By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, A Founder of North Shore Collaborative Divorce and the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council


Collaborative Divorce gets you divorced quickly, safely and for less.

The Collaborative Process uses the unique Team Process where neutral experts, often at hourly fees below attorney fees, help you and your spouse resolve issues preventing a divorce.

The Collaborative Divorce Team consists of each of you; your attorneys and neutrals. The Professional Team involves the attorneys and neutrals.  In general terms, here is how the process works:


First, you will each conference, by phone or zoom, with your respective attorneys who will gather necessary information. Then your attorneys conference between themselves and agree what neutrals will be most cost effective for an efficient process. If there are personal problems that will prevent productive communication, or if there is a difference of opinion about any issue, then a Neutral Facilitator will be used. If there is any issue related to income, finances, property value or division then a Financial Neutral will be used.


Next, each of you conferences with each neutral.


Third, after the neutrals conference with each of you, the neutrals and attorneys conference and identify each dispute and what route will be used to resolve it.

There are different routes to resolution. The Professional Team strives to select the route that will be quickest and cost effective. Here are some of the routes:


Attorney Driven

The attorneys, relying on what they have learned from you and the neutrals, conference and develop potential solutions for each problem.

Then, each attorney “takes” each solution to their respective client. If both clients agree to a solution, that problem is solved. They then concentrate on the remaining problems following the same procedure.


Professional Team Driven

Here the Professional Team, works together to develop potential solutions for each problem. Then a neutral or neutrals conference with each of you, separately or together, to offer the Team developed solutions. Then you, your spouse and the neutral(s) work toward resolution of each issue.


Neutral Driven

In this route, you and your spouse, individually or jointly, work almost exclusively with the neutral(s) to resolve all issues.

Once agreement is achieved on every issue, your attorneys will work together to put your agreement into the appropriate language for a Settlement Agreement, probably the most important document in the whole divorce process.


My Advice for Divorce Month

©2022 By:  Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Attorney


Divorce Month is here.

If you are facing divorce, please, I urge you: stay out of the court’s adversarial system.

Staying out of the adversarial system generally means using either mediation or Collaborative Divorce.

Hand in hand with selecting the right approach, is selecting the right mediator or lawyer. Not all divorce lawyers are qualified to do divorce mediation or Collaborative Divorce. Mediation requires training, experience and success. Collaborative Divorce Attorneys need to be certified. Believe me, this is not the time to go to your third cousin’s friend’s real estate lawyer.

As your divorce mediator I help the two of you develop a written “settlement agreement”. If the two of you can’t agree on something, I help you resolve the disagreement (something I am good at). The final Settlement Agreement is probably the most important document to be presented to the judge at your uncontested divorce hearing.

In Collaborative Divorce, you, your spouse, your lawyers and other Collaborative Team members make up the Collaborative Team. The Team has one goal, the efficient, collaborative resolution of all issues without using the adversarial divorce system. As your Collaborative Attorney I am “at your side” throughout the process. Collaborative Divorce can be very helpful where there are several issues or many issues around high income or valuable assets.

Call now with any questions-978-744-9591

Dividing Marital Property Through Divorce Mediation

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Certified Divorce Mediator and selected Super Lawyer®

As a mediator, I work hard to get divorcing parties to a property agreement quickly and for less cost.

In Massachusetts, the general rule is that only material property is divided. And, that material property will be divided fairly, not necessarily equally. Massachusetts law does not require a 50/50 split.

All material property needs to be properly listed and described in each spouse’s Financial Statement.

Usually, after reading each Financial Statement, I start with asking if there is any reason why a fifty/fifty division of the listed property would not be fair. If any reasons are offered and there is a disagreement as to a division, I apply different mediation strategies until the parties are brought “together”.

Usually, material property includes: real estate, large bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts and valuable unique items, e.g., art work, a yacht or a private business.

It is not unusual to divide value rather than an actual item. For example, if property includes a house with an equity of $300,000.00 and the husband’s business with an equity value of $300,000.00, the agreement may be that the wife keeps the house and the husband keeps the business.

Generally, immaterial assets stay with whomever owned or primarily used the asset, examples include: an automobile, a wedding ring, a tool.

Reasons for not equally dividing property include: the marriage lasted less than five years; a spouse’s conduct resulted in unreasonable spending; a spouse’s health problems result in uninsured health care costs; a spouse’s lack of any contribution toward the acquisition of a piece of property.

A properly prepared Financial Statement allows me to:

  1. See how each piece of property is “legally held or owned”.
  2. See the value of each separate piece of property.
  3. Obtain the complete name of each property and any account number.

Once full agreement is achieved, I need all of the above information to write the draft Separation Agreement.

Marital debt must also be divided and can affect a property division; this is a subject for another day.

The 2 takeaways:

– In Massachusetts, property is divided fairly, not equally.

– Clients who choose to ignore instructions for completing Financial   Statements will cause delay and more cost.

©2021 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

Cut Divorce Costs — When Preparing Your Financial Statement

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos


In my many years of helping people through divorce, a re-occurring client choice always results in additional costs.


What is that choice? The client’s choice not follow Divorce Court instructions on how to complete it’s Financial Statement.


In all divorce cases, the most important document for the reviewing judge is the Probate and Family Court Financial Statement.


In an “uncontested” divorce, the judge reads the Financial Statement to help her or him decide whether to approve the parties’ Separation Agreement.  It is not uncommon for a judge to refuse to approve an uncontested divorce case because Financial Statements did not conform to court instructions.


In contested cases, the Financial Statement helps the judge determine many issues, for example, the standard of living of a party, the needs of a party, and the honesty of a party.


Because a judge often asks parties questions about parts of their own Financial Statements, many divorce attorneys and divorce mediators have clients prepare their own Statements. Then, the clients can more easily answer the judge and, if necessary, defend what they themselves put in their own Statement.

Click here for a site that will start you off and then get you to the Divorce Court site:

How To Prepare Your Financial Statement – Easily Put


Here is a list of the most ignored instructions that always result in extra cost:


Fill in your name and address;

Answer every question;

If an answer to a question is 0 or none, enter 0 or none;

All income and expenses are to be reported in weekly amounts with monthly figures being divided by 4.3;

List all assets and present value.


Why does failure to follow the instructions result in extra cost?

Because the divorce court wants its instructions followed, your attorney will have to point out what needs to be changed to comply with  court instructions.

Your attorney or mediator will often use your Financial Statement to assist in preparing your Separation Agreement. The failure to properly complete the Financial Statement will result in delay and unnecessary time while the necessary information is got.


Because you are paying for legal or mediator time, the number of errors and the amount of resistance will result in avoidable fees.

The take away:

The court’s instructions are few and clear. Take the time to follow them and you will save time and cost.


After the Divorce, Your Next Moment of Truth

Guest post by Brad Eardley, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapist and Coach

When was your moment? When did it happen for you? When did you know that you were married to the wrong person; that the differences were irreconcilable; and that it was time to move on?

Do you remember the moment?

Certainly, it wasn’t after the first argument. Certainly, it wasn’t after the first difference of opinion. Certainly, it wasn’t after the first time someone else asked you if you had thought about divorce.

You probably suffered and struggled for a while, perhaps a long while. You’re mature enough to know that all married couples have arguments and differences of opinion. You know that it’s very common for married couples to struggle with marriage and to think about separation and divorce. So, you stuck it out, cultivated hope, and gave it everything you had. And then some.

You focused on the positive. If you have children, you focused on them. You got couples counseling. Maybe you got individual counseling. You started or recommitted to a spiritual or faith practice. You went on vacation, tried to create new, good memories. All of which are admirable.

Maybe you decided to focus on your own health and happiness by going to the gym, working out, eating better, playing a sport, or pursuing a passion or favorite hobby.

But maybe the pain was unbearable, so you avoided it by working more, working too much. Maybe you numbed it with booze or drugs. Maybe you distracted yourself with gambling or porn or an emotional or sexual affair. You did anything and everything to avoid the situation.

And none of it worked.

But you carried on nevertheless, because you took your marriage vows seriously, and you had hope that your marriage would improve.

Well…it didn’t. Maybe not at all. Maybe a bit but not enough. And at some point, you had a moment where you accepted that reality. That was your moment of truth. And in that moment, you did the next thing.

You made a decision.

You made a decision to move on. And despite knowing that moving on from your marriage was going to be painful, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching, and worse, you committed to doing it. You didn’t know exactly HOW your life would be better on the other side, but you knew that it would be. You didn’t know what it would look like exactly, but you had faith that it would be better.

You trusted yourself. You believed. You committed to a better life.

And your life after separation and divorce HAS been better, perhaps in the ways you expected, but in ways you did not expect as well. You’ve gotten confirmations over time that you did the right thing. Confirmations from your friends and family, from co-workers and colleagues. Maybe you’ve gotten spiritual confirmations. If you have children, maybe they have given you confirmations. Perhaps even your ex has given you a confirmation. And every single one of those should be celebrated. Many people find it helpful to anchor those confirmations. Sear them in your memory. Seal them in your heart. Let them soothe your grief. Let them dry your tears.

You did it!

But something still isn’t right.

You may find that there is another truth that is nagging you. A truth about how you’re spending your days (or nights). A truth about your work, your job, your career.

It’s not the right fit. It’s not the right field. It’s not the right culture. It’s not the right work. And you’re doing it for the wrong reasons. And all the things you tried (see above) to fix your marriage, you have also tried to fix your career burnout. And none of them have worked.

Or maybe you are faced with the opportunity (or maybe you’re being “forced”) to work outside the home for the first time or for the first time in a long time. And you’ve been avoiding it. Avoiding it, if we’re really honest about it, by blaming your ex in some way. And as true as it may feel to make your ex the cause of your suffering, it only actually increases your suffering. It disempowers you. It makes your ex big; and it makes you small. It doesn’t help.

No matter the specifics, there is another moment of truth that is waiting for you. A moment where you realize…You are free now, but you are not done. You will hopefully live many more years. To what end? For what purpose? In the pursuit of what mission?

I can promise you that you’re here for more than just freedom from the wrong relationship. What is your dream? What is your unique contribution? What is your legacy? What mark do you want to make on this world?

I love asking my clients…

What is the best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome of your life?

Maybe you already know. Maybe you’re already en route. If so, I honor all the work that I know you must have done to get to this point. If not, I invite you to contemplate and reflect on these questions.

Now, most people find that they need support and guidance on the journey toward their dream career and dream life. And it’s for the same reason most people need support and guidance as they move on from their marriage. And let’s be honest…

If you could do it on your own, you already would have.

I know I didn’t do it on my own. Not by a long shot.

I continue to invest in my best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome by getting great coaching. And I encourage you to consider doing the same.

I LOVE the work I do in my private practice whether it’s therapy or coaching, and I’m grateful for it. And I always want to improve my technique and ability, so I choose to surround myself with people who are much further along in their journey than I am. I choose to be guided by coaches who are not only more experienced and more successful but who are also more heart-centered and more driven by their purpose to love and serve others.

So, again, I ask you…now that you are free, what is next? What is the best, IMPOSSIBLE outcome of your life?

And when your next moment of truth comes, honor it. Anchor it. In the same way you did when you knew it was time to move on from your marriage. When you accept the truth that you have a mission and purpose or that you’re simply made for more, for something better than what you have now, put your hand on your heart. Breathe. Say, “Thank you.” And take action.

I wish you all the best (and IMPOSSIBLE) 🙂

Brad Eardley is a licensed therapist in Massachusetts and a life coach with clients all over the country. He is the founder and owner of Broad Meadow Cooperative, a private therapy/coaching service in Andover, MA. He is the creator of the Dream Career Revival program, a 12-week program that helps people  connect to their mission and purpose and then transition to their dream career.

#afterdivorcecoaching, #afterdivorcechange, #nextstepafterdivorce, #improvemylifeafterdivorce


Post-Divorce/Separation Summer Dynamics – Guest Post

Guest Post by Attorney Lindsey Egan

Lindsey Egan is a respected family law attorney with a boutique, client-centered office, Egan Law Center, located in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.

As spring morphs into summer, how do we adjust?

“Summertime….and the livin’ is easy….well, actually, it’s complicated…”

Summer is right around the corner.  Bring on the graduations and parties, BBQs, poolside lounging, beach-castle-making contents, and dining alfresco.  But also, bring on the tricky family dynamics that you may be navigating post-divorce or separation.  Whether separating from a co-parent is recent or many years ago, I wanted to provide some tips to help ease the transition into a time of year that offers opportunity blended with potential disaster.

Let’s talk about events where you’re going to be needing to see or consult with an ex.

Graduations (pre-school through college, or basically any celebratory event culminating in a ceremony).

My first bit of advice is to do what feels right to you bearing in mind what will make the child most comfortable.  If you haven’t seen your ex in years and you have an acrimonious relationship, it might not be best to blindside them by pulling up a chair right alongside them.  But maybe you don’t want to intentionally go out of your way to avoid them either.  Perhaps ripping the Band-Aid off and going over to them before the event starts and offering a friendly “hello” before sitting an appropriate distance away feels best to you.  Your child may be anxious just knowing that their parents will both be attending an important event.  This is not the time for heated conversations or doing anything other than celebrating your child’s accomplishments and demonstrating that two people can support their success without conflict or chaos.

Summer Vacations

First, if you have a Separation Agreement (“SA”) currently in place, please follow it!  Your SA may cover when you and your ex are entitled to vacation time with your child and directs how you get to select extended periods of time.  For example, I’ve seen SAs that state that Parent A gets priority for one week of continuous parenting time each July and Parent B can choose their week in August first, then it alternates each year.  Of course, most everything can likely be mutually modifiable outside of your SA.  It’s super helpful if you’re able to plan vacations and extended parenting time with plenty of advance notice allowing the other parent to have an opportunity to see if they can accommodate you.  This also tempers the anxiety for you and your child when last-minute planning requires final consent from the other parent.  Do things early as much as possible to allow everyone time to try to make it work.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, support and encourage summer vacation (or anytime, really) with the other parent.  Your child does not want to feel guilty when spending time away from you and it’s important that they have a healthy relationship with each parent. You are allowed to feel conflicted and sad when your child is not with you but try not to allow those feelings to creep into your child’s life.  Send them on their way with a hug and a “have the best time” good-bye and then honor your alone time in a way that is most beneficial to you.



Check out this Client Review


This review came to me today. “Thank You”, to the kind client who took the time to review my services. I am happy  this  “chapter” is over for him, and his wife.


Anthony guided me through a no-contest divorce. More than anything else, he was very kind and reassuring about the process.

It was a divorce, so I was upset, but Anthony kept us on track to reach a fair resolution quickly and move on with our lives.

He was very helpful in laying out the process and what to expect. My ex-wife was not very pro-active or organized, but Anthony was able to recommend some lawyers for her to work with to make sure she was treated fairly in the process.

Anthony was able to quickly reach an equitable division of assets. We had no children, but did have investments, real estate, a business and tax issues to separate, so I would describe the separation as more inconvenient and complicated than messy or acrimonious.

Anthony was always responsive to my questions and emails, and very fair about billing. We settled the divorce on time and under budget. The end settlement was less than I had expected to pay, and our legal fees were well within budget.

Anthony was instrumental in getting my divorce settled quickly with minimal frustration despite my ex often being unresponsive. He helped me focus on closing an old chapter in my life so I could look forward to a new life.  R.




       “Proud to be selected.”

Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Divorce Attorney Anthony C. Adamopoulos has been selected a 2021 Massachusetts Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers.

Super Lawyers, a national attorney rating service, found Adamopoulos to be a Top-Rated Family Law Attorney. Adamopoulos’ office is in Topsfield.

Super Lawyers rates outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The Super Lawyer selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

Are you waiting for a hearing or trial date? Is your court date way off into the future? Well, it’s time to stop waiting and talk to each of your attorneys about arbitration.







By Anthony C. Adamopoulos – Divorce Arbitrator, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

There is a faster way to resolve your court motion or trial issue?

Arbitration is faster. What is the other way? Think about it. You are waiting for, a third person, a judge, to decide a dispute. Stop waiting and have your own private “third person” Divorce Arbitrator decide the dispute within weeks.

Who uses Divorce Arbitration now? Frankly, until COVID caused delays in the courts, it was typically the wealthy or persons wanting privacy who used private and confidential divorce arbitration.

Think about it. It is time you and your spouse think about the wait time for a court date and consider arbitration’s benefits.

The benefits of arbitration. Because of court delays, divorcing parties are looking into the benefits and cost advantages of divorce arbitration. For example, having an expert appear in a court proceeding will cost a lot. In arbitration, you may use an expert’s affidavit instead of an appearance. Also, in arbitration you can get a confidential arbitration hearing in a week. In the court process, you can’t unilaterally use an affidavit, you can’t get a confidential hearing and you can’t get a hearing in a week.

Start now. Here is what to do, to move to the top of your own personal divorce resolution line:

  • Tell your attorney you want to use arbitration and you want your spouse’s attorney called and persuaded to use arbitration.
  • Have both attorneys talk to potential arbitrators (you can’t do that with judges) and have them recommend one to you and your spouse.
  • Get an early arbitration hearing date.
  • Have your confidential hearing with no formal Rules of Evidence to slow it down and cost more.
  • From there it is pretty easy for each of you to tell your story, get an award (decision) and finalize the award.

For more information have your attorney call. Conference calls with you, your spouse and your attorneys can be scheduled. An initial arbitration information call with your attorney is free.

Wait. There Are Different Ways to Get Divorced? The major divorce process choices explained: demystifying your options.

By Ann Buscho, Ph.D.  This article was posted Feb 16, 2021 at the Psychology Today Blog: : A Better Divorce.  Dr. Buscho is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in family issues and issues related to divorce, parenting, parenting planning, and co-parenting counseling. It is reprinted here with permission of Dr. Buscho. Learn more at  (Two brackets were added by ACA)




Your spouse has announced [he wants] a divorce. Or maybe you’ve decided that you have no other choice. How does a divorce happen?

The process you choose has a huge effect on how the divorce will go, how long it will take, how painful it will be, and how much it will cost. In this blog post, I will give you a brief overview of

the divorce process options so that you can begin to think about the direction you’d like to go.

In California and some other states, you can attend a free workshop called Divorce Options. This three-hour workshop packs in a ton of information about the divorce process and the law, which vary in different states. It also includes information about how to tell your children, and how to make the divorce easier for them.

Once you have all the information about various divorce processes, you can make a thoughtful decision about which process is the right one for you and your family.

Without this valuable information, if you don’t make a choice, people often end up in an adversarial process. In California, litigation is the default process. In other words, you need to choose another process, and if you don’t, your divorce will involve the court in a decision-making role, and you won’t have a confidential process.

Also, wait to interview or retain an attorney until you’re clear about which process you’d like to pursue. Often people rush out to hire a divorce attorney recommended by a friend. This attorney is going to be a very important person in your life, so choose someone who feels like a good fit. You will want advice, guidance, information, and someone you can trust.

I recommend that you interview more than one attorney but wait until you are clear about which process you will be using as attorneys often have practice specialties in one process but not all.

Here are the options:

  1. A do-it-yourself divorce. Also called a kitchen table divorce, may be a good choice if you don’t have property, own a business, or have children. If you have been in a short-term marriage and your divorce is amicable, you may be able to work out the details yourselves and submit the forms to the court. The drawback is that you won’t have the information you need about the law.

This process is best for very simple divorces where there isn’t much to negotiate or divide. Nolo Press has a do-it-yourself-divorce book that can walk you through all the steps.

  1. Mediation. Mediation is a very common way to settle a divorce. A mediator is a neutral facilitator. He or she will facilitate your conversations but won’t be able to give you advice. Some mediators are lawyers, and others are therapists or laymen. Because not all mediators know the laws, you should also hire a consulting attorney. That lawyer can advise and educate you about the law and will ensure that you understand your settlement before you sign anything. Many people consult with their attorneys between mediation sessions to prepare for the next session.

One advantage to mediation is that it is a confidential process, and your settlement can be kept confidential and not become part of the public record. Mediation works well when you and your spouse can communicate respectfully and honestly. You will need to feel confident that you can advocate for yourself and your needs. If one of you is overwhelmed with emotion or doesn’t have a clue about finances, mediation might not be the way to go. You may need more support.

In some areas, professionals are offering a hybrid called Integrative Mediation. In this scenario, there are two neutrals, such as an attorney and a therapist or financial specialist. This provides more support to you as you navigate the divorce process.

  1. Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce has been around since the mid-1990s but has recently become much more well known. When mediation doesn’t provide enough support, consider a Collaborative Divorce. In a Collaborative Divorce, each of you has your own attorney trained specifically in this process. You may have others on your teams, such as Collaboratively trained divorce coaches or financial specialists.

You have much more support in your negotiations, as the attorneys join you and your spouse at the meeting table to assist you in finding the resolutions that best work for each of you and your children. In a Collaborative Divorce, you and your spouse are in control of the decisions you’ll make, and the law is a factor, but not necessarily the determining factor. As long as you understand the law, you can make decisions outside of the law if they fit your family better. You can “think outside the box” to find win-win solutions.

The coaches help with communication and emotions, and the neutral financial specialist helps you put together your disclosures, which are required by law. Collaborative Divorce is a confidential process, like mediation, and a potentially amicable process.

You and your spouse sign an agreement not to go to litigation, and not to threaten it. If you do leave the Collaborative Process, your professionals will all withdraw, and you’ll have to hire new professionals. Collaborative Divorce is a good option if you need support, guidance, and advice, and you don’t want to take your divorce to court.

In some areas, you may hear of a “cooperative divorce” or a settlement-oriented divorce. In this process, the attorneys take a larger role in bringing your divorce to a final settlement, often negotiating on your behalf. It is not a confidential process.

  1. Litigation. Some families need an outside decision-maker when they are unable to come to an agreement in any other way. Unfortunately, the outcome is often a “win-lose” outcome, and you may find yourself going back to court over and over. You will each hire an attorney who will fight for you to win in court. It is the most adversarial process. Litigating attorneys often don’t work together cooperatively to come to a settlement. Their focus is on getting the “best deal” for you, even when the outcome may not be ideal for your children or family.

When your divorce is litigated, you are putting all of your decisions into the hands of the Judge, who is guided strictly by the law. Your attorneys make the most convincing case they can as they advocate for you, the client. The judge doesn’t know your family but is making big decisions for you, and can only use the law as a basis for his decisions. And don’t expect the judge to provide “justice” or to punish your spouse. This kind of high-conflict divorce is hard on you and your children. Avoid it if you can.

Litigation is probably the most costly process because you are in fact preparing for trial, although only 3-4% of divorces actually go to trial. The rest settle on the courthouse steps, at the last minute.

These are the four main process options, and in many areas, you will find some variations.

When you decide how you want to proceed, ask the attorney you interview these questions:

  1. Do you specialize in family law? How long have you been in practice?
  2. Have you been trained [and certified] in mediation or Collaborative Divorce? If so, how many cases have you done successfully?
  3. What percentage of your practice is mediation, going to court, and Collaborative Divorce?
  4. Have you worked with my spouse’s attorney in the past? How is your relationship with him/her?
  5. What are your fees?

In addition to the answers you get, ask yourself how it feels to be in the room (or on Zoom) with this person? Does she talk too much? Is he too aggressive? Does she welcome your questions and answer them directly? Is he interested in your intentions and desires? Does she seem to want to find a way to meet the needs of your whole family?

One last word of advice:

Take some time to settle down emotionally before starting a legal process. Work with a therapist, clergy, or divorce coach to work through your feelings. They can also work with you about how to tell your children and help them adjust.

Once your emotions have calmed down you will be able to think more clearly and make more well-thought-through decisions. This is all about self-care.

Start with self-care.

© Ann Buscho, Ph.D. 2021

Ann Gold Buscho, Ph.D. is the author of The Parent’s Guide to Birdnesting: A Child-Centered Solution to Co-Parenting During Separation and Divorce, published by Simon & Schuster. For more information and help about divorce, check out Dr. Buscho’s web site at