How To Overcome The Top Seven Mistakes New Jersey Women Make. Divorcing

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1 How To Overcome The Top Seven Mistakes New Jersey Women Make When Divorcing 0

2 Table of Contents Mistake 1: Hiring the Wrong Lawyer. Page 2 Mistake 2: Believing That You Can Exact Punishment, Revenge, or Vindication Through The Legal System....Page 4 Mistake 3: Failing to Understand the Financial Consequences of Your Divorce, Now and In the Future....Page 5 Mistake 4: Letting Your Emotions Drive the Divorce Process...Page 7 Mistake 5: Wasting Your Time, Money and Emotions in Unnecessary Conflict Page 8 Mistake 6: Concentrating On the Divorce Process Instead of Life-After Divorce.. Page 9 Mistake 7: Involving Your Children in the Divorce Page 10 A Note From John P. Cito....Page 12 1

3 Let s get started HOW TO OVERCOME THE TOP SEVEN MISTAKES NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING MISTAKE 1: HIRING THE WRONG LAWYER AND NOT REVIEWING ALL OF YOUR OPTIONS When your marriage is over and a divorce is inevitable, the common knee jerk reaction is to begin a search for a Divorce Attorney. STOP! Since every divorce is different, now is the time to assess your situation. Do you think your divorce will be amicable or hostile? Of course a divorce can begin amicable and become hostile and vice versa. Many people believe that hiring a pit bull attorney will punish their spouse and get them the best results possible. Your soon to be ex spouse will not be chastised for being a bad person. The wrong attorney can make you believe some of the traditional myths associated with divorce that can cost you time, money, stress and harm future relationships with your family. Myths like Compromise and forgiveness make you look weak. That it s the principal of the thing that matters. That you need to be right. Now is the time to do your homework and review your options to get divorced: 1-Mediation 2-Collaboration 3-Arbitration 4-Litigiation In fact, it is very important to hire an attorney who can offer you the guidance and help you determine which is the right option for you. Remember, once you decide on a option, it can always be changed if you are not obtaining the desired outcome. 2

4 While you may begin utilizing a Mediator and your soon to be ex spouse is not cooperating, you can always change. Which brings us to some ways to avoid hiring the wrong attorney: 1- Hire a true specialist. An attorney whose practice is limited to divorce and family law and nothing else. Many times attorneys are hired for divorce services because they are a friend of the family, or they did the closing on a real estate purchase. You wouldn t go to a cardiologist for a knee injury. Don t hire the first attorney you interview. You will be anxious to retain the first lawyer you meet. Be very thorough when it comes to hiring an attorney. 2- Interview and DON T be afraid to ask QUESTIONS! Remember, you are paying the attorney and you have the right to ask whatever questions concern you. For example: *References *How long have you specialized in Family Law? *Will you be handling my case or will it be assigned to an Associate in the firm. (If yes, ask to interview the Associate). *Credentials If you feel that your case is amicable and the attorney talks litigation at the first meeting, maybe you should question the reasoning behind it. A competent attorney will give you realistic expectations. Don t be afraid to fire an attorney. You are the one paying for the legal services. If at any time, within reason, you are not satisfied, communicate that to your attorney and if the response is not acceptable, it may be time to interview someone else. Do your homework and be prepared! Plan your divorce the way you planned your wedding. Details! Details! Details! The Your Life Your Way process helps you navigate these issues. Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE SECOND POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 3

5 MISTAKE 2: BELIEVING THAT YOU CAN EXACT PUNISHMENT, REVENGE, OR VINDICTION THROUGH THE LEGAL SYATEM The legal system is a very poor tool for emotional satisfaction. Many people have mistaken ideas of what litigation means. Some popular misconceptions are: There is an advantage in being the first to file for a divorce. If the other party engaged in wrongful behavior (such as having an affair), this will affect alimony or maintenance. Going through litigation is a good way to show how wrong the other spouse was in the way that she/he behaved. The judge will acknowledge that one party was right and that the other was wrong. That is why you have choices other than litigation. Granted, some cases cannot be resolved any other way. However, if litigation is used for the wrong reasons, it will not provide for such satisfaction and add to the costs of the divorce. The Your Life Your Way process guides you through the process and helps you keep the outcome in mind Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE THIRD POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 4

6 MISTAKE 3: FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE FINANCIAL CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR DIVORCE, NOW AND IN THE FUTURE Your divorce is as much a financial issue as it is a legal and emotional issue. Marriage is about love and divorce is about money. This can be one of the most traumatic times of your life. The financial decisions you make today will impact you for the years to come. A Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can help you answer the question, Will I be okay financially? Spousal maintenance (i.e. alimony) is sometimes contested in divorce and is determined by many factors: disparity in income, need, ability to pay, age, health, years until retirement, etc. The first step in understanding your new financial reality is having a true understanding of your cost of living and having realistic expectations. Determining whether you can afford to keep the house, what a post-divorce budget will look like, and valuing and dividing property (including businesses and retirement funds), are all major decisions that need the input of a CDFA who specializes in working with women going thru divorce. The Your Life Your Way process has a 4-point system. 1- Have pre-settlement audit and strategy. This includes: *The evaluation of each and every asset. *Financial Projections *Summarize your issues and concerns relating to the Case Information Statement (CIS), lifestyle, valuations and other reports. 2- Action Items Post Settlement: *Translate settlement agreement into a documented action plan. *Identify assets and entitlements in the settlement agreement. 5

7 3- Develop and execute a comprehensive plan *Understand cash and risk management *Investment, retirement and estate planning *Tax reduction strategies 4- Taxes-Plan and Prepare *At least four times a year review of tax exposure and any tax law changes. *Annual preparation of tax returns. Overall, The Your Life Your Way process can help reduce confusion and clarify your goals surrounding the financial decisions of your divorce. The Your Life Your Way process can help by having your personal Chief Financial Officer (CFO) by your side to help you make the best financial decisions possible. The goal of having a CDFA on your side will enable you to have a plan that will help you maintain your independence after your divorce. Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE FOURTH POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 6

8 MISTAKE 4: LETTING YOUR EMOTIONS DRIVE THE DIVORCE PROCESS Feelings are important and must be recognized and managed. When they take over, some of the problems created are: An emotional client is at risk for destructive behavior, including abuse of alcohol, drugs and other risky behaviors. Conflict between the parties escalates, making logical, civilized actions less likely. Vital communication is disrupted or distorted. Legal costs increase because more professional time is needed to manage communication. Children are infected by their parents emotional state, often causing them distress and problems in school. Heightened emotions obstruct rational decision-making. The Your Life Your Way process provides a way to keep you focused on the financial issues that will impact your future. Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE FIFTH POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 7

9 MISTAKE 5: WASTING YOUR TIME, MONEY AND EMOTIONS IN UNNECESSARY CONFLICT An adversarial divorce is almost certain to be more costly. Some examples of that waste include: The greater the conflict, the slower the process. More conflict equals more expense. The more hostile the relationship between parents, the greater the burdens created for their children. A focus on problems rather than solutions means valuable time is wasted. The greater the contest or battle, the higher the level of stress and anxiety. The nastier the process, the less satisfaction overall. In litigation, the courts control the process and scheduling, which can be very time consuming and expensive. Parties need to pick their battles intelligently and draw a line where spending thousands in attorney fees for a small gain is not sensible. Often fighting for the principal of it guides action, becomes counter-productive and drains family finances. Failure to be decisive is sure to increase your divorce costs. Make informed decisions. Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE SIXTH POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 8

10 MISTAKE 6: CONCENTRATING ON THE DIVORCE PROCESS INSTEAD OF LIFE- AFTER DIVORCE Your divorce process will not last forever, even if it seems that it will. While engaged in the arduous process of negotiation for the best resolution, it s easy to lose sight of the future. The divorce process will eventually end, and what kind of life you have afterward will depend in no small measure on whether your resolution fits your post-divorce life. There are lots of laws relating to divorce and, like other one-size-fits-all products; the truth is that one size really isn t the best fit for ANYONE. In The Your Life Your Way will help you through one of the most critical times of your life and make sure it will be enough to begin your life over again. Turn the page to find out HOW TO OVERCOME THE SEVENTH POTENTIAL MISTAKE NEW JERSEY WOMEN MAKE WHEN DIVORCING 9

11 MISTAKE 7: IINVOLVING YOUR CHILDREN IN THE DIVORCE Involving your children in the divorce exposes them to adult issues over which they have no control. It places the children in a gigantic loyalty conflict and creates a high level of anxiety and conflict for them. Some of the mistakes that parents make in their divorce that can harm the children are: Speaking to the child (or within the child s hearing) about adult issues- legal, financial or parents emotional conflict. Failing to support the child s relationship and attachment to the other parent. Using the child as a bargaining chip. Saying negative things about the other parent in the presence of the child, or allowing others to do so. Asking the child to carry messages to the other parent. Failing to understand the child s losses and grief about the divorce. Asking the child to choose one parent over the other. 10

12 After reading this far, you have probably come to one of two conclusions. 1. You don t need The Your Life Your Way process. That s fine. There are other options for you to pursue, to meet your particular needs. We wish you the best of luck. 2. We sound like exactly what you have been looking for, but didn t know existed. In that case, congratulations. We are here to help you. Turn the page to find out how to take the next step. 11

13 Your Next Step NEED HELP HERE! Your next step is to discuss your situation with John P. Cito, CDFA himself. Call to schedule your, Your Life Your Way Consultation The Your Life Your Way process has a 4-point system. 1- Have pre-settlement audit and strategy. This includes: The evaluation of each and every asset. Financial Projections Summarize your issues and concerns relating to the CIS, lifestyle, valuations and other reports. 2- Action Items Post Settlement Translate settlement agreement into a documented action plan. Identify assets and entitlements in the settlement agreement. 3- Develop and execute a comprehensive plan Understand cash and risk management Investment, retirement and estate planning Tax reduction strategies 4- Taxes-Plan and Prepare At least four times a year review of tax exposure and any tax law changes. Annual preparation of tax returns. Remember, your marriage may be over, but the rest of your life lies ahead. 12

14 John P. Cito has devoted his career to advising family lawyers and their clients on all things related to money. He developed the Your Life Your Way process, and his firm is dedicated to helping divorcing women take control of their lives and their financial futures. At the conclusion of a divorce, John serves as a personal CFO and helps handle all clients financial need. Mr. Cito established his own independent advisory practice, which he started in 1986 after working at Merrill Lynch. John has built a long standing career by putting his client s interests first, providing them with financial advice and solutions to help preserve and grow their wealth. Mr. Cito has obtained Collaborative Law training and has been actively involved in matrimonial cases for many years. He is a member of the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, the Association for Divorce Financial Analysts, and the Financial Divorce Association. Mr. Cito has written numerous articles on financial issues pertaining to pre- and postdivorce planning and is listed in the Peer Recommended Professionals section of Divorce Magazine. John graduated from Saint Thomas Aquinas College with a degree in Marketing in He can be reached at (888) or via at The offices are located in Bergen and Monmouth County BERGEN County 354 State St Suite 204 Hackensack, N.J MONMOUTH County 125 Half Mile Rd #200, Red Bank, NJ

15 This material is for informational purposes only. The information contained is not to be construed as legal, accounting or financial advice or recommendations. The material is the opinion of the author and is subject to change. 14

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