What does Collaborative Divorce Mean?

Traditional divorce practice requires each attorney, in all interactions with clients and the opposing lawyer, to always be preparing for a divorce trial and, at the same time, always be attuned to settling the divorce.

Collaborative Divorce turns traditional divorce upside down by obligating each attorney and client to have only one goal – the resolution of the divorce without litigation or adversary proceedings.

To achieve resolution and save on fees, the Collaborative Process uses Neutrals who charge lower hourly fees than attorneys and use their specialized skills to resolve disputes traditionally handled by  attorneys. For example, Financial Neutrals help resolve tax or valuation issues. Neutral Facilitators help parties agree on a Parenting Plan.

Doing away with tractional restraints, the Collaborative Process is more efficient and less costly.

Anthony Adamopoulos is a co-founder of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council and North Shore Collaborative Divorce

Read more about Collaborative Divorce in this website by clicking here. Call Anthony at 978-744-9591 to talk with him.

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COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE IN THE TIME OF PANDEMIC

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Collaborative Divorce Attorney

 

During this pandemic, Collaborative Divorce Attorneys and Neutrals are providing this wonderful service in a COVID sensitive way.

They provide this service through a Collaborative Team, which achieves resolution quickly, safely and for less. The Team consists of each client, their respective attorneys and the neutrals. What follows is one of several types of a COVID sensitive procedures.

 Client/Attorney Teleconference

First, clients teleconference with their respective attorneys who obtain necessary information from their clients.

Next, the attorneys, keeping in mind what they have learned from their clients, discuss between themselves whether neutrals should be used. If there are personal problems that affect open and direct communication, then a Neutral Facilitator will be used. If there are financial/value issues then a Financial Neutral will be used. When neutrals are used, they make the process more efficient and cost effective. (For this explanation they will be used.)

Client/Neutral Teleconference

Second, names of neutrals are recommended to the clients and each client teleconferences with each neutral.

Neutrals and Attorneys Teleconference and Identify Problem Areas

Third, after the neutrals talk with each client, the neutrals and attorneys teleconference. Relying on what they have learned from each spouse, they identify what problems will prevent the signing of a Divorce Separation Agreement. Then, they develop a resolution for each problem and use one of the following formats to get a settlement.

Attorney Driven Settlement Format

Each attorney takes each recommended resolution to their respective client. If both clients agree on a recommended resolution, that problem is resolved. Following the same procedure, the attorneys then concentrate, one by one, on the remaining problems.

Zoom Collaborative Team Meeting Format

Here there is a Zoom Team Conference. Team conferences are led by a neutral. The Team, starting with a recommended resolution for each problem, works at resolving each problem one at a time. A benefit to Zoom meetings is that each participant can see the face of the other participants.

Collaborative Team Teleconference Format

The procedure and goals are the same as a Zoom meeting – all work together to get resolution of each problem. The advantage to a teleconference is that participants can concentrate on what is being said without any visual distraction.

For more information call Anthony.

 

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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

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Our Clients Say It Best

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

Recently, a couple came to me seeking my help in resolving their divorce. They were in litigation and had been “going at it” for over a year. Fortunately, with their hard work and dedication, we mediated a resolution.

They showed their appreciation by writing kind reviews and notes.

Here is a summary of some of their kind words about my style and my paralegal, Donna’s comforting manner:

My husband and I were in the divorce process for over one year.  Anthony helped us “untangle our knots” within a few short months and settle our case without trial.

Anthony took my urgent phone call right away, this was much appreciated and helped de-escalate the matter. 

He was more than flexible – he rearranged his schedule multiple times to accommodate our needs.  Thank you for helping us to meet our tight deadlines.

Anthony kept a calm, confident yet gentle presence during tense moments.  His role as teacher was helpful when one or both of us needed education on terms or concepts, or legal definitions.

Although I wish that no one would have to go through the divorce process, if you do find yourself in need of a mediator, I would recommend Anthony. His vast experience, warm and caring demeanor, and interest to be efficient in the proceedings will be a welcome respite in the process.

Donna’s warm and professional assistance with a comforting smile made the entire process easier to manage.  She is an empathic and impartial asset to your practice!

Anthony- Thank you for making an impossible resolution possible. 

©2020 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

 

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION &

 DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

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#divorce

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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

 

 

 

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The Holidays are Over and We Need to Get This Divorce Behind Us

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

Listen folks, the holidays are over and the two of you are still facing the divorce problem.

It is time and it is best, for the two of you and your kids to get this divorce thing behind you.

It is hard to imagine it now, but things will get brighter for each of you when the divorce is behind you.

There are only two real ways to go, Mediation or Collaborative Divorce. Don’t spend big money or expend energy and tears going the old divorce route with lawyers that are not certified to travel the smart, less expensive roads to divorce resolution.

Where there are children under 23, there are three major issues in all divorces– taking care of the children, taking care of support and dividing the property.

Mediation is the way to go if your combined income is around $100,000.00 or less and there is no real disagreement over the children, support and property.

Collaborative Divorce is the sensible route where combined income is over $100,000.00 and there are real issues such as disputes over where the kids will live or how much self-employment income there is?

Call today for a consultation with an experienced and certified divorce resolver.

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

© 2020 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE MEDIATION &

 DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

#divorcemediation

#collaborativedivorce

#divorce

#collaborativeattorneynearme

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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

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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

 

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What is a Collaborative Divorce Neutral Facilitator and Why is it Cost Effective to Use One?

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos-Divorce Mediator, Collaborative Divorce Attorney, & Divorce Arbitrator

Are you facing divorce and feeling sad, angry, or scared?

Do you stay up at night thinking “This can’t be happening” or “How am I going to manage this?”

If you use Collaborative Divorce, you will not be alone because a Collaborative Divorce Neutral Facilitator will be there for you. (A Neutral Facilitator is sometimes called a Coach.)

As your Collaborative attorney, I will be sure that a Neutral Facilitator is part of the Collaborative team. The Neutral will meet with you, and your spouse, individually before the first team meeting to get to know you, to set up your goals for the process, and to learn what issues might be particularly hard for you.

A neutral can work with you to develop a parenting plan or help you navigate the challenge of guiding your child through this tough time. A Neutral is an emotional support who will be with you “every step of the way”.

At all meetings, the Neutral will be there to help maintain a respectful atmosphere, to be a time keeper, and to monitor the emotional aspect of the conversation. Clients can meet, at any time, with the Neutral individually or with their spouse.

Why is it cost effective to use a Neutral?  Because it may cost less.  If you are using the costly court divorce process, or even mediation, your attorney, or the mediator, will try to provide the services that a skilled Neutral provides.  The difference is that the Neutral will be billing at a lower rate than your attorney or mediator.

© 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

#collaborativedivorcefacilitator

#collaborativecoach

#costeffectivecollaborativedivorce

#collaborativeattorneynearme

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