How to Prep for Financial Mediation

on Sunday, 24 March 2013. Posted in Financial

Be prepared or you will lose for sure

by Bruce Smith

One aspect of financial mediation that many men overlook is proper preparation. It is most important if you have a net worth over $100,000 and or the topic of spousal maintenance is expected. If you have a good lawyer, he/she will spend time with you to prep you and discuss strategy. If not, you can use this article to properly prepare for financial mediation divorce support.

What should you expect

  • There will be three teams at the table: the mediator, your team and her team.  It is typically a less formal meeting at the mediator’s office or in a neutral location. 
  • The mediator should explain the process he/she will use, how many sessions and what will be covered. If not, ask.
  • There are typically three main topics to cover during financial mediation: Asset, Debts and Spousal Maintenance.

Secret to Reducing Stress During Divorce

on Wednesday, 06 March 2013. Posted in Advice, Psychological, Separated

Have a Divorce Plan

by: Bruce Smith

As we men enter the world of divorce our mental energy is scatted because of all the unknowns, emotional stress is high and divorce is a challenge to our identity. It’s like a stampede of horses running wild. We have to harness that energy, coral it and focus it on a single path. 

This is the biggest issue I see with my coaching clients just starting or going through the divorce process. The best divorce advice - create a divorce plan. A divorce plan is like blinders to a horse – they keep you focused on what’s ahead. A divorce plan has five components:

Overcome Loneliness after Separation or Divorce

on Monday, 18 February 2013. Posted in Advice, Psychological

The Keys are Acceptance and Taking Action

by Bruce Smith and Roger Revak

After years with little intimacy or just having an empty home, loneliness is an issue for many newly separated or divorced men. First and foremost, recognize that you are not alone; it is normal to feel lonely, especially if you were married for a long time and you didn't initiate the divorce. 

Many men that join "The Network" are looking for separation and divorce support and camaraderie – men going through the same issues lighten the feeling that you’re isolated with your experience. This is the first and one of the biggest steps, just realizing that you’re not the only one going through this situation.

The second biggest step, and often times the hardest, is to start taking action. You have to break the mental depressive routine by taking small steps. Then over time, make those small steps bigger and bigger until you’re back running your life (both figuratively and literally).

What To Do If Your Kids Don't Want To Come Over Anymore

on Tuesday, 12 February 2013. Posted in Advice

Be Courageous, Enforce Your Boundaries and Parent For The Long Term

by Bruce Smith

I remember the event so clearly. It was an early October evening in 2007 and unseasonably warm. I went over to my ex-wife’s house to pick up my two boys about 6 pm. I walked into the town home and, as always, I was looking forward to having “the boys”. My divorce decree allotted me just shy of 50% parenting time.

My oldest son was 13 and my youngest was 8. After a minute I said, okay let’s go. My oldest son said “I don’t want to go to your house anymore”. Wham! It was emotionally slap in the face and my heart broken all at once. 

At first, I could not understand it. My ex was not trash talking me in front of the kids (an all too often and horrible situation). I asked him why and he said, “I just don’t want to go”.

Avoiding Parenting Time Manipulation During Separation

on Tuesday, 05 February 2013. Posted in Advice, Separated

Think Like a Police officer, get specifics in writing

by Bruce Smith

One of the most common concerns we get during the separation and divorce process is when the spouse withholds or changes her mind regarding the amount of parenting time she is willing to give to the father. First, it is not solely her decision! But, you are caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, you can’t enforce anything with the police because you don’t have any legal document (like legal separation papers). And on the other hand, you can’t just barge in and take your kids or you could be accused of a number of legal issues (being accused of physical or emotional abuse or property damage to name a few).

So what can you do, what’s the best separation/divorce advice? Get an agreement in writing! Let’s talk briefly about two situation: 1) cooperative, no signs of trouble, yet, and 2) trouble is occurring.

Dispelling the Myth – Divorce is Expensive

on Monday, 28 January 2013. Posted in Financial

Divorce does not have to be expensive

By: Bruce Smith

Months or even years have gone by and the emotional frustrations within your relationship are at a boiling point. Then one of you utters the infamous “D” word. Instantaneously, your mind goes in a thousand directions – What’s going to happen to the kids? How often will I be able to see them? Was she (or you) really serious? What’s going to happen to me financially? How much is the divorce going to cost me? Will I need a lawyer?

The fact is, divorce can be relatively inexpensive. The only real cost is the county filing fee which typically run a few hundred dollars. But perhaps the unsaid question at this point is really, do I need a lawyer? I many instances no. In fact the National Center for State Courts reports that there has been a significant rise in pro se litigants (those representing him or herself). In many states, pro se litigants are the majority! And the trend is expected to rise because of poor economic conditions.

Choosing The Best Tax Filing Status

on Tuesday, 22 January 2013. Posted in Financial

Filing Prior Year's Tax Return Should be a Part of Your Divorce Negotiations

By: Bruce Smith

According to IRS publication 504, the year a divorce is final couples cannot file a married, joint return (state laws may differ). But if the divorce is final early in the year, often times prior year’s taxes have not been filed, thus filing the prior year’s tax return becomes a negotiating point. To help give you the best divorce support, Divorced Guys will try to provide some insight into this topic. There are three filing status options: Married, Filing Separately, Married, Filing Jointly or Head of Household. I will not get into the requirements of each; rather generally discuss which is most tax efficient (has the lowest tax rate).

The three main financial topics you need to understand to make a decision are: 1) the disparity between your and her income, 2) who will receive the exemption for the kids, and 3) the amount and type of itemized deductions and how they will be split (if not filing a joint return). Let’s use the following example: one spouse making $100,000 per year, the other making $30,000 per year and a total of $40,000 in deductions (which to some extend is less relevant – I’ll tell you why later).

Imputed Income Ins and Outs

on Wednesday, 16 January 2013. Posted in Financial

Understanding, Preparing and Leveraging an Imputed Income Claim

By: Bruce Smith

One of the more hotly contested issues in divorce is imputed income; potential income that is not currently being earned. Imputed income can be a significant aspect of determining child support and spousal maintenance. But it’s not award easily and the amount of income requesting to be imputed has to be relatively significant. 

What’s relative? Well that is subjective, but here are a few "for instances" so you get the idea. If you’re looking for an additional $20,000 in imputed income for someone making $200,000, it’s not real significant (10%). But if that person were making $20,000, then it becomes significant (50%).

Separated? When Should or Can You Move Out?

on Tuesday, 08 January 2013. Posted in Separated

When is it safe to move out?

By: Bruce Smith

One of the most difficult living condition is when two people are separated, but living together.  Tension is constantly thick. Emotions are all over the place. And it’s difficult to create your own space for peace. But that’s just the beginning.

+  If you have kids and you leave, you could be accused of abandoning the kids and look unfavorably for custody and parenting time negotiations.

+  If your spouse does not work and you move out leaving her financially high and dry, you could be accused of emotional abuse which will make you look unfavorably in front of the court or mediator.

+  If you’re divorce is progressing and there is somewhat amicable negotiations going on with your spouse, moving out could cause a significant setback making the whole process start over – and this time with lawyers.

What Should You Do If Your Spouse Is Irrational

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013. Posted in Psychological

Use these techniques to manage irrationality during your divorce

By: Bruce Smith

Often times, divorce unfortunately brings out irrational thoughts by you, her or both parties.  It makes divorce much more difficult and much more costly because nothing can get settled without a third party (lawyers, mediators or the judge). Instead of dealing with all situations, we’ll narrow this topic down to provide divorce advice specifically when your spouse is acting irrationally. How do you deal with someone that is irrational?

The Best Kept Secret in Divorce Negotiations

on Tuesday, 18 December 2012. Posted in Psychological

Framing gives you the negotiation edge

By: Bruce Smith

The art of framing or shaping your argument is critical to effective negotiations. It is an act of creating the dialog between you and your ex-wife (or her lawyer). Used effectively, framing will give you the edge in your negotiations. Below are a few tips and examples:

Divorce with Dignity - Part X

on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Posted in Advice

Moving Forward after Divorce

By: Bruce Smith

Finally, your divorce has come to an end. The fighting over who gets the lamps or the dog, how much alimony or child support has to be paid, who gets the kids when are now all decided. With the men we’ve talked to and given divorce advice, the theme is common – what’s next?

We’ve found six common themes to start rebuilding your life. All may not apply specifically to you, but the main objective for divorce support is the same – starting over. Here are the six common themes:

+ Finances after Divorce

+ Breaking the Emotional Connection with the Ex

+ Being a Great Dad

+ Finding your Passion

+ Dating Again

+ Dealing with the Ex

Divorce with Dignity - Part IX

on Monday, 03 December 2012. Posted in Advice

Seven Secrets to Negotiating Your Settlement

By: Bruce Smith

The second to last task of divorce is negotiating your settlement. This can be the most difficult and emotion filled aspect of divorce. We've already discussed the three main negotiating topics: custody, asset separation and spousal maintenance (alimony).  More importantly, however, is the strategy behind the negotiations. Spending time to understand how to negotiate is more important that what you’re negotiating.

There are seven steps to effective negotiations:

•  Be a Vegetarian

•  Diet Your Position 

•  It’s All Business

•  Be Prepared

•  Pain is Good

•  Think Outside the Box

•  Framing Your Solution

Divorce with Dignity – Part VIII (b)

on Monday, 26 November 2012. Posted in Financial

Child Support

By: Bruce Smith

Understanding the history of child support laws provide insight into the current child support environment. The historic basis of child support centers on the man being the primary wage earner. Dating back to the 1600s and up through the 1950s, child support laws were created to protect mothers and their kids against living in poverty after divorce; the man was the primary wage earner and even if the mother worked, her wages were a fraction of what the father would have earned.

Since the 1950s, child support laws slowly changed with the times, but a growing number of single mothers with kids collecting welfare became concerning. Laws were enacted to curb the number of mothers on welfare. In 1984 the Child Support Enforcement Act: 1) focused on reducing Federal welfare payments by providing states the ability to take certain action to collect back child support payments, and, 2) refine child support determination, leaving it up to each state to define how child support would be calculated.

Divorce with Dignity – Part VIII (a)

on Monday, 19 November 2012. Posted in Financial

Child Support and Spousal Maintenance

By: Bruce Smith

Child support and spousal maintenance are not awarded in all divorces. Some divorces have both, others have one or the other or neither. Since both are awarded for different reasons, and have different criteria, I’ll discuss each separately.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance (alimony) is the most undefined topic regarding the financial aspects of divorce, and the most feared. It is a payment to the ex-spouse based on various factors (see common factors below). Permanent support demands by a spouse cause many men anxiety or frustration and in many instances are considered a bullying tactic. But the days of permanent maintenance are numbered due to the evolution of divorce laws.