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Money doesn’t grow on trees!

Facing divorce? Organize your finances.
Gaining control over your money and your spending is critical when contemplating divorce. If your marriage is ending, gather financial documents to help you evaluate your assets, liabilities and expenses. You’ll want to understand the financial position you’re in. It is tax time, so making copies of the documents you use to file your taxes is a good start. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but conserving dollars will make a big difference during the divorce transition.
Planning ahead will also make things a lot easier when you fill out your Rule 401 financial statement.  Depending on how much you earn, you will fill out the short form or the long form financial statement .  The Rule 401 financial statement must be filed with court in divorce cases.
Your case manager and divorce mediator will help you complete the Rule 401 financial statement properly, no worries, we’ve got your back.
If you have questions about divorce mediation or filling out financial statements, call 508-795-0200.

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.

 

Parker Mediation | Quality Divorce Mediation

Parker Mediation provides high quality professional divorce mediation services in Worcester.

We have one clear goal in mind: guiding you and your family through challenging times. Parker Mediation provides the added advantage of saving you time, money, and emotional well-being.

Our mediation professionals never lose sight of your primary objective, to manage and protect your legal and financial interests, and preserve your relationships. Parker Mediation takes care of all the details and paperwork. Our problem solving mediators ensure that you begin the next chapter of your life on the right path.

Call 508 795 0200 to schedule a confidential consultation with an experienced Worcester divorce mediator.

 

Thinking about divorce? Ask an experienced Worcester Divorce Attorney if divorce mediation is right for you.

If you made it through the holidays thinking “never again” you may be ready to divorce. Think before you act. You could initiate an expensive, litigious and stressful process or you could consider divorce mediation.

You fell in love, got married, and maybe you had kids. Getting divorced may not be easy, but why make it harder or more expensive than it has to be.

Try mediation before going to court.

Divorce Mediation can be faster, cheaper and less stressful than traditional representation. The cost to divorce with attorneys and multiple court appearances can become enormous.

You have nothing to lose by using mediation; it’s simpler, quicker and makes better outcomes. You stay in control of the divorce mediation, it’s confidential and private.

Mediation involves the use of an independent, qualified and neutral third party to help couples talk through how they will divide their assets and decide what to do with their children.

Each New Year many couples decide to separate.  The stressful holidays are behind them and they are ready for a fresh start.

Happy New Year!  Happy new you!

Contact Parker Mediation at 508.795.0200 to learn more about divorce mediation and what we can do for you.

Why can’t folks just be reasonable?

Why can’t folks just be reasonable?

When emotions and numbers collide during divorce you can take some simple steps to help yourself.

Break down the divorce process into small manageable tasks to make the transition easier for the whole family.

Three easy steps to take financial control:

1)   Track your expenses

2)   Calculate your income

3)   Create a budget

Do the same for your spouse to make a fair analysis of the financial picture.

Three easy steps to create a parenting plan:

1)     Calendar your schedule

2)     Calendar your children’s schedule

3)     Calendar your spouse’s schedule

Use the calendar to figure out logistics for parenting time, including transportation for school and extracurricular activities.  If possible, schedule some down time for yourself!

Stay calm and take time to relax.  Experienced mediators are available to help you through your divorce.  Call Parker Mediation 508 795 0200 for help.

 

 

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

Sometimes people can “get stuck” in the divorce process.  This can occur when one or both parties take a stand and become as seemingly immovable as a mountain.  When people take positions, they often fail to see solutions to the problems.  Focusing only on one possibility can lead to an impasse. Communication may break down, harsh words may be exchanged, and the parties may become frustrated and drift even further apart.  An experienced mediator guides folks to understand the Zen Buddhist idea captured by Donovan in the song, “There is a Mountain.”

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

From my own experience climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro last summer, I attest to the truth of this statement.  Walking for days on the African plains, creeping toward the great monadnock affectionately nicknamed “Kili”, I understood.  Mount Kilimanjaro was big, really large, even enormous.  I was not, however, paralyzed with fear; I proceeded and yielded to the task.  As I climbed the looming mountain, with each small step, it disappeared beneath my feet. Finally, when I reached the summit, I was as light as the air.

The practice of teaching clients to see beyond the mountain, to explore alternatives to the principles they cling too, to get past the positions they are stuck on, is artful mediation.  When the mediator is mindful of potential situational deadlock, tactics may be used to avoid a destructive phase where communication deteriorates and progress is halted.  An experienced divorce mediator shares professional and personal insight with clients, permitting change and creating an atmosphere where solutions are made.  At times this may be subtle, but may also be more of a metamorphosis, where understanding and collaboration promote change.

First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is.

The song continues, “The caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.”  Mindful mediation can help people give up the old ways and find a new, fresh, perhaps even better life.  An experienced, professional mediator can help.

If you wish to learn how you can keep control of your divorce, call our divorce mediation case manager, Yvonne, she’ll get you started in your new life.

Call us at 508 795 0200.

 

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day may be bitter sweet if you are struggling in a broken marriage.  Do not despair, you can take charge of your future. Have a heart to heart talk with your spouse. Change may be difficult, but sometimes change is for the best. At Parker Mediation we help couples get through divorce with the least amount of pain possible. Next year will be better, you’ll see.  Call 508.795.0200. Happy Valentine's Day!

Year of the Dragon!

New Year’s Resolutions!

Don’t worry if you already failed to follow through on your New Year Resolutions, you can start fresh with the Year of the Red Dragon. That means good luck for you! Each New Year brings an opportunity to reflect on the past and to design the future. Resolve to make 2012 a great year. Take the steps to make the changes you need in your life. While we often resist change, go ahead, it will be ok.

Top Ten Resolutions:

#10   Get Organized!

Clean your desk, organize your papers, and collect your year-end  documents so they will be ready for tax season. If you plan to divorce this year, these documents will assist you to analyze  your financial situation. Also, you’ll  be prepared to make full financial disclosure as part of the mediation process. You, your spouse and your divorce mediator will utilize the information to create a sustainable plan for the future.

#9 Volunteer!

Help others in need; it will make you realize that things aren’t so bad after all. Going through a divorce can be difficult. You may feel depressed and isolated. By volunteering, you will meet new people and feel good about yourself.

#8 Try Something New!

When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Learning something new helps stimulate the brain and keeps you young. If you are going through a divorce, your life is going to be different. Why not take the opportunity to do something you always wanted to try.

#7 Get Rid of Debt!

Live well, but within your means. Cut back on spending now to realize savings in the future. Divorce is usually a challenge financially. You can save a load of money using divorce mediation. The cost for divorce mediation is typically many thousands of dollars less than traditional litigation.

#6 Stop Smoking!

Really, just stop! If you need help, get it. There are lots of techniques to quit smoking. Herbs such as Lobelia and Oat Straw are just one of the many supportive therapies available to stop smoking. Need a reward? Just think how much money you will save.

#5 Get Fit!

Sounds easy, but it’s not. Getting fit and staying fit takes time. Start with a walk, then increase the time and distance. Change your routine, experiment and find things you like to do. Make a fitness date with a friend. Getting motivated and following through is easier when you do it together. Have fun and don’t get discouraged.

#4 Eat Healthy!

Eat your fruit and vegetables. Listen to your mother!

#3 Lose Weight

The stress of divorce can lead to unwanted pounds. Don’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself eating cookies and ice cream. Let’s face it, you will feel better if you eat properly and exercise.  Dropping a few pounds will not only make you feel better, you’ll look better. This could come in real handy post-divorce.

#2 Spend Time with Friends!

If you are used to being a couple, it may feel awkward getting out with friends. Just do it! How else are you going to meet new people? Socializing will help you get a glimpse of the future while navigating through the transition period.

#1 Joie de vivre!

Ok, so things didn’t turn out the way you expected. Life isn’t predictable, but it is worth living and you know how to give your best. Go ahead, enjoy yourself! You deserve to be happy.

 

 

 

Lori Caravalho Joins Parker Mediation

Lori Caravalho is the newest member to join the team at Parker Mediation. She previously served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (“CASA”) in Worcester County, Massachusetts. At CASA, she became a supervisor and trainer before moving on to other mediation work with families and children. Lori provided Permanency Mediation services for Children’s Services of Roxbury, Inc., Massachusetts Families for Kids (“MFFK”). She is a talented and experienced mediator.
Lori Caravalho earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Worcester State University. She is a Court Investigator for the Worcester County Juvenile Court and has years of experience working within the court systems. Her experience working with families in transition enables her to guide folks through the divorce mediation process with ease. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Lori or learn more about divorce mediation, call us today at 508 795 0200.

Can Mediators Help Save the Planet?

This past summer I attended a Two-Day Advanced Workshop with master mediator and collaborative negotiator Kenneth Cloke, J.D.  The workshop focused on advanced skills, including facilitating collaborative negotiations; managing difficult behaviors; overcoming impasse; helping clients learn successful approaches to conflict management; and designing settlements that plan for the future.  The quality of the program, the effectiveness of the presenter, the coverage of the subject and overall quality of the training provided a great benefit to me and my practice at Parker Mediation.   

Kenneth Cloke is the co-founder of Mediators Beyond Borders. He has done international work in conflict resolution in Austria, the Bahamas, Brazil, China, Cuba, England, India, Japan and Pakistan, to name a few.  He has written several books including Conflict Revolution: Mediating Evil, War, Injustice and Terrorism; The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey Into the Heart of Dispute Resolution; Mediating Dangerously; The Frontiers of Conflict Resolution; Mediation: Revenge and The Magic of Forgiveness. [Read more...]

Review Your Estate Plan After Divorce.

This important information was recently provided to me from Attorney Alan Rosenfield:

As you may be aware, the federal estate taxes and generation skipping taxes were repealed as of January 1, 2010. Unless Congress acts by passing a law that retroactively addresses this issue, there will be no estate tax due for deaths occurring in 2010.

Although this sounds positive, it can have a significant negative impact on existing estate plans that were created based on the law as it existed with a federal estate tax. For example, an existing estate plan which makes use of marital and credit shelter trusts (also known as Bypass trust or A/B trust) could cause all of the assets to flow into the credit shelter trust, leaving no assets among classes of beneficiaries based on the generation skipping tax exemption. Depending on how the plan is drafted, under the current law, the allocation could dispose of the entire estate, thereby unintentionally cutting out other beneficiaries. Therefore, it is important to review these estate plans to be sure that they accurately reflect the couple’s current intentions.

Additionally, the repeal of the federal estate tax also means that the unlimited marital deduction and “step-up” in basis go away for 2010. In place of the federal estate tax, “carry-over” basis rules apply. This means that beneficiaries including the surviving spouse inherit the assets at the cost basis of the deceased owner rather than at the fair market value as the date of death. Therefore, unlike in 2009 and years prior where a surviving spouse received a full marital deduction and step-up in basis on assets inherited from the deceased spouse, the surviving spouse inheriting in 2010 will instead be subject to capital gains taxes on any assets that do not receive the “step-up” allocation. Furthermore, the “carry-over” basis rules may create an unintended conflict of interest for Executors who are also beneficiaries. In addition to these issues, there are also more complex considerations relative to the 2010 “carry-over” basis rules which we can address if appropriate.

Finally, under the current law, the federal estate tax will be reinstated in 2011 with only a $1 million exemption and with a tax rate as high as 55% for some estates. This is significantly different from 2009 where each person was allowed a $3.5 million dollar exemption with a 45% tax rate for assets exceeding the exemption. Therefore, estates that were not federally taxable in 2009 may be federally taxable in 2011 if Congress makes no changes to the current law, and the tax due on assets above the $1 million dollar exemption would be very significant.

It has been speculated that the federal estate tax will be retroactively reinstated in 2010, but this has not yet occurred and no one can be certain that it will occur. The closer we come to the Congressional elections this fall, the less confidence we have that a new law will be passed this year. For this reason, I advise that you consider a review of your estate plan now to determine if you are affected by current federal law and circumstances.

Attorney Larri Parker

My success has largely been due to the fact that I greet each mediation without expectation and I hold myself to the highest ethical standards, conducting myself with humility, integrity and humor.  A non-threatening environment begins with a warm sincere smile.  While I inform my clients that I am neutral, it is by working together that they learn to trust me.  Perhaps more importantly, by collecting and sharing pertinent information, the parties learn to trust themselves as well as each other.  It is precisely this trust that allows folks to move the process forward to find common solutions.

My work includes getting familiar with my clients, their needs, goals, fears, and hopes.  I also learn about their issues and positions.  I respect both sides of a story and help my clients to not only listen, but to speak up.  I keep balance and level the playing field, remaining impartial while providing information and raising issues.  Working together, mediation participants strategize and plan for the future.   After all, it’s one thing to say,”I want a divorce!” and entirely another to figure out what’s next.

Respecting self-determination is one of the pillars of a successful mediation.   Parties never are required to agree or reach agreement.  Mediation is based upon voluntary participation, informed decision making and an unforced agreement of the parties.  The process is confidential throughout.    The parties use the mediation sessions to jointly consider proposed options and to uncover alternatives so all options are explored before final decisions are made.  As Yogi Berra said, “It’s not over until it’s over” or as I like to say “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.”

Divorce at your own pace

While good timing isn’t everything, it does go a long way to making the divorce process a little bit easier.  Use mediation to stay in control of the divorce process.

Many traditional divorces include multiple court appearances.  Typically, parties obtain temporary orders before the case is marked for a pre-trial conference.  At various stages of the litigation, parties often are asked to make life altering decisions on the courthouse steps.  When one or both parties are in a heightened emotional state, those decisions may not be the best decisions the parties could make.

Mediation provides time for parties to make considered decisions.  People typically make better decisions  when emotions subside.  In addition, the parties can try out potential plans before committing to them completely.  The mediation process generally leads to agreements that won’t break down as easily as those made hastily under pressure in a traditional divorce proceeding.

Mediation For Your Divorce

You’ve decided to use mediation for your divorce.   Good choice.  Divorce mediation has become more and more popular, as folks discover the benefits of resolving disputes privately.  You’ll avoid useless litigiousness and delays caused by overburdened courts.  Traditional litigation is expensive, not only on your wallet, but on your quality of life.

Winning strategies can be used to enhance results for all family members.  Children want to remain close and connected to both parents, a harmonious state that is rarely achieved in conflicts where one or both parents engage the child in the conflict.  Mediation provides parents the ability to communicate directly, and create a parenting plan that suits the needs of the family.

Take for example, the impact a long drawn out court case can have on you and your children.  Too often, the litigation landscape sets up the parties for a win/lose situation.  Unfortunately the child always loses.   Mediation helps healthy families navigate conflict, minimizing the impact divorce has on kids.

By choosing mediation you can enjoy an efficient economic process to achieve your goals.  Life on the other side of your divorce will be better, because the journey does matter.

The Power of Apology

A sincere heartfelt apology can go a long way to repair a relationship.  In mediation,  sometimes parties are able to transform toxic patterns by acknowledging past mistakes and sharing feelings of remorse about the effect those mistakes had on the relationship.   Apologizing to clear the air and right past wrongs often permits parties to focus on the future and re-establish trust.   When one party apologizes and the other party accepts the apology, both people are saying they want the post-divorce relationship to function well.   Offering an apology is not a sign of weakness, it is a tool of strength.

[Read more...]