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Divorce is like Climbing a Mountain

Getting divorced is like climbing a mountain. You have to take one step at a time. The challenge of divorce, like climbing a mountain, is you cannot see what is on the other side until you reach the top. Often times it seems the peak is too high to reach or exhaustion clouds the mind making it difficult to go on. Having a guide is often the best way to manage a challenging climb.

At Parker Mediation, we explain each step and prepare you for the next. Through a series of mediation sessions, couples work out solutions and formulate a plan for the future. This includes a parenting plan that not only creates a schedule for the children, but also develops a method for managing inevitable changes as the children age. The parties develop a financial plan that takes into account the present and future needs of the children.

The mediator helps you to anticipate the future, which allows for smoother transitions. No divorce plan is complete without making budgets and developing a financial plan to meet the current needs and future needs of the parties and any children. It is never too early to start saving for college expenses or planning for retirement. The rising cost of education, healthcare and the uncertainty over whether social security will be adequate support are prime examples why good financial planning is so important.

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Parker Mediation on Facebook

We’ve just created our new Facebook page for Parker Mediation. Please check it out and let us know what you think.

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Conflict Resolution Experts To Gather In Atlanta

The Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) will hold its 9th annual conference in Atlanta, GA October 7-9, 2009.  Approximately 1,000 conflict resolution practitioners will attend this years event.  Some of the fields most highly regarded professionals will speak  about topics ranging from “Mediation of a parenting dispute with a Gay parent” to “Advance mediation techniques to move beyond the impasse“.

You can find out more about the conference details including speakers and topics in this press release (PDF format) by the Association for Conflict Resolution.

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Massachusetts Divorce Mediation; Where Do you Begin?

Parties in mediation want to know what to do to make their divorce as simple as possible. Here are some tips on getting started.  Have a chat with your spouse and decide who will gather the necessary documents.  You may want to divide these tasks or break them down into several steps.   Bring the documents that you have collected to the next mediation session.  Don’t worry about gathering all the documents at once.  If convenient, have copies made for each of you and for the mediator.

1. Tax Documents
a. Federal tax returns filed by you jointly for the last three (3) years
b. State tax returns filed by you jointly for the last three (3) years

2. A Certified Copy of the  Marriage Certificate
3. Court Approved Parenting Certificates
4. Information about the Children of this Marriage
a. Names and dates of birth
b. Vision Statement

5. Life Insurance Policies
a. Company
b. Owner of the policy
c. Term or Annuity
d. Death Benefit or Cash Value

6. Family Health Insurance Plan
a. Company
b. Owner of the policy
c. Coverage of the non-employee spouse after divorce
d. Coverage of the children after divorce
e. Availability of a more economical form of health insurance

6. Pension, Annuity, Profit Sharing, Deferred Income or other Retirement Plan
a. Company
b. Owner of the policy
c. Present Value or Death Benefit

7. Present Household Expenses
a. Are you up to date on bills?
b. How is each party contributing?

8. Marital Home
a. Deed
b. Approximate Fair Market Value
c. Mortgage Statement

9. Other Assets
a. Bank Account Statements
b. Money Market Funds
c. Stock and Bond Portfolio Statements
d. Business Interests
e. Vehicles,  Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds Values
f. Values for Significant Personal Property

10. Possible Legacies or Inheritances
a. Estate Planning Documents
b. Trust Fund Documents

Your mediator will work with you on the topics that you are prepared to discuss.  Taking measured steps in the mediation process will help you to stay in control and not feel overwhelmed.   The beauty of mediation is that you can progress at your own pace and take time to discuss what is important to you.

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Massachusetts Child Support Guidelines

New Massachusetts child support guidelines went into effect January 1, 2009. The changes to the child support guidelines are intended to simplify the support obligations of both parents. The rationale for the new guidelines was based upon societal changes that recognize the participation of both parents in their children’s lives. The guidelines are meant to benefit the children and families, particularly assisting as parents reorganize their relationships and finances.

The Massachusetts child support guidelines provide a calculated child support order based upon the income of both parents, and in consideration that both parents support their children. The calculated figure provides guidelines for cases establishing or modifying child support. There is a rebuttable presumption that the amount applies, but judges do retain the authority to exercise judicial discretion in making child support orders.

Several principles apply in determining child support in Massachusetts. The guidelines are designed to maintain the standard of living for the child, encourage joint parental responsibility for the children, recognize non-monetary contributions and involvement of both parents, and to ensure health care coverage for the children.

Parenting time is precious; children should enjoy the maximum parenting time possible with both parents. The new guidelines are based upon the children spending approximately 2/3 of the time with one parent (Recipient) and 1/3 of the time with the other parent (payor). When there is approximately equal parenting time the child support guidelines can be used twice to calculate whether there should be a child support order. This requires the guidelines to be calculated a second time reversing the roles of recipient and payor. Calculating the difference between the two figures yields the child support amount.

The guidelines are intended to consider reasonable child care costs and the costs for health insurance, including dental and vision insurance. The recipient is responsible for the first $250.00 of routine uninsured medical and dental expenses, and uninsured expenses above that amount are shared by the parties. Other child related expenses may by allocated to the parties on a case-by-case basis, including extra curricular activities, such as dance, sports or music lessons, private school tuition, summer camps, and post-secondary education.

The new Massachusetts child support guidelines recognize that circumstances may change and incorporates the authority to review the guidelines every three years, or sooner if there is a material change in circumstance. The new child support guidelines provide a presumptive application of the child support calculated using the new formula, but deviations from the guideline may be made by agreement of the parties approved by the court. For parents engaged in mediation, this means that you are in control of how you wish to support your children post divorce or separation.

The family and divorce mediators in the Worcester, MA office of Parker Mediation serve the Central Massachusetts and Boston metro-west communities such as Clinton, Framingham, Fitchburg, Leominster, Marlborough, Millbury, Shrewsbury, Sutton, Westborough and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Divorce Mediation: Child Dependency Exemption Tax Benefits

Parties involved in Massachusetts divorce mediation may wish to consider how to allocate the child dependency exemption to maximize the overall benefit to the family and take the greatest tax benefit possible.

The IRS released regulations in 2008 suggesting that state courts may not allocate child dependency exemptions, verifying that a state court may not force a custodial parent to give up a federal right. However a custodial parent may voluntarily consent to allocate the child dependency exemption to the other parent. In that case, IRS Form 8332 may be used to release the exemption. Many parents agree to review how to allocate the tax dependency exemption annually, by calculating the potential benefit on their own, or in consultation with a financial advisor or accountant. Working together often puts more money in the parties’ pockets.

If you have questions about child dependency tax exemptions in Massachusetts, call our family law and divorce mediators at Parker Mediation for a consultation.

The Worcester, MA divorce lawyers and family mediators at Parker Mediation serve the Central Massachusetts and Boston metro-west communities such as Clinton, Framingham, Fitchburg, Leominster, Marlborough, Millbury, Shrewsbury, Sutton, Westborough and Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Cape Cod divorce lawyer and family mediators at Parker Mediation serve the local communities of Barnstable, Chatham, Falmouth, Hyannis, Mashpee, Provincetown and the entire Cape and the Islands.

Worcester, MA Divorce Lawyer & Family Mediator

Worcester, MA Divorce Lawyer & Family Mediation:

Massachusetts Mediatior
Larri Parker Worcester Divorce Lawyer & Mediator

Parker Mediation provides Massachusetts families an effective and affordable divorce resolution model.

Our experienced divorce lawyers and mediators are dedicated to advancing the use of effective and highly successful mediation techniques to help advance an amicable resolution in a timely manner.

With nearly ten years of mediation experience in Massachusetts, our trained family law attorney mediators protect your legal and financial interests while managing conflict to a mutually acceptable resolution for all parties.

An effective mediation process by a trained and experienced Massachusetts mediator is the most affordable, timely and emotionally balanced method of bringing conflict to a mutually beneficial resolution.

The family and divorce mediators in the Worcester, MA office of Parker Mediation serve the Central Massachusetts and Boston metro-west communities such as Clinton, Framingham, Fitchburg, Leominster, Marlborough, Millbury, Shrewsbury, Sutton, Westborough and Worcester, Massachusetts.