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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WHEN YOU NEED HELP IN DIVORCE MEDIATION

by Anthony C. Adamopoulos, Divorce Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

You, usually, do not need an attorney or Financial Neutral at all mediation sessions when there are three or less issues and no issue of credibility of income or property reporting.

But, in two situations you need help.

First, you need help when the issues include credibility of income or property disclosure.

Second, you need help when there are too many issues, including honesty about income and/or property but your spouse insists on using mediation.

If either of these situations exist, you need to protect yourself by getting the facts.

One way is to have an experienced divorce attorney ask the important questions that will satisfy your concerns about credibility.

The alternative is to insist on the mediation process involving a Divorce Financial Neutral. Neutrals know the questions to ask and the information to get.

How do you know when you need help?

If any of the following situations exist, you probably need an experienced attorney or a neutral.

  1. If your spouse is a high paid employee and you do not know:
  • The number or kind of perks spouse gets.
  • Any specifics about spouse’s pay, including bonus.
  • Any specifics about how spouse gets company stock.

 

  1. If your spouse is a self-employed high earner and you do not know:
  • How much your spouse earns.
  • If the business is paying for the phones or motor vehicles you and/or spouse use.
  • The first thing about running the business if spouse dies.
  • The names of spouse’s accountant and lawyer.
  • Why spouse carries a roll of cash to pay for things and to give you cash for your expenses.
  • What type of legal entity the business is, for example is it a sole proprietorship? or a corporation? or something else?
  • Whether you can trust your spouse to have the business fairly and competently appraised.

 

  1. If your spouse signs your name to the tax returns or tells you “just sign here” no need to read them.

 

  1. If your spouse does not want “to use lawyers” for the divorce process.

 

  1. Hypothetically, if you were asked to provide information showing:
  • all of the weekly income and weekly expenses of each of you; and
  • all of the property owned by each of you; and
  • all of the debt of each of you,

and you don’t know this information.

Remember, the divorce mediator is a neutral party who has the main responsibility of getting the two of you to agree on a divorce settlement agreement.

Your main responsibility is to be sure the mediator has all the important facts.

Learn more by contacting me, now.

©2020 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

 

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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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

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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

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#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

 

 

For How Long Will Alimony Run?

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

Alimony here refers to the most common type – General Term.

The length or duration of alimony is contingent on two factors.

The first is the length of the marriage. (Italics are quotes from the Alimony Reform Law.)

The length of the marriage begins, at a minimum, from the date of marriage. However, the court (or arbitrator) may increase the length … if there is evidence that the parties’ economic marital partnership began during their cohabitation … prior to the marriage.

If there was an economic marital partnership, an extension to the length of the marriage, is in the discretion of the judge (or arbitrator).

Some evidence of an economic marital partnership includes the couple:

  • holding themselves out as an intact family;
  • wearing rings, they bought for each other;
  • participating in activities together with their children;
  • vacationing together;
  • sharing finances;
  • sharing the cost of housing.

The length of the marriage ends when a spouse is served a notice of divorce.

The second factor. Once the length of the marriage is determined, the judge (or arbitrator) then sets the duration of alimony.

Presumptive limits on the duration of alimony are based on the length of the marriage.

Where the marriage is longer than 20 years, alimony may extend for an indefinite length of time… .

For 20 years or less there are four categories of duration:

(1) If the length of the marriage is 5 years or less, … not longer than one-half the number of months of the marriage.

(2) [for] 10 years or less, but more than 5 years… not longer than 60 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.

(3 [for] 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, …not longer than 70 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.

(4) [for] 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, …not longer than 80 per cent of the number of months of the marriage.

 The above duration categories are presumptive and the judge (or arbitrator) may deviate from the presumption. (Rules for deviation are left for another article.)

So, to determine the presumptive duration of alimony, first determine the length of the marriage and then fit the length into one of the 5 duration periods.

 

© 2019 Anthony C. Adamopoulos

ANTHONY C. ADAMOPOULOS’ 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.

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