In recent years, divorce has become an ugly beast that pits two people against each other. Collaborative divorce has sprung up as an alternative in an effort to give aid to couples who wish to part amicably. But how does collaborative divorce work? How does it begin and end, and what happens if a peaceful settlement cannot be reached?
Steps after the Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is Signed
Just because the ink has dried on the Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”), doesn’t mean everything is settled and you can freely move on to the next phase of your life. There are many things that need to be handled once your divorce is finalized. While the list below is not comprehensive, it is a good starting point and may also enable you to think about additional items that may need to be addressed.
What is a QDRO (pronounced “kwadro”) and why is it important to understand during a divorce? A QDRO is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that creates the alternate spouse’s right to receive all or a portion of the benefits due under a retirement or pension plan.
Harvard Law Professor and Collaborative Attorney David A. Hoffman recently lectured on “Lawyers as Peacemakers.” He now describes his occupation as “full-time peacemaker”. More and more attorneys, forensic accountants, business valuation experts, CPAs and other professionals are embracing this same job description. Collaborative law, or the practice of peacemaking, is a fast-growing movement with deep historical roots.
Abraham Lincoln (as an attorney) once said: “Discourage litigation. Persuade neighbors to compromise whenever you can. As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of becoming a good [person].”
Mahatma Gandhi was also a lawyer. He said, after learning he could settle cases, “My joy was boundless… I realized that the true function of a lawyer is to unite parties riven asunder.”
Chief Justice Warren Burger warns: “The entire legal profession has become so mesmerized with the courtroom contest that we tend to forget that we ought to be healers of conflict”.
As forensic accountants, attorneys, and all of us as professionals and as citizens of this great country, may we all strive to become greater peacemakers and healers of conflict.
Collaborative Divorce in the Golden Years
Is divorce in retirement different than for younger couples? And, if so, how?
Three of us, one divorce lawyer and two financial neutrals, sat down one day to talk about the issues involved in the typical gray divorce, marriages in which older spouses (“grey-haired”) are now splitting up. The questions are interesting, to say the least. What are the key financial issues that can arise in a gray divorce? What issues should particularly concern people? How can retired people best protect themselves?