How to Prepare for a Discussion about Child Support

All divorcees who have children must address the important topic of child support at some point. Like most states, Massachusetts has child support guidelines in place which judges are required to apply, unless the parties have mutually agreed on another approach that provides the same degree of protection (at a minimum) for the children.

Through Mediation or Collaborative Practice, a divorcing couple can be more creative about how they wish to handle meeting their children’s ongoing needs. Before they get to that point, however, they must do the necessary preparation to allow themselves and their advisors to make informed decisions.

Here are some practical steps that can be taken to prepare: Read More >>

Helping Your Kids Survive Divorce

Most of the time, once a couple decides to get a divorce, the children are not surprised to find out. It is very likely that their home life has been tense for a while and that fights have been ongoing between their parents. But even though they may suspect that their parents are having trouble, kids usually still hope it will not end in divorce.

To help ease children into the acceptance of the coming changes to their family life, it is a good idea for divorcing parents to sit down (together, if possible) with their kids to discuss in general terms what is going on. If they have not already been living separately, the parents should explain that they will soon be living apart and that other changes will begin happening as the family structure gradually shifts. Read More >>

When Retirement Age Is Not Necessarily “Retirement Age”

March 2015 marks three years since Massachusetts’ Alimony Reform Act went into effect, but new case law applications continue to unfold. This fluid state of interpretation by the Court has led to attorneys and other family law professionals trying to sort out how to best advise and inform their clients as to their best courses of action.

Even as professionals and the Court endeavor to get on the same page, they remain unsure as to what that “page” looks like – making their job difficult, to say the least. Read More >>

Post Divorce Changes

Our Divorce is Over, but Life Circumstances Have Changed. Now What?

If you used Mediation or Collaboration to work out the details of your divorce contract, you will be less likely to face ongoing or serious conflict with your former spouse. That is because these processes are client-centered and allow the parties to determine their own outcome, so they are able to create an arrangement both can live with.

That being said, life still happens, through no fault of any one person necessarily. Often years – or even months – after a divorce, life circumstances shift, or somebody decides the plan isn’t working like s/he thought it would. One party may feel s/he struck a bad bargain and wants to make a change. Read More >>

I Admit, I Have a Marital Problem. Now What Do I Do?

If you are struggling in your marriage and have read through any of my previous posts looking for answers, you have likely realized by now that there are several options available to you. Perhaps you have asked yourself (I hope!) how, in your particular case, you can best reduce animosity and eliminate an unnecessary loss of time and money.

If you are wondering how to learn more about these processes so that you can better determine your future, here are some places to start. Read More >>

Who Do You Want to Be Your Divorce Advocate?

In my line of work, Mediation and Collaborative Practice fall under the umbrella of what has been coined alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Other methods of ADR include arbitration and conciliation.

I was reflecting recently that it is rather ironic that what should be the first step for a couple considering divorce (in my opinion, at least) is defined by a word like “alternative”. Cordial attempts to arrive at an equitable divorce settlement with the help of trained professionals definitely makes more sense as a first effort than does jumping headfirst into costly and lengthy litigation. History backs me up on this as well; traditionally, the mediating efforts of third parties have been used in divorce cases long before courts and attorneys arrived on the scene. Read More >>