Divorce Lawyer Bedside Manner — Guest Blog

By: Attorney John G. DiPiano (Guest Blogger)

Attorney DiPiano is a prominent Divorce Attorney and Divorce Mediator in the Boston Area. His office is in Salem, Massachusetts.  This article appears with Attorney DiPiano’s permission.

© February 18, 2014

The phrase “bedside manner” is typically applied in the context of a doctor-patient relationship.  At once, the care provider attempts to be reassuring while being honest about a diagnosis.  I find in my practice that family law clients often expect, and often seek, a good bedside manner from their lawyers.  After all, divorce can be the most difficult experience a person may endure.

But, what makes a good bedside manner in medicine is not always translatable to family law situations.  In medicine, you have a diagnosis, and the patient can choose to fight the disease wholeheartedly, or accept the consequences of its progression.  In divorce, clients are not fighting a physiological antagonist in the context of physical self-preservation.  They are either fighting their spouse (who may also be the other parent), circumstances (unemployment, for example), a psychological or emotional issue (theirs or the other person’s, or both) or their own habits or routine (arguing); and often the fight ensues with a combination of these, or other, factors.  Whew!  I recently laughed when an oncology nurse told me I had a tough job.  But, as I write this, I think she may have been right.

In my experience, divorce lawyers come in myriad flavors.  But, for purposes of this blog, we will take a look at three.

(1) The Downstream Swimmer Divorce Lawyer:  These types “go with the flow.”  If a client has unreasonable expectations, these attorneys are not ones to try to manage client expectations about “system deliverables.”  If the client wants to pursue a course of action likely only to add cost without any real chance of prevailing, so be it.

(2) The Social Worker Divorce Lawyer.  These lawyers become subjective and try to “take care” of their client or the divorcing couples situation.  While well-meaning, they are often idealists who do not understand the underlying problem.  Take alcoholism, for example; some people labor under the well-meaning, but incorrect, assumption that they can somehow cure alcoholism.  The 3 C’s of Al Anon are helpful in this context:  You’re not the Cause, nor the Cure, and you can’t Control it.  Subjectivity has no place in proper advocacy.  Which leads me to number 3.

(3) The Forthright Advocate Divorce Lawyer.  The forthright advocate assesses the situation both from the liabilities and strengths of the opposition and those of the client.  In some situations, the stress of a divorce can cause situational anxiety to go off the chart, years of argument, emotional upheaval, family dysfunction, etc., can cause the client to be hypersensitive to criticism or conflict, which litigation naturally entails. And, their jittery demeanor can be exploited or misconstrued as instability or worse. The forthright advocate will recommend that the client seek counseling to help prepare the client for that conflict.  The forthright advocate does manage the client’s expectations, and does challenge the client believing that “friendly fire” is a good tool to use to prepare the client for a deposition, or motion hearing, or trial.  The forthright advocate lets the client know what he or she is doing and that, although it may be uncomfortable at first, it may help the client’s overall ability to cope with a difficult situation.  Moreover, the forthright advocate keeps the client “in the loop” as to strategy, what the law provides, and what the client may expect during the process.

I am proud to say that I am a forthright advocate because I firmly believe that the lawyer’s primary goal is to inform clients as to what they need to know, and not to tell them merely what they want to hear.

 

WHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING…

From Beth: “I recently had an appointment with Anthony Adamopoulos regarding questions I had about filing for divorce. Deciding to take this first step was a terrifying one for me. Attorney Adamopoulos was very approachable and kind, which is extremely important during this very emotional time. He listened to me & answered my questions with such a quiet confidence that it was clear to me he was very knowledgeable on every possible facet of divorce & the entire court / mediation / litigation process. I would give 10 stars if it was an option. I highly recommend. Beth”

It is indeed a terrifying first step and that is why we make an extra effort to listen and hear what our clients are saying and asking.

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES  

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

 

Why Collaborative Divorce is Different & Better

By:  Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Arbitrator & Collaborative Lawyer

THE DIFFERENCE:

The Collaborative Divorce Process is so much better because it is the only process where the attorneys are committed, by written agreement, to concentrate on settlement, AND, if they cannot get a settlement, they cannot represent you in litigation.

The difference is truly transformative in divorce law.  In litigation, divorce attorneys cannot say that their first and only priority is to get a settlement.  Collaborative Attorneys can and do.

THE PROCESS:

First, you must be committed to a quick and less expensive resolution of your divorce; rather than winning in court litigation.

Once you are committed to a quick and less expensive resolution, you each select your own Collaborative Attorney who is specially trained to practice Collaborative Divorce.  Not all attorneys are certified to be Collaborative Attorneys.

You, your spouse, and the two attorneys then sign a contract committing all efforts to resolution.

The next real difference from litigation is that you and your spouse, with the guidance of your Collaborative Attorneys, will then use two key experts – a Financial Neutral and a Facilitator Neutral.  Your Facilitator expedites the process by helping you and your spouse identify short and long term goals and overcome inter-personal roadblocks.  Your Financial Neutral expedites the process by analyzing the unique needs of your family, identifying tax provisions related to those needs and creating realistic plans to preserve family income and property.  And, the neutrals will bill at fees below the attorneys’ fees.  This means that unlike other divorce situations, if, for example, you and your spouse disagree over a parenting plan, the Facilitator Neutral will help resolve the parenting problem at a lower rate than the attorneys’ fees.  Or, if there is a disagreement over whether to sell the house, the Financial Neutral will work on a resolution rather than the two higher paid attorneys.

In resolving issues that are delaying settlement, neither the attorneys nor the neutrals will be concerned about “winning”; they will concentrate on meeting the real needs of you and your spouse rather than any psychological “want to win”.

GETTING STARTED:

The easiest, but not the only, way to get started is to go to the really informative website for North Shore Collaborative Divorce.

Once at that site, select an attorney with whom you would like to work; suggest that your spouse do the same.  If you would rather start by first talking with a certified Collaborative Attorney, that works too.

Of course, you can also call me at (978) 744-9591.

That’s it!  Your attorney will walk you through the process.

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES  

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

 

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM NORTH SHORE COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ABOUT ITS NEXT WORKSHOP

Chart Your Course to a Better Divorce – What You Need to Know

If you are contemplating divorce or already knee-deep in the process, this 2.5 hour educational workshop is for you. Chances are, you are overwhelmed and can’t seem to find the right answers to your specific questions about the divorce process. Your friends tell you one thing and your family tells you another. But the only way to get through one of the most difficult events of your life is to be empowered with the information you need to make informed decisions.

Who gets the house? Will I get child support and alimony? How does the new tax law impact alimony in 2019? Am I entitled to half of my spouse’s retirement even though I never worked? Can a pension be divided? Am I going to be financially okay after the divorce?

You have so many questions and we have all the answers. Our workshop will focus on the legal, emotional and financial issues commonly encountered in the divorce process. Our Family Law attorneys discuss your options with regards to which process you should choose – litigation, collaborative or mediation, as well as explaining the law when it comes to support issues like child support, family support and alimony.

Our experienced Divorce Coaches discuss the emotional roadblocks you will experience and offer ways on how to handle them. Family issues like how to tell the children or how to continue relationships with grandparents and in-laws are also addressed.

Our Divorce Financial Experts discuss the different types of assets commonly divided in divorce along with the potential pitfalls and tax issues that can arise. What are your options with the marital home – do you keep, sell or buyout? We’ll lay it all out for you!

Why do we do this workshop? Because we are a group of divorce professionals who strongly believe that when people are educated and informed about their specific situations, they are better prepared to make the important decisions that are best for them and their family.

We are North Shore Collaborative Divorce. Please visit our website: Northshorecollaborativedivorce.com.

The only way to empower yourself with accurate information is to hear it directly from the experts – those divorce professionals who focus solely on working with divorcing spouses.

AT DANVERS’ PEABODY INSTITUTE LIBRARY

(15 Sylvan Street, Danvers, MA 01923)

Saturday, February 9, 2019 

9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

This Workshop is FREE!

 

My Advice for Divorce Month

By:  Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Arbitrator & Collaborative Lawyer

Divorce Month is almost here.

I urge everyone who is facing divorce to seriously consider staying out of the public adversarial divorce system.

Staying out of the “system” generally means choosing one of two processes, either confidential mediation or confidential Collaborative Divorce.

If the two of you agree on only one thing, let it be that you will use confidential mediation or confidential Collaborative Divorce.

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

Learn about Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce at:

The Three Approaches to Divorce

The Three Approaches – Graphically

 

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES  

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

CONSIDERING DIVORCE? THE DECISION….

The Holiday Season is often followed by the Decision to divorce – I call it: “The Decision”.

For couples with young children, The Decision must consider them. From a child’s point of view, divorce is often seen as the death of a child’s family, at least as the child has known the family.  This “death” can result in outcomes including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In the lives of young children, no decision of their parents can have a more negative effect than The Decision.  That is exactly the reason couples should take a few extra steps before The Decision.

First, talk alone about The Decision.

“But, we can’t talk! That’s why we’re divorcing!”   Well listen!  If your child was lying in an emergency room and the two of you had to talk and make a decision, would you talk?  If your answer is “Of course”, well, in your child’s life, this is just as important.

Talk!
Talk about:
-Is divorce the only choice?
-Is divorce the only answer?
-Is divorce necessary now, while the children are young?

If you cannot talk, then talk with a professional. Yes, it is that important in the lives of your children. Also, if the first professional “just isn’t right,” try another, and another.

If you have done all you can to keep the family “alive” and, still, divorce is necessary, then you have probably done all that you can.

 

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

©2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

 

If We Agree on Everything, How Long Does it Take to Get Through Divorce Mediation?

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Arbitrator and Collaborative Lawyer

 

Not very long at all.

Here is the process:

  1. Make an appointment for you and your spouse through my office. You can usually get an appointment within a week.

At the first session, about two hours, I will learn what agreements, you and your spouse have come to on the children, on support and on how the property will be divided. Assuming the financial statement, you were asked to bring with you, is in order, I then go to the next step.

  1. I will then prepare a draft Separation Agreement based upon what you and your spouse agreed to at our first meeting. The turn-around time for this is about a week.
  2. You review the Separation Agreement draft which I will send to you. You decide how long to review it.
  3. We then then talk on the phone or via email about any changes you want. This shouldn’t take more than a day or two to schedule.
  4. If necessary, I revise the draft Separation Agreement. (This takes about 30 minutes.)
  5. We then meet to answer any questions about the Separation Agreement; and, if you and your spouse are ready, you sign the Agreement. This is usually a one-hour meeting.

In short, after two meetings you can have a Separation Agreement that is ready to bring to court for a judge’s review.

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES   

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

©2018 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

FACING DIVORCE AND CANNOT AFFORD A DIVORCE LAWYER…

…USE LARLIMITED ASSISTANCE REPRESENTATION

LAR lets you hire a specially trained and qualified LAR attorney to help with some of what you must do if you represent yourself, pro se.

You Can Hire an LAR lawyer:

  • to go to court with you just one time, or as many times as you want;
  • to write an Answer, Motion or Pre-Trial Conference Memo;
  • to explain things you do not understand;
  • to help you prepare your Financial Statement.

LAR lets you buy from an LAR lawyer simple fill in the blank forms:

  • Motions for Child Support
  • Motions for Child Custody
  • Answers to Complaints
  • Many More

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ DIVORCE RESOLUTION SERVICES

  FULL LAR SERVICES

(978) 744-9591

ACABOSTON@AOL.COM

©2018 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

What is the Difference Between Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce?

By Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator, Arbitrator and Certified Collaborative Lawyer

MEDIATION is an independent, voluntary, confidential process conducted by a mediator, who is neutral. Attorneys are not required. The mediator will:

  • Assist you and your spouse in identifying those issues preventing settlement.
  • Explore various avenues to resolution.
  • Develop a settlement resolution acceptable to you and your spouse.
  • Will prepare a Separation Agreement for presentation to the Court. (Only mediators who are attorneys may draft Separation Agreements.)

The two of you will select the mediator. The mediator’s fees will usually be split between the two of you, however, the two of you may agree to a different responsibility for the fee.

The major benefits of Mediation are:

  • The mediation is private.
  • The mediator will provide all the time you and your spouse need to work on a resolution.
  • Experienced mediators have settlement rates of between 85% and 97%.
  • An attorney need not be present at mediation sessions.

In COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE, you, your spouse, your Collaborative lawyers and Coaches make up the Collaborative Team. The Team has one goal, the quick and efficient resolution of all issues without trial litigation.

Coaches make your divorce process efficient and usually less expensive. The most common Coaches are the Facilitator and the Financial Neutral. The Facilitator expedites the process by helping you and your spouse identify term goals and overcome inter-personal roadblocks. The Financial Neutral expedites the process by analyzing the financial needs of your family, identifying tax provisions related to those needs and creating realistic plans to preserve family income and property. Coach hourly fees are often much lower than attorney hourly fees.

In Collaborative Divorce, attorneys are specially trained and certified.

Your Professional Collaborative Team will:

  • Identify issues regarding the children, support and property division that are preventing resolution.
  • Divide primary responsibility for resolving those issues. For example, issues dealing with the children will be addressed primarily by the Facilitator Coach; issues about the amount of support needed will be addressed by the Financial Coach.
  • Have the required Separation Agreement, Petition for Divorce and Affidavit prepared, executed and filed.
  • Have your attorneys accompany you to the Probate and Family Court for your divorce hearing before a Judge.

The major benefits of Collaborative Divorce are:

  • From beginning to end, you are with and “supported” by a team dedicated to getting you and your spouse divorced quickly and efficiently.
  • All issues are dealt with and resolved in confidential sessions.
  • Your attorneys handle all the administrative court matters to get your divorce papers filed, docketed and scheduled for a hearing.
  • At your divorce hearing your attorneys will respond to questions of the judge, thereby avoiding rescheduling of the hearing because you did not have an attorney to correctly answer questions.

©2018 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

A WORKSHOP FOR THOSE FACING DIVORCE

Feeling Stuck? Don’t know where to begin?  Divorce can be overwhelming, scary and the fear of the unknown can be paralyzing.  You need a plan.  But where do you start?   Regain control and clarity by learning about the legal, financial, family and personal issues that accompany the divorce process.

  • Which legal process is best for you and your family?
  • Is Mediation better and less expensive than Litigation?
  • Is Collaborative Divorce better than Mediation?
  • Will you get or have to pay Child Support and Alimony?
  • What are Marital assets and how are they split? What about an Inheritance?
  • Will our children be okay? How do we tell them?

Our experienced, volunteer Family Law Attorneys, Divorce Coaches and Divorce Financial Analysts will provide the knowledge and information you need to empower you through the divorce process with confidence and peace of mind.

LEARN HOW TO CHART YOUR COURSE TO A BETTER DIVORCE

 Sign up today at NorthShoreCollaborativeDivorce.com

Workshop is free and all attendees will receive a Divorce Resource Handbook

  October 20th  –  9:30 am – 12:00 pm

The Peabody Institute Library (Danvers), 15 Sylvan St., Danvers, MA

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