Posts tagged ‘Charles Jamieson’

Smartphone Apps for Divorce?

Written March 14th, 2014
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Advice, Divorce Trends

ID-10032760Divorcing executives living in Jupiter, Wellington or Palm Beach, Florida, get ready to download a bevy of applications to assist with the separation. In an age where we all know the phrase about having an application for everything, it should come as no surprise that applications for assisting with a professional’s divorce abound. If you are considering settling your relationship woes through whatever smart device you own, be careful.  Carol Bruess, professor of family communication at the University of St. Thomas [said], “Relationships are so incredibly complex. Can an app really offer the complexity we need?”

Katie Humphrey researched applications for Star Tribune of Minneapolis and found some interesting information. Here are a few examples of what she found:

  • Grass is Greener– launched by Pamela Green, is a conversation starter for those pondering divorce. It has 39 multiple choice questions. Green reminds everyone, “We don’t give results. It’s not like a Cosmo quiz. It’s designed to help people think . . .People have to come to that decision on their own.”
  • Sesame Street: Divorce– by title may seem like a strange idea but ask any divorcing parent how they’re going to tell their children and most will show you a startled and terrified look. This app, with assistance from the Sesame Street characters, Grover and Abby Cadabby, helps parents through that daunting process.
  • Calculators and Calendars- Plenty of applications exist that purport to address the issues of calculating asset division and sharing schedules for taking care of the kids.

If you are considering using an application, be sure to check the source. Bruess said, “In the pre-app world we might seek out a book written by experts and it was really clear who wrote that book because you could read about the credentials of that person. How many people really dig for the author of an app?”

For any professional getting divorced, the responsibility of complying with the law is your responsibility. Be sure to verify the sources for whatever tools you use: an online site, an application, a book or journal. Above all, consult a qualified attorney for anything that pertains to Florida divorce laws.



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Divorce Settlement Hazards

Written January 15th, 2014
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Advice

ID-10044368People from Jupiter to Wellington know that divorce is costly.  As the divorce rate increases for individuals over 50, the cost can deplete retirement savings plans and doesn’t give the individuals much time to recoup losses over their remaining working years.  According to an article by Elizabeth MacBride, one of the keys to minimizing the damage is to stay away from a few common snags along the divorce pathway.

MacBride shares four hazards and offers ideas of how to make the path straighter on the way to a settlement.

  • Hazard 1: Going to trial when not needed.
    According to Justin A. Reckers, CEO of Pacific Divorce Management, of the 900,000 splits in 2011, only five percent went to trial. The ones that did tended to be high conflict, involved layers of finances and involved children. They also cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. The majority of couples can use other options, such as collaborative divorce, to stay out of the court room and to save a great deal of money. Reckers reminds us of process by saying, “For most people, this is the largest financial transaction” they will experience in life.
  • Hazard 2: Ignoring tax implications.
    Assets are not always equal and not considering the repercussions of taxes can haunt you later. For example, $200,000 in cash is not the same as $200,000 in a retirement account. At some point, retirement income will be affected by taxes. Be sure to get help from an accountant or other qualified financial professional to make all these liabilities clear before a settlement is final.
  • Hazard 3: Not demanding the full financial picture.
    Enlist the help of a forensic accountant or similar professional to find any hidden assets your spouse might have. You have the legal right to the information. Once the report is present, you’ll have a better idea of what might be a fair settlement.
  • Hazard 4: Letting Emotions decide.
    Since this is a business transaction, albeit with a lot of emotions attached, you must make pragmatic decisions when it comes to finances, family visitation, etc. Get help from professionals who can assist you in processing your emotions and who can teach you the legal process and how it will affect you financially in the long term. Then make a plan based on the facts.

Using these practices will not suddenly make your divorce inexpensive, but it can help reduce the overall cost. Every bit of money saved during a divorce can help you establish your new financial life after the settlement is finalized.



Image Courtesy of Ambro /

Beating Holiday Stress During Your Divorce and After

Written December 4th, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Life Stages

Stressed young woman near christmas treeFor most people, the holiday period begins with anticipation and excitement.  Unfortunately for some, those happy feelings dissolve into stress, frustration and/or the blues.  People who have experienced the recent death of a loved one or are going through a divorce or separation often experience a sense of loss during this holiday.  Many of us want the holidays to go perfectly and when our visions of perfection are not met, we are disappointed.  The following are some ways in which people can prepare for or counteract holiday stress and/or holiday blues.  Dr. Deborah O Day, a well-known forensic and clinical psychologist in Orlando, Florida suggests:

  1. Plan ahead.  Identify potential times for the blues and get support of family and friends;
  2. Take time for yourself doing something that refreshes or soothes you (massage, card game with your buddies, etc.);
  3. Plan to “get away” – whether brief or extended; a new atmosphere or locale may help you get perspective;
  4. Don’t schedule too much; less can be more;
  5. Try not to recreate or create the best or the perfect experience;
  6. Don’t shop till you drop.  This only depletes your physical and financial resources and may set you up for becoming depressed;
  7. Consider catalog shopping instead of mall shopping.  Shopping at home could be a time and stress saver;
  8. Practice “being” rather than “doing”; enjoy time by yourself or with others;
  9. Use prepared snacks or foods for expected or unexpected guests instead of stressing about impressing your company; and
  10. Remember we all have different feelings and reactions to the holidays.  Live up to your own expectations – not to the expectations of others.


Protect Your Credit During a Divorce

Written November 13th, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Finances

ID-100156664Experienced divorce attorneys in Jupiter, Delray, Wellington and elsewhere in Palm Beach County understand that ending a marriage of any duration is stressful. While you, your spouse and the lawyers are trying to settle everything, take a few moments to remember how important your credit rating will be after you are single. Today we share some tips for protecting your credit in divorce from writer Lynnette Khalfani-Cox from an article at AARP.

  • Joint accounts should be closed immediately.
    Whatever happens from the “we are getting divorced” to the “we are divorced stage” can have an impact on your credit. This includes one spouse adding debt, missing payments, etc. Be careful to not allow this to happen by closing any joint accounts.
  • Inform creditors.
    According to Bill Hardekopf, a credit expert and CEO of, “Tell [creditors] that you do not intend to be held liable for any debt accumulated after the date of the written letter. Request that they put the account on inactive status so no new additional charges may be added, and stipulate that once the balance is paid in full, the account is to be closed completely.”
  • Request monthly statements.
    Request printed statements from all accounts left open with outstanding balances. Read them every month to make sure payments are continuing.
  • Consider the house.
    Taking the house in a settlement is not always the best idea. With the real estate market constantly in flux, it’s important to weigh the options of keeping the house and not. Keeping it can be a huge drain on cash flow and may not provide the liquidity needed if other emergency expenses arise.
  • Update contact information.
    Bills will continue to come no matter where or with whom you live. In order to stay on top of them, update your address at or the post office. This is another way of assuring you are on top of your bills and keeping your credit clean.
  • Use credit as a tool, not an escape.
    Using credit cards responsibly is a life time habit. Don’t take your frustrations with the divorce process out on your finances by binge spending. Khalfani-Cox says “Thirty percent of your FICO credit score is based on the amount of credit card debt you carry. The lower your credit card debt, the higher your credit score will be.”
  • Check credit report.
    Use Equifax, Experian, TransUnion or to check your credit report and work to fix any problems that you find.
  • Paying the spouse’s debt.
    “If a spouse didn’t pay certain debts he or she was ordered to pay in a divorce proceeding, you may want to go ahead and pay those debts in order to maintain your credit rating.” Later, if needed, you can go to court to try to “get a judgment against your ex for not following the court order.”

Getting divorced may take all the emotional resources you have for a challenging season in your life, but it doesn’t have to waylay your entire financial future. Use these tips to help protect your credit rating and make the future a little easier to navigate.



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Helpful Behaviors During Divorce, Part One

Written October 30th, 2013
Categories: Divorce Behavior

ID-10076027What do Ashton Kutcher, Angelina Jolie, and Britney Spears have in common? Besides being trend-setting celebrities, they all hired Laura Wasser as their divorce lawyer. Wasser’s new book, “It Doesn’t Have to be That Way: How to Divorce without Destroying Your Family or Bankrupting Yourself,” was released October 1, 2013.

In an article by Ashley Reich for the Huffington Post, Wasser shares top behaviors that will help facilitate the difficult transition. This week we’ll look at her top five.

1. Manage Expectations: Whether it is before, during or after marriage, it is important to communicate openly about expectations “anything from how to raise your children, where you will live, what kind of vacations you like to take and financial expectations,” says Wasser. Having challenging conversations throughout your marriage is important for whether you stay together or split.

2. Get Help: There’s no “time for a divorce” button that suddenly lights up when things have broken down beyond repair. Some preventive steps could help. Seeing a counselor individually and as a couple should be on the list of things to do before making the ultimate decision.

3. Children First: All parents want the best for their children but when a divorce is in full swing, it can be challenging to actually keep them as their interests at the center of decisions. As you continue through the process, bring them to the front of your mind whenever you can. Make decisions based on their needs and long-term benefit.

4. The Golden Rule: Treat others as you want to be treated, that includes the person with whom you will continue to co-parent. Wasser suggests “three key things: Be kind, be reasonable, be brief.”

5. Divorce is a legal contract: As much as your emotions are wrapped up in the process of divorce, remember that, in part, this is a legal transaction to divide assets and resolve other financial issues connected to your marriage. Keep that in mind and try to leave emotions out of the proceedings. Remember, your attorney is not your counselor but a law professional you hired to wade through the rules and regulations of divorce. If you need, find a qualified therapist or religious leader for support for your emotional issues.

Whether you reside in Wellington or Jupiter or West Palm Beach, you know that divorce can be an exceedingly challenging time, but by keeping the above recommendations in mind, you can make it through the process a little bit easier.



Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/

How to Assure that Cash-based Business Income Is Included in Your Divorce

Written October 23rd, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Finances

ID-10081104Divorce is complicated. We know that. But in the end, when the case is finalized, things will work their way into a new normal and life can be better. The challenge comes in getting to that point. For the spouse who has supported the bread-winner, usually the wife, though caring for a household and children, there are ways to make sure that she gets her fair share.

In an article for, Jeff Landers suggests several avenues to explore to see if there might be hidden assets from a spouse’s business, namely cash.

Much of the service industry in the United States is conducted by cash transactions, even in Palm Beach County.  Lunch at the bistro, piano lessons for your daughter, a groom for Fido, are just a few of the occupations that see a great deal of cash for services. So, if your spouse has a business that might be in this arena, he or she may not always claim the cash as income. This will most likely affect how a judge awards spousal support.

Cash is easier to hide than transactions with a paper trail such as using checks or credit cards. So how can you find out if your spouse is hiding revenue from cash transactions?

Landers says, “Cash is often used to buy luxury items that can add significantly to a person’s net worth, without ever having been reported to the IRS as income.”

By understanding your spouse’s business and how it is transacted, it may show an unexplained increase in net worth. But to discern the truth, hire a forensic accountant to complete a thorough Lifestyle Analysis. He or she may show that the standard of living is disproportionately high compared  to the actual income shown on the books.

Besides understanding his business, simply paying attention to spending habits and other behaviors may help identify a problem. “During the marriage, there may have been a time when cash was paid for items in [your] presence. . . and the owner may have even bragged about this particular shortcut “saving” money on taxes,” says Landers.

If this happened during your marriage, it seems likely that your spouse may try to continue during divorce proceedings.

If you are concerned that he or she might be, consult a professional today.



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How to Propose Collaborative Divorce to Your Spouse

Written June 12th, 2013
Categories: Divorce

Realizing your marriage is headed for divorce or being told it definitely is by your spouse is no easy moment. Divorcees from Wellington to Jupiter are looking for more peaceful ways to get through an awful process. Many lawyers are assisting divorcing individuals with collaborative divorce.

If you decide that collaborative divorce is best, broaching the subject with your spouse can bring new challenges. In a recent article, Erin Brit, a Collaborative Divorce Lawyer from Illinois, shares tips about how to approach the idea.

  • Begin by letting “your spouse know that you wish to negotiate a fair settlement” through a collaborative divorce. He or she may not understand what that means so be prepared to share information such as books, pamphlets or online articles.
  • Communicate the benefits of having a collaborative divorce. Share your desire to resolve issues in a positive way. Collaborative divorce allows both of you to:
    • stay out of the court system, saving time and reducing stress in the process
    • negotiate respectfully, working towards solutions not spending time blaming
    • remain anonymous—collaborative divorce settlement particulars are not filed with the courts
    • obtain the help of professionals who are trained in collaborative divorce, such as specialists in finances and child psychology
    • focus on the future and make changes more easily than with litigated divorce
    • save money and time on many levels in the process
    • work out the details in a way that is best for children and allows for co-parenting
    • Encourage your spouse to speak to a collaborative divorce attorney.
    • Let your spouse have some time to think about the idea and “make an appointment” to talk some more about it.
    • Be specific and “invite your spouse to participate in a collaborative divorce rather than engage in litigation.”

No divorce is easy and taking on a collaborative process is no exception. But by working hard with a team of collaborative divorce professionals to help you stay focused on results and keep the children as a central focus, it just might be a little more productive and peaceful.

What About the Alienated Parent During A Divorce?

Written June 5th, 2013
Categories: Divorce

With media and advocacy groups educating people about Parental Alienation, the word is getting out. Families and individuals fromJensenBeachtoBoynton Beachare beginning to understand its complexities and consequences for children. Little is said, however, about the alienated or targeted parent. Let’s look at some of the problems that a targeted parent might endure.

Alienated or Targeted Parents may:

  • Suffer verbal abuse, often “being berated, ignored, defamed, and slandered” and in response they use a great deal of energy trying to stay strong under this acute anger and hatred. (source[E1] )
  • Undergo lengthy legal proceedings that are not always understood by the courts. This is especially true in high conflict divorce where alienation takes place.
  • Endure grief with no closure. As the child is living but out of reach, they grieve as with a death but never progress psychologically through it.
  •  Manifest psychological disturbances such as substance abuse, low self-esteem and other emotional problems.

Dr. Karin Huffer, “a nationally recognized author, associate professor in counseling and forensic psychology . . . and consultant” has spent her career being dedicated to “humanizing our legal system for those most vulnerable among us.” (source[E2] ) In this case, those susceptible are the alienated parents and children.

She believes that targeted parents suffer because of “corrupt or poorly managed court situations that perpetrate and destroy another person with false allegations,” and that this leads to a type of Post-Traumatic Stress she has termed Legal Abuse Syndrome or LAS. She is quick to clarify that it is not a mental illness but psychological pain “that develops in individuals assaulted by ethical violations, legal abuses, betrayals, and fraud.” (source[E3] )

It is clear that parental alienation injures all involved: children, parents and others connected to the child through the targeted parent including extended family and even some friends. Getting educated about this subject can help identify if this is happening and to seek help from a qualified attorney.




Is the US ready for Divorce Hotel?

Written May 22nd, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Trends

Experienced divorce attorneys from Palm Beach Gardens to Boynton Beach constantly seek innovative ways to assist their clients.  However, an enterprising business person has created an innovative way for couples to become divorced.  “A Dutch entrepreneur is planning a luxury destination for couples who want to take a permanent vacation from each other.” (source)

Inspired by a college friend’s divorce, Dutchman Jim Halfens is spearheading a business to allow married couples an “un-do” almost as quickly as a Las Vegas wedding.

“He was losing weight, he was unable to have fun in life and the couple were fighting every time you saw them,” says Halfens. “I was convinced. There has to be another way.”

Halfens, who already has the program in 17 boutique-style hotels in the Netherlands, understands the clientele could be huge in a country where the divorce rate, although recently declining, hovers around 50%. At the same time, he “concedes that only one of every three couples that apply for his program is accepted.” In an effort to help the couples succeed, his staff works to establish that both partners really are willing to divorce and are ready to work with specialized mediators. (source)

The idea is simple says Janet Morrissey, reporter for the NY Times: Couples “check in on Friday, married. Then, with the help of mediators and independent lawyers, check out on Sunday, divorce papers in hand, all for a flat fee.” (source)

Couples attending a weekend stay in separate accommodations and are able to meet with professionals in the law, mediation, finance, psychology and more. Hotel staff is primed for their arrival and trained to walk the delicate line of what they need in the way of discretion and professionalism.

Halfens also “wants to take the idea to the next level by filming couples going through the whole process. He has written a book . . . and has approached high-end hotels in Germany, Italy, England, and the United States as possible location backdrops for the program.” (source)

Whether or not this sounds appealing, one thing is for sure, getting in touch with professionals in law, finance and other areas is a wise decision if ending a marital relationship.


Is A Divorce Auction In Your Future?

Written May 15th, 2013
Categories: Divorce, Divorce Trends

The auctioneer sported a pair of rugged jeans, well-worn chambray shirt and a visor. He hawked a collection that included leather couches, mahogany furniture, artwork, kitchen gadgets and more. He and his wife who helps in the business, live in a small town north of Denver, Colorado, and he’s selling the entire contents of a home whose owners are divorcing.

Divorce auctions are not known by this name in West Palm Beach.  However, CJ Pratt, the warm and welcoming auctioneer said, “Divorce auctions are relatively common, although they’re not often billed as such.” He’s been auctioneering for more than 30 years and this is the first time he advertized a divorce auction. He was wary, thinking customers would be put off by the fact that items came from a divorce. The stigma that may or may not be felt by shoppers didn’t keep them away. The parking lot was full.

So how does a couple come to this decision? Often it is from their indecision. Some couples can’t agree on who gets what or what its worth. They put their household goods up for auction, bid against each other for things they really want and collect proceeds of the rest of what sells. Other divorcees may want to start with a clean slate, sell it all to subdue memories associated with those items. Occasionally, says Pratt, the auction is court ordered when a judge gets tired of a couple not coming to an agreement.

The popularity of divorce auctions has increased in recent years. Pratt thinks it is partly due to the media. The Sex in the City movie included Samantha attending a divorce auction in search of a jeweled butterfly ring.  In addition, the popularity of auction reality tv series may generate more interest, like A&E’s “Storage Wars”.

If you are interested in attending a divorce auction, looking online is a great source for those located along the coast of southeast Florida. If you are divorcing and are interested in considering this as a way of dividing assets, contact a qualified lawyer to help you understand what might be involved.