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Jane Iddings
I practiced family law in California for many years before becoming a divorce mediator. I have a J.D. from the University of California at Davis Law School and a M.S.W. (Social Work) from the University of Michigan.
Recent Activity
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Certainly not as grownups Political cartoonist David Fitzsimmons says it all - Washington politicians are not grown up grownups. Would a grown up politician make a pledge that twenty years later he still won't change even though the times have changed? It really is unbelievable. We all know that we... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Let's talk . . . here and in the two preceding posts . . . Spousal support is the most contentious divorce issue there is. Not only does no one want to pay it, it's difficult to compute; it brings up all kinds of painful emotions; and it is almost always hard to fund, i.e., hard to figure out where the money is going to come from to now support two households. In California we have laws on the books that tell us spousal support can be ordered for a while (maybe half the length of the marriage) or "permanently",... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Trapped What I'm addressing in this post and in the last one "What Are Some Wives Feeling?" is the universal fear, resentment, and anger about paying spousal support. Most parents don't resent paying child support. But spousal support? Once the marriage is over, neither spouse wants to continue being financially responsible for the "ex." If both spouses have been working and can be self-supporting, then there is no need for support. But if one spouse did not work, then that spouse is going to need to be supported until he or she can become self-supporting. Why hasn't the spouse been... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Over It! And what is the "It"? The "It" is supporting their non-working husbands. For the last couple years a good share of my divorce mediation clients have been couples in which the wives are teachers, nurses, and managers who have been supporting their non-working husbands for more years than they care to do. The husbands lost their jobs for a myriad of reasons including the economy, employers re-locating out of the area, down-sizing businesses, obsolete skills, and failure to change with the times. Understandably, for the husbands it's absolutely horrible to be unemployed. It's absolutely horrible to job hunt.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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They split up. But why then? Why during the holidays or shortly thereafter? Is it because we grow up with unrealistic expectations about the holidays? When our expectations aren't met, we're not only disappointed in the holidays, some of us are also facing the reality that we're disappointed in our relationship as well. Other possible factors: Dreary weather Alcohol or drug abuse Unemployment Lack of money to pay holiday expenses Not wanting to go into the New Year with an unsatisfactory relationship Anticipating lack of money to pay taxes Does this apply to you? If you're thinking about splitting up... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Doesn't look like it. Joseph Heller's political cartoon in The Christian Science Monitor says it all. Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Consider the options Once you know that you and your spouse are going separate ways, the next big question is this: how are you going to get divorced? There are several processes you can choose from: Litigation with adversarial divorce lawyers Collaboration with non-adversarial lawyers Do-it-yourself or DIY Mediation with a 3rd party neutral Elsewhere on this blog I've written posts about the problems with adversarial divorce lawyers so you can read them to learn about the pitfalls of this choice. Collaboration is an out-of-court process utilizing a team of non-adversarial experts including lawyers, divorce coaches, child experts, and certified... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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There's a free, easy-to-use online calculator One of the biggest and most feared problems in a divorce is figuring out child and spousal support: how much will it be? who will pay it? for how long? You don't have to wonder; there is an answer. The State of California provides a free, easy-to-use online calculator that you can use to compute temporary child and spousal support. In mediation, these can also be used as a starting place in your discussion about on-going or "permanent" support. Wanna give it a try? Click here Hint: to calculate temporary spousal support, select "Alameda"... Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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By having an affair A few blog posts ago I wrote about sexual immaturity. One way this manifests is by committing the unthinkable: risking one's marriage, career, and reputation for illicit sex. Today General Petraeus, one of our country's most famous Army four-star generals and currently the director of the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Demographically speaking, that is As Columbo might have said . . . I'm just thinking . . . this is a democracy. Shouldn't the elected officials reflect who we are demographically? For instance, let's look at gender. Men are approximately 50% of the population; women are the other 50%. That... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Fairness Most couples choose "fairness" as their standard for making the important financial decisions they need to make in dividing up the marital pie. The problem is that "fairness" like beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If one spouse had an affair, the other spouse may want a larger share of the pie to make up for the betrayal. "It's only fair." Another spouse may have had a larger share of the pie during the marriage and now the other spouse wants to even the division. "It's only fair." Yet another spouse may have greater separate resources including... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Both Spouses! Does this look familiar? Maybe at home, but you won't see this in divorce mediation. The role of the divorce mediator is to make sure that both spouses are heard. This is important because many times in a marriage one spouse dominates the conversation - in fact, it's a monologue instead of a dialogue. Not so in mediation. The mediator helps both spouses to participate in their important decision-making conversations. After all, in mediation the spouses make their own choices, their own decisions. Not a judge, not the mediator, but the spouses. Here's another way to say it:... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Inclusivity Works Everyone is relieved the 2012 campaign is over. Now it's time to read the tea leaves to see what we can learn from this experience. For those who are paying attention, it is evident that the demographics of the United States have drastically changed. President Obama's successful bid... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Moving When the family physically splits up, the reality of divorce can't be denied. Whether one spouse moves out to make a new home or both move out to make new homes, the result is the same: raw pain. This is part of the emotional divorce for the spouse/parents and the children. Unfortunately, this pain is often compounded by the spouses not figuring out ahead of time how they're going to support two households on incomes that may previously had difficulty supporting one household. Thus, this becomes an urgent problem to solve in the first mediation. Here's how some people... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Electric cars, of course! We've all seen the horrendous lines in New York and New Jersey of car owners desperate for gasoline. Some car owners weren't there: electric car owners. If their cars physically survived Hurricane Sandy and if they have power, they are good to go. Cars include the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Yes, but only with intellectual and emotional maturity American Indians have had a tradition of making decisions that will benefit not just the present generation, but the future generations as well. It's called the 7th Generation concept. Hurricanes Irene and Sandy have made it clear that extreme weather is the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Yup, and here's a story to prove it Just today I got a phone call from a bruised client who was financially and emotionally gouged by a divorce lawyer who - of all things - was pretending to be a non-adversarial lawyer in a collaborative law case. Here are a few of the injustices he suffered at the hands of his lawyer: He was billed for work not performed He was billed for work the client didn't ask to be done; in fact, the client specifically instructed the lawyer not to do the work The lawyer blew up a critical... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Get out your calculators If you don't like working with numbers or if you generally try to avoid knowing the state of your finances, this will all have to change when you go through a divorce. Why? Because when you get divorced there are often many financial decisions to make. There are mandatory financial forms to fill out, financial documents to decipher, and numbers to crunch. And that's all before the negotiations start to complete the financial divorce: dividing up the assets and debts and determining short and/or long term child and spousal support. The place to begin? Get the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Absolutely! In fact, she goes to the top of the list. At least according to one author, Donald Van de Mark, who wrote a fascinating book about the "19 traits of the most admirable, creative, and joyous people." The book? The Good Among the Great. Interestingly, the people the author... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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It's about the unthinkables Sexual maturity and sexual immaturity are not about being physically sexually mature or immature. Instead they are about how grown up or mature - or not - we are about our sexuality. If we were sexually mature, these immature sexual behaviors would be unthinkable: Rape Sexually... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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By phone or email The first step is always the hardest: making the contact. Even if you do so by email, you and the mediator still need to talk on the phone. Why? Because you need to have the personal contact so you can get comfortable with each other. This is also the time to ask important questions. Just as the mediation sessions have agendas so you know what you're doing, the initial contact also has an agenda: ask and answer questions so everyone is clear about what to expect. The mediator will want to know: If both you and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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To Avoid This! One of the hallmarks of mediation is that the couple agrees on what we call "ground rules." That is, the couple agrees from the very beginning how they're going to behave in the mediation. Why do they need to do this? Well, because the discussions they've tried to have without a third party mediator have usually turned into a meltdown. So they know - and certainly mediators know - that if the couple decides how they're going to behave toward each other and how they're going to proceed with the process of mediation, they are much more... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Here are some major types Intellectual or thinking maturity Emotional or feelings maturity Ethical maturity Social maturity Sexual maturity Spiritual maturity We'll consider each one of these separately in subsequent posts. In the meantime, can you think of any you'd like to add to the list? Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups
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Get some empowering information. That's the best way to prevent yourself from doing something you'll later regret. Maybe you're going in circles, hopelessly lost. Maybe you're drowning in despair or fear. Maybe you're burning with anger. At some point say to yourself: "Enough's enough!" Take a deep breath. Put yourself on "pause." Start thinking about what you're going to do. If you've definitely decided to get divorced, then formulate a plan. Read the recent blog about the 3-in-1 divorce. Take a few steps toward working through these. Read the excellent Nolo books on divorce, such as "How to Do Your... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2012 at Petaluma Mediation
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Need I say more? We all know we're going through another blistering campaign season. Fortunately, November 6th is on the horizon. But why have we been subjected to yet another campaign that looks like this? Let's pretend we have a continuum with "Immature Politician" on one end and "Mature Politician"... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2012 at Growing Up Grownups