How to Separate When You’re Stuck Together with guest Jeff Guarino


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Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
Drive Friendly with Steve & Felecia
How to Separate When You're Stuck Together with guest Jeff Guarino

The last seven months have been challenging, but how much worse would things be if you and your significant other no longer want to spend any significant time together.

Our main topic today is separation. Guest Jeff Guarino and Co-Host Pk Jordan from East Valley Mediator talk about how to do it during these strange days. What’s right? What’s fair? And, what’s best for everyone (especially the children)?

If you or someone you know could use a few ideas and advice on how to separate when you’re stuck together, join us.

Episode Recap

It’s Steve and Felecia’s 27th wedding anniversary, and what better way to celebrate than talking about used cars and mediator services? It’s certainly a better way to celebrate than watching the sad Jets.

Friendly Takeaways:

  • If you’re out of town and your car breaks down, call your local mechanic to ask for a referral.
  • Felecia’s secret to a successful marriage? Compromise.
  • If you’re considering divorce, one of the most important things to think about are finances. Can you afford to separate? But finances don’t have to be a dealbreaker with the support of a mediator.
  • When buying a house, plan to have approximately 8% of your house’s cost available for a down payment and closing costs.

Broken Down Car? Do Your Homework Before Committing to Repair Work

Steve has seen the horror stories of customers who come in for repairs and have been taken advantage of by other dealers in their repair work. First, a customer who needed an engine replaced and went with one of the discount engine replacement services that offer unbelievably low prices (until you read the 6 point font with the terms and conditions). While advertised at $1495 for the engine, the end price came to over $4000 because of unanticipated labor and parts. But that wasn’t the end. A few months later when something went wrong again, the company offered no warranty on the service because the customer didn’t have a receipt for every oil change he’d gotten with the new engine.

Then, Steve shared the story of a customer who needed his transmission replaced while on a cross-country trip, so he got the car serviced at a local repair shop he was unfamiliar with. The transmission then broke again when he arrived in Arizona. However, the shop had bought the part in the customers’ name, so the only warranty on the part was from O’Reillys. O’Reillys would only offer to pay $45/hr for labor, while the typical auto-repair shop charges $130/hour. The customer was forced to foot the bill for the difference.

These sound terrible, but there is a solution. You probably have a mechanic that you work with regularly at home. So, if you need work away from home, call your local mechanic and ask for a recommendation. They are typically members of several associations and networks where they can recommend a reputable provider. Worst case scenario? Go to a franchise organization rather than a mom and pop shop where you’ll have more opportunity for recourse.

Pandemic Blues or Pandemic Chaos

PK Jordan and Jeff Guarino from East Valley Mediators joined the show to discuss their advice for those going through divorce during the pandemic. PK referred to the “Pandemic Blues” and “Pandemic Chaos” — the former referring to sadness during the pandemic that drives you to say that you’re done and over it, the latter referring to anger that you can’t do it for another day. Both lead to couples considering divorce, but there are challenges that can require a mediator to find the best solution for the family.

Finances and living scenarios are often at the core of these challenges. If these seem like impossible barriers, mediators can help identify unique solutions. For example, could you offer physical assets to offset the split of financial assets? If you aren’t comfortable giving up any of your retirement fund, could you offer your car in the split of assets? If you can’t afford a second home, could you create physical separation within your existing home? Some families have had one parent live upstairs and another downstairs, and children would transition from one floor to the other depending on which parent’s turn it was to watch the kids. Or, you could rent a studio and whichever parent is not watching the kids in a given week moves into the studio, then they swap.

Often planning ahead for future scenarios can help keep things as smooth as possible, such as pre-determining in what circumstances you’d be comfortable with your children meeting a parent’s new significant other.

The most important thing? Doing what is best for the kids.

New Buyers — Homebuyers

The housing market is as busy as ever with extremely low interest rates incentivizing home buyers to act quickly on purchasing a home. Felecia’s advice as a realtor is to have a plan about what you’re looking for and what you can afford before you walk into the first house. With homes moving quickly, you don’t have much time to think after you’ve visited a house or you might miss out.

The first thing to think about in your plan is money. Even if you’ve been approved for a loan, there are upfront costs that you need to be able to pay right away, including a down payment (3.5% minimum), closing costs (usually between 3 and 4 percent), inspection costs, appraisals, and more. It all adds up.

Car Maintenance as the Weather Changes

As temperatures drop, air pressure in your tires drops as well, but don’t panic. A 5-6 lbs decrease is typical. As cool weather comes, more battery issues are also common as oil gets thicker. Come to Steve to get your tires filled at no cost and to get 5-year free replacement batteries with no charge for installation.

Wrap Up

Until next time, Stay Healthy and Drive Friendly Arizona!


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