Creative Alternatives to the Courtroom

Articles by Bob Bordett

What is a Caucus?

Mediation and collaborative law are adaptable to any situation — even if the parties can’t be in the same room as each other.



21st Century Parenting Plans

As society becomes more enlightened to the needs of children, parenting plans are becoming more complex.



An Email From the IRS? Don’t Believe It.

A malware program is being distributed to unsuspecting taxpayers by way of fake emails from the IRS.



2018 Taxes & Divorce: There Is Still Time

Changes are coming in 2019, so be sure to see a tax professional like a CDFA before the end of the year.



Tax Tips for the Recently Divorce

There are many loose ends that need to come together before you pay your yearly dues to Uncle Sam.



An Elegant Solution: The Child Support Account

A simple solution can turn child support from a headache for parents into a point of agreement and understanding.



Withholding: A Down Payment, not a Tax

Some people get confused by the way taxes are collected from our paychecks. In this article, I straighten them out.



Mediators: The Swiss Army Knife of Divorce

Mediators are often able to assist their clients in more than just divorce-related matters.



Things We Don't Think About When Getting Divorced

Identifying financial issues helps take away some of the pitfalls and stresses that can arise during the divorce process.



Now What Do We Do?

Mediators act like a compass during times of great upheaval.



How to Select the Right Mediator

Choosing your mediator depends on a lot of factors, so don’t rush it.



Key Provisions of the New Tax Law

Most Americans will not see a difference in their paychecks until February.



What is Hidden in the New Tax Proposal That Could Change Divorce?

With tax reform on the table, some popular deductions for divorcing people are on the chopping block.



Tax Tips for the Recently Divorced

Logic does not always govern tax policy, so make sure you know about the most common issues newly divorced coup

les face.



Tax Q&A for Recently Divorced People





New Models of Mediation

The diversity of mediation methods means there is an approach that suits every couple.




What Couples Need to Know About the Divorce Mediation Process

Divorce is a difficult transition for all couples, but the process does not need to be a bitter struggle.




Warning! Don’t violate the Child Contingency Rule!

Don’t get into trouble with the IRS by offsetting maintenance with child support.




How to Avoid the 10% Penalty When Taking Money From a Defined Contribution Plan





How Can Divorce Affect Your Auto Insurance?

After the tougher issues have been decided, many couples find out things about their auto insurance the hard way.




Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Long Term Care Insurance!

Long-term care insurance is a vital piece of your insurance planning — one that can safeguard your assets in the case of a serious illness.




The Grey Divorce

Grey divorces present unique questions about post-divorce life.




Elder Care Mediation

The Golden Rule goes a long way in figuring out your senior parents’ living arrangements. #ElderCare #Family




Parallel Parenting: Making the Best of a Bad Situation

Howard Drutman, PhD and Marsha Schectman, LCSW, discuss how parents can make divorce “work” for their families.




Why Do I Have to Prepare a Budget?

B-U-D-G-E-T is the only four-letter word with six letters.




The Difference Between Litigation and Mediation: It's Personal

In addition to being more affordable, mediation allows greater individual freedom than litigation.




The Taxes They Are A-Changing

Recent and impending changes to the tax code may leave you pleasantly surprised - or else just surprised.




Reverse Mortgages: A Viable Option in Silver Divorces

Silver divorce, or grey divorce, is increasing at the same time when divorce among younger people is decreasing. This trend has necessitated innovative solutions to the problem of funding retirement, and one of the most useful—and misunderstood—tools in this regard has been reverse mortgages.




Social Security: How Do the New Rules Affect Divorced People?

The Association of Divorce Financial Planners held their annual conference this past October. One of the keynote speakers was Mary Beth Franklin, CFP, who is a contributing editor for Investment News. She spoke about the new Social Security rules and how to maximize benefits. Here is part of her talk relating to divorce:




The Association of Divorce Financial Planners’ 2016 Divorce Catalyst Conference

I recently attended The Association of Divorce Financial Planners 2016 Divorce Catalyst Conference, held from October 27-29. There were a number of excellent speakers and interesting topics presented over the three days:

Guest Blogger: Scott Evans Talks About HELOC

In my last post, I shared an article by Scott Evans about ARM Rates. This is a continuation of mortgages. Scott Evans wrote about Home Equity Line Resets.

Scott Evans: Adjustable Rate Mortgages Set to Skyrocket?

One of the things I have learned over the years is that we cannot be a Jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none. In today’s ever-changing world, we need to have connections with professionals in other disciplines and specialities. This is especially true working in the divorce area.

I think it is important that we do the same thing and have our own list of specialists. The article below is by Scott Evans, CCIM, CRMS of the Family Mortgage Team, LeaderOne Financial Corporation in Marietta, Georgia.

Self-Executing Modifications: Six Things Everyone Should Know

One of the things I have learned over the years is that I cannot be a Jack-of-all-trades and a master-of-none. In today’s ever-changing world, we need to have connections with professionals in other disciplines and specialties. This is especially true working in the divorce area. 

Why Should I Choose the Collaborative Process for My Divorce?

The simple answer to the question of why you should choose the collaborative process for your divorce is that it preserves the family relationship. Clients that have engaged in the collaborative process have said the following regarding their experience with collaborative divorce: 

The Advantages of Mediation

Mediation begins when couples make the decision to divorce, then choose a mediator. Mediation has several advantages, including the fact that divorcing couples remain in control of their own fate, giving them the power to make important decisions concerning their children and their property. Mediation is also:

Are You a Teacher Getting Divorced in Georgia?

In Georgia, teachers’ retirement benefits through the TRS (Teachers Retirement System) are not divisible by law. Divorce decrees have no impact on your TRS account, and the TRS is not subject to Qualified Domestic Relation Orders, or QDROs. TRS funds are also exempt from levy, garnishment, or catchment, and a member of the TRS cannot assign his or her benefits, according to law (Georgia Law – O.C.G.A § 47-3-28).

Children Becoming the Parents of Their Parents

When we were young we thought our parents were indestructible. They played with us in the yard and on the floor. They climbed ladders and would clean out the gutters every fall. As we grew older, we became more indestructible and watched as our parents became more cautious and careful. Then we started having our families and children (their grandchildren), and we started realizing we were not so indestructible either.

Then the time came to have the serious talk with our siblings about our parents’ health. I remember when my brother, who is younger than me, called to say my father had a TIA (stroke). My world seemed to stop. I had to gather my thoughts and take a deep breath so I could continue on with our conversation and get all of the data. My concern was: How was he, and how was mom? After getting the data, making plans to go home, and realizing that all would be okay, I could start to relax.

Checklist of What to Do After the Divorce

Divorce is a difficult experience to go through. Besides the emotional toll, there are lots of little details you have to remember to take care of. Some of those details include

Does Your State Have Collaborative Law Legislation?

Divorce professionals are keenly aware that each state passes and enforces its own set of laws. What is less known is the existence of the Uniform Law Commission (ULC)—and how it is leading the way for a consistent application of collaborative law throughout the country.

Divorce: The Art of Screwing Up Your Children—Book Review by Melody Richardson

Thank you to Melody Richardson of Richardson, Bloom and Lines, LLC of Atlanta, for our first book review. The book being discussed is Dr. Howard Drutman’s book “Divorce: The Art of Screwing Up Your Children.” 

Dr. Drutman’s sardonic new book, “Divorce: The Art of Screwing Up Your Children”, is a “how-to” book for parents who have become so embroiled in the battle with their children’s other parent that they have become blind to how that battle is screwing up their children. This book is also for parents who are self-aware enough that they do not want to screw up their children. Dr. Drutman, a psychologist in suburban Atlanta who specializes in clinical and forensic psychology in family law cases, draws upon his real-life experiences to create examples of the best way to harm your children during and after a divorce. 

Important Notes on the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015

On December 18, 2015, the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015was enacted. It extended permanently more than 20 key tax provisions. As well, some of the tax provisions that expired at the end of 2014 were extended for five years. Here are just a few of the extensions

  • Charitable contributions can be made of IRA proceeds (up to $100,000 per year) for taxpayers aged 70.5 and older. It will allow IRA distributions including required minimum distributions to be made directly to a charity. This is good news for people living in states that do not allow charitable contribution deductions and those who do not itemize deductions at the federal level. 

Filing an Extension with the IRS

Taxes are one of those unavoidable things that we have to deal with every year. The deadline stays relatively the same, but many of us nonetheless find ourselves scrambling to gather our documents. The reasons for this are as varied as the taxpayers themselves, but many times it simply comes down to being disorganized and lacking time management skills. If you are in no way ready to file your taxes, it may be time to file an extension.

4 Issues You Need to Be Aware of When Filing Your Taxes After Divorce

When couples get divorced, they can be respectful and cooperate with each other, but that does not mean the IRS will make it easy for them.

Dividing property, and receiving alimony and other assets along with child support, can be complicated.


Protecting Your Family from Elder Financial Abuse

Though I typically discuss issues related to divorce, elder financial abuse affects families of all types and should be guarded against.

Elder financial abuse is on the rise. Many seniors, regardless of their income bracket, are at risk as people over age 50 control over 70% of the nation’s wealth. The definition of financial exploitation varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but is broadly defined as the illegal or improper use of the property, assets or funds of people 60 and older. This can include:


The Difference Between Litigation and Mediation: It's Personal

In addition to being more affordable, mediation allows greater individual freedom than litigation.

Start the Year on the Right Financial Foot – Create a Budget!

If you got divorced in 2015 or are preparing to divorce in 2016, a budget can become a road map for your financial well-being. Here are some tips to makes budgeting easier:

  • Ensure you have broad categories in your budget. Too many details make budgeting more difficult than it needs to be.
  • Pay yourself first—include a savings account category in your budget. Take care of yourself and your needs, as well as the household.
  • Include retirement contributions in your budget. Because we are all living longer, retirement is one of the most important things to plan for.
  • Keep track of household utility costs. This will help if you decide to sell, as potential buyers will be aware of what average monthly household expenses may be.

The Holidays Are over and so Is Your Marriage – Now What?

It has long been known that the first Monday of January is considered “Divorce Day.” The Christmas tree comes down, and so does the hammer, although the seed is often planted by one of the spouses before the holidays. According to some estimates, divorce inquiries rise by 300% during the month of January.

Research on 500 divorcees commissioned by a family law provider showed that men are marginally more likely than women to hold off on proceeding with a divorce until after a family occasion. Overall, women are more likely to begin a conversation about seperating than men. Some of the most common reasons include adultery, falling out of love, and arguing more frequently.

If you are one of these couples, or you know a couple beginning the divorce process, be aware that there are many ways to get divorced other than going to court, like:

  • Collaborative divorce;
  • Mediation; or
  • Integrated mediation.

Any type of alternative dispute resolution can make the whole process of divorce easier because it allows the couple to design their own roadmap, rather than living by the court calendar. The road map will also allow the couple to take whatever pace they choose in order to finalize the divorce. Another advantage is that alternative dispute resolution is completely confidential and there is no airing of dirty laundry into the public record.

Note: Georgia has a 31 day wait, meaning from the time somebody files in court they have to wait 31 days before the court can act.

Rome wasn’t built in a day – why would you expect to get divorced in a day?

5 New Tax Laws for 2016

A new year is upon us, bringing with it changes to our tax laws.In order to avoid any trouble with the IRS, plan ahead for these changes.

Penalty for the uninsured:

Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals who choose not to get health insurance through government exchanges or through their employers have to pay an additional tax. If, in 2015, you didn’t have health insurance, you’re going to pay the higher of these two amounts:

  • 2% of your yearly income above the tax filing threshold (generally about $10,150), up to a maximum cost of the national average premium to purchase a bronze plan on the federal health care exchange; or
  • $695 per person, or $347.50 per child under 18, with the maximum penalty per family being $2,085.

These costs have more than tripled since 2014 when the penalty was only 1% or $95.

5 Things You Need To Know About Your Taxes And Divorce

If you divorce in 2015, there are a few important things to be aware of in order to avoid potential hassles. Use this quick cheat sheet well in advance of the filing deadline:

  1. Know your filing status. If you divorced anytime before and up to December 31, 2015, you are considered divorced for the entire year. There is no “part-time married filing jointly” category. You’ll either need to file as single or head of household, if you qualify.
  2. Review your settlement agreement in order to determine who can claim the children as exemptions.
  3. Ensure you have an IRS form 8332 signed, if required. This form is the release of claim to exemption for a child of divorced or separated parents. A copy of this form must be attached to your income tax return in order for you to claim the tax exemptions for children not living with you.
  4. Determine the amount of your withholdings on your form W4.
  5. Ensure you’ve done estimated payments if your withholding is not enough, or if you’re receiving alimony.