Category: Family & Divorce

Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 2
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Divorce and 401(k)s and IRAs – Part 2 | Ada Hasloecher

{3:54 minutes to read} In Part 1 of this series, BJ Mann reviewed the three main types of retirement funding. In Part 2, we move on to the important details for the mainstay of the typical retirement plans: 401(k)s (and their sisters) and IRAs in all their permutations. These do not address pensions, which will be discussed in a future post. Of particular interest is the difference between qualified and non-qualified plans, which require different sets of instructions for dividing.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...

10 faqs on divorce and taxes
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10 faqs on divorce and taxes | Jennifer Safian

{5:06 minutes to read} Many of the financial decisions made by couples going through divorce have tax implications. And while I am not a tax specialist and do not calculate the taxes that may be due following my divorcing clients’ decisions, I always alert them that taxes may be due so they can discuss those points with a tax professional. Since we are now about one month away from April 15, I chose to list here 10 of the most frequently encountered tax questions during the divorce process.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

The Importance of Dates & Fluctuations in Divorce
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The Importance of Dates & Fluctuations in Divorce | Sandy Balick

{4:42 minutes to read} Mediation empowers divorcing spouses to define their own standards of fairness and helps them to make maximum use of the considerable freedom New York law allows in shaping their own settlements. This entry focuses on selection of appropriate valuation dates for financial accounts, including bank and retirement accounts. As noted in an earlier blog in this series, the law views marriage as an economic partnership, and the assets (as well as liabilities) to be divided in equitable distribution are (with a few exclusions) those acquired from the wedding date until the initiation of divorce proceedings (referred to as the “commencement date”).

Click here to read Sanford E. Balick's full article...

Why Do I Have to Prepare a Budget?
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Why Do I Have to Prepare a Budget? | Bob Bordett

We all hate the word budget. How many times have you had a budget that never worked and only made life harder? And when you didn't follow it, did you feel like you failed?

If a budget is done right, it will provide many benefits that are crucial when going through a divorce.

  • A budget is a guideline to help you forecast how your cash flow will look.

  • Having a budget keeps your priorities and values straight. Many times during the divorce you can get confused about what is important to you.

Click here to read Robert Bordett's full article...  

So, What Do You Think I Should Do?
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So, What Do You Think I Should Do? | Clare Piro

{3:24 minutes to read} One question that I’m asked by clients fairly often is, “Do you think I should accept this?” Or “Is it good for me to do x, y or z?” I understand why a client would ask. But, like the question, “Do you think that this is fair?” it’s not one that a mediator can answer (Fair is in the Eye of the Beholder]. It certainly seems expedient, especially if the couple just wants it all to be over. The mediator understands the facts and the law and is certainly capable of answering the question. So, why not?

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Adult Children of Gray Divorce
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Adult Children of Gray Divorce | George Grace

There is a large demographic getting a lot of air time right now—those over 50 who are choosing to get divorced. Oftentimes, these couples have been married for many years, and now their youngest is about to go to college or move out of the house. Many of the couples in these “gray divorces” have successful and flourishing adult children, who escaped being in the midst of a contentious divorce or custody battle while they were growing up, only to find themselves in the middle of their parent’s divorce now.

Click here to read Cheryl Stein's full article...

filing the divorce action
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filing the divorce action | Jennifer Safian

{3:18 minutes to read} In a previous article, do we file for divorce before starting mediation, I talked about whether parties needed to file for divorce before starting the mediation process. Eli Uncyk, Esq., an experienced family law mediator and attorney, read my article and suggested I write about what happens if the parties do file for divorce before starting the mediation process, and how this might affect that process. I asked him if he would answer these questions, since he is an attorney and a prominent one in our mediation community. He graciously agreed, and what follows are his thoughts on the subject.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

Using a Life Coach in the Divorce Process and Beyond
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Using a Life Coach in the Divorce Process and Beyond | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

Clients frequently need support during the divorce process. They are not satisfied with the way things are and want a change, but that change itself is scary. Sometimes I suggest that they obtain the help of a life coach. There are two reasons for this: First of all, life coaches charge significantly less per hour than an attorney (similar to that of a therapist), and second, they are specifically trained to help in that way. Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...  

The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part I – The Possibility
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The Dreaded New Significant Other, Part I - The Possibility | Melissa Burns

Part I: The Possibility of a New Significant Other {3:00 minutes to read} Co-parenting can be challenging enough without adding a 3rd (or 4th) party to the mix! It’s not easy to see an ex with someone new, and a conversation about this possibility is sometimes very difficult. However, at some point, this is likely to happen. Divorced adults who respect each other’s right to autonomy can have a thoughtful conversation about a significant other and what, as parents, each one expects the new person’s role to be. Having this conversation with an ex and accepting the idea of a new relationship will usually make things easier for your children.

Click here to read Melissa Burns' full article...

The Dilemma of the Custodial Parent
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The Dilemma of the Custodial Parent | Don Sinkov

{3:06 minutes to read} In most joint custody cases, the child primarily lives with one parent. The other parent shares time with the child around a schedule set forth in their parenting plan.

This joint custody arrangement, although very common in agreements, is not a slam dunk, and to the contrary, is more often not fair to the custodial parent. The majority of phone calls and/or emails I receive are usually complaints from the custodial parent, who, after several months, realizes that the child is with them almost all the time. The non-custodial parent might see the child one or two days a week, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. How many of you have heard this before?

Click here to read Don Sinkov's full article...

Divorce and 401Ks and IRAs
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 Divorce and 401Ks and IRAs | Ada Hasloecher

{3:18 minutes to read} My colleague and fellow mediator, BJ Mann, who practices in Rochester, NY, has written as comprehensive, cogent and concise a primer on the basics of retirement plans for divorcing couples as I have ever read. She graciously allowed me to post it on my site for you, dear reader. After all, why reinvent the wheel? I’ve broken it down into 4 posts for easier digestion.

Click here to read Ada Hasloecher's full article...

The Mediator Will See You Now…
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The Mediator Will See You Now… | Rachel Alexander

{4:18 minutes to read} Often, with the best intentions, clients prepare for mediation by trying to resolve as many things as possible before setting foot in my office. They think they’re doing themselves a great service, getting a running head start. However, in my experience, the opposite is true. The time to see the mediator is immediately.

Click here to read Rachel Alexander's full article...

Divorce Agreements: Choose Your Wording Carefully!
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Divorce Agreements: Choose Your Wording Carefully! | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

Many clients ask why divorce agreements are so long and whether the exact wording really matters that much. The length is due to the fact that there are so many different issues that need to be covered. Issues such as Maintenance, Child Support, Custody & Parenting Time, and Equitable Distribution are just some of the areas that need to be covered in an agreement. I have seen some agreements that left out major issues, such as who is paying for college, which leaves both parties, not to mention the children, in a precarious position.

Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...

Divorce Financial Considerations with a Special Needs Child
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Divorce Financial Considerations with a Special Needs Child | Susan Ingram

{4:18 minutes to read} In my last blog, I discussed the governmental benefits that are available to a child or young adult with special needs. When I meet with my couples in divorce mediation, I need to first make sure they understand the public benefits their child is entitled to and then also discuss how these benefits relate to the many expenses (some covered by governmental benefits, some not) that arise when parents are raising a special needs child.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's full article...

The Difference Between Litigation and Mediation: It’s Personal
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The Difference Between Litigation and Mediation: It’s Personal | Bob Bordett

People have a range of preconceptions about divorce, the law, and the courts. In reality, going before a judge to air your grievances about your soon-to-be ex-spouse is rarely as satisfying as movies and television shows may have you believe. Mediation offers a private, cost-efficient alternative to litigation—but before you choose either venue, there are some guiding principles to keep in mind:

  1. Don't expect to “win” your divorce. People hope to beat their spouses in court, but seldom is there a winner in divorce.

Click here to read Robert Bordett's full article...  

Sundays, Bloody Sundays
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Sundays, Bloody Sundays by Rachel Alexander

{4:42 minutes to read} Sundays are not known to be the bright spot of the week. Sundays, especially Sunday evenings, can be bleak for everyone, but they can be particularly difficult for the newly divorced. On Sundays, the weekend shuts its eyes, and only Monday gleams on the horizon. For most, this means a return to work or school; a putting away of our freer selves; a tucking in and straightening out in preparation for our weekday responsibilities.

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“Cohabitation” Agreements?
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“Cohabitation” Agreements? | Daniel R. Burns

{3:24 minutes to read} A couple planning on getting married can enter into a prenuptial agreement to deal with such issues as the distribution of marital assets, rights to the estate of the other person, how they will each support themselves if they end their marriage, and how to provide for the care and custody of any children. But what if the couple is not considering marriage but still wishes to live together? Shouldn’t they have an agreement that addresses these matters as well?

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Why The Mediation Process Makes Sense
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Why The Mediation Process Makes Sense | Deborah E. Kaminetzky

For those who would like to resolve their dispute (whether it be a divorce or other family matters) by agreeing to terms rather than having a judge decide what is best, mediation can be a speedier, less costly and less stressful experience than a traditional litigated matter. Traditionally the parties meet with a mediator and the mediator helps them come up with a plan. The mediator will put the plan in writing called a “Memorandum of Understanding.” Should the mediator also be an attorney, they may elect to draft a legal document instead usually called an “Agreement” or “Stipulation of Settlement.”

Click here to read Deborah E. Kaminetzky's full article...

Unemployment While Negotiating an Agreement
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Unemployment While Negotiating an Agreement | Clare Piro

{3:48 minutes to read} Unfortunately, people who are getting divorced are not exempt from downsizing, market fluctuations, facility closings, etc. which can lead to a period of unemployment. How can divorcing couples factor in this development as they work through separating their households and assets? How do they cope with this monumental change in their lives, on top of this monumental change in their lifestyle? If one of you is unemployed, it may not be entirely within your power to resolve the situation. If the unemployment has been for an extended period of time, or if you are older in a younger or no longer relevant industry, your concerns may be magnified.

Click here to read Clare Piro's full article...

Boy, Am I Happy I’m Getting the House!
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Boy, Am I Happy I’m Getting the House! | Don Sinkov

{3:54 minutes to read} A divorcing couple has decided how they are going to divide their assets. They really don’t need a mediator to mediate the terms because they have already decided, without knowing family law. Or how a judge might decide their case. Or what factors they need to consider.

Click here to read Don Sinkov's full article...

give the divorce process the time it needs
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give the divorce process the time it needs | Jennifer Safian

{3:12 minutes to read} Instant gratification… isn’t that what many of us expect in all areas of our lives? Professional as well as personal? And when we cannot get whatever it is we want at that very moment, we may often be left feeling anxious and tense. Rushing to get an instant result, however, can prevent us from making good decisions. By the time we realize that we may not have given ourselves the extra time to think things out properly, it’s too late, and we cannot take back what we created or said by wanting it “NOW.” And even if we can, we may suffer negative consequences from having to undo what we rushed into.

Click here to read Jennifer Safian's full article...

Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child
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 Governmental Benefits and the Special Needs Child | Susan Ingram

{2:48 minutes to read} In my next blog I will be discussing the various financial issues that affect the parents of a special needs child who are divorcing. Before doing that, however, I first need to describe the basic framework of governmental services and benefits that are provided to children and young adults with disabilities.

Click here to read Susan Ingram's entire article...

Should You Take Your Spouse to the Cleaners?
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Should You Take Your Spouse to the Cleaners? | Cheryl Stein

There is often a misconception that many divorcing parties want to milk their spouse dry, leaving them to be a homeless bum in a cardboard box on the street. The overwhelming majority of divorcing parties that I’ve encountered do not fall into this category; many are scared and just want to know that, at the end of the day, they’ll get what they need. For those who DO want to milk their spouse dry, the law may not be in their favor.

Click here to read Cheryl Stein's full article...

Amidst Divorce Conflict, Parents Can Create a Secure, Co-Parenting Attachment
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Amidst Divorce Conflict, Parents Can Create a Secure, Co-Parenting Attachment | Lauren Behrman

{Read in 3 minutes} A safe, secure co-parenting relationship is ostensibly the most important and protective gift that parents who are divorcing can provide to their children. In lieu of being consumed by the logistics of divorce, it is important for parents to develop a more secure attachment to each other in their roles as parents.

Click here to read Lauren Behrman's full article...

If You Can’t Bargain for Yourself, Maybe Mediation Isn’t for You!
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If You Can’t Bargain for Yourself, Maybe Mediation Isn’t for You! | Don Sinkov

{3:48 minutes to read} One of the elements of a successful mediation is the client’s ability to bargain in their own self interest. Often, I have one spouse who is more concerned about what is going to happen to their soon-to-be ex-spouse than they are about themselves.

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Culling Down To The Essentials
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  Culling Down To The Essentials | Ada Hasloecher

{3:36 minutes to read} Recently a very, very close friend of our family passed away. She was my mother’s oldest and dearest friend. She was family. Her health had been deteriorating of late, but her death came as quite a shock to those of us who knew and loved her. We all called her “Darling,” because that’s what she called everyone, AND she looked like Ava and Zsa Zsa Gabor and Ivana Trump all rolled into one.

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Co-Mediation: Does it Make Sense?
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Co-Mediation: Does it Make Sense? | Gary Shaffer

{3:18 minutes to read} Mediations come in different flavors. Most typical is a single mediator who meets with the parties and includes joint as well as individual sessions. Co-mediation is sometimes used in divorce or family matters, usually with a male and female mediator working with a male and female couple. The thought is that such an arrangement will lessen the possibility or the perception of gender bias. Experienced mediators are careful to avoid any bias as best they can or are at least able to pick up when a particular spouse/partner is sensing some bias.

Click here to read Gary Shaffer's full article...

Don’t Try This at Home! Part 2
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{2:30 minutes to read} When couples come to me seeking divorce mediation, the first thing we do is meet for a consultation. This meeting is important because it gives clients a chance to meet me and have their questions answered. I go over the divorce mediation process with them and explain the services that I provide. I also give a very brief overview of the kinds of things we will talk about in divorce mediation: parenting plans, real estate, assets, liabilities, etc.

Click here to read Melissa Burns' full article...