How A Divorce Attorney Approaches Cultural and Religious Factors in Mediation

Research suggests that married couples with religious, spiritual, and cultural differences among individuals are more common today than before.

These relationships defy traditional norms. In the event that the relationship comes to an end, an expert in non-traditional divorce can help non-traditional marriages and families transition more seamlessly into their next chapter. 

“Our Religious Landscape Study found that almost four-in-ten Americans (39%) who have married since 2010 have a spouse who is in a different religious group. By contrast, only 19% of those who wed before 1960 report being in a religious intermarriage.” — Interfaith marriage is common in U.S., particularly among the recently wed, Pew Research Center

Religious and cultural differences can be sources of passionate debate in divorce negotiations. Traditional divorce proceedings can rile up the intensity, as each side “digs their heels” in while represented by separate attorneys, who each advocate solely for the best interests of the party they represent, often at the expense of the other party.

Empowering Your Authentic Self

For some, religious, spiritual, and cultural differences were the sources of insurmountable conflicts that contributed to the decision to end their marriage. For others, one or both parties may have felt that their marriage did not allow them to fully express their beliefs, or that their marriage created a dynamic where they felt pressured to compromise. 

In the traditional route of divorce, It is not necessarily the job of a judge or divorce lawyer to bridge the religious, spiritual, and cultural differences between you and your future-ex. In mediation, former litigation lawyer turned Master Mediator Colleen McNamee empowers individuals to uphold their religious, spiritual, and cultural convictions while privately achieving mutually acceptable solutions, avoiding the public scrutiny of litigation and the risk of court interventions that may not rule in mutual best interests.

Divorce mediation is an opportunity to affirm your authentic self in all aspects. McNamee Mediations uses renowned and proven techniques to de-escalate and avoid hostility, fostering a safe and inclusive space for individuals to voice their diverse opinions and perspectives in a respectful and constructive manner.

Spousal Support, Child Support, Division Of Assets & More

Religious and cultural beliefs can be the source of differing opinions in regards to money and financial aspects of divorce, such as spousal support, child support, division of property, and division of business assets.

Certain religions or cultures have specific norms and expectations based on the gender of each individual, especially in cisgender, heterosexual marriages. For instance, one party may automatically expect the other to uphold a “breadwinner” role and strongly advocate to receive spousal support, child support, property, or assets. That same party may have, or claim to have, sacrificed their own earning potential to fulfill a homemaking role dictated by their or their spouse’s religious or cultural beliefs. 

A mediator, as a neutral third-party, can help couples objectively evaluate and justify financial amounts, ensuring that the assessment is fair and free from bias. 

California divorce laws consider community property to include: anything you earned while married; anything you bought with the income you earned while married; any debt you incurred while married. However, if spouses do not have a prenuptial agreement and mutually consent to dividing community property outside of the default 50/50, a mediator can guide them through negotiating and drafting terms for either a postnuptial agreement or the settlement. 

Estate Planning

Different religions and cultures have different beliefs and notions about death, which happens to be one of the most important and yet overlooked topics in both marriage and divorce. 

Estate planning is the legal management of one’s wishes in regards to their assets, possessions, healthcare, legacy, guardianship, and other topics in the event of their death or incapacitation. 

Divorce mediation guides clients to make informed decisions about the process of updating beneficiary designations for retirement accounts or plans, and modifying life insurance policies, powers of attorney, or healthcare directives. 

Custody & Co-Parenting 

Child custody decides the “rights and responsibilities of the parents for taking care of the children.” Physical custody refers to where the children primarily reside, as well as the visitation of the non-custodial parent. Legal custody involves the rights and responsibilities of parents to make decisions about the children’s welfare, including their healthcare, education, and other important matters. 

When it comes to religious, spiritual, and cultural factors, physical custody includes decisions about where the children will celebrate and spend birthdays and religious and major holidays. Legal custody determines if and how children will be raised according to religious, spiritual, or cultural rituals. In A Family Law Mediator’s Guide to Successful Co-Parenting Plans, McNamee Mediations explains why it is best to discuss holiday scheduling during mediation to ensure future clarity and to avoid conflicts during joyous times. 

McNamee Mediations supports families of all religious and cultural backgrounds in achieving swift, private divorce settlement.

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