The Smart Divorce® Weblog

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Considering divorce? Good reasons to wait for January

By Geoff Williams

Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:43am EST

(Reuters) – Going through a divorce during the holidays can be emotionally wrenching, which is why many people don’t do it – they put it off until January.

“People don’t want to upset the apple cart over the holidays, and they want a peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah or New Year’s. And then, because they don’t want to spend another damned year with that spouse of theirs, as soon as the holidays are over they pull the plug and file,” says Alton Abramowitz, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

While there are no hard numbers on how many divorces are filed in January, Abramowitz says it’s undoubtedly a popular time to act, rivaled only by September, when marriages break up after the summer holidays. Yet waiting for the holidays to pass doesn’t all come down to simply wanting a harmonious holiday season. There are sound financial reasons to wait until January.

1. Waiting for the bonus

A husband or wife who waits until January is likely to be entitled to any year-end windfall that might come from a spouse’s job.

“In New York, at least, once you file for divorce and you set the cut-off date, anything you obtain afterward is separate property,” says Steven Goldfeder, a matrimonial attorney in New York City who acknowledges that year-end bonuses are often fought over, even if a spouse declares he or she wants a divorce in January. “Someone could claim the bonus isn’t really for that particular year, but a payment to entice someone to stay at the firm for the future.”

2. Cool your emotions

The holidays are a time when emotions run high. “If your spouse always has it in her mind that Christmas was ruined, she or he may not be so eager to settle with you,” says Goldfeder. “Your divorce might drag out for months or years longer than it would have.”

Once, shortly before Christmas, Goldfeder received a call from a client who said a co-worker had had a baby they both believed was his. The client, married and the father of three, planned to tell his wife and assumed she would leave him. Goldfeder talked him into first getting a paternity test. The client’s family had a nice Christmas, and the day after, the client learned he wasn’t the father.

Not exactly a warm holiday tale, but by cooling your emotions, you may save your family a lot of stress.

3. Avoid disastrous shopping

December is the shopping season, and that can spell disaster if an angry spouse is set loose with a credit card. “The spouse served with divorce papers may feel that they deserve some kind of emotional gift because of this horrible thing their spouse did to them,” says Kevin Worthley, a certified divorce financial analyst and certified financial planner in Warwick, Rhode Island.

An angry spouse may also be more inclined to want to drain the bank accounts and run up the credit cards. “That’s a danger any time, but past the holidays, when everything’s been bought, there’s likely less inclination to buy a big-ticket item out of revenge,” says Worthley.

4. Think about April

At year-end, taxes come to mind. “Obviously, the better records you have, the better position you’re going to be in,” says Andrew Katzenstein, a Los Angeles lawyer, referring to paperwork that you might want to start collecting now.

Katzenstein, who specializes in assisting high-net-worth individuals, businesses and charities, says that in the past there haven’t been many tax advantages to filing for a divorce in January rather than December. Filling for divorce is just a beginning step, after all. Many couples end up filing their taxes jointly until the divorce is completed.

But tax brackets may go up in 2013, depending on whether the U.S. budget dispute is resolved. So going forward, the calculus may be different. “The person who pays alimony will get more bang for their deduction buck, and the person receiving the payments will pay more taxes,” he says.

5. More time to plan

If you’ve made up your mind that a divorce is going to be one of your New Year’s resolutions, there are things you can do now. Whatever side you end up on — paying alimony or receiving it — you need to start preparing.

“You should start collecting all of your end-of-the-year statements,” says Worthley. “You really need to know everything — your household budget, your assets, what’s in your checking account, how much you’re paying for the mortgage, all of your debts and your credit card balances. It’s important to get all of that.”

Your financial records will be needed to determine how much spousal support will be paid out, and how the finances will be divided. “The more information you get, the less complicated it’ll be when you’re negotiating and working things out with a financial mediator, attorney or judge,” says Deborah Moskovitch, a divorce coach in Toronto who counts January as her busiest month for new clients.

To read the whole article click here


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My Money Mindset – Finances During Divorce

Now posted on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio

One of the biggest fears post-divorce are finances.  Trusting yourself to make financial choices is a big issue, especially when it comes to your divorce settlement.  Our guest, Dr. Deborah Nixon, helps us to understand what we need to do.  Dr. Nixon is an entrepreneur, professor, executive, consultant, and community volunteer; she has identified a common need in today’s cautious working environment for trusting professional relationships. Economic instability has undercut our readiness to trust one another – and this is especially hard in divorce.  We’re gong to relate this all to your post-divorce life.

Dr. Nixon helps us understand the importance of building and maintaining trust in ourselves when making financial decisions – especially when it’s post-divorce, and the worry is “what about my future?”   She has developed the MyMoneyMindset and Trust Intelligence Program and shares her work, to help us with financial decision-making. We discuss the intangibles of trust, reputation and integrity to make them tangible and practical.

To understand how these goals are met in reasonable manner we explore:

  • Defining Moments as a pivot point for deeper understanding of financial decision-making
  • How assessments, coaching and consulting have helped clients learn to take charge of their money while helping professionals learn what their clients need from them.
  • Helping to develop Financial Wellness
  • The 10 Minute Survey
  • The importance of feeling strong so that you can manage your money

My Money Mindset will help you make better and more informed decisions about your money. Tackle those hard issues. A raise, the family budget, a financial plan, your relationship with your financial professional. Don’t you owe it to yourself! Isn’t your peace of mind worth it? This interview will surely help you understand what trust means, trust breaches and trust repair. Fascinating stuff.

To find out more, contact Dr. Nixon at Deborah@mymoneymindset.com, or call 416-986-7049

Don’t forget, Like us on our Facebook pagesThe Smart Divorce and Divorce Source Radio.  Join the community!

To listen tune in here


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Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce

There’s a great new initiative  developed by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and Sesame Street which is an an important and valuable resource for parents, Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce . The program, featuring Muppet Abby Cadabby, provides tools and language to help young children (ages 2-8) cope with and understand divorce at an age-appropriate level. Project resources include a free mobile app, online resources, and multimedia toolkits containing a children’s storybook, a caregiver guide, and a DVD. These materials are available online at sesamestreet.org/divorce and through the Resource Center on the AFCC website. Divorce can be a big challenge for both children and parents. Though times may be difficult, children can emerge feeling loved and supported. You can all grow through these family changes and discover just how strong you really are.

You are not alone. Family, friends, neighbors, and others are there to offer support. Here are some tools to help your child through your divorce.

To view this fabulous new program and for more details click here 

Information from the SesameWorkshop

Each year about 1.5 million children confront the divorce of their parents1, a transition that can be challenging for the entire family, especially young children. While 40% of families experience this, there are few resources to show children they are not the only ones with big questions and feelings about divorce.  In response, Sesame Workshop has launched Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce, a series of free multi-media resources, to support families through this transition which can be very difficult, especially for young children. These new materials are a continuation of Sesame Workshop’s award-winning Military Families Initiative launched in 2006 that provides resources and emotional support to military families with children, ages 2 to 8, coping with challenging transitions in their lives.

As with all content produced by Sesame Workshop, this outreach initiative began with a thorough research process, which included consulting with an advisory board of key experts in child development, early childhood, and mental health fields to guide and shape key content messages. Continuing the process, Sesame Workshop conducted focus groups with parents and service providers to ensure that all of the resources effectively meet the needs of children and families.  Sesame Workshop created Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce, in order to:

  • Provide tools and language to help young children (ages 2–8) cope with and understand divorce at an age-appropriate level,
  • aid families in communicating and expressing feelings around divorce and
  • reassure children that they will be cared for, and that—together with their families—they can learn ways to adjust to their new life and have hope for the future.

“With our new resources on divorce, Sesame Workshop continues a 43-year-long history of tackling the most relevant and challenging issues for children,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. “During difficult times, it’s vitally important that children feel supported and develop coping skills that will help them throughout their entire lives.  Sesame Workshop is committed to providing the highest quality resources to families dealing with life’s challenges.”

Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce includes:

  • A new Sesame Street DVD, featuring the Muppets and real families, that highlights strategies around expressing emotions and how to talk to children about divorce;
  • A Parent/Caregiver Guide providing helpful resources, language and advice for discussing divorce with children and helping them navigate changes;
  • A Children’s StorybookTwo-Hug Day, about a young boy named Niko who is transitioning between his parents’ two homes, and
  • An online toolkit at sesamestreet.org/divorce providing access to all project resources, as well as additional online-only materials:
    • An Extended Family & Friends tip sheet
    • Webinars and online discussion sessions giving service providers and families a thorough understanding of how to engage with their families and communities
    • A Facebook page called Sesame Street in Communities connecting our online community to Sesame’s resiliency messages and materials.
  • A mobile app: Sesame Street: Divorce, featuring resources and tools for parents and caregivers; available on the App Store (SM) and Google Play ™.

“With the frequency of children experiencing divorce and or separation today, it is critical to help children understand that the feelings or questions they may have are typical and should be discussed with a parent or caregiver, said Dr. Jeanette Betancourt, Senior Vice President for Outreach and Educational Practices at Sesame Workshop.  “These strategies will help children cope with changes as well as support them in understanding they are not alone.”

The resource kits will be distributed to military and veteran families through partnerships with Military OneSource, Department of Veterans Affairs, The USO, and The Military Child Education Coalition. These resources are also being distributed to families in the general public through national partnerships with organizations such the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. On a local level, distribution will reach children and their families though faith-based programs, school and after school programs, through counseling and mental health services, parenting programs, and child care systems. Military families can contact Military OneSource directly at militaryonesource.mil to request a kit.


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Learning From Your Divorce

There are many lessons that we can learn from divorce, and these are shared in Weddings& Honeymoons magazine. I was recently interviewed by Nicole Gioseffi of Weddings & Honeymoons at the Divorce Party , to find how to keep the honeymoon thrive, despite the high divorce rate.  This is what was shared:

Marriage Tips for Couples at Divorce Party

Marriage tips for couples at Divorce Party

By: Nicole Gioseffi

Divorce is not a dirty little secret anymore rather it has become a common and normal part of life for many.

Divorce can conjure feelings of anger, frustration, sadness and resentment. How can true happiness occur with such emotion at the forefront?

The key to moving on is finding out how to let go of that anger and frustration and yes even finding the ability to forgive each other. For many, this is easier said than done.

Luckily, there are ways and outlets available to divorces that will help them in finding their inner peace.  Outlets such as self-help books, dating services and special events geared for single and divorced individuals.

On Friday September 21, 2012 Canada’s largest Divorce Single and Mingle Party was held downtown Toronto at the Capitol Entertainment Theater. Although the event was called a “Divorce Party”, you did not have to be divorced in order to attend. The event was organized so that like-minded individuals could have the opportunity to meet new people and be comfortable in their own skin. The event offered a live DJ, wine tasting, a fashion show and the opportunity for people to listen to keynote speakers who specialized in the area of divorce.

One of the keynote speakers was Deborah Moskovitch, pictured on right with W&H writer Nicole Gioseffi, who is a divorce coach, speaker, educator and author of the book The Smart Divorce.  Deborah speaks from experience as she herself has been divorced for 16 years.

She explains that her divorce was a difficult time in her life and finding the ways to overcome it was a challenge. She said the most important thing you can do individually is to heal at your own speed and learn to forgive and let go. Through the process of her divorce, Deborah channeled her emotions into writing her book, which helped her heal. The book is equipped with proven strategies and valuable advice.

Click here to read the whole article and the vital advice.


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The Family Support Expo is coming to Toronto!

Don’t miss out on the 1st annual Family Support Expo  — Raising Awareness, Reducing Stigma Separation and Divorce The Toronto International Centre will be the home of the Family Support Expo on October 20 -21, 2012

Supporting families in transition, from pregnancy through adolescence and beyond!

The first North American expo bringing together all of the resources needed to support families dealing with Separation & Divorce, Medical, Mental Health, and other lifestyle issues.

The Family Support Expo is for parents, grandparents, caregivers, children and professionals.  The Expo provides information to help build and support a healthy family.

Exhibitors will showcase a variety of services and products and will offer access to community resources, organizations and experts in the industry.

All families experience challenges. Whether it is a child struggling with a medical issue or special need, a senior suffering from an illness, a family on the heels of divorce or separation, or another serious challenge – you are not alone and help is available.

The Expo seeks to revolutionize how families deal with these challenges.

The 3 general areas of focus for the Expo are:

Within these three areas there are many sub-categories.

Separation & Divorce

  • Help finding a professional (Family Mediator, Family Lawyer, Accountant, Real Estate Agent, mortgage broker, etc.)
  • Education and resources to help your family moving forward

Please stop by my booth, Deborah Moskovitch – The Smart Divorce and Divorce Coach, where I will be speaking and selling my resources helping individuals through their divorce  — maintaining their sanity, cutting down on legal costs, and helping to manage the divorce process in a healthier and happier way.

I will also be participating in a panel discussion with Toronto’s leading divorce professionals and moderated by Breakfast Television’s very own Kevin Frankish.

Don’t miss out on this new and unique event.  While the Expo cannot guarantee solutions to all areas of challenge, it stands to provide families with actionable advice and support that will leave them hopeful and optimistic moving forward.

For more information visit: http://familysupportexpo.com


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Canada’s Largest Divorce Party – Come Join the Fun!

Reinvent, Transform, Be Inspired!

Join me and many others for an evening of entertainment, inspiration, fun and much more.

On September 21, 2012 I will be speaking at the Largest Divorce Party in Canada…..this is going to be a spectacular event filled with give aways, gifts, motivational speakers, music, laughter, entertainment and fun.

Hundreds of like minded people will be gathering to meet with their like minded friends or mingle with new ones to share in a night filled with music, laughter, cocktails and divorce.

How can people celebrate divorce with laughter, music and cocktails?

The Divorce Party has been around for quite a few years but there’s never been anything on a scale quite like this, ever.  While smaller divorce parties, between groups of friends have proven to be the time for bonding and closure, this divorce party is a little different.  This is a celebration of who we are and what we face as we move into the next, new and exciting chapter of our lives.

 What are we planning?

At this Divorce Party, you don’t have to be a divorcee to attend.  Maybe you’re single and interested in meeting new people or perhaps you’re attached but come in support of a friend; it doesn’t matter because this night is a celebration of new beginnings and life’s journeys to come.

What else is there?

With your ticket, you’ll not only get to experience great food, the company of good people and the pleasure of well made drinks but you’ll also have the opportunity to hear from some of stellar guests like, Deborah Moskovitch, founder of: The Smart Divorce; a woman dedicated to helping people cope with their divorce by assisting them with implementation of life skill strategies so that their next chapter starts on a crisp, clean page.  There’s the “BoyToy” from  Divorce Party: The Musical, In DIVORCE PARTY THE MUSICAL, the “Boy Toy” plays everything from a massage therapist to a pizza delivery boy to a make-over guru. He will perform a special number at the Divorce Party; and of course no party is complete without dancing and carrying on when our disc jockey’s, take the stage.

There’s prizes, there’s food, there’s friends and then there’s you.  This night is all about you.

We believe that the spice in life is harnessed from our ability to re-invent ourselves as we cross over each hurdle in life.

Come join the fun!

For more information check out the link: http://www.divorce-party.ca/

or email info@divorce-party.ca​


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Be Creative with Your Mediation

New on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio:

We welcome back our guest, Mark Baer (http://www.markbaeresq.com/), a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and who has been practicing for twenty years.  Mark shares his opinions and views about the family law system, how it can be better and provide more creative ways on getting through divorce.  Deborah Moskovitch, Steve Peck and Mark explore a variety of concepts regarding mediation.  This program isn’t just a standard outline of mediation, but shakes it up a little in this controversial and lively discussion.

 

Divorce Mediation

Mark Baer

How do you think outside the box in mediation? Mark Baer encourages you to ponder as we discuss:

  • The way in which bias impacts family law litigation
  • Why “evaluative mediation” is not really mediation, even though most lawyers and judicial officers believe otherwise
  • Whether family law attorneys should have higher ethical obligations than other attorneys
  • Funding your children’s college/university education when child support isn’t enough or stops
  • What money represents

There seems to be a major disconnect between the way the public views mediation and how the attorneys and judicial officers view as mediation.  This is a conversation that is steeped in controversy.  Tune in and then let us hear your thoughts on our Facebook fan pages…and don’t forget to like us.   The Smart Divorce http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Smart-Divorce/202908933137654 and www.Facebook.com/DivorceSourceRadio


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Resolve Custody Conflicts in Divorce

New on The Smart Divorce – Resolve Custody Conflicts in Divorce

You can protect your kids through Divorce Without Dishonor, and our guest, Mike Mastracci tells us how to resolve custody conflicts in divorce.  Author and lawyer, Mike Mastracci is a nationally recognized family law attorney and mediator with over 20 years of professional experience. He is the author of STOP Fighting Over the Kids, Resolving Day-to-Day Conflict in Divorce Situations.  (To receive a FREE copy of Mike’s book, send your request to: DivorceSourceRadio@gmail.com and the E-book will be emailed to you.)

Stop fighting over the kidsIn addition to his legal, collaborative and mediation skills, Mastracci brings much more to the table: with an insightful, kind and helpful approach. He shares his personal child custody issues and challenges to better serve you in solving your legal, practical, parental, and situational problems.

Mr. Mastracci through his common sense approach provides insight, strategies and an invaluable understanding of Court, costly custody battles. Mastracci encourages divorcing couples to educate themselves in the Collaborative Divorce method whereby they can demonstrate by their words and actions that they love their children more than they may dislike their ex. Mike will frankly tell you that contested divorce and child custody litigation is more often than not a waste of time, money and emotional wear and tear.
Mastracci is committed to preserving parent-child relationships.

To hear this interview, click on the link http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/resolve-custody-conflicts-divorce/


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The Smart Divorce Audio Series Now Available

Get through your divorce as you save time, money – and your sanity! One low price gives you the complete Smart Divorce ToolKit –audios and Smart Guides – a cost-effective way to reduce stress as you help clients and manage the divorce process.

Endorsed by judges, lawyers and mental health professionals, The Smart Divorce ToolKit provides guidance and information from leading family law lawyers, mental health professionals, and parenting experts, well versed on the needs of those in the divorce process. This one smart package makes it uncomplicated and effortless to understand.

Reassuring, informative and easy to listen to, The Smart Divorce  Smart Audios offer more than 2.5 hours of presentations, full of insightful tips and strategies to help you navigate this difficult time.

Deborah Moskovitch educates listeners about the divorce process and provides practical information on getting through it with focus, hope and confidence. She teams with psychologist Dr. Robert Simon , an expert on divorce, relationships and families – with a special focus on children of divorce and custody conflicts.

Audio 1 – The Emotional Divorce

Understand that every divorce has two sides: legal and emotional. The Smart Divorce Audio 1 gives you strategies and tips for coping in healthy ways with your emotions, so you can make clear-headed decisions for your children and yourself. (37.24 minutes)

Audio 2 – The Legal Divorce

Empower yourself by knowing what’s ahead. The Smart Divorce Audio 2 helps you understand how to organize, prepare and work towards a realistic, favorable outcome for you and your family. From selecting the right legal advocate to exploring other divorce options, The Legal Divorce helps you manage the practicalities and take charge of the process. (45.24 minutes)

Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First

Help your kids think of themselves as regular kids, not the children of divorce. The Smart Divorce Audio 3 helps you understand what they are going through, and talk to your children about the divorce. Learn the challenges and issues of co-parenting, and how to make it work. Move forward, maintaining positive connections with your children. (40.61 minutes)

Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Divorce is a hugely emotional time. But it’s also an opportunity to reevaluate your life and make it better than it was before your divorce. The Smart Divorce Audio 4 helps you embrace an uncertain future, and move forward with focus, hope and confidence. It gives you coping strategies for dealing with your former partner, and ways to develop your most important and lasting relationship: with yourself. (33.66 minutes)

For more information and to buy these informative videos click on the link:

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/DeborahMoskovitchAndRobertASim

If you would like to learn more about this unique and innovative program, and how it may help you, please contact Deborah Moskovitch at The Smart Divorce by emailing info@thesmartdivorce.com, or call 905.695.0270.


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How the Brain Can Make Divorce Smarter

Did you know that your brain can help you through divorce in a much smarter, more emotionally balanced way?  There is tremendous scientific knowledge about the brain yet the legal system is slow at integrating it.

Our guest, Nathalie Boutet (http://www.basmansmith.com/i3boutet.asp) (http://www.collaborativelawblog.ca/about-nathalie-boutet) explains what we have known for years – that our cognitive abilities diminish when we are experiencing strong emotion. Separating clients are frequently in a state of high emotions stemming from years of unhappiness in their marriage. They are likely to encounter many instances when they will get emotionally triggered during which time their ability to think and reason will be diminished. Yet we demand that separating parents co-parent effectively and work together amicably to resolve complex financial decisions.

Nathalie Boutet on Divorce Source Radio

Nathalie Boutet

Separating families, and especially the children, the innocent victims, suffer tremendously before, during and after the legal separation process.

How can you get through your divorce with the brain in mind? Ms. Boutet answers this question and more as we discuss:

  • Some of the causes of divorce and how the brain is affected
  • If people are struggling and don’t want to divorce, what can they do?
  • What makes a divorce easier/more difficult
  • How does brain science intersect with family law?
  • What are some of the pitfalls that people fall into– and what happens

This interview will help you understand how to bring in the humanity while divorcing all while being brain friendly.  Sounds intriguing doesn’t it…..it’s an conversation you don’t want to miss.

Don’t forget to LIKE our facebook fan pages, and check in often for updates and more information.

Click on the link to hear this powerful interview

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/how-your-brain-can-make-divorce-smarter/