Become a Travel Agent – Reap the Benefits

Become a travel agent and capitalize on reaping the benefits of 7 trillion dollar and counting industry. The travel industry is probably the largest in the world and America is in the top 3. The internet continues to literally explode with opportunities and home based businesses really rocket into the limelight.
Air travel has come a long way since its humble beginnings and today it is possible to fly to the farthest corners of the earth without any difficulty whatsoever. More people are being attracted to flying overseas for annual vacations and business travel. If you have landed on this page don’t go away – you can read all about the benefits you will enjoy when you become a travel agent.
Once you take a look at the grand benefits you can avail of when you become a travel agent my guess is there will be no turning back.
A travel agent gets to save as much as 80 percent on travel to several of the world’s finest resorts and travel destinations. General discounts include but are in no way limited to:
• Complimentary upgrades on airlines
• Hotel room discounts
• Hotel room upgrades
• Car rental discounts and upgrades
• Discounted or even complimentary cruises
• Vacation package discounts and benefits
• Earn visits and discounts to theme parks, shows and attractions
• Luxury cruise discounts of up to 70 percent
• Comprehensive training
You could become a travel agent and enjoy familiarization (FAM) trips; supplier offer these trips to travel Professionals to familiarize them with the facilities and gain first hand knowledge about an airline, hotel, travel destination, etc. A travel Professional cannot be an effective sales person if they have never actually experienced the joy of visiting a particular place; flying a particular airline or staying at a particular hotel. This first hand knowledge will help convince clients that the agent is knowledgeable and knows what he or she is talking about.
When you travel a distinct benefit is the fact that suppliers roll out the red carpet for you. They tend to go overboard in convincing you that their hotel or package is the best on the market.
Independent travel agents can avail of tax benefits and you need to check this with a CPA or professional tax authority to get the right information.
Travel Professionals earn travel agent commissions on travel undertaken by clients and self.
You will need to do your research to find a good company to tie up with depending on whether you want to be an independent travel Professional or work with a big travel agency. You will also need a license to become a Certified Travel Professional need to do research on companies who offer independent travel agent.

Improve Your Looks With Beauty Products

Every woman has an innate desire to look good. But not all of us are gifted with good looks. You can look beautiful with just a little help of the vast range of beauty products available these days. They can transform you in no time and you are ready to face the world with a confidence that you never had. Find out more about products to enhance your looks.
Variety of beauty products
There is an enormous variety of cosmetic products available in the fast growing beauty industry. Various kinds of products such as makeup sets, eye shadows, face creams; under eye gels, lipsticks and so on are easily available in the market. You can find 88 color eye shadow palettes in various brands. They are very popular among females as they provide 88 different colors for your eye shadows. Colors play an important part to enhance your looks. You can find many different brands of cosmetics that offer many beauty products. You can also find a range of beauty cosmetics that are available at different prices. You can easily find products that suit your pocket.
Choose the best
Out of the many products available, you should always choose the best quality products. A good makeup set usually has all the necessary skin products required for your face make up. They not only use good quality ingredients but also the ones that are safe for your skin. Good brands make sure that the products have gone through a series of tests to suit every skin type. So you cannot compromise with the quality of the beauty products as it may have adverse effects on your skin. The makeup set that you use should preferably be branded, as cheap and discounted beauty products may cause allergies. Using the right cosmetics can change your entire look and also save your skin from damage.
Right application
It is not only the selection of the right beauty product that is important but also the right way to apply them. Instead of going for discounted beauty products you should go for the ones that have a reputation in the industry. Choose a particular makeup set, keeping in mind a few factors such as your skin tone, your skin type and so on. Also check if you are allergic to any of the ingredients mentioned on the beauty product. You can find many useful tips for the application of these products online. You can also find online stores that sell these beauty cosmetics. Check if they can offer your desired brand of beauty products at affordable rates

Fashionable Home Furniture

Home furniture for fashionable people
It is possible to go for the wooden lawn ornaments to add a touch of class to your home. There is an ongoing joke about the different elements that go into the use of the different elements that perform the work on your products. The garden gnomes have been on the receiving end of terrible jokes on television. They are associated with people for whom fashion is just a spelling. They are also used by middle class people that are desperate to rise up to the class of the modern upper class. It is really a sign of desperation. You can avoid some of these problems when you buy the ornaments for lawns. They are not tacky and yet are durable.
Some people do not just get it. They cannot understand why people do not put things in the garden. For them it is not a good idea to buy anything unless it has a practical purpose. The things that are just there for decorative purposes are not welcome in their homes. These are people that are just incapable of appreciating art. You will find their homes to be plain but practical. They fail to understand that beauty can be illogical in certain situations. You can get the lawn ornament products but some people will never accept that you are getting any sort of benefit from this sort of purchase. It is up to you to change the figures in your favor and buy the things that you like.
The work that goes into decorating your home will be wasted if you do not enjoy the home. The use of the ornaments with wood can make you enjoy the garden more and more. The people that live in the city are starved of greenery. Everything is constructed in concrete and they have such limited living spaces. Anything that can help them to enjoy the garden is most welcome. The wood lawn ornaments add another dimension to their enjoyment. They are winners in all the departments that you look at. This is a great way to look after the home and to extend the living space. It is also said that a good environment can improve the quality of life.
The use of stylish lawn products is meant to improve the look of your home. If this object is not met then you need to move on with due diligence. It is not the case that you have to live in comfortable environments. Your home is your sanctuary and you should do everything in your power to make it as comfortable as possible. You should not limit yourself to things that you can sit in but also the visual elements of the decor. That where the products for the home come into play. They improve the appearance of your home and you could end up enjoying the garden even more than you did before. That is the value and price that you have to pay for improving your lot.

California Travel Medical Insurance

California is situated in the western part of United States. It is a well-populated state and people in California are in the farming industry. Californians are known to travel either within the country or go for inter continental trips. They travel for both business and pleasure. The mode of transport varies from a rented car to luxury jet liners. Most of the travelers have an insurance cover. This is to ensure peace of mind for the traveler, in the eventuality of any medical emergency during travel or at a foreign place. Insurance companies that provide travel medical insurance assure worldwide service. Travel medical insurance insures or covers against a specific loss, occurring due to medical emergency during travel in return for premiums paid.
Most of the insurance companies provide round the clock assistance worldwide. Accidental insurance is included in travel medical insurance. In case of an accident in any part of the world, these companies cover for expenses incurred. Travel medical insurance can be applicable for an individual, family, or a group. Many of the companies provide political evacuation or a medical emergency reunion. Comprehensive plans are available such as the international term life insurance policy. There are many countries that specify coverage for travel medical insurance. Insurance companies in California are able to cater to the needs of people at an international level. They offer surprisingly affordable coverage for minimal premium rates. Some of the plans do not require medical history or medical examination. These plans offer a long-term benefit to the insured and his family.
It is highly advantageous to be covered under a travel medical insurance as this takes care of an important aspect of travel ? medical expenses. The insured person can travel without carrying the burden of an eventuality of illness or hospitalization during travel. Claims to medical insurances for travel are settled immediately, and some plans take care of the expenses directly with the hospital, the insured is admitted to. Consultants from Californian insurance companies can suggest appropriate plans fitting needs of the traveler.

Imposing Home Furniture

The use of imposing garden furniture
Good taste demands that you are somewhat restrained in your choices when it comes go garden furniture. The area of lawn statues can be sensitive if you live in suburbia. If they are too large in proportion to the general living area then people might conclude that you have an egotistical personality. If they are too small then they will not make the impact that you want. It is a balancing act that sometimes fails the best people in the world. The ideal solution is to get the lawn decorations that fit in with the general size and decor of your home. If you have a large house then you can go for the gigantic items but if you have small homes then you have to tone it down a bit.
Some people believe that the home decorations have no place in an ordinary home. The minimalist movement might find that they are an unnecessary distraction from the general beauty of the garden. There are others that feel more comfortable when the garden is suitably decorated with something tasteful. These are the wide varieties of tastes that make life interesting. We cannot start to restrict the choices of people because of outdated conventions. Each home will have its own conventions according to the people that live there. No restriction can really be placed on that general feeling that you can do what you think is right in your home. That is why people can continue to buy garden decorations.
The materials that you use for the garden furniture items will have an impact on their durability depending on the weather conditions in your area. Clay is beautiful but it will crumble in the right. Metal is less beautiful in some aspects but it can rust in the rain. You have to make the balanced judgment of the materials that you are going to use in order to ensure that you have the right choices and chances to develop the things that you are doing. That is how we can get the best out of the large furnishings that we buy. It is not a complicated process but it is easy to get it all wrong on the first take.
The foray into garden upkeep has to be done when you have the space to keep them. Overcrowded gardens are not pleasant places to be in. They give the impression that you are boxed in and this can be detrimental to your general well-being. You have to ensure that you have the backup plan to deal with all the eventualities that are going to hit you at some stage. That is how we manage to keep abreast of the situation. It is a good idea to get ready for the different issues that come into decorating your home but also to get great products. The garden care products are one of those great products as long as you have the garden space to carry them off effectively.

Eastern European Banking Model

A traditional banking model in a CEEC (Central and Eastern European Country) consisted of a central bank and several purpose banks, one dealing with individuals’ savings and other banking needs, and another focusing on foreign financial activities, etc. The central bank provided most of the commercial banking needs of enterprises in addition to other functions. During the late 1980s, the CEECs modified this earlier structure by taking all the commercial banking activities of the central bank and transferring them to new commercial banks. In most countries the new banks were set up along industry lines, although in Poland a regional approach has been adopted.
On the whole, these new stale-owned commercial banks controlled the bulk of financial transactions, although a few ‘de novo banks’ were allowed in Hungary and Poland. Simply transferring existing loans from the central bank to the new state-owned commercial banks had its problems, since it involved transferring both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ assets. Moreover, each bank’s portfolio was restricted to the enterprise and industry assigned to them and they were not allowed to deal with other enterprises outside their remit.
As the central banks would always ‘bale out’ troubled state enterprises, these commercial banks cannot play the same role as commercial banks in the West. CEEC commercial banks cannot foreclose on a debt. If a firm did not wish to pay, the state-owned enterprise would, historically, receive further finance to cover its difficulties, it was a very rare occurrence for a bank to bring about the bankruptcy of a firm. In other words, state-owned enterprises were not allowed to go bankrupt, primarily because it would have affected the commercial banks, balance sheets, but more importantly, the rise in unemployment that would follow might have had high political costs.
What was needed was for commercial banks to have their balance sheets ‘cleaned up’, perhaps by the government purchasing their bad loans with long-term bonds. Adopting Western accounting procedures might also benefit the new commercial banks.
This picture of state-controlled commercial banks has begun to change during the mid to late 1990s as the CEECs began to appreciate that the move towards market-based economies required a vibrant commercial banking sector. There are still a number of issues lo be addressed in this sector, however. For example, in the Czech Republic the government has promised to privatize the banking sector beginning in 1998. Currently the banking sector suffers from a number of weaknesses. A number of the smaller hanks appear to be facing difficulties as money market competition picks up, highlighting their tinder-capitalization and the greater amount of higher-risk business in which they are involved. There have also been issues concerning banking sector regulation and the control mechanisms that are available. This has resulted in the government’s proposal for an independent securities commission to regulate capital markets.
The privatization package for the Czech Republic’s four largest banks, which currently control about 60 percent of the sector’s assets, will also allow foreign banks into a highly developed market where their influence has been marginal until now. It is anticipated that each of the four banks will be sold to a single bidder in an attempt to create a regional hub of a foreign bank’s network. One problem with all four banks is that inspection of their balance sheets may throw up problems which could reduce the size of any bid. All four banks have at least 20 percent of their loans as classified, where no interest has been paid for 30 days or more. Banks could make provisions to reduce these loans by collateral held against them, but in some cases the loans exceed the collateral. Moreover, getting an accurate picture of the value of the collateral is difficult since bankruptcy legislation is ineffective. The ability to write off these bad debts was not permitted until 1996, but even if this route is taken then this will eat into the banks’ assets, leaving them very close to the lower limit of 8 percent capital adequacy ratio. In addition, the ‘commercial’ banks have been influenced by the action of the national bank, which in early 1997 caused bond prices to fall, leading to a fall in the commercial banks’ bond portfolios. Thus the banking sector in the Czech Republic still has a long way to go.
In Hungary the privatization of the banking sector is almost complete. However, a state rescue package had to be agreed at the beginning of 1997 for the second-largest state bank, Postabank, owned indirectly by the main social security bodies and the post office, and this indicates the fragility of this sector. Outside of the difficulties experienced with Postabank, the Hungarian banking system has been transformed. The rapid move towards privatization resulted from the problems experienced by the state-owned banks, which the government bad to bail out, costing it around 7 percent of GDP. At that stage it was possible that the banking system could collapse and government funding, although saving the banks, did not solve the problems of corporate governance or moral hazard. Thus the privatization process was started in earnest. Magyar Kulkereskedelmi Bank (MKB) was sold to Bayerische Landesbank and the EBDR in 1994, Budapest Bank was bought by GE Capital and Magyar Hitel Bank was bought by ABN-AMRO. In November 1997 the state completed the last stage of the sale of the state savings bank (OTP), Hungary’s largest bank. The state, which dominated the banking system three years ago, now only retains a majority stake in two specialist banks, the Hungarian Development Bank and Eximbank.
The move towards, and success of privatization can be seen in the balance sheets of the banks, which showed an increase in post-tax profits of 45 percent in 1996. These banks are also seeing higher savings and deposits and a strong rise in demand for corporate and retail lending. In addition, the growth in competition in the banking sector has led to a narrowing of the spreads between lending and deposit rates, and the further knock-on effect of mergers and small-hank closures. Over 50 percent of Hungarian bank assets are controlled by foreign-owned banks, and this has led to Hungarian banks offering services similar to those expected in many Western European countries. Most of the foreign-owned but mainly Hungarian-managed banks were recapitalized after their acquisition and they have spent heavily on staff training and new information technology systems. From 1998, foreign banks will be free to open branches in Hungary, thus opening up the domestic banking market to full competition.
As a whole, the CEECs have come a long way since the early 1990s in dealing with their banking problems. For some countries the process of privatization still has a long way to go but others such as Hungary have moved quickly along the process of transforming their banking systems in readiness for their entry into the EU.

How To Become A Real Crime Scene Technician

The popularity of those true-crime and crime scene technician programs on television have not only attracted a large audience of loyal fans, but have also inspired thousands of students to enter criminal law, forensic sciences, and law enforcement schools, all in hopes of joining the ranks of forensic lab and field technicians across the country. Because the field is so varied, the training can literally come from a host of different sources, and will continue on past gaining the necessary degrees or certifications, so that they can readily keep up with the ever-changing technology.
The skills you will learn in school to become a crime scene investigator are so needed these days that any certification or degree will easily lead to a career that is much in demand. Law enforcement, legal practices and even the federal government have openings for dedicated forensics professionals from all walks of life, and education.
Where to Begin Your Crime Scene Technician Training
There are so many different ways to begin your training in forensic science. Enrolling in any technical school that offers classes in criminal justice is one way to begin. Attending an accredited college or university program is another. And, these days, you can even begin your job training online, at your own pace, allowing you to take care of your beginning classes, and formal training over whatever period of time you require.
Beginning with criminal justice training is the smartest way, as you will be learning everything that you will need to be part of law enforcement, the largest employers of technician anywhere. This type of background is essential to your formal training to work in the field gathering evidence, securing crime scenes and interviewing potential witnesses as part of your daily job description.
Career Education Requirements
Before you can get into the science of forensic technology itself, you should have a good knowledge of the physical sciences, chemistry, biology, math and anatomy physiology. Along with this course of study, outside of the technology itself, the best school to enter after the general courses are behind you, is the school of criminal justice.
Because most crime scene investigator and technician positions are actually filled within law enforcement, it is essential that any student planning on having this kind of specialized career study the first couple of years as if they were becoming a police officer in the field. In some jurisdictions, the CSI functions as operating police officers in emergency situations, so all of this training will come in handy, even if the television shows may tell you otherwise.
Criminal Justice Training
You can either attend an actual criminal justice school, or complete the necessary criminal justice courses online while you complete the technical and science requirements at a university. However you wish to do so the bulk of your criminal justice training should include as many of the following courses as you can complete for the full spectrum of training available:
Criminal Law
Crime Scene Evidence
Criminal Investigation
Crime Scene Photography
Evidence Collection
Evidence Analysis and Interpretation
The next set of courses only requires that you show a proficiency in, so that you can work with law enforcement agencies, while pursuing your main career:
Shooting
Defensive Tactics
First Aid
Fingerprinting, including applications, techniques and interpretation
Bloodstain Analysis
Forensic Photography
Footwear Identification Proficiency
Employment Outlook and Opportunities
There are a large number of crimes that occur unfortunately on a regular basis that will require the specialized expertise of a crime scene technician. Assaults, burglaries, rapes, kidnappings, suicides, vehicular crimes, and murder will all allow you to utilize every skill you have learned so that you can be an important part of the investigation team.
Job opportunities for professional technicians can be found in law enforcement, fire departments, pathology labs, hospitals, medical examiners offices, and even insurance and detective agencies. This means that the current outlook is very good, and the number of openings is expected to grow over the next few years, as the field expands.

Dynamic Packaging for Travel and Hospitality Industry

The concept of Dynamic Packaging is to bundle all the components chosen by the aspiring traveler and create one reservation. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer.
To a traveler, there is nothing better than a one stop shop for his traveling needs. The Dynamic Packaging Engine uses a travel component inventory and prices. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features. Rules also determine how the final retail price is computed.
CAPABILITIES
A typical dynamic packaging application will need the following capabilities:
1. Search and Availability
2. Memberships
3. Shopping Cart
4. Booking and Reservations
5. Payments
6. Cancellations
SEARCH AND AVAILABILITY
A traveler always seeks a destination. Even though he may well be aware of where he needs to go to, he will search for the most appropriate place to stay and enjoy his visit. The search starts with a Transportation and Travel components, Hotel Property, Leisure Components. The search therefore has to be divided geographically to include destinations and neighboring destinations that meet the search criteria. An example search could be travel to New York City, stay at Stamford, Connecticut, Golf at upstate New York. Clearly the Dynamic Packaging engine needs to know the dates of travel, from and to destinations, closest airport to hotel, rental car or other desired ground transportation from selected airport to hotel and access to tee times at the neighboring golf courses. Like the traveler, businesses also seek travel related information.
Travel Agents, Call Centers, and Meeting Planners need packaged information on behalf of their clients. Such a search is riddled with rules and complexity. Besides, the customer needs to have choices that can vary from comfort to price and everything else in between.
1. Proximity: The search uses parameters that can narrow down possibilities yet offer extended possibilities. In our search example, Westchester Airport would have been the best choice. La Guardia airport would be an ideal choice. JFK and Newark and Teterboro are the next choices from a distance to Hotel point of view.
2. Fare and Rates: The traveler will look for the best fare. In our example though Westchester is close to the hotel, offers limited Airlines and perhaps not the best fares. Some fares maybe very attractive, however when it comes to flexibility and cancellation they are not the best. Flexibility of change, penalties associated with change and cancellation are important factors to include in the search results.
3. Travel Times: That’s another important factor for the business traveler. How many flights are there to the airport and at what intervals. Check in times and total time to travel also helps in determining his choice. Therefore non-connecting and connecting flights with layover times need to figure in the search.
4. Accessibility: Another key factor often not paid attention to is accessibility. Physically impaired travelers, people who need meals on a flight, wheelchair access, and quick access to rental cars or trains or ground transportation play a very important role in travel. Do the hotel(s) have wheelchair access? Is it possible to get ground transportation to destined hotel that has wheelchair access?
5. Amenities: Does the hotel offer standard amenities like restaurants, swimming pool, health parlors, spa, fax and printing, broadband Internet access etc? Similarly does the rental car come with GPS, insurance, inter state travel? Does the Golf Course allow only cart access? Are ski rentals available near the resort? The inclusion of amenities in a search result ensures the traveler is not in for surprises at the first lap of travel.
6. Prepackaged: You want to travel, stay in a semi luxury hotel, play golf, why search for each individually. A prepackaged deal would also be more attractive than customizing the travel. Perhaps cheaper.
Travel should be far from being hostile. It is after all a home away from home. A home is a pivotal source for living and entertainment. One uses the home and its peripheral surroundings to make the best of living. The travel destinations and the mode of travel should be as non hostile and as hospitable as is possible. A dynamic packaging should offer a wealth of choices to the traveler yet not inundate the traveler with so much information that he/she is nervous wreck at the end of an itinerary creation.
ACTORS
From the above description one can determine who the obvious actors are in this case.
1. The Traveler
2. GDS (Airlines and Hotels Rate Distribution)
3. Airlines
4. Car Rental Companies
5. Hotel Central Reservation
6. Tour Operators (Buses, Ground Transportation)
7. Proprietary Aggregators (like Golf, Ski etc.)
MORE ACTORS
The Dynamic Packaging should be capable of extending the services for business-to business operations. Which would imply that our actors now are?
8. Travel Agents and Meeting Planners
9. Call Center Agents.
SHOPPING CART
The key item in dynamic packaging is the Shopping Cart. The results of search can be selected and added as line items in the shopping cart. It bundles all the components chosen by the traveler to create one reservation. This shopping cart based vacation builder allows comparison shopping of packages that can include plane tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, insurance, attraction tickets and other features. Regardless of where the inventory originates, the package that is created is handled seamlessly as one transaction, and requires only one payment from the consumer. It automatically applies rules defined by the suppliers and the travel marketer to build and price travel packages. This package configuration process determines which components are used, what combinations of components are allowed or required, and handles inclusions such as taxes, fees or additional package features.

4 Fashionable Styles With Men's Leather Jackets

When you head out to the market, you will be surprised to find the variety of clothing options available these days. There are infinite styles and colors in most types of clothing. You could buy all of them if you had a king-sized closet and a millionaire dad, but since most people don’t have both and prefer to be smart while selecting which clothes to buy for their daily wear, it is best to mix and match articles of clothing for a unique look. One of such articles is leather jackets for men.
Men’s leather jackets can go with gloves, boots and trousers to give you a model-like look. Here are a few styles that you can try to pull off with your leather jacket.
1) Classic Dark Blue jeans and Black jacket: One of the oldest styles of matching clothes to get a handsome look is matching blue jeans with a black jacket. By old, it doesn’t mean that this style has come from the middle ages. This style is a biker’s favorite and has been used for more than a decade. The dark colors complement one another, earning you everyone’s admiration. As both leather jackets and jeans are tough clothing, they are mostly worn together for hiking and road trips. For footwear, black boots would give a perfect biker look. Even brown boots would look good with dark blue jeans and a black jacket.
2) Light blue jeans with light brown jacket: Light colors also look good on some people. Light blue jeans with a light brown leather jacket are a beautiful combination for men who have light brown hair. Brown flight and bomber jackets also look great with light blue jeans especially during winter. These colors are also ideal for men during summer because the scorching heat can be unbearable on the road.
3) Black jeans and black jacket: Unlike blue jeans, if you mix black jackets with black jeans, you will get a bad boy look. Add a black belt, and you will get an even more dashing look. These are ideal for tall men with fair complexion. The same colored jeans and jacket give a ‘one-piece look’, and displays a man’s height in a very attractive way. Hollywood movies and TV shows are full of entertainers who wear black jeans and jackets. This style was popularized by movies like “The Matrix” and personalities like The Undertaker the wrestler.
4) Dark blue jeans and dark brown jacket: This style owes its popularity to Hugh Jackman’s ‘wolverine’ character in the X-Men movies. This combination gives a great look, especially to men with dark brown hair. Dark brown boots also go well with these clothes.
Matching clothes sensibly is a great way to dress up for the road. Apart from those mentioned above, there are numerous other ways to match men’s leather jackets with the rest of your clothes. You can also make combination with belts, boots, leather gloves and leather coats. The possibilities are infinite; all you need is creativity and fashion sense.

5 Things Divorcing Parents Should Know

When you had your child or children your life changed from being focused on yourself to suddenly having to consider how all your life choices would impact the kids. That is the way it should be. What is in the child’s best interest should always be a parent’s top priority especially when considering divorce. The first thing you should know is our adversarial legal system is not child focused or family friendly. The emotional and financial price you pay when you each hire separate divorce lawyers is higher than you can now imagine.
Before I became a divorce attorney I was a special education teacher. My Masters is in Special Education, focusing on teaching severely emotionally disturbed children, so I came to the law with a powerful bias to act only in the best interest of the children. The 2nd important fact to know is how comfortable so many divorce lawyers are in spending their client’s college fund instead of quickly and economically helping the couple to negotiate a fair deal. After 8 years of litigation and witnessing the total financial and emotional devastation of too many families I vowed to no longer take adversarial divorces and to do only divorce mediation. In the following 3 years, after working with over 150 couples with 100% success rate, I am convinced that divorce mediation should be the solution of first resort for 85% of the couples who are contemplating divorce. So the 3rd thing you need to know is there is an alternative to divorce court, mediation.
It is easier to deal with a situation when basic information is already known. In the 8 community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin) property division is pretty clear. What ever was totally owned prior to marriage or received by gift or inheritance is separate property that goes to the spouse who owns it. If it was partially paid for using wages or income earned during the marriage, the “community” gains an interest in it that can be calculated. Division of property in community property states is one of the easiest issues to deal with because it is so clear cut. But what about the other 42 states? These states use an equitable distribution system to divide marital property. Each state has its own rules that can be ascertained prior to starting the divorce process. So there is some uncertainty in non community property states but an experienced lawyer/mediator generally knows what the court will do in most situations and can be a valuable guide to couples who are unfamiliar with the laws. The 4th thing to keep in mind is that there is no point in fighting over property division. You can protect your co-parenting relationship and end up with more property if you divide everything the way a neutral 3rd party (mediator) suggests.
In litigated divorce cases, child custody and visitation issues can be the most contentious and emotional. If the parents can agree to a custody arrangement, which they eventually do in 90% of custody cases, they can avoid court altogether. Why should a couple wait until they are on the courthouse steps to make a deal? Only 10% of custody cases are litigated. A couple could always seek the services of a child therapist to advise them instead of going to court. The courts typically apply a “best interest of the child” standard in determining who should get primary custody. Wouldn’t the parents themselves be in the best position to decide how their children should be raised? When a couple works together in mediation they are in control of the final outcome, not lawyers or judges. When the couple has an intention to effectively co-parent by always keeping the best interest of the child foremost in their mind, they will produce a much more satisfying outcome than if a solution is imposed upon them from above. Child custody issues are the most inappropriate issues to be decided within an adversarial system. The win/lose game that is played in court always results in tension between the parents. Not only will this tension negatively affect the health and happiness of the parents but the children will be caught in the middle of a battle, ducking verbal and emotional bullets as they fly over their heads. The adversarial system does not protect the co-parenting relationship of parents and should be avoided if at all possible. An emotionally vulnerable client in the hands of a “zealous advocate” who is more concerned with enriching themselves than in helping their client is a dangerous combination. The last thing to keep in mind is that avoiding divorce attorneys and court should be the #1 priority if you want to protect your health, spirit, co-parenting relationship and pocketbook.