New 5 Star Client Review on Google

We just received this new 5 star client review on Google:

I went through a long and difficult contested divorce with no minor children. Alison and her team were so good at advising me throughout the process. They were patient and understanding with any issue I had. If I had questions or concerns, Alison was able to answer and put me at ease. She has a gift for being the right balance of firm and compassionate. In preparing for trial, she was knowledgeable, skilled and thorough. I would recommend her and her team to anyone for any area of family law.

Divorce: A New Year’s Resolution?

Divorce: A New Year’s Resolution?

January is traditionally a time for new beginnings. Many people set New Year’s Resolutions for themselves, and they begin to turn over new leaves in their lives. During these new beginnings, January is also the time we see the most new divorce filings. If you have been contemplating the idea of divorcing your significant other, but excuses keep standing in your way, then this is the year that you need to let go and move on. Facing fears of moving on can be scary, but it is also the first step of becoming who you will be once the divorce has been finalized and you have moved forward in your life. Below are a few good reasons why it is beneficial to file for divorce at the beginning of the new year:

1. Re-discovering yourself on your own is liberating!

If the new year is a great time to get healthier, get out of debt, or plan to travel more, it is also a good time to open a whole new chapter in your life. If the thought of being alone has scared you and kept you from filing for divorce in the past, then you have been letting fear control your future. As anyone who has been in an unhappy relationship knows, it is often much lonelier to be with someone who doesn’t “get” you anymore than it is to be single. It is time to change! When you decide to move forward with divorce proceedings and suddenly find yourself single for the first time in a while, you find new interests, friends and hobbies that you neglected to pursue in your past relationship. By doing this, you will begin to discover that piece of yourself that has been missing.

2. The longer you stay, the more you could pay.

Deciding whether or not you should file for divorce from your spouse is undoubtedly a decision that deserves very careful thought. However, there comes a time when a decision must be made. If you know it is over, don’t let fear keep you in a bad relationship. Also, the more time that you spend with your spouse, the more money is accrued in your marital accounts and the more you risk losing when it comes time to settle your finances. So while you should never rush the decision, try to remember that the more time you spend in undecided self-reflection, the more money you may be putting on the line in the long run.

3. You know what your income picture looks like.

In January of each year, you know what your prior full-year of income, expenses, and debts looks like. This is especially important if you have income that fluctuates due to self-employment, overtime, commissions, rents, and other streams of income. In addition, you may have your year-end bonus in the bank waiting to help you hire an attorney, move out and move on.

4. Removing toxic people from your life opens new doors.

If your marriage is unsupportive, abusive, unfulfilling or just plain unhappy, staying in the relationship is bound to give you self-respect issues. Many believe that after a while that lack of passion is inevitable and that you are not worthy of affection and love. But that is wrong! You deserve to be in a relationship that is uplifting and positive, receiving encouragement and love from your partner. Once you decide to leave your spouse, you will feel hopeful, lighter and ready for all the new adventure that life has in store for you.

5. It’s a great time to plan for the future.

You may have just experienced your last Thanksgiving and Christmas as a family. January is a great time to think about new traditions. Also, January is the perfect time to plan your financial future – who will pay the Visa card? Will I keep the house or get a new place? Who will get the mortgage interest deduction? What access to funds will I have to start over? Should I take this as an opportunity to further my education? Should I change careers or stick with my current path? What custody, visitation or parenting time arrangements work best for our family? The longer into each year that you wait to make these kinds of decisions makes them that much harder.

There is absolutely no better time than now to begin a new life and a new you. So, if you have been weighing your options and know that you have a second chance during this new year, it is time to use these helpful tips and start becoming the new you!

What is Mediation?

What is Mediation?

When it comes to getting a divorce not everything has to be a knock-down, drawn-out affair for both parties. Divorce mediation can help avoid court and resolve numerous questions. Mediation is one of the most frequently used methods of alternative dispute resolution when it comes to negotiating a divorce settlement.

Here are a few facts about Mediation that will help answer common questions about the process.

What is Mediation? Mediation is used to settle disputes when two parties are unable to agree or settle a disagreement. It is not binding unless an agreement is reached.

What is a mediator? In mediation, several people will be present such as, the parties, their attorneys, and the mediator. A mediator is a neutral party that is specially trained to help the parties create a fair and reasonable divorce agreement. The goal for every mediator is to reach an agreement that both parties are happy with, or that they can at least live with.

What is discussed in Mediation? Several divorce matters are discussed while in mediation. You and your soon to be ex-spouse need to decide more than a few important issues. The most common issues that are discussed are: distribution of property/assets/liabilities, child custody, child support, retirement, taxes, and more.

How long does mediation take? The length of mediation can vary on what issues have to be agreed upon. Also, the length of time spent in mediation can be determined by you and your spouse’s willingness to cooperate and come up with an agreement. Divorce mediation can be completed in as little as a couple of hours to an entire day.

What happens after Mediation? Depending on if both parties have come to an agreement or not will determine what will happen after mediation. In most cases, mediation results in the parties leaving with a written and signed agreement. The agreement will lay out every detail that the parties agreed on. The agreement is then filed in the Court and will be ratified by a Judge.

Divorce and the Family Business

Divorce and the Family Business

Divorce and the Family Business: What happens to the Family Business when you get divorced?

The business you and your spouse co-founded and run together is thriving. Your marriage? That’s another matter. Many people put off filing in situations like this because they fear that it will soon mean the end of the company. It does not have to be that way, especially if your lawyer is sensitive to the fact that the two still need to cooperate and that it will take a quite careful approach in figuring out severing some financial ties, but also having to keep the business alive.

A Census Bureau estimate from 2007 found that nearly 4 million businesses in the U.S. are operated by husband and wife. With a 50% divorce rate, divorce clearly affects a lot of small businesses. Overall, there is no question that it can be a very difficult situation involving two people. Though it may initially seem like a battle, it can work if you work together. Research says that it all depends on the individual couple, but also how the company runs and the skills of your divorce attorneys.

Some things to keep in mind:

Respect each other- this can be hard, especially if the reasons for the split were particularly painful. In some cases, if there isn’t any trust left between the two then there isn’t any respect, and it is probably be best to cut off communication.

Know when to get help- Unlike a lot of separated couples, the ones that operate a business together have to see each other a lot, even after the divorce is finalized.

Create agreement-This is a very important legal step that many couples haven’t though out when they found the business together. The agreement explains what will occur in the event someone wants to sell.

Sit down and discuss the situation with your employees- They will know what is happening, and what you don’t want to happen is for them to choose whose side to be on. Choosing sides can always slow the process down so its always in each party’s best interest to try to get along.

Managing Financial Fears About Divorce

Managing Financial Fears About Divorce

To many people who are experiencing the trials of divorce, it can sometimes feel like a full-time job. It can consume all aspects of your life. Between phone calls with your attorney, to contact with your ex-partner, to figuring out child custody and where to live, it can consume all aspects of your life. And regardless of how affluent the couple may be, there is often stress about your financial future.

A lot of times after two people have separated or divorced, someone has to start from scratch. While some degree of worry and apprehension is to be expected, these fears can be eliminated by a little work and planning on your part. This planning can help you feel confident and secure while you establishing your new life.

1. Fear of not getting a fair share.

Many people worry when they begin the process of divorce that they may not end up with their fair share of the finances. If your finances are simple, it can be easy to evenly divide your assets. But many times other items are involved that make things more complex. Things items can range from anything to multiple homes to closely held businesses and non-liquid investments. First, determine exactly what you own and how much it is worth. Next, establish a fair value for each asset. When doing this, be cautious that some things may be prone to subjectivity and manipulation in the divorce context.
Appraisals of real estate of other valuables such as jewelry or art may be advisable.

2. Fear of not knowing what you will have.

Fear of not knowing what you will have is a justified fear that many have when entering a divorce. When dealing with a divorce, it is easy to get lost in the details and lose sight of the bigger picture. It is crucial to stay focused on what your finances are going to look like post-divorce. Not only should you know how much you have, but you need to know exactly what and where you have it. One tip to help with this fear is to meet with a financial adviser before the divorce is finalized, that way you can make sure that not only are you getting your fair share, but that you don’t get stuck with non-liquid assets while the other party gets the cash.

3. Fear of not knowing how your lifestyle will change.

This fear stems from your cash flow. How much will you have left? Many people worry that after alimony, child support, income and basic living expenses there will not be enough money left over to keep living the same day-to-day lifestyles they had before the divorce. To squash this fear, have your financial adviser create a post-divorce income and expense report for you. If you do not have a financial adviser, you can look at your recent spending history to determine what your anticipated monthly expenses will be. By doing this, you will be able to see how your new finances will affect your lifestyle.

When you experience a divorce, it is common to go through a wide range of emotions. For a spouse who isn’t financially savvy, fears and uncertainties are after a common experience. However, if you plan ahead and have a little help, you will be able to feel at ease about your financial situation and can focus on other aspects of the separation.