Additional information: My husband and I separated last fall. I have always homeschooled my children (something we both agreed upon). I have a M.S. in Nutrition and up until this past January, I have put my career on hold to homeschool the kids. I think that I have a right to get 50% of our combined earned income as support. I have been home for 14 years nurturing, raising and educating our children. Before doing this, I was earning a good living in my mid-twenties ($55,000/yr). He wants to use a mediator. I am worried that these things won’t be considered and I will be at a financial disadvantage.
Answer: In divorce mediation the issues of one spouse putting their career on hold for the benefit of the children and family is certainly addressed and considered in perspective with all the other issues that need to be addressed. The capabilities of each spouse to earn through employment in the future would also be addressed. Using a lawyer and/or financial advisor during the mediation may be a very helpful approach for you. You would certainly not be in any way disadvantaged financially or otherwise in mediation especially because you seem to have an understanding of what you would like to see happen. During divorce mediation, you and your spouse have the opportunity to come to terms with many of the issues that will occur in the future, the parenting of your children, asset division and finances, in an amicable and civil process, designed to reduce conflict inherent in the divorce process. Any discussions or agreements made during mediation are not final or binding until the full final separation agreement is signed. Before that, you have the opportunity to get all the advice that you need to make sure that the agreement is fair to you and meets the criteria that are important to you. You and your spouse maintain control over the process, the timing and many of the costs. For your children, it is so important that the conflict between you and your spouse not be escalated at this time, which can often happen when couples enter the traditional divorce process. Even teenagers and young adults suffer when their parents become embroiled in a contentious divorce process. Again, it is always encouraged to use attorneys and financial advisors to assist and advise clients during the mediation process. Using these professionals for guidance enables one to make sound financial decisions now that will continue to be so in the future.