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Divorce Corp.

Divorce Corp.’s Only Boston Screening was held on January 23, 2014, hosted by the National Parents Organization, the only organization showing Divorce Corp. in Boston.

I went to see the new documentary “Divorce Corp” last month.  While it depicts lawyers in an unflattering light, it sheds light on the “Big Business” of divorce.  The movie follows the money and the people that flow through family court systems.

If you know someone who is thinking about divorce, please share information about divorce mediation.

Check out the trailer for Divorce Corp.   http://youtu.be/lZTOT6DKfZ8.  Why spend money foolishly like those depicted in this movie? Divorce doesn’t have to get nasty.  Divorce doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’m not saying divorce is easy, but I do know this, there is a better way.

Call us 508-795-0200, we’ll help you save time and money.   Maybe you can’t save your marriage, but you don’t have to lose everything to get divorced.

Mediation works, experience counts, call Parker Mediation 508-795-0200.

 

Alimony Reform Act of 2011

This week Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Alimony Reform Act of 2011. The provisions of the new law take effect on March 1, 2012. The mathematical algorithm for determining alimony is fairly complex, but the new alimony law generally reduces the duration of time alimony payments will occur following divorce. Anyone considering divorce should be aware of the changes and plan accordingly.

Folks that are currently receiving or paying alimony will want to review options created by the new law reforming alimony in Massachusetts. In many cases parties will want to seek a complaint for modification because the existing alimony judgment exceeds the durational limits set forth in the new law. A set schedule establishes the transition period for the filing of these types of complaints.

Payors who were married to the alimony recipient 5 years or less, may file a modification action on or after March 1, 2013. Payors who were married to the alimony recipient 10 years or less, but more than 5 years, may file a modification action on or after March 1, 2014. Payors who were married to the alimony recipient 15 years or less, but more than 10 years, may file a modification action on or after March 1, 2015. Payors who were married to the alimony recipient 20 years or less, but more than 15 years, may file a modification action on or after September 1, 2015.  Also, any payor who is eligible for the full old-age benefit under the United States Old Age, Disability, and Survivor Insurance Act, 42 U.S.C. 416, or who will become eligible for said benefit on or before March 1, 2015 may file a complaint for modification on or after March 1, 2013.

The transition period provides the opportunity for people to plan accordingly. If you and your ex-spouse plan ahead and communicate openly, the topic of alimony will be easier to handle. If you are facing changes as a result of the Alimony Reform Act of 2011 and would like to mediate rather than go to court, feel free to contact us at Parker Mediation 508 795 0200 to schedule a free consultation.

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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Special Provisions for Cases Involving Children

Traditional litigation is embracing some of the core aspects and advantages of the mediation process.  The Probate and Family Court recently issued standing order 1-10 “Special Provisions for Cases Involving Children,” which becomes effective May 5, 2010.  The pilot project in Hampshire County provides for a child-focused procedural model to develop parenting plans.   It will encourage and facilitate non-adversarial parenting planning.  The child-focused model will provide opportunities for parents to obtain information about the adverse effects hostile litigation may have on children.  The process will explore and create a problem-solving atmosphere in which parents are encouraged to experiment with parenting plans and determine the best solutions for their children and the parents.

Divorcing Couples Manage Debt

Divorcing couples have to make tough financial decisions, not only about how to divide assets, but how to allocate debt. Depreciating real estate values along with the current financial landscape, pose even greater challenges for folks who are separating, particularly when the marital home, once the base of financial security, becomes a liability. Rest assured you are not alone, many folks find themselves in the unfortunate situation of owing more on their home than it’s worth. For some, this is not a problem, but for divorcing couples who want to sell or refinance, it’s complicated. Money Management International hosts a website (www.moneymanagement.org) containing many ideas you can use to reduce spending and manage debt.

Money Management International, formerly Consumer Credit Counseling, is a non-profit organization that has been in business for many years. This service is free. They offer confidential budget, credit and housing counseling. Financial consultants work with you to consolidate and reduce your monthly debt. Their website and services are accessible in English and Spanish. Personal advisors can be reached by calling 1-888-845-5669. Beware of businesses that promise to reduce your debt or make settlement on your behalf that charge for their services. While some of these businesses are legitimate, many are not. It may be a good idea to check with the Better Business Bureau before you spend money on service providers that make promises that are too good to be true!

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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.