking a court to overturn it on the grounds that he or she did not understand what he or she was signing.

The care and financial support of children, spousal support, and division of property and debt. These are the main issues that need to be taken care of in a separation agreement. If you do not have one or any of these issues to deal with then the agreement will be easier to make.

The crucial aspects of a separation agreement that you need to know are: 1. to understand what an agreement can and cannot do; 2. to make sure that it is signed correctly after receiving independent legal advice; and 3. to make sure it deals with the important issues of children, income and property.

About the Author
James MacKenzie
This writer suggests that you visit for additional hints on a separation agreement.

The Family Law Attorney is helpful to settle Things over

Ann Arbor, December 2008 - "Bitter words and harsh times can create even more uncomfortable, awkward and very tense situations or environments for the parties involved and even for those around them. Having a professional who can help to fix these situations and draft and create fair, just settlements for divorced couples can be invaluable to these couples as they go through the divorce process" says Mr. Robert Dawid of
Speaking about Family Law Attorneys, Mr. Robert Dawid said "Strangely, when one thinks of a Family Law Attorney, they often think of those lawyers we have seen on television that have sinister ideas and intricate plots to destroy the lives of their opponents. What one will discover if they spend any time at all with any Attorney is that this is simply not the case. The vast majority of Attorneys are committed to discovering what is fair and implementing a settlement that reflects this. A Family Law Attorney is not interested in taking a bad situation and making it worse. This does not benefit them at all and goes against the sense of fairness and equality that they fight to protect. A family should never go through a divorce alone, without the counsel of a professional to guide them through what can become ugly situations and hard times."

He added, "If there are children involved in the divorce, these situations can become bitter messes from the very beginning. Former couples sometimes spend countless dollars and a great deal of time trying to decide who is going to have custody of their children after their divorce. What is often forgotten in situations such as these is: what is best for the children? A Family Law Attorney will bring their expertise in these situations and past experiences in similar cases in helping the family decide what is best for the children. Many families face the unpleasant requirement of putting their children through a messy divorce when the parents cannot get along or stay married to each other any longer. When divorce seems inevitable, the parents will usually fight often, be miserable and create tense situations inside the home, which their children often pick up on. So, getting divorced may be the best thing for the children in some cases, as nobody wants their children to grow up in these circumstances."

Speaking on the move, Mr. Robert Dawid said, "A messy divorce, however, will often create the very thing the parents were trying to avoid, a tense and uncomfortable situation for their children. Having a Family Law Attorney to help the parents through these troubled times will help to smooth the situation and create a fair and calm environment for the children"

About For legal advice or consultation regarding bankruptcy, is the best place to look for in this planet. The advantage of approaching for legal help is that the initial consultation is completely free.

For more info, visit

Robert A. Dawid Attorney at Law Robert A. Dawid, PLLC 122 South Main Street, Suite 353 Ann Arbor, MI 48102 (734)277-2567 (734)769-8284-Fax

Should You Hire an Attorney for Your Divorce?

I'm sure you expect me to say "yes". I am an attorney after all. And guess what? You're going to be right.

Lots of people hesitate to hire an attorney because they feel that we make things worse - not better. They worry that a lawyer will add conflict and make things worse. That's sometimes true.

But generally, I think we bring a lot to the table. We have the training and skills to make things go more smoothly. Most importantly, we know the danger zones and can help you avoid making expensive mistakes.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when they don't have a lawyer -

Mistake Number 1 - They forget to divide assets - they may not even realize there is an asset to divide. The most commonly overlooked asset is the retirement plan - especially pension plans that do not have an account balance and will not pay out any money for a long time. Sometimes these are the most valuable things a family owns and they don't get divided.

Mistake Number 2 - Some assets require a special process to be divided. With the pension plans I mentioned earlier, I've seen lots of mistakes. Some people, for example, suggest that they will divide the plan by borrowing against it. Big mistake. There are much better ways to divide the plan using special federal laws that make the division a tax free transfer. That's just one example of an asset with a special process for division. There are others.

Mistake Number 3 - You may draft a document that is unenforceable. Some people fail to do what they agreed to do. When that happens the document needs to be binding and enforceable. There are right ways and wrong ways to draft these documents and you need to be sure it's done properly.

Mistake Number 4 - You may assume that property division is required to be 50/50. That's not always the case. In many instances property can be divided in some way other than an equal split and you might have been the beneficiary.

Finally, Mistake Number 5 - This is the biggie. When you don't have an attorney you fail to take advantage of years of experience from someone that has done this many times before. I've been a Raleigh divorce lawyer for more than twenty years. I've learned that there is a sense of security in knowing that you have someone on the team that can guide you and help you be objective and rational. Having that person on board, and trusting their advice, helps you reach agreement faster and with less anxiety and stress.

I always like to ask for help from someone that has done it before not matter what I am doing. I get help when I go backpacking, when I buy a house, when I make decisions about raising my kids. Divorce is difficult. This is the right time to get some help.

If you are worried about a lawyer taking things in a direction you don't like then remember who's the boss. You are hiring the lawyer. You get to make the calls. You are the decision maker because you are the one that has to live with the divorce settlement after it's all over. You are the decision maker - not your lawyer.

Get the help and advice you need and manage your lawyer so that things are handled in the manner you wish to have them handled. Again, you are the boss. After all, you're the one paying the bills.

Speaking of paying the bills - you may have some anxiety about legal fees. You may not have cash available right now due to the expense of separation. This is a time to seek help. I've had clients go to parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends and get financial help. I've had clients get bank loans, credit card advances and 401(k) loans to get through this period. There are options. Talk them through with your lawyer.

This is a tough time - maybe the toughest thing you will go through. Get a lawyer on your team - someone you trust and can count on to help you through the process. One way to get to know a lawyer better is through their website especially if it offers a video that gives you a sense of the lawyer before you commit to a meeting.

Arthor: Lee S. Rosen is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist and founder of Rosen Divorce in North Carolina. Rosen Divorce is the largest divorce firm in the Southeastern United States. For more information visit

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Domestic Problems?

Families comes in all shapes andsizes. Therefore, it is difficult to develop laws to resolve all legal issues involving the family. For this reason, family laws regarding divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and property division are complex in nature and Family laws are hence quite complex in nature and difficult for the average individual to follow and comprehend. Family law covers all aspects of domestic issues between parents, children, husbands, wives and domestic partners. Laws vary from place to place and courts consider different factors in their decision making.

If you have questions regarding a family law or domestic matter, a family lawyer then help is just a click away. Call as early in the process as possible to avoid losing a much needed advantage. It is worth the consultation fee. A family law attorney can help you with your family issues like divorce, legal separation, alimony, domestic violence, child custody, child support, division of marital property and debts, etc. Many attorneys are also certified mediators and can provide you with mediation support if you and your family would like to try to reach an agreement on the issues through negotiation. A mediator is a third party who can assist you and your family in reaching a joint resolution to the problems.