Divorce Financial Planning

The Importance of Dates & Fluctuations in Divorce

The Importance of Dates & Fluctuations in Divorce by Sandy Balick

{4:42 minutes to read} Mediation empowers divorcing spouses to define their own standards of fairness and helps them to make maximum use of the considerable freedom New York law allows in shaping their own settlements.

This entry focuses on selection of appropriate valuation dates for financial accounts, including bank and retirement accounts.

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Business Valuation in the Mediation Process

Business Valuation in the Mediation Process by Sandy Balick

{3:36 minutes to read} This is a second installment on the subject of business valuation to assist divorcing spouses in the property settlement process.

It’s common for divorcing spouses to engage in asset trading (a court-ordered distributive award is essentially such a tradeoff). To be a good trader a spouse should be equipped with a reasonably informed idea of an asset’s value.

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Equitable Distribution and Business Interests

Equitable Distribution and Business Interests by Sandy Balick

{3:30 minutes to read} More on New York’s approach to equitable distribution of marital assets—this time pertaining to business interests.

Assuming a business, including a professional practice, is established in the course of a marriage, it is likely a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. The division of these business interests may be the subject of distributive awards—payments or distribution of some other value in lieu of actual equity in the business under consideration.

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Not to Be Overlooked: Increased Value as an Asset in Divorce

Not to Be Overlooked: Increased Value as an Asset in Divorce by Sandy Balick

{2:42 minutes to read} The divorce process will focus on the distribution of a couple’s assets and liabilities, in a practice referred to as equitable distribution. In my last blog post, I noted the important distinction between separate (non-marital) and marital property.

One potential asset straddles the line between separate and marital, and this will be referred to here as “increased value.” In the divorce process, a non-titled spouse may claim a portion of the increased value of an otherwise separate asset. While the requirements for establishing such a claim are stringent, increased value may be too significant to be overlooked in the distribution process.

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Major Changes to New York’s Maintenance Law in the Mediation Context – Part 3

{Major Changes to New York’s Maintenance Law in the Mediation Context - Part 3 By Sandy Balick3:36 minutes to read} This is the third installment on the recently passed amendments to New York’s maintenance (alimony) law, addressing some of its implications for couples in mediation.

The prior installment introduced the new formulas for calculating post-divorce maintenance. One applied where child support will be paid and the other for situations where this is not relevant. These formulas will be helpful in providing some objective notion of the role maintenance may play in negotiations over the disposition of assets and liabilities, etc.

Two cautionary notes are important:

  1. Although the maintenance obligation is designed for easy online calculation, it’s still wise to review this law and its implications for your specific situation with your personal lawyer. Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Considering Major Maintenance Law Changes in the Mediation Context – Part 2

Considering Major Maintenance Law Changes in the Mediation Context - Part 2 By Sanford E. Balick{4:36 minutes to read} As anticipated in my last blog, on September 25, 2015, Governor Cuomo signed the spousal maintenance (née alimony) amendments. Changes to Temporary Maintenance calculations will be effective on October 25, 2015, while the balance of the bill’s provisions will become effective on January 23, 2016.

The legislative goal of promoting fairness through greater consistency in the amounts and duration of maintenance awards prompted these changes. The substantially amended law will continue to classify and calculate maintenance in two categories:

  • Temporary Maintenance (for the period between the filing of an action and final judgment); and

  • Post-Divorce (from the judgment date forward). Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Changes Ahead for New York’s Maintenance Law

Changes Ahead for New York's Maintenance Law By Sandy Balick{3:06 minutes to read} Maintenance, formerly referred to as alimony, can be an emotional and confusing topic for the uninitiated. The expected signing of a new law amending New York’s maintenance statute offers the prospect of improved clarity and predictability in the law.

It’s anticipated that these changes may become effective in the fall with full application in the course of 2016. Those contemplating separation or divorce will want to be aware of the most significant aspect of these changes.

A legal consult with a matrimonial attorney is the best way for you to learn whether and to what extent maintenance may play a role in a particular divorce. Attorneys are guided by some combination of the statutes and by the significant body of New York case law addressing maintenance claims. This body of law has been criticized as resulting in inconsistent and sometimes unfair maintenance awards. The law’s changes are intended to diminish these concerns. Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

How Long Will It Be Going On?

Divorce and Business Mediator Sandy Balick discusses divorce mediation and the many factors that come into play when determining how long it will be before an agreement is met.One of the most asked questions by couples considering marital mediation is, “How long will it take?” While 3 months is a good working guideline for planning purposes, there are many variables that make hazarding a precise estimate tricky.

The number of issues to be resolved will naturally factor into the number of sessions required. Also important is how well particular couples are able to discuss issues, consider alternatives and come to the many small agreements that will ultimately culminate in a formal Settlement Agreement.

There are other variables to consider. The “standard model” calls for weekly sessions of 1 – 2 hours, although this is not dictated by any law. My own practice is to be flexible in terms of session length, although I have found that 2 hours tends to be a practical maximum. Again, no rule dictates that, for a prepared couple, a session could not be longer.

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

CFP? CFA? ChFC? Huh??

Sandy Balick of Consensus Point Mediation LLC (consensuspointmediation.com) provides some guidance on choosing a financial advisor.So you’ve read the recommended readings in my last blog and it’s time to move forward with a plan. Often, this will entail working with a broker, investment adviser, etc. You probably discovered there are many out there and, should you wish to work with one, how do you go about the daunting task of selecting one?

The names on the cards of many of these counselors are frequently trailed by certain initials. They are intended to convey that the individual has been certified, usually after having taken specialized education and testing, to have a certain additional financial expertise. Common designations include the CFP (Certified Financial Planner), CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst), and the ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant) to name but several. (Go to Investopedia to learn more about these and other popular designations.)

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share

Financial Book Club – Homework Optional

Sandy Balick of Consensus Point Mediation LLC (consensuspointmediation.com) provides some online resources to help with long term financial planning.Long term financial planning (LTFP) is a wise undertaking for most anyone. For those newly emerged from a divorce, the time to start, assuming you haven’t already, is now.

Empower yourself with some solid self-education before reaching out for professional investing and tax planning assistance. It won’t cost much and it will enable you to ask good questions. With luck, you can avoid bogus advice (which, sadly, is widely available, but potentially at a great cost to you).

Continue reading

Print Friendly
Share