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Negotiations in Mediation: Calculating Spousal Support

Negotiations around spousal support (also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, depending on where you live) are often ripe with emotion. And, it's no wonder. When people reach out to me, they are often worried about what they will be able to afford after the final divorce. Common questions include:

  • Will I be able to stay in my home, or will I have to move?
  • Will I be able to keep my children in the schools where they have friends, or will there be a necessary transition?
  • Will I be able to pay my bills, or will I need to get a second job or go back to work?

Calculating Spousal Support

All of these fears are very common and have to do with money coming in and money going out. But unfortunately, calculating spousal support is not cut and dry in most jurisdictions. Most jurisdictions don't offer a spousal support calculator.

For most families, there is not sufficient income to support two households that are similar to the marital standard of living without increasing income. As a...

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Why Estate Planning After Divorce is a Must

Divorce is anything but easy. Some emotional or financial issues will be more challenging to overcome than others, yet every challenge has a solution.

As you work your way through a checklist of items to deal with during the divorce process, you'll have lots to consider, from who gets what to your new living arrangements and custody of minor children. You'll also be working through some financial planning for life after divorce.

A critical piece of your new financial plan is your estate plan. Whether you already have a will, trust, and other legal estate paperwork, or only a bank account and no estate planning documents at all, we'll walk you through the essential items you need to address at the end of your marriage.

Note: Before finalizing any estate planning documents, ensure you are not violating any terms of your divorce judgment, i.e., property settlement agreement or life insurance policy requirements. 

Estate Planning After Divorce Is Critical

Estate planning...

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5 Ways to Keep Your Divorce from Affecting Your Job

Divorce is on the the list of one of the top 10 stressors we can face, and it impacts every aspect of our lives, including our professional career. So how can you continue to be productive as you’re going through this huge life change that is likely causing you stress and consuming your thoughts? We’ve put together a list of 5 things you can do to help keep your divorce from affecting your job.

Talk to Your Boss 

Not everyone feels comfortable discussing their personal life at work, and in this situation, it’s best to keep the explanation simple without going into a lot of detail. You can tell your boss that you are going through a very challenging time, but you are committed to your job. Let your boss know if you anticipate any time constraints or challenging deadlines in the near future and offer suggestions for how you can still meet your goals. Also, let your boss know that you will use your vacation time for any days that you need to take off for...

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Divorce and the Family Home (Guest Blog Post)

If you're wondering how to keep your house in a divorce, you're not alone. A lot of our clients have sentimental attachments to their homes. Your home is where you’ve made so many memories. It's where you raised your family. You may have close relationships with your neighbors or other strong ties to the community. I’ve written a number of blog posts and newsletters on whether or not it makes financial sense to keep the family home, and today I want to share  a post written by one of my colleagues, Jim Robenalt,  Attorney & Founder of Next Page Mediation.

The family home is unlike other financial assets and debts. A house is an illiquid asset, layered with emotion, that cannot be quickly cashed out and divided. It is often a couple’s most significant asset that houses their family and provides (and signifies) stability. In a divorce, the decision of what to do with the family home is often the most contentious issue to resolve. There are often...

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A Fantastic Resource for those Experiencing a High Conflict Divorce

Since I started supporting those going through the divorce process, I have been amazed at the extremes I have witnessed. Some clients start out pursuing an amicable termination of marriage only to be drawn into a high conflict situation by their soon-to-be-ex. Others are extremely angry when they first reach out but find healing through the process and work together toward reasonable settlements over time. Then, of course, there is everything in between.

I knew I needed more training to support those going through high conflict divorce. I was fortunate enough to attend one of Bill Eddy's live trainings when he came to Cleveland several years ago. He is an authority on managing high conflict personalities through the divorce process, and I have several of his books on my shelf that I refer to regularly.

A resource for those divorcing those with high conflict personalities

In the latest edition of Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or...

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Help Eliminate Shared Parenting Struggles with One of these Co-Parenting Apps

Co-Parenting Apps

I think we all can agree that parenting can be challenging even in the best of circumstances. Co-parenting after a divorce brings a whole new set of challenges. When I first went through my divorce, dealing with the most basic things related to the kids felt like preparing for battle with my ex over and over. It was stressful and exhausting. 

And I did not want to contact my ex every time I received information from the school or one of the kids was invited for a playdate or an appointment with the doctor was needed. I was relieved to find a co-parenting app that worked best for our family. It streamlined and kept track of all communications, and that’s what we needed!

So I thought it would be helpful to share a list of apps and tools that can help make co-parenting a little easier. Many of these tools offer the same or very similar features so pick and choose which one can best meet your needs.  

(Please note, while I promote very few...

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5 Ways to Help Create a Happy Holiday for Your Kids

Holidays are a time for family, friends and spending time together, but this can be very complicated if you’re divorced and are trying to figure out how to make it a great holiday for your kids. And if it’s your first Christmas after a divorce, there will definitely be challenges. 

I still remember my first Christmas after my divorce. I struggled to keep our family routines as close to “normal” as possible, especially for my then-toddler. And honestly, it was very tough - dealing with my own emotions while trying to make the season special for my kids. 

So, if you’re going through this, I feel for you right now. It will get better (I know, it doesn’t feel like it, but it will). I do think that with some planning you and your co-parent can create a happy Christmas for your kids, and hopefully these five tips will help. 

1. Make Plans in Advance

As the holidays get closer, emotions can get more intense as we often become stressed...

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Celebrating the Holidays after a Divorce

Whether Thanksgiving will be your first major holiday after your divorce or whether you’ve been divorced for many years, the holiday season can be tough. November and December holidays usually include a lot of annual traditions, and those may feel quite different after your divorce. 

Sometimes people try to recreate those same traditions minus one person, and it doesn’t work out - it usually ends up being so obvious that someone is missing, and everyone ends up feeling sad about the loss.

So instead of trying to keep all of the same traditions, this is the perfect time to make new traditions - or at least try something new, even if it’s only for this year. It’s not set in stone that you do have to do the same thing year after year. 

Here are some ideas to add to your Thanksgiving list of traditions (or maybe replace some that don’t fit into your life anymore).

Go Informal...or Formal

If your family usually eats on fine china with cloth...

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Could Gray Divorce Be an Act of Love?

What is a gray divorce?

Gray Divorce is not a new term and has been used in the United States since 2004. But gray divorce has been used more commonly in recent years as the divorce rate for those 55 and older has been on the rise. The term was originally coined “gray” divorce to signify a group of older adults who may have gray hair that are getting divorced.  

A True Act of Love

In a Facebook group that I am a part of, someone commented that people over 55 should not get divorced. They should just stay together for the rest of their lives since they are already middle aged. What’s the point of starting over at that age? The comment upset me as I don’t think people should simply stay together because of their age, and I have seen gray divorces where the couple is very respectful and loving toward one another. It’s a true act of love where the couple is setting each other free to live his/her best life!

I have worked with hundreds of people...

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How to Prepare Well for a Smooth Divorce

To ensure a smooth divorce process, some people think you need to have the best lawyer, a negotiation coach, or for your ex to give you everything you asked for without question. And while those things will make the divorce process easier and more pleasant, they only come after having this one thing under control.

When I work with couples, the most successful clients are organized clients. They are on top of their paperwork, they have all of their documents prepared and ready to go, and they have double-checked that they have everything they need.

If you aren’t organized, a whole host of headaches could pop up. You could be treated to additional back-and-forth with your lawyers (which means more billable hours used), delays, or even possibly having to go back to court to have your separation agreement revised. What’s more: if it isn’t corrected, you wouldn't get your retirement settlement. It isn’t as simple as just knowing an account number: you have to be...

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