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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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Idea Of ‘Divorce 101’ Angers Many Happily Married Men

Nobody marries with the expectation of divorce–but as many as five out of ten marriages end up that way today. With these statistics in mind, a growing number of women are taking steps to prepare for the worst. It’s a growing trend among happily married women that has some men fuming. CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reports.

Jeff Landers talk about protecting you assets.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/6108555-idea-of-divorce-101-angers-many-happily-married-men/

To learn more about preparing yourself financially, you won’t want to miss this interview on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio.

Our guest, Jeffery Landers advocates for women. Jeff is a Divorce Financial Strategist and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, a divorce financial strategy firm that exclusively works with women, who are going through, or might be going through, a financially complicated divorce.  Jeff reviews the Top 6 Serious Financial Mistakes Women Make.  But, men can learn some valuable lessons here as well.  Jeff advises “put your emotions on the side and think financially.”

Topics in this program include:

  • The top 6 serious financial mistakes made during divorce
  • The important steps to organize your finances and maintain control
  • Preparing for your financial future
  • Financial considerations to ensure long term financial stability
  • How to avoid divorce settlement mistakes
  • Divorce proofing your business

Click on the link to hear this very informative discussion

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/how-women-can-avoid-making-serious-financial-mistakes-before-during-and-after-divorce/


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Getting through divorce while saving time, money – and your sanity.

Introducing The Smart® Divorce Resource Toolkit

The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is now available, order yours today– one easy phone call or email, to get this valuable resource.  It’s one of the  most comprehensive programs providing a full overview of the divorce process — and endorsed by judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals.  The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit will help you make smart decisions for you and your family – taking you through the entire divorce process, removing the mystery and misconceptions about the outcomes of divorce, how to cut down on your legal bills and so much more.

This comprehensive resource  provides an understanding of all aspects of the divorce process; helping you understand the two sides to your divorce – the “emotional divorce” and the “legal divorce”

Move through your divorce with focus, hope and confidence.

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit makes the divorce process easy to understand, helping you to be strategic while making sound, smart decisions.  After all, information is knowledge and knowledge is power.

   Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit. 

Included in The Smart Divorce Toolkit are tips, strategies and ideas, packaged as never seen before.  This smart toolkit comes with:

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit is designed specifically to meet your needs — to help reduce stress, educate and inform you about the divorce process in a cost effective, easy to understand way. 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 are included.  And, it’s put together in one smart package, making it uncomplicated, and effortless to understand.

The Tool Kit contains 4 CDs covering the myriad of issues, concerns and questions most people have about divorce – removing the mystery, complexity, and confusion about divorce.  Also included are Smart Guides which add another layer of detail to The Smart Divorce Audios, and provide a step by step plan for going through the divorce process.

The Smart Divorce Audios. 

These unique and informative CDs provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through it with focus, hope and confidence.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.

Tip sheets that support the information in the audios providing detail and understanding of the specific topic.

Smart Guides:

  • Planning for a Smart Divorce
  • Getting Your Finances Organized for Divorce
  • Coping with the Stress of the Emotional Divorce
  • Coping with Stress in a High Stress Environment
  • Understanding Your Divorce Options
  • Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer
  • Smart Co-Parenting
  • Living Separate and Apart
  • Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds
  • Divorce Financial Check List
  • Understanding Marital Property Laws
  • Important Financial Steps Required to Prepare for Divorce

Don’t delay, order your kit today

Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit.


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Introducing – The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new product called: The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.  The purpose of the Tool Kit is to provide organizations, lawyers, mental health professionals and others in the divorce arena with a resource to help their employees and clients divorce with focus, hope and confidence.  The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is one very smart package developed specifically to meet an individual’s needs.

This valuable Tool Kit is designed to reduce stress, educate and inform about the many aspects of the divorce process, and is cost effective and easy to understand.

Divorce or a breakdown of a co-habitation relationship is an extremely emotional process. While divorce is a personal matter the emotional impact can spill over into the workplace suddenly making it a public affair. There are so many unknowns about divorce that people are often confused, filled with fear and unsure of how to navigate the process.  In an effort to better heal and deal with divorce process privately, many individuals seek therapeutic counseling.  However, not all therapists are equipped to help their patients understand the specifics of divorce to alleviate many of their concerns i.e. the legal process, financial impact or custody and access issues.  As a result, an individual’s world is temporarily turned upside down, triggering unsettling and distressful emotions. The effects of the emotional distress in the workplace can be devastating.

On a classic rating scale of stressful life events, divorce consistently ranks No. 2–second only to the death of a spouse or child. The process of getting divorced is an emotional roller coaster which can impact people’s ability to be mindful on the job. Although divorce is primarily a personal heartbreak, the effects spill into the workplace; at the extreme – costing one to lose their job – not to mention a good portion of their wealth, and it can even affect the organization’s reputation.  People often feel overburdened and lack confidence; it is not surprising how many buckle under the pressure.

It is well documented that divorce reduces worker productivity.  If one were to do a cost benefit analysis of the effects of divorce in the workplace, one would find that the financial costs to the organization can be enormous.

I understand only too well how devastating the emotions of divorce can be, taking over the legal process while wreaking havoc on one’s career, causing a meltdown on so many fronts, and  the difficulty in overcoming the challenges  of raising children on your own.  It is for these reasons that I created The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit.    I know how important it is to treat your divorce as a business transaction, and arm yourself with as much information as possible.

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit includes:

The Smart Divorce Audios.  These unique and informative audios provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through divorce with clarity.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.  12 very valuable tip sheets that support the information in the audios and cover other important issues; providing detail, strategies and tips for managing a specific divorce related topic.

In addition to the extensive information available in The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit, some organizations may also find it beneficial to offer workshops.  These presentations will provide greater clarity about divorce and managing through the process, in an effort to minimize stress, while maximizing an employee’s attention at work during this often distracting time.

The Smart Divorce® facilitator guided workshop

  • Workshop 1- The Smart Divorce.  A 1 ½ hour overview of the divorce process based on the book, The Smart Divorce. The divorce process in explained in broad terms, while providing an understanding of the emotional divorce and the legal divorce
  • Workshop 2- Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds.  A one hour presentation focusing on considerations when blending families.

Note: Each workshop includes PowerPoint presentation and facilitator script.

Don’t miss out on the introductory offer and save $50 when you place an order a minimum order of 10 kits.  Or, try it out and order just one Toolkit.

For more information click on the link.   To learn more about this unique and innovative program, and how it may help your organization or practice, please contact Deborah Moskovitch at info@thesmartdivorce.com.

The Smart Divorce Resource Tool Kit _ Flyer


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How Women Can Avoid Making Serious Financial Mistakes Before, During and After Divorce

Tune into the Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio to hear this very informative interview with financial strategist, Jeff Landers.  Although Jeff’s clients are women, the information contained in this interview is helpful for men as well.

Our guest, Jeffery Landers advocates for women. Jeff is a Divorce Financial Strategist and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, a divorce financial strategy firm that exclusively works with women, who are going through, or might be going through, a financially complicated divorce.  Jeff reviews the Top 6 Serious Financial Mistakes Women Make.  But, men can learn some valuable lessons here as well.  Jeff advises “put your emotions on the side and think financially.”

Topics in this program include:

  • The top 6 serious financial mistakes made during divorce
  • The important steps to organize your finances and maintain control
  • Preparing for your financial future
  • Financial considerations to ensure long term financial stability
  • How to avoid divorce settlement mistakes
  • Divorce proofing your business

Click on the link to hear Jeff share help you through the finances of divorce:

http://tinyurl.com/Jeff-Landers


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How do you get a smart divorce?

Learn more about being smart about divorce with Deborah

Hear Deborah talk about The Smart Divorce

I was interviewed about The Smart Divorce and dealing with the many issues surrounding divorce with host Christine Williams of On The Line

Click on the link to watch the interview which aired on April 19, 2010.

You’ll hear a lot of information about getting through divorce, some personal stories, and guidance about the divorce process.

http://ctstv.com/ontario/player.php?ctsvidID=17595&show=On%20The%20Line

ON THE LINE with Christine Williams has been recipient of six prestigious international awards.  The program features current affairs issues and in-depth discussions about a range of topics with authors, experts and advocates.


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Tips to keeping organized during divorce

The divorce process can be overwhelming. The need to stay focused and organized is even that much more important. Here are some ideas to help achieve those objectives……..

 

Keep a “Divorce Journal”

 

If you’re in the midst of a divorce, or even contemplating one, consider keeping a journal of events for your lawyer. Note all events that you feel are relevant to your divorce and may affect the outcome. These could be events that involve you or your children. You and your lawyer will want to refer to this journal to help you confirm relevant dates and information. You might want to include this information in affidavits, letters, etc. It helps with accuracy of information and validates facts, dates, and times.

The journal might prove especially important if you end up going to trial. Judges don’t know what really happened; they only know what the lawyers, through their clients, tell them. So a diary of everything that happens could be used as evidence if you go to court. The party that fails to keep a diary is at a significant disadvantage.

 

Create a Meetings Notebook

 

What I advise my clients which they find most helpful to staying organized, refreshing their memory, and ensuring they follow up on meetings and tasks is to create a “divorce notebook”. This book can be divided into four sections:

 

  1. Meeting agenda and questions
  2. Notes from the meeting
  3. Next steps or to do list. Include deadline dates, completion dates, and the date when the completed task or document was communicated or sent to your legal counsel.
  4. Contacts, their phone numbers, and miscellaneous information

 

When creating and maintaining your own notebook, be sure to date everything.

 

Set Up a Divorce Filing System

 

Your filing system need not be anything complicated or expensive, and simple file folders are perfect. I just happen to prefer legal size, but use whatever works best for you. One way to start is to file all of your divorce-related paperwork in chronological order within specific headings that are relevant to your case. Here are some ideas for the headings you may want to set up:

 

correspondence with lawyer, organized by date and topic

orders or agreements

folder for each member of your divorce team (financial expert, parenting expert, and so forth).

financial statements–the statements of assets and liabilities

invoices/statements–all costs associated with your divorce

parenting plan

discovery or deposition transcripts.

 

If you want to get more detailed, you could arrange files more specifically –according to particular financial or child-related issues, for instance. Of course, the detail you go into also depends on the type of divorce you’re pursuing. For instance, you might not need a discovery or deposition file if you are not litigating.

 

 


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Strategies for keeping your legal costs down

I know from the many people I speak with, that the monthly statement from their lawyer’s office seems to be the last piece of mail to get opened. It’s not like you are running to your mail to see if it is there. And, the questions you ask yourself as you open the statement can make you anxious. Are there enough funds in the retainer to cover this bill? Do I need to submit additional money? Why can’t I keep the bills down? Why does the bill add up to so much so quickly? Why? Why? Why?

Instead of asking yourself why, utilize the how to strategies to keep your legal costs down, while maintaining control over what is going on in your file.

 

Here are some cost saving tips to help you cut down on your legal bill:

 

Maximize your meeting time

 

– Schedule your meetings through your lawyer’s assistant.

 – Make a list of questions you would like to discuss, organized by topic or issue.

 – Have an agenda ready, with all items and issues to be discussed.

 – Take notes.

 – Do any follow-up work the lawyer gives you (reviewing documents, contacting a specific specialist, and so forth), and make sure it is done in a timely manner.

 

Make all communications cost effective

 

 – Save up your questions. Don’t call or e-mail your lawyer every single time you have an inquiry.

 – Check with your lawyer first and find out how he or she likes to handle communications–via e-mail, phone calls, or meetings with prepared agendas. Also ask for recommendations on making your communications more efficient.

 

Provide as much written information as possible

 

 – Many lawyers have their clients write out an account of their marital history. Ask your lawyer if this is what should be done.


Use your lawyer’s services cost effectively

 

 – Listen to your lawyer and take notes.

 – Remember, if you want to vent and complain about your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the meter is still running.

 – If you are able to, do certain tasks, such as filling out the financial statement, yourself.

 – Don’t micromanage (pay extreme attention to the small details of) your case. This only causes your legal bills to escalate and slows down the process.

 

And, if there is something that doesn’t make

sense to you, ask your lawyer.