The Gray Divorce Podcast: Episode 18 The Practice of Holistic Divorce with Dara Marias

Andrew Hatherley |

Announcement:  Welcome to The Gray Divorce Podcast, hosted by divorce financial analyst and retirement planning counselor Andrew Hatherley. Join Andrew and guest experts as they help late-life divorcees build the financial and mental foundation for a meaningful future. There is life after divorce. Now on to the show.

Andrew Hatherley: Hello everybody. I'm very happy to have with me today, Dara Marias. Dara is a family law attorney with Kainen Law Group here in Las Vegas where she oversees the firm's holistic divorce practice. More on that later. Dara joined the Nevada Bar in 1994 after graduating with a juris doctor and master of social work from the University of Southern California prior to attending USC.

Dara graduated Summa Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Dara is also Nevada's only certified advanced practitioner with the Academy of Professional Family Mediators. In this capacity, Dara serves as a neutral mediator assisting divorcing couples resolve all of their issues through mediation.

Her practice includes three areas. The aforementioned divorce mediation, amicable divorce representation, and holistic divorce education. Dara, welcome to the Gray Divorce Podcast. 

Dara Marias: I am very happy to be here, Andrew. Thanks for having me. 

Andrew Hatherley: You're very welcome. Now, before we begin, I have to ask you about your time at Georgetown University.

I know completely unrelated, but it piqued my interest because I was accepted to Georgetown in 1988 and nearly went there, but instead opted for McGill University in Montreal. But I'm wondering could we have been classmates 35 years ago? 

Dara Marias: We would have indeed overlapped. I graduated from high school in 1987, so I started at Georgetown in 1987.

Andrew Hatherley: Oh my goodness. It's so funny. It's like the movie sliding doors, you never know when PAs might have crossed or might not have crossed. That's incredible. As regular listeners of the Gray Divorce Podcast know divorce education is very near and dear to our hearts.

So when I was researching your work at Kainen Law Group, my interest was very much peaked by your work in holistic divorce education. Now I have an idea what that is, but perhaps you could expand on what holistic divorce education means in the context of your work with people going through divorce.

Dara Marias: Absolutely. So I think what's important to think about is that when people go through any life challenge, whether it's divorce or they've lost their job or maybe a death in the family, they don't just experience the event. There's a whole aspect to it that affects them emotionally and on many different fronts.

And as a social worker by trade, I view things systemically. So I see the person at the center and I see them dealing with their legal issues; I see them dealing with their lives as parents; I see them dealing with the emotional impact; I see them struggling. How are they going to communicate with this person who they're now divorcing?

And the idea behind holistic education was to support the person as they go through the divorce process. So I'm definitely here to help them with their legal issues, to answer their legal questions, and to be creative in putting good solutions together for the families. But to the extent I can, I also try to support them through the process.

It's not therapy, for sure, but it's teaching people a skillset to become more mindful of their emotions, understand what's going on, how to deal with them, and better communication skills. The idea behind it is that when they leave and finish this process it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be.

And they might even exit with some great life skills that will translate into some other areas of their life. 

Andrew Hatherley: You mentioned a couple of things there that really stand out to me when you're going through the process. I think there's a saying in the legal community that, maybe in the criminal justice system bad people are on their best behavior, but in divorce, good people are on their worst behavior, and perhaps your work can do something to help people understand that this too shall pass. And/or maybe just highlight that and help them work through the shifts that are going on. 

Dara Marias: I think what's so interesting is I've heard that as well, but what I will say is that if you have the right process in place, people tend to not get to feeling very bad and lashing out.

We all have different parts of ourselves that if pushed enough can… You can just really get upset. But one of the things I love about mediation and working with people, sometimes I work with them together, sometimes I work with them separately, is that I can keep the process very calm, forward-thinking, and respectful.

And because I keep that process that way and I make sure that each person has an opportunity to share with me. Privately at times, what their concerns are, what their worries are, what even their anger can be. I can help them process that a little bit so that when they come and interact with the other person, or when we're in the process of moving this forward, they act as they would normally act.

So I tend to see people in mediation being the people that they always are, which are good people. So very rarely do I encounter people that are flying off the handle in mediation. 

Andrew Hatherley: That's very interesting that you should mention that because it's true. If you compare the mediation process to perhaps a situation where each party has a high-priced, high-powered litigious attorney That's probably not going to calm the waters at all.

That's just going to fuel the fire, essentially. But if you can come to the process with cool heads and deal with people who have a bigger say in the process. My experience with my work as a financial neutral is always to put on the hat of a facilitator rather than a director.

And I find that works very well with high-conflict people who are always looking for someone to blame or to lash out at. But if you can perhaps incorporate practical elements of mediation. To have them put proposals forward then maybe…

Dara Marias: Absolutely. Absolutely. One of the things that I love about mediation in divorce is who is to say what should happen with your children, with your schedules, with your assets than you. A judge does not know or love your children. A judge doesn't care about your schedule. A judge has got so many cases, they're just going to default to their standard. Protocol of what they would do if you can't figure it out.

But when you empower people and you really listen and you understand, okay, what is your schedule? What is your schedule? I like to say that, in mediation, we use a scalpel to divide. We don't use a hatchet to cut things in half, right? We use a scalpel and we carve out so that we get the best outcome.

For the entire family unit, while the parents aren't married or the spouses, whether you have children or not, we want to make sure you end this and start your next phase in the best way possible. So I agree with you, empowering people to not stand behind attorneys in an adverse conflict. Let, letting them talk and make decisions, but rather be a part of it.

People should feel empowered in this process. For sure. 

Andrew Hatherley: What you say about judges is so true. And I always use, you talk about the scalpel versus the hatchet. I always refer to judges in the biblical reference to Solomon and cutting the baby in, in half, and that sometimes with attorneys when they're cut, when they're cutting 401ks in half or whatever.

But you're right, if a couple's been married for 20, 30 years, they know their lives and their situation. More than a judge who may have an hour or two to make a decision. 

Dara Marias: Absolutely, absolutely. 

Andrew Hatherley: And this is the thing is that if the mediation process can work in a way to keep the lines of communication open, to keep cool heads and an, and an environment of respectfulness and flexibility.

Ultimately it's going to facilitate a financial agreement that works. That comes from a place that's much more rational and logical because this is potentially the largest, it likely is the largest financial transaction happening in somebody's life. And it's much better to happen in an environment of empowerment and flexibility and openness in patience than the alternative.

Dara Marias: Andrew, it becomes very important if there are children involved, even if there are adult children involved. I had a case recently where the parties have been married for 30 years and they have two adult children, and I was very sensitive to helping them to maintain a very good relationship with each other so that when they go forward, when these kids get married, when they have babies when they're grandchild parents together, these kids are going to feel comfortable.

They're not going to resent either parent in the divorce. And sometimes that means, and I know you work with a lot of, as you call them gray divorces, but sometimes we have people who divorce and their kids are in their twenties. So yes, they are not subject to a timeshare, but maybe the parents are still supporting them in some aspect while they're in college.

And so I think it's really important, even though there wouldn't be a child support order for these kids, that we make sure that we keep the kids out of it as much as possible. Maintain the stability for the kids so some of the things I talk about with those people, even though it's not required for their divorce decree, is, okay, what's going on?

How are you helping you know, this child or that child? And what do you plan to do? And in a recent situation, one of the parties took over a condo just so that the party could continue to rent it to the child and bought out the other spouse who didn't want to be involved in renting. So we do things like that because I'm thinking not just about the divorce, I'm thinking about what's this family going to look like after the divorce.

How well are they going to enjoy each other's company? How have we made the kids feel comfortable in this? I think it's very important that when we're considering a divorce, yes, assets and debt division of course, very important. Yes. Where are you leaving people financially, but also how are you leaving people, how will they interact with each other, and what kind of environment will they have for their children as they move forward in life?

Andrew Hatherley: It's so refreshing to hear an attorney such as yourself refer to the adult children of divorce because I know when I was going through my divorce, one of the first questions the attorney asked was, he shall remain nameless, do you have any minor children? No. Okay. Moving right along.

And, because they didn't enter into the legal equation of child support and custody, but adult children of divorce and it's funny, I just did a podcast on adult children of gray divorce. The lifespan of an adult child of gray divorce can last from 18 until the sixties. I know people in their eighties getting divorced and they have children in their sixties and no, the range of life passages that an adult child of gray divorce goes through is so much more extensive. You mentioned perhaps children in their twenties and they're maybe concerned, maybe who's going to pay for my university. Or, who's going to do my laundry when I bounce back home at 28 years of age?

But you may have adult children of divorce in their mid-thirties. And or forties even. And their parents may have been married for 30, or 40 years and these adult children, a divorce may be having marital issues of their own. And if they're seeing their parents having a terrible time of it, it can be quite traumatic for them because they're wondering, my God, if my parents can't make it, how am I going to make it?

Because I've got work to deal with, I've got kids to deal with, I've got issues with my wife to deal with. So it's just refreshing to hear you focus on that. 

Dara Marias: I'm going to share something that applies across the board, whether your children are very young or whether they're 50.

When parents get divorced, the single most important thing for children is to have this space to express how they feel about it, and to also not be a part of it. And what I mean by not being a part of it is, at any age, including your children in a back and forth as a messenger or speaking ill of the other parent, or having them weigh in on something with respect to your divorce, especially if they're older or professional, for example.

It's really, very challenging for the child and also having the space to express how they're feeling about it. And, with younger children, we suggest to people, you might imagine the emotion they're feeling because, you ask a child how they're doing, I'm fine. How is school? Fine.

No, they don't really talk as much, and so you have to really get the conversation going by maybe imagining things like I imagine you might feel and filling in the blank. So really I would definitely share with your listeners that no matter the age of your children you're the parent, and your job is to continue to make the experience as easy as possible for them, even if they are older, by encouraging them to express their feelings and also keeping them a healthy arm's length from what you are going through and making sure that they understand if you're the mom dad and I have this all, we're both going to be fine.

We're both going to be part of your life. So we want kids of any age to feel calm and secure, 

Andrew Hatherley: That's very important, particularly about keeping at arm's length because, after divorce, and I've done quite a bit of work on the economic consequences of divorce in gray divorce in particular, and typically, women tend to come out a little worse on the economic equation, at least in the short term.

But an often ignored aspect of the consequences of divorce is a social penalty that actually appears to hit men harder, and part of that is in relations with their children, whether they be adults or minors. And I suppose partially that's related to, maternal instincts and maternal bonds. 

But, in later life, there's quite an epidemic of male loneliness, and part of that can stem from broken bonds with adult children among many other issues. So I think it's an important point that you're making about how adult children should be at arm's length, as you say.

Dara Marias: Yes absolutely. And Andrew, you point out another important point. When somebody gets divorced, there are so many levels of divorce that happen. You think about the legal divorce, okay, I'm not married anymore. Maybe you change your name. If you're a woman, you change it back to your maiden name.

But there's the economic divorce. To your point, there's the social divorce. There are oftentimes friends that might spend more time with one spouse than the other, and there's this picking of who you're going to remain friends with. One thing that I try to share with people is I believe that information is very important.

The more people can become mindful of all the things that they might experience, the better equipped they are to not be blindsided with them. And that's actually why in the two courses that deal with teaching emotional agility and communication skills. I integrate a meditation app into it because the concept of mindfulness, and again, I want to be super clear. I do not subscribe to the typical, meditation where someone's sitting on the floor chanting. And they're very zen. I'm more of a practical mediator. If you can listen to some of these meditations on a walk or in your car.

If there's just a chance to start to learn how to be more mindful of what's going on in your head and what you're experiencing, you're less knocked around and surprised by things. So if you understand going into it that you're going to much as you need. If somebody had died, there are stages of grief associated with divorce, and that you're going to go through different stages of anger and denial and all of these, and guess what?

They're not in chronological order. They happen and then you go back and do another one again. It's just, being kind to ourselves to be mindful of what we're feeling and to also find strategies to help us get through these different experiences. I share with any person I see who comes in for a consultation, whether they do mediation or whether they end up doing an amicable divorce.

I give everybody a book called Divorce 101 and Divorce 101 has a lot of great information. It talks about all the different terms that you might encounter in divorce. So for example, what's the difference between legal custody and physical custody? What is community property? What's separate property?

I definitely talk about all those things because I feel like when people come in, they just get bombarded by a lot of terminology they've never heard before or think they might have heard. So I want them to have something that they can refer back to. I talk to them about the attorney-client privilege in case they end up litigating.

But part of this Divorce 101 book, a good part of it is devoted to overviewing the stages of grief associated with divorce. And then the last part of it and I do have information on my website too, in the resources. I have a blog, everybody can access it. It's just that the handbook puts it all together in one place.

But one of the things I do talk with people about is to conceptualize divorce as a life challenge. We all face life challenges. Some of us have health challenges, as I mentioned. Some of us have deaths that we have to deal with. This is a life challenge and we need to keep it in its proper context.

It's not a stigma, your marriage didn't work out okay. How are you going to finalize that and move forward? And I offer at the end of the Divorce 101 Handbook some strategies for dealing with life challenges. So these apply in my mind no matter what your life challenge. So included in, there are some tips about journaling and gratitude journaling and carving out a period of time. My daughter told me this, so this isn't mine, but using the five-to-nine to improve the nine-to-five.

And it's this idea of getting up early. Before the world's really gotten started and carving out some time just for yourself. So whether that's to take a walk, whether that's to meditate, whether it's to journal, or if you are religious to say some prayers, it's really just a time for each person to settle out for the day.

So I have some suggestions in there. And the idea behind this is that, from day one, I want people to always understand that yes, I am an attorney and my job is to help you resolve, things legally. But I believe strongly that we're only handling half of what we should be if we're not also assisting the person that's going through this process.

Andrew Hatherley: It's very close to my heart. All of what you're saying. As a matter of fact, you mentioned meditation. I've actually got my own mantra. I studied transcendental meditation, a after my divorce. And while I find it difficult to carve out 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the afternoon.

I do find a half-hour walk or a 10-minute meditation in my backyard. Particularly early in the morning. Your time before the day. It gets carried away and even in the middle of the day to try and carve out five minutes or 10 minutes to clear your head a little bit.

And you men, you mentioned mindfulness as well. So important and may just be, to me that means just taking a deep breath before a response if you're getting a little aggravated in the course of the day. Just to be aware of the situation you're in and to trying to handle it the best way possible.

But it's you mentioned the Divorce 101 Handbook and some of your courses. I should emphasize right now that when Dara and I talk about education, she's serious. She's got formal courses to help people go through divorce. And in particular are courses on emotional agility, effective communication, customized co-parenting, and more.

Let's, why don't you give your website address now and we'll give it again at the end because I encourage people, there's a wealth of resources out there on, on d's. Website with Kainen Law Group. What's the address?

Dara Marias: You can reach the website in two ways. You can either go to, that's K a i n e n L a w G r o u and click on Holistic Divorce which will take you to the website I created, which is They both get you to the same place. And the reason I created my own website, separate from the firm website, but integrated is because I just have so much information that I wanted to share with people and I didn't want to take over the whole website. For the firm. So that website's a really great resource.

If somebody's thinking about joint mediation, for example, which is where I am just a neutral mediator and I meet with both parties and help them through the divorce process as a neutral, I don't represent either person. It explains that on there. I know we're going to talk a little bit later about amicable divorce which is another form of non-ed way to divorce outside of court and.

Obviously all those education concepts are also on there. And what I I'll give you a quick overview. I think course is probably it makes it sound more formal and large than it is, but as I mentioned my background, I came to this area of the law. When I served as a child custody mediator when I was getting my Master's in social work one of my internships was with the conciliation court in the superior court of Los Angeles, California.

And everybody in California, if you file a motion to decide a custody issue, they make you go through mediation first. And so I was mediating probably three. Three mediations a day sometimes four. And I realized how wonderful it is to be able to work with people to come up with custody schedules that work for them and to also be able to educate them as to what is, what do kids need.

Just generically, we talked a little bit about this a few moments ago, but what are some good co-parenting practices no matter how old your children are? There, there used to be a requirement here in Clark County that you attended a co-parenting seminar, and they do not have that anymore. So it was very important to me to put something together for parents to help educate them about these generic co-parenting skills.

And then as a social worker, I also have a background in families and children. That's what my specialty was when I got my masters. So I like to find out from my clients how old their children are. And obviously if they have any type of special situations, so are they do they have ADHD?

Do they have a physical challenge? Are they there's this autism spectrum disorder? Where are they in that process? Do I need to take into account when I'm helping to make recommendations to them? So assuming they don't have any, External things that are extra. I will always share with people, Hey, this is where your seven-year-old is developmentally.

This is what, assuming that you guys were not getting divorced, that they would need to start accomplishing at this age. And here's what happens to typically some children of this age when their parents do go through divorce. So I can help give them some specific customized suggestions for their family.

And their children. And then of course, in the mediation side of it, we're figuring out a parenting plan, a timeshare that really works for everything. The emotional agility and communication skills. Those two are again linked with two meditation courses on an app called 10% Happier. And I've actually made arrangements with them.

I think this is a fabulous app. And I include a one year subscription in the educational pricing because I believe very strongly I want to give that to people so that they have it. And what I've done with that is the concepts of emotional agility is basically helping people understand.

What emotions are, we don't really talk a lot about emotions, but there is normal as anything else, we as humans experience. If you touch a hot iron, you're going to get burned, and if you go through your day, you're going to experience emotions. It's helping people understand that emotions are very transient, like the weather, they come and go, and it's helping people to recognize them and label them and to try out.

Things that can help control their physical responses when they have a particular emotion. A lot of times with emotions, people either get entangled with them, and I like to explain this you're on a roller coaster ride being pulled along and you have no control. Or they disassociate and push away from them and they just don't want to think about them.

Neither way is good. We're trying to create a balanced approach where people recognize what they're feeling, but also they experience it without being. Pulled in a crazy direction. So the emotional agility is really helping people to understand in situations, you mentioned earlier oh my gosh, I'm getting really heated here.

It might be that if somebody has really tried to work on emotional agility, they actually recognize that and they say, I just need to take a break for 15 minutes. I can't talk about this right now. I am. I don't want to say something that, I want to keep this on track, so I'm just going to take a break.

Or maybe it's a day break. It's until they feel calm and they feel cool again and don't have that rush of emotion. So that's where emotional agility comes in. And then the communication and problem-solving skills, information that really breaks down for people, how we tend to communicate in kind of a habitual way, how we're maybe not listening to what the other person's saying and maybe we're preparing what our response is going to be, irrespective of what they say.

And really helping to start to understand. What people actually need. Because if you think about it, and this is again, part of these meditation courses that are offered on the app the gentleman who puts them on his name is, or j Sofer, he's a phenomenal meditation teacher, but he points out and I think this is really helpful for people to understand, is that, We all have needs, our core needs, but we express them in strategies.

So somebody might be saying I need to. I need to have every other week for custody. And, but you look at it and you say that's so interesting. You're a fireman. There's going to be four hours at a time where you're not available. Is that really the best arrangement?

But then you dig a little deeper and you find out. That this person actually has a need to feel connected with their children and a need to feel like they're parenting. So yes, the strategy of one week on, one week off is how maybe that person was visualizing, getting that need satisfied. But really once we address the need, we can.

Open up a whole host of, create creative options that could meet that need that is different from their strategies. So those are really the three main courses as you call them that I offer. They are, Each one of them is a single session tied in with the meditation. It's a longer session.

It comes with materials. I've summarized all of the meditation practices that someone will do so they can circle back and reinforce the material. And of course I, some people I continue to work with afterwards, they want to, separately from their divorce, they want to address these things.

And again, not. Therapy. They have their own therapist. I'm not here to unpack that, but I am here to help them identify when their emotions are perhaps pulling them in a bad. Way, or that if they're stymied with communication, some different strategies for that. And I work with, sometimes I work with people who are in litigated divorce and I'm brought in to just help them with that.

So I really love that mostly because I see a very quick change in how people are experiencing divorce once we start these courses. 

Andrew Hatherley: It's tremendous resources that you have available to people. It's a five-star restaurant has some mar marvelous offerings.

Doesn't mean that you have to eat everything though, right? Is somebody 

Dara Marias: Yeah, absolutely not. I definitely. I will say this, no matter if somebody's had a sort of the formal sit down educational component with me or not, I think mediation is a great opportunity to model the type of communication and behavior that's going to help people be successful, not only in resolving their issues, but also in the next phase of things, especially if you have children and you're going to.

Still been each other's lives. So I do integrate those things. If I see somebody having a hard moment emotionally I definitely bring some of these skills to them and talk with them about it, on a, as needed triage basis. But yes, you can and I have I work with people all the time who they come in and we get their divorce matter resolved and that's the focus of things.

Andrew Hatherley: But it's great that you have these arrows in your quiver, so to speak, that that you can help people with all the other issues, all these other important human holistic issues around divorce. I, I relate to that in my financial planning practice as well because when I help people with their finances before, during, and after divorce, and if I'm talking about after divorce, it's really about helping people build.

A financial foundation for a purposeful life, a meaningful life, a happier life going forward. And from my personal experience, there are. Tools and practices of positive psychology that I've found very helpful in my life. And as you say, with the disclaimer that I'm not a therapist I, there's, I don't think there's anything wrong with helping people with the knowledge and experience that we've got as they go through an experience that we are very familiar with.

And so I often find myself just maybe backing away from The money for a second in, in talking about retirement, for instance what does retirement mean to you? Because the world tells us we have to save a million dollars and then go to the beach or go to the golf course.

But people's thoughts and mindsets are changing, and it's more about if you can transform your work life to one that gives you more sat, personal satisfaction, and meaning then why not continue working? 

Dara Marias: It, it could be go ahead Andrew. I was just going to say, you do such an amazing job.

One thing, as a mediator or any doing an amicable divorce, part of my job is always to identify where people could benefit from external professionals. I think what you provide in terms of the financial analysis to, for example, a woman who has, maybe been in a 30-year marriage, has now been have a significant amount of assets and has never before really budgeted.

Or you can, this can be the reverse as well. I have plenty of situations where, the wife is a physician and the dad stayed home and raised the kids. It doesn't really matter man or woman. If you have one spouse who really just hasn't managed the finances, I always want to bring in somebody who can help them understand.

What could they expect as a rate of return on these assets that they've received? And why is that important? Beyond, the obvious that we all should know financially what's going on in our lives. But when you're asking somebody to consider an alimony proposal, factored into that is what are they going to have asset wise and will those.

Assets, produce a rate of return that they can rely on to help meet their expenses because that's going to influence what they feel comfortable receiving from an alimony perspective. So I think, having people like you who are providing this service but also doing it in a way, and I know it, you are, that you specialize in divorce and that is why you probably are, is.

Sensitive to them as you are and you're not just, interested in the finances part of it. I think that's really, The common thread, when I met you and you are part of this amicable divorce network, right? I'm part of it. Whether you're a certified divorce lender, or a real estate agent, or a financial analyst, or an attorney in this network, we all share this common thread.

Just wanting to help people emerge better and thrive after this challenge that they've gone through. And that's why I love being a part of this network. It's just very positive and forward-thinking. 

Andrew Hatherley: Very much and perhaps we should maybe dive in a little bit here as our time is, It's coming to a close.

We've discussed it a couple times. The Amicable Divorce Network, this was founded in 2019 and essentially it was founded too, as you said. Dara to promote amicable divorce practices and connect people, connect divorcing people with like-minded professionals like you and me who want to help people get through the divorce in.

Least stressful both emotionally and financially, and prepare them for positive growth-oriented life going forward. And but you and I are, I guess found, were considered founding members of the Las Vegas or Nevada chapter of the amicable divorce network. And within that chapter there are settlement-minded attorneys such as yourself certified divorce lending professionals who play a very important role.

Particularly now with mortgage rates. Going up Uhhuh and they're magicians.

Dara Marias: I tell you.

Andrew Hatherley: And you need to bring them in as early as possible into the divorce process for a number of reasons. And I would encourage listeners to give a listen to my podcast with Jodi Bruns, the head of the Divorce Lending Association, where we talk about how important it is to bring divorce lending professionals in as early as possible.

But perhaps we could just discuss a little bit how amicable divorce works through the process of the founded by the amicable divorce network perhaps from a divorce standpoint. What are the stages of the process? If someone came to you and you weren't a neutral mediator for both parties but instead it was an amicable divorce where each party had an attorney. Both attorneys need to be members of this network and committed to the amicable process. 

Dara Marias: Absolutely. And that's really the key to this amicable divorce process. If I were to describe it, it's very similar in some respects to the joint mediation in the sense that it's streamlined, it's efficient, it's flexible, it's low conflict, it's very personalized.

The big difference is that. Each side has their own attorney. So sometimes this arises when, for example, in Nevada, if you are an attorney and you want to get divorced, your spouse needs an attorney you don't want to risk having your premarital, or excuse me, your postnuptial agreement, your marital settlement agreement set aside because the other person wasn't represented by counsel.

But other times people say look, I certainly don't want to fight about everything, but I do want to have a go-to person who I can just really find out how this impacts me and what my options are. And if that's the case, amicable divorce is a wonderful option. Right now there are only two of us here, so I can say that if.

If you wanting to pursue amicable divorce in Nevada right now it's with Stacy. We on one side and me on the other. But it's very similar. In the sense that all divorces, whether they're mediations or amicable divorces or traditional litigated divorce, they start with getting information. We need to know what the assets are, what the debts are, if there are minor children, and again, this is, for the divorce part of it.

What everybody's earning, what their income is, what their expenses are that they have to work with. Is there a community business that we need to value? Are the retirement assets we need to figure out is it all community property? Was some of it purchased prior to marriage and kept separate or not?

Part of the divorce, we need to have a complete picture of the life of this family unit. And I use family, whether it's a husband and a wife and a wife, a husband and a husband or children are involved. I just think of it when you've come together in marriage, you become each other's family. So what's going on with this family?

So with amicable divorce one thing we do have people sign is. The counterpart to what you would find in litigation. In litigation, the court would issue a joint preliminary injunction basically saying, don't steal stuff. Don't run away with it. Don't hide it. Don't do anything stupid. Behave nicely.

Act right? So we obviously aren't filing something in court to start this process. So we have people contractually acknowledge certain agreements and how they're going to conduct themselves during this time that we're going through. The process is voluntary. So if at any point someone decides it's not working for them, they can exit the process.

I've never had that happen, although I've, just started in this. I think it's very rare. However, if for example, somebody exited the process at my firm we have a lot of litigation attorneys they would just move to a litigated attorney. But we start the process, we. We do an exchange of information that's very streamlined.

So I have to compare this to the litigation side of things. If you're litigating a divorce, the minute a complaint is filed, a timeline starts, right? 

Andrew Hatherley: And it's just set. 

Dara Marias: It's just for everybody and it's, these huge amounts of discovery. We need a year of bank statements for a bank account, and we need all this information.

And it's the amount of time and money that is spent organizing documents for document production, exchanging discovery. Let's not forget interrogatories that need to be responded to. There's mandatory discovery that just takes place that you have to do, and there are depositions there. It's crazy.

And people always hope that on the side they're going to settle it. But the problem is, and the reason the money runs up so fast on attorney's fees is because attorneys are pretty much saying, Hey, I've gotta comply with all these timelines because if you don't settle, we're going to trial. Right?

As opposed to this amicable divorce process, you don't have this, freight training, locomotive of deadlines coming at you. And we don't have oh, you must produce all of this. So we'll say something like, Hey, you know what? These two bank accounts, you have access to them. Can you gimme a last month's statement and a screenshot of the current balance?

Great. Just very informal, but we're all getting the information we need. So once we have that information, we put together what's called a marital balance sheet. And to the extent that we have community property, we will try to divide that equally. And the marital balance sheet allows us to see if we gave so much of one thing to one spouse or the other.

I'll just use cars as an example. If two people, they each have their own car but one person's car is actually worth a little bit more than the other person's car, and even if they have less debt on the car, sometimes the net equity position of cars is that one person's. Net equity is better than the other person.

So people will decide, Hey, you know what? Just keep your car. I'll keep my car. We're not going to equalize it. Or they might say, look, you're getting a car worth, $10,000 and I'm getting a car that's negative a thousand dollars. So that's an $11,000 swing. So I have a $5,500 interest to equalize things.

You need to come down by 5,500. My side needs to come up by 5,500 and can you write me a check? Can you gimme more out of the bank account to compensate for that? So putting together this marital balance sheet allows us to look at different divisions, things that people want to divide. If somebody wants to stay in the house, we look at maybe an equalization payment for their equity.

We tend to keep retirement as a totally separate asset because obviously it's a, it's not been taxed yet, right? So it's not apples and apples with exchanging, bank account balance in your BofA account with a retirement. And so we examine all of it. And if we're doing an amicable divorce, Stacy and I are talking about things and we're talking with the clients.

We'll often meet with both clients and both attorneys in the same room to keep it very efficient. Once we come to an understanding of things one of us will usually draft the marital settlement agreement, and then that'll go back and forth till it's just the way we want it, and then the other attorney will prepare the.

Pleadings for an uncontested divorce, you still have to go to court to have a judge sign a decree of divorce. But with an amicable divorce, you don't do that until you're all done and you're just filing an uncontested divorce. So I hope that helps understand it. One thing I will share with you, this is an important part to, with an amicable divorce, people are so committed to.

Not going to court that they say, if you can't agree in negotiation, we agree ahead of time to go to mediation. And if we can't agree in mediation, we agree to go to arbitration where an arbitrator's going to serve as a judge, make a decision, and then we're going to file an uncontested divorce. The whole idea behind it is we are not doing this in court.

Andrew Hatherley: No, it's great that you have that buy-in from the parties involved and Yeah, it's a, it's a. It's a great. Pro, a different type of alternative dispute resolution technique along with mediation. That just gives people another option to get divorced in a nonlitigious much more.

As the name says, amicable. Even if the parties aren't entirely amicable. 

Dara Marias: And you're not amicable because you're getting divorced. That's why you're getting divorced. 

Andrew Hatherley: Exactly. We should put a, we should we should tell people where they can find out more information about it's divorce I believe is the website for the Amicable divorce network.

Dara Marias: Absolutely. 

Andrew Hatherley: Absolutely. So if anyone listening in the state of Nevada wants to find out more or just Google Amicable Divorce Network and you. 

Dara Marias: That's the national. I will say I've incorporated a lot of information from that website on my website where I go over amicable divorce and there is a link on my website that will take you directly to theirs as well.

So that's another easy way to find it. 

Andrew Hatherley: Terrific, and thanks for reminding me because I need to get a link on my website as well. Dara Marias, thank you very much for your time today. This has been a very enlightening discussion and very grateful for your time today. Once again, if people want to find out more about your work, either with amicable divorce or mediation or holistic divorce education, how can they reach you so they 

Dara Marias: can call our office at  702-823-4900. That's for Kainan Law Group. Or you can go on the website at, K A I N E N L A W G R O U, and click on Holistic Divorce. Or if you want to just go straight to my website, it's N V, as a Nevada, And Andrew, it's been an absolute pleasure. There is nothing that makes me more excited or happy than to speak to like-minded people about this.

I'm just really honored to have been on your podcast and to have met you, so thank you for having me. 

Andrew Hatherley: Thank you very much, Dara. Take care. 

Dara Marias: Thank you. Bye-bye. 

Andrew Hatherley: Bye.

Announcement: Thanks so much for tuning into this episode of The Gray Divorce Podcast. To learn more or get in contact with your host, you can visit Andrew's website at Also, please feel free to rate, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts. That helps others find the show and we greatly appreciate it.

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Andrew Hatherley: Information provided is educational only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. Each situation is unique and should be discussed with your tax or legal advisor prior to implementation. Andrew Hatherley is not an attorney and does not provide legal advice. Information provided is financial in nature.

Advisory services offered through Hatherly Capital Management, LLC. Divorce Financial Analysis Services offered through Wiser Divorce Solutions and affiliated company.