Bridge the Divide: Negotiations in Mediation

Uncategorized Nov 20, 2018

The anger in the room was palpable. I was sitting at a round table with a husband and wife who had chosen to use mediation as a way to come to terms on their divorce agreement. According to the wife, the husband had been unfaithful several times throughout their marriage. According to the husband, the two had not been intimate for many years. Regardless of why the couple was now facing the end of their marriage, in order for negotiations in mediation to be productive, we needed to find ways to bridge the divide between them. It's not uncommon for years of disappointment and frustration to come to a head when couples are going through a divorce. Often, it's the reason that individuals think that they cannot mediate their divorce settlement.

 

Negotiating the Nonnegotiable

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a continuing education program on this very topic. Dr. Daniel Shapiro of the Harvard International Negotiation Program presented...

Continue Reading...

How does a declining stock market impact your divorce settlement?

Divorce can be one of the most stressful changes in your life. It’s common for just one party in a marriage to be responsible for all the finances. Even if both parties are aware of the day-to-day finances, it’s even more common for only one party to handle all the investments.

The combination of learning about your investments for the first time and watching the value of those investments decline in a volatile stock market can be overwhelming. How does a declining stock market impact your divorce settlement agreement? And as you look beyond the divorce, what do those declines mean for your longer-term financial future?

Educate yourself

If you have not been involved with your investments or even if you could use a refresher, I encourage you to start by sitting down with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to review each of your assets. When you do this review, I want you to understand the following about each asset:

(1) What type of asset is it?

(2) How is the...

Continue Reading...

Should I leave my Ex's retirement account as is?

If you are recently divorced and not sure what to do with your ex's retirement account, you are not alone.

It is common for one partner to handle all of the retirement accounts in a marriage. In fact, I get calls all the time from individuals who are extremely frustrated. After they've been divorced for over a year, they still have not moved all the relevant accounts into their own name. There is often a lot of confusion around this issue.

With respect to receiving a portion of an ex's 401(k), here's the first question:

If you are receiving a distribution from a 401(k), has the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) been filed?

One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make after a divorce is not following up on the QDRO. I really encourage clients to have the QDRO drafted prior to their final court appearance if at all possible. That way, it can be signed by the Judge and submitted to the plan administrator right away.  Keep in mind each plan has its own QDRO...

Continue Reading...

Establishing a Solid Financial Foundation When Leaving an Abusive Relationship

domestic violence Sep 11, 2018

First off, if you are considering leaving an abusive relationship and are in an unsafe situation, I encourage you to reach out to The National Domestic Violence Hotline for assistance.

I recently participated in Stacy Brookman's Emotional Abuse Recovery and Resilience Summit. The topic I offered was a Financial Guide to Moving on From an Abusive Relationship. If you find yourself in that situation, I cannot recommend the summit enough. More than 40 experts shared on various topics. It was truly inspiring. For those who are looking for more information on the financial topic of leaving an abusive relationship, here are some basics on establishing a solid financial foundation for yourself. By taking the time to prepare yourself (if possible), you will be off to a more stable beginning in the next chapter of your life.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship: 5 Steps toward a Strong Financial Foundation

Get your financial documents organized

Find a place where you are going to store your...

Continue Reading...

Dealing with Emotions in a Divorce

I am thrilled to welcome Rita Abdallah back as a guest blogger. She recently shared a blog post about emotions and feelings, the difference between the two, and how to cope with them. I thought it might be useful to consider for those of you who are currently going through a divorce. Dealing with emotions in a divorce can be overwhelming. These emotions and feelings can often cloud judgment making it difficult to make thoughtful, fact-based decisions.

After your read Rita's blog below, consider how your emotions and feelings could be impacting you. At the conclusion of her article, Rita offers some great tips on how to recognize when you are in an emotional or feeling state and how to overcome it.

What are emotions? What are feelings?

by Guest Blogger, Rita Abdallah, LISW-S, LCSW-C, ACSW

Despite the fact we experience a cocktail of emotions and feelings throughout every day, most of us struggle to explain what’s happening. Experts - neuroscientists and mental health...

Continue Reading...

How to Improve College Financial Aid Opportunities When Divorcing

Uncategorized Aug 30, 2018

As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA), I often work with couples to maximize their estate by minimizing the tax impact of their financial decisions. However, with rising higher education costs, the conversation around divorce and college financial aid has become more prevalent. More couples are focusing on maximizing their financial aid opportunities when making financial agreements during their divorce. How assets will be divided, spousal support and other financial decisions can all impact financial aid eligibility.

One of the best things about choosing to go through mediation or other alternatives to dispute resolution is maintaining the power throughout your divorce process. When I sit down with a couple, before we even begin to discuss money, I talk to them about what's most important to them - what they are hoping to achieve for themselves and for their family. Parents with high schoolers often express concerns about how they'll pay for college. So, what do you need...

Continue Reading...

Considering a spousal support buyout? Here's what you need to know.

Uncategorized Jul 16, 2018
Spousal support (also known as alimony) is a hot-button issue for many of my divorcing clients.  Let's face it. Nobody wants to write a check to their former spouse every month. If you are the recipient, do you really want to have to rely on ongoing support from your former spouse? That's why some consider a lump sum spousal support buyout rather than receiving it on an ongoing basis.

What is a Spousal Support Buyout?

A spousal support buyout is when the payor pays the spousal support obligation in one lump sum rather than paying it out over a period of time. It can be done with a cash payment from one party to the other or it could be done through the division of marital property. In other words, one party agrees to give up a portion of their share of the marital assets in lieu of paying spousal support.

Why Might a Buyout of Spousal Support Be Right For You?

Clients consider a buyout of their spousal support obligations for a variety of reason. In my practice, it is most...

Continue Reading...

How to Help Your Children Cope with a Divorce

kids and divorce Jun 26, 2018

Last night I was at my mom's house with my three kids. We were all sitting around watching a movie after dinner and my ex and I were texting about the kids' schedule for Monday. I asked if he wanted to join us for the movie and to my surprise, he did. Three years ago when we were in the midst of our divorce, I never thought this would be possible in a million years. That said, I cannot begin to tell you how happy it made me that we could all share in this simple pleasure together as a family. For that reason, it is my pleasure to share this important post on how to help your children cope with divorce by guest blogger, Deborah Bankhead.

As hard as a divorce can be on the separating partners, it can be even harder on any children involved. As a parent, it’s up to you to soothe some of their turmoil.

Here are some tips to help you make the adjustment as easy as possible for everyone.

1. Let Them Keep Both Parents

You want your kids to feel as if they’re still part of one...

Continue Reading...

Three Phases of Healing from Infidelity

guest blogger infidelity Jun 01, 2018

by Guest Blogger, Joanna Hardis,  LISW (originally published on joannahardis.com)

Are you suffering from the pain of infidelity? Do you feel lost? Unanchored? Confused? Like you’re just not good enough? Well, you’re not alone. And there is hope.

Last month, I attended an all-day workshop with psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author Esther Perel, entitled “Healing from Infidelity.” Perel is recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. She helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Not only is her voice mesmerizing, but she’s also very witty, incredibly smart and generous with her knowledge.

When Perel asked how many of us in the audience had been touched by infidelity, hands shot up across the entire room. This closely mirrors my clinical experience working with men and women in all...

Continue Reading...

Life Insurance and Divorce: Protecting Your Family’s Future

life insurance May 16, 2018

If you have found your way to my blog, I'm guessing your marriage did not go as planned. Let's face it, in life, there are a lot of things that don’t work out as planned. One of the most trying examples is when you plan to spend the rest of your life with someone, and subsequently, file for divorce. Divorce can take a significant financial and emotional toll on a couple, their children, and other family members. In the midst of immediate financial and legal concerns, couples also need to consider ways to help protect their individual financial futures and that of their children’s in the event of death. This brings me to our topic of life insurance and divorce. Life insurance may offer a solution.

How Life Insurance Protects Your Family

While I always bring up the topic of life insurance during the course of mediation, I find that few want to have an in-depth conversation on the topic. Let’s take a look at several different scenarios. After a divorce,...

Continue Reading...
Close

Stay connected with our latest news and resources

Your privacy is important us. We promise we will not share your information with anyone.