11 Mar Even billionaires are concerned about the “costs” of divorce

Billionaire T. Boone Pickens was recently divorced from his 4th wife and chose collaborative practice to settle his divorce.

For the whole story, go to http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/blog/2013/03/t-boone-pickens-on-how-to-save.html?ana=e_abd&u=rk2Eh9uif4Sgj7UM9KhZGpj2jD7&goback=%2Egde_2936590_member_219548098

“The collaborative approach saves both money and emotional wear and tear on families.” Pickens said.

Should non billionaire couples consider the costs of divorce before choosing how they divorce?  Couples should do their research about different processes and the costs of each process.

Creating a  separation agreement with the help of a mediator means you share the cost of one mediator.   If you are choosing the collaborative law approach, you are each working with your own lawyers however,  much of the work can be taken on with the help of  other collaborative team members.

If you have a family professional, rather than your own lawyers,  they help to create and draft a parenting plan.  This is  a shared cost (usually at a lower hourly rate than lawyers).  If you use the assistance of a divorce financial professional, like a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (also usually at a lower hourly rate than lawyers) to help with gathering the financial information, you’re sharing that cost (and the work too as there is usually one spouse that has handled all the family finances and is better at accessing all the financial statements and documents).

Billionaires become billionaires not only because they make millions… they also recognize when they have the opportunity to save a million or two.

05 Apr We don’t want to go to court!!

For  couples contemplating separation or divorce at later stage of life, the costs of   prolonged negotiations that may erode assets that they’ ve set aside for their retirement  is not what they want to see happen. There are viable alternatives to costly litigation  that  allows the couple, rather than the court, to decide what is best for them.

If you or someone you know is facing divorce, join us on Apr 12  at “Late in Life” Divorce Talks.
Learn how our mediation process works and how it differs from litigation.  To register CLICK HERE

12 Mar LIVE Divorce Talks… April 12th at 6:30pm

If you are considering a divorce, join Marion and myself for a conversation about the things that matter the most when thinking about separation and divorce – kids, finances and your future.  Our goal is to give you the answers you need in a safe and comfortable setting.  If you or someone you know is contemplating separation, join us to learn how to move from where you are today to a plan that works best for you and your family

Our next Divorce Talks session will take place on Thursday April 12th, 2012 6:30 to 8pm.

Fee: $25 (inclusive of HST)

Location: 79 Shuter St. Toronto, ON M5B 1B3

Refreshments will be served. 

For more information or to register please contact us at 647-341-9040 or   by e-mail at info@mutualsolutions.ca

Please register by Friday April 6th, 2012 at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2544127554

21 Dec Getting the Paperwork Organized for Mediation:

Starting the divorce process can seem like a daunting task.  No matter which way you go about your divorce, from litigation to mediation, you will be asked for a lot of paperwork in order to get started. This is a great time of year to get that information together; the end of the year is a great time to get a full picture of earnings, expenses, budgets, taxes and other important information.  For those deciding to start the process of Mediation in the New Year, here is a list of the paperwork you will want to have prepared:

1.  Budgets: You may each have a budget for yourselves, you as a couple and for the children.  It is important to come up with an estimated budget for what your life will look like after separation. Be sure to include:

  • Health Insurance:  Include the cost for both parties after separation.  (Once divorce is final, if one spouse was covered by the other’s Health insurance, they will need a new policy.) 
  • Life Insurance: Make sure that whoever provides the primary support for the family is covered so that there will be funds available in case of emergency.
  • Housing Costs: If one party will be renting a new apartment or buying a new house.
  • Remember, take your regular household expenses (gas, water, hydro, food, travel etc.) and create estimates for what that will look like for two households

2.  Recent pay stubs.

3. Most Recent Statements from All Accounts (last four digits of the account number ONLY)

  • Checkings
  • Savings
  • Mutual Funds
  • Stocks/Bonds
  • Any other accounts in which you have individual or joint investments. 

4.  List of Social Security Numbers for each party and their children.

5.  Income Tax Forms for the last three to five years.

6.  Real Estate Holdings & All Mortgage Information

  • List the last four numbers of the Account
  • Name of Bank holding the Mortgage
  • Terms of payments.

 7.  Retirement Accounts

  • Name of Institution holding account  (last four digits of the account number)
  • Terms of Payment – death benefit, annuity
  • Amount in each account
  • Include any stock options.

8.  List of All Assets acquired during the marriage: While this may not be a list that you agree on, the mediation process is intended to help you work through dividing your assets in an equitable manner.  If you disagree, each of you should make your own lists that can be discussed as part of the negotiation.  If you have already divided your assets, you may choose to make the list anyway so that it can be included in your agreement. Think about:

  • Collections
  • Cars
  • Jewelry
  • Antiques, etc.

9.  Wills

You will need a minimum of three copies of this information, one for each of you and one for the Mediator.  Having this paperwork ready before starting the Mediation process (or any other divorce process) will be helpful to both parties.  It will allow both parties the chance to get a better picture of where you are financially, which will help when you begin the negotiation process.

09 Dec Planning to Separate after the Holidays?

Many families postpone their separation until after the holidays.  There are things that can be done in preparation for that change while you have the time to research online or make enquiries during your time off from work.

Here are some tips:

1.    Start collecting financial documents like credit card and bank statements, investment and RRSP statements, mortgage and property tax statements, etc.  Prepare a file so that you both have what you will need.

2.    You can check your credit rating.  In that way, you will have the same information as the bank when you start to negotiate lines of credit or changes to your accounts or even your mortgage.

3.    Work from a budget for the holidays.  In the event that you are using joint credit cards, it is easier to agree on who will be responsible for costs when you are planning a purchase than when you are paying for it.

4.    Find time to research your options.  Such things as:

  • a survey of the cost of alternate accommodation in your area
  • the dates of the school holidays for the upcoming year
  • local divorce professionals and their approaches to separation and divorce
  • local mortgage brokers
  • local real estate agents

Remember that your involvement in your separation and divorce is the most important factor in reaching an outcome that works for everyone.