Check out this Client Review

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.

 

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 www.drannbuscho.com  (Two brackets were added by ACA)

 

THE BASICS

 

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  www.drannbuscho.com.

 

NEW COURT DECISION: IF A HUSBAND OR WIFE IS NOT WORKING TO CAPACITY, HE OR SHE WILL BE ATTRIBUTED INCOME.

 

The Appeals Court this week affirmed that: if the person   receiving support or the person paying support is not reasonably employed, the divorce court judge may attribute income to that person.

 

Reasonably employed means employment obtained through reasonable diligence and, if necessary, additional training.

 

So, for example and paraphrasing the language of the Decision, if a wife could earn $32,000.00 a year as a bookkeeper, the income from her part time work, doing something else, would be ignored and she would have $32,000.00 attributed to her as income for the purpose of calculating what support the husband would pay.

For more information or to lean more about the benefits of Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce, call Anthony.

COVID-19-The Divorce Rate and Cutting the Cost of Divorce

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos Topsfield Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Divorce attorney.

According to the New York Times, the experience of other countries suggests the ravages of COVID-19 will lead us to more divorces. And, according to the Pew Research Center, divorce itself is contagious. For example, if you divorce, the chances become higher that your friends will divorce.

Here in Massachusetts, there is already anecdotal evidence of the divorce rise.

For some, divorce is “necessary”, regardless of the Crisis. This “necessity” is adversely affected by the financial crisis. Divorce litigation is costly, now the burden is greater. The good news is that you can reduce the costs of divorce.

Here are alternatives to divorce litigation which can dramatically lower divorce costs. (Space limitations make the descriptions short, but sufficient for an internet search.)

Conference-Call-Mediation. Traditional divorce mediation works best for 3 or less issues. Today, experienced divorce mediators will conduct COVID-19 sensitive sessions.

COVID-19 Sensitive Collaborative Divorce serves couples facing complicated issues. Problems are resolved in an efficient, cost-cutting manner with each party’s attorney present and assisting.

Reconciliation Agreement Mediation serves couples seeking a second chance at their marriage. The Agreement reconciles differences, while admitting the possibility of divorce. It sets out rights and obligations for each, if a divorce is eventually filed; then, the Reconciliation Agreement, by law, turns into a Separation Agreement.

Use a neutral divorce financial advisor or neutral divorce facilitator. Click here for my blog article  on why divorce neutrals can cut divorce costs: https://www.divorcingoptions.com/Blog/how-to-save-real-money-in-a-divorce/

Use a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) Attorney. An LAR attorney offers “a la carte” legal services. Clients select and pay only for specific tasks, such writing a Settlement Agreement.

During these times, experienced divorce attorneys who concentrate in divorce resolution, not litigation, are valuable resources for cutting divorce costs,

#divorcemediation

#divorcelawyernearme

 

Headed for a Covidivorce and Can’t Afford Divorce Mediation? Use a Certified LAR Attorney.

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Representation, Divorce Arbitrator.

In a matter of weeks, the world has changed for those facing divorce, not to mention that the family/divorce court has all but closed.

What do you do when you cannot afford a full-service divorce mediator?

Use a Limited Assistance Representation (LAR) attorney to save money. .

Your LAR attorney, who must be certified, will offer you “a la carte” legal services. In other words, you will select and pay only for specific tasks, for example, preparation of a Settlement Agreement.

A Settlement Agreement is an all-encompassing written agreement that addresses issues related to a couple’s divorce. When parties settle their divorce issues with a Settlement Agreement, they avoid divorce litigation.

A LAR attorney only represents one party.

There are various ways of arriving at a Settlement Agreement when you retain a LAR lawyer. What follows is a possible scenario:

You get from your LAR attorney the documents needed to properly help you.

The attorney then advises you as to what issues have to be addressed for your particular Settlement Agreement.

You tell your attorney what you and your spouse have agreed to so far. Your attorney then prepares a draft Settlement Agreement addressing the issues on which you and your spouse agree.

Then you address with your attorney areas of disagreement you have with your spouse.  Your attorney ask questions, refers to the documents you gave him, considers possible approaches, and then makes suggestions to you.

You then go back and negotiate with your spouse and the two of you reach agreement.

Your attorney then prepares a final draft Settlement Agreement.

You accept the draft and show it to your spouse. If your spouse accepts the draft, the two of you have a final Settlement Agreement.

If you only hired your LAR attorney to prepare a Settlement Agreement, you now have one to use when you file for divorce.

You decide how much or how little you will use your LAR attorney.

For a LAR Handout click here.

For more information on LAR click here.

©2020

What is the Difference Between Imputed Income and Attributed Income?

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

Imputed and attributed income are distinguished in the Child Support Guidelines, 2018.

Imputed income is income that is not reported on a parent’s Financial Statement but is nevertheless being received by or available to the parent.  One appellate court decision has said: A judge may “reasonably impute income to [a] parent” who receives “[e]xpense reimbursements, in-kind payments or benefits received by a parent, personal use of business property, and payment of personal expenses by a business in the course of employment, self-employment, or operation of a business . . . if such payments are significant and reduce personal living expenses.”

Attributable income is  “[i]ncome …[assigned] to a parent when the Court determines a parent is capable of earning more than is currently being earned and assigns a hypothetical amount of income to the parent.”    If a judge finds that a parent is unreasonably underemployed or unemployed, the judge may assign attributable income to that parent.

©2020

Anthony is available to discuss and explain Collaborative Divorce & Divorce Mediation to private and public groups. Call for more information.

 

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION &

 DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

 

 

#divorcemediation

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My Spouse is Hiding income. Is that Imputed Income?

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

Yes, it may be. Imputed income is an amount that a judge assigns to your spouse when your spouse’s Financial Statement does not report the assigned income.This comes up when you are able to show the judge at least one of two types of evidence about your spouse’s real income.

In the first type, there is evidence showing your spouse spending way above his or her means. For example, your spouse is leasing a Ferrari at a monthly cost of more than half of his or her monthly income.

In the second type, your spouse receives reimbursements or employer payment for expenses that are not reported in his or her Financial Statement, for example per diem payments or cell phone payments.

If the judge accepts the evidence of unreported income, an amount representing the unreported income may be imputed, or assigned, to the non-reporting party.

However, in court litigation, you have to consider the consequences of disclosing unreported taxable income because the judge is obligated to report the matter to the IRS. If you filed joint returns, an IRS audit may hurt you in an unexpected way.

One of the many advantages to using Collaborative Divorce or Divorce Mediation is that the process is confidential and the parties can negotiate an agreement as to all money being earned.

© Anthony C. Adamopoulos 2019

Anthony is available to discuss and explain Collaborative Divorce & Divorce Mediation to private and public groups. Call for more information.

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION &

DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

#divorcemediation

#collaborativedivorce

#imputedincome

#divorce

#collaborativeattorneynearme

#divorcemediationattorneynearme

#divorceattorneynearme

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Does a Judge Set Alimony?

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

Alimony is based on: the need of the recipient, the payor’s ability to pay it and a cap on the amount to be paid.

To determine need, the judge must consider: marriage length; age and health of the parties; income, employment and employability of both parties, including employability through reasonable diligence and additional training, if necessary; economic and non-economic contribution of both parties to the marriage; marital lifestyle; ability of each party to maintain the marital lifestyle; lost economic opportunity as a result of the marriage; and other factors considered relevant and material.

For the payor’s ability to pay, the judge considers the above factors to see if the payor has money left over after providing for the payor’s need. If there is money left over, the judge will generally award alimony to be the lesser of the recipient’s need or 30 to 35 percent of the difference between the parties’ gross incomes.

In Collaborative Divorce and Mediation, the parties have more leeway in setting alimony.

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

Anthony is available to discuss and explain Collaborative Divorce & Divorce Mediation to private and public groups. Call for more information.

 

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION &

DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

#alimony

#settingalimony

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Is Collaborative Divorce Cheaper than Mediation or a Court Resolution?

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

 

Unless a couple has been married for under a year, it is almost impossible to quote the cost of any divorce process, let alone Collaborative Divorce.

What can be said is that Collaborative Divorce is efficient and cost effective. And, it meets emotional and economic needs in a way that mediation cannot.

Collaborative attorneys have one objective, settlement.  This is not the case with court resolution. Attorneys of mediation clients usually do not attend settlement negotiations and work on the specifics of settlement.

Collaborative attorneys work under a schedule geared to speedy settlement. Court cases react to court-imposed schedules which may not reflect client needs. Mediators often have one client wait while the needs of the other client are being addressed.

Collaborative attorneys serve at their client’s side and speak on their behalf. In mediation, attorneys are usually not present, leaving clients to negotiate and speak for themselves.

Collaborative trained “neutrals” resolve economic or emotional problems, usually on lower fee schedules.  Mediators do not routinely use neutrals.

In summary, for marriages of over 5 years, involving good earnings, significant assets and disagreement surrounding children, support of one party or the division of property, Collaborative Divorce is the efficient cost-effective choice.

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION & DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

Anthony is available to discuss and explain Collaborative Divorce & Divorce Mediation to private and public groups.

#collaborativedivorce

#divorcemediation

#cheapdivorce

#collaborativeattorneynearme