7th Annual Conference: The Challenges of Divorce in Today's Economy

Radisson Hotel

New Rochelle, NY
September 11 - 12, 2009


Program Continuing Education Credits, approximately 15

ADFP University

Chapter Update and Development
Amy L. Whitlatch, CFP®, CDFA™ and Susan A. Moussi, CPA, CFP®, CDFA™

This is a discussion-based seminar to share the values of participating /developing an ADFP Chapter, how to start one or improve one, and how we can all serve each other on the national level.

Divorce in Tough Economic Times
Lili A. Vasileff, CFP®, CDFA™

Presentation ADFP Annual Pioneering Award

Keynote Address: Interdisciplinary Collaborative Divorce: Harnessing the Power of the Team Pauline Tesler, JD and Peggy Thompson, PhD

Advanced Collaborative Workshop: Communication Skills for Collaborative Financial Professionals
Peggy Thompson, PhD

While some think of the financial professional as dealing only with numbers, we all know that finances are loaded with emotions. Clients at the time of divorce often are overwhelmed by emotions and find it difficult to think clearly. This workshop offers a collaborative financial professional an introduction to the use of structured communication tools to help them work more effectively with clients. Structured communication assists both the professional and the client. It helps the professional gain greater understanding of the client's thinking as well as listening with greater awareness. The workshop will cover the basic structure of a complete communication and listening for understanding.

Vern Hayden, CFP®

Morning Breakout Sessions

  1. Practice and Professional Standards I - panel
  2. Determining Appropriate Amounts & Durations of Alimony/Spousal Maintenance in Divorce
    Carl M. Palatnik, PhD, CFP®, CDFA™, AAMS

    Case law and anecdotal evidence from cases settled out of court and by alternative dispute resolution methods indicates suggests there is great variability in the amount and duration of spousal maintenance awards in apparently similar cases. This apparent lack of consistency suggests that these determinations are unreliable and potentially unworkable, the result often being serious cash flow problems post-divorce. This interactive workshop uses a case study approach to illustrate how economic forecasting can be a powerful tool for helping determine workable amounts and durations of spousal maintenance.
  3. How Divorce Financial Planners Can Bring Added Value to Your Practice
    Amy L. Whitlatch, CFP®, CDFA™

    As an attorney or mental health professional, you are only too aware of the large demand placed on couples ending their marriage to understand complex legal and financial issues while experiencing tremendous emotional turmoil. This session will examine the ways a divorce financial planner can be of assistance to attorneys and their clients in all stages of the divorce or dissolution process, from discovery, analysis and negotiation through the transition to single lives. All models will be reviewed: court, collaborative and mediation. There will also be a discussion of what a divorce financial planner does not do! Finally, we will examine how a financial professional enters this field and how to determine if this person is qualified to assist you.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

  1. Practice and Professional Standards II - panel
  2. Common Financial Mistakes Made During the Divorce Process
    Carl M. Palatnik, PhD, CFP®, CDFA™, AAMS

    This interactive workshop uses a case study approach to illustrate some of the common financial mistakes made during the divorce process, including negotiating too early or with an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of the financial parameters, failing to analyze the workability of alternative outcomes, using inappropriate amounts and durations of spousal maintenance, allocating child support and spousal maintenance in such a way that it triggers application of the Child Contingency Rule, deciding which parent should claim the exemptions for the children without fully understanding the tax and financial consequences, failing to anticipate the sale of the marital home in the divorce agreement and more.
  3. Financial Considerations in Settling the Marital Residence
    Susan A. Moussi, CPA, CFP®, CDFA™

    The marital residence is oftentimes one of the most valuable assets that a couple owns and may have sentimental value to one or both parties. Decisions as to what to do with the marital residence may require that the parties prepare an analysis of the pros and cons of each of the options. Some of the questions that one may ask in weighing the options are: Can I afford the cost of maintaining the home? If the residence is sold, what taxes are due now? If I decide to sell in the future, how much tax can I expect to pay? How do I pay my spouse for his or her share of the equity? What are the tax consequences of owning it jointly? How much house can I afford? These and many other questions should be asked prior to making any decisions about settling the marital residence.


Life After the Mortgage Meltdown
Donald Arace, Metrocities Mortgage

Recent changes to the law as well as mortgage underwriting guidelines of FNMA/FHLMC and FHA that have sought to increase transparency have in actuality hindered the speed and process of the of the mortgage origination and closing system within the banking industry. This topic, as well as understanding what to do in light of the many changes in this rapidly changing field will give you a better understanding of what challenges lie ahead for borrowers in this new world of mortgage finance. From the origin of the mortgage melt down to the current conditions on the ground this discussion will educate you and help you understand the battle you will face in the ever tightening mortgage credit market.

Topics to be covered include government stimulus programs effects, current mortgage requirements, products, pricing, REO markets, short sales, divorce situations, refinance considerations and much more.

Special Issues Relating to Divorce in Today's Economy
Leonard Florescue, JD, Blank Rome, Kenneth Neumann, PhD, Center for Mediation and Training and Lili A. Vasileff, CFP®, CDFA™

I Breakout Sessions

  1. Team Mediation
    Kenneth Neumann, PhD, Center for Mediation and Training

    Team Mediation® is a newly developed mediation process that combines the best aspects of traditional divorce mediation and so-called collaborative processes that utilize the contribution and expertise of other professionals such as attorneys and divorce financial planners.
  2. What You Need to Know About Retirement Plans - Valuations vs. QDROs
    Robert Guarnera, MAAA

    Your client(s) are getting a divorce. They have pension plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs and non-qualified deferred compensation. Do you value all the retirement accounts, or do you have QDROs / DROs drafted? This session will discuss whether to value or QDRO the benefit, what type of QDRO and what language the Agreement must contain in order to draft a proper QDRO.
  3. Opportunities and Pitfalls Associated with Stock Options, Restricted Stock and Retirement Benefits
    Linda Ursin, JD & Maria McKeon, JD

    Many divorce lawyers are unaware of the existence of these lucrative employee benefits which can provide immense income to spouses and provide child support. Attorney McKeon and Attorney Ursin will guide you through these complex benefits, key you into the opportunities offered by the IRS to save taxes for both parties and outline strategies that will avoid costly tax results. Executive stock benefits and qualified and non-qualified retirement benefits are one of the most valuable assets in divorce. Understand the language needed to correctly identify and divide these valuable assets.

Play With Your Food

Divorce vignettes performed by professional theater group, followed by Questions and Answers.

II Breakout Sessions

  1. How to Make Straw Into Gold: Creative Ways of Arriving at Workable Outcomes When There Isn't Enough Money to Go Around
  2. Health Insurance, COBRA and Proposed Healthcare Reforms: What You Need to Know
    Maura Carley, MPH, CIC

    Healthcare coverage planning is a vital risk management activity. The objective is almost always straightforward and that is to maintain the best coverage at the best value without gaps for life. Divorce often disrupts coverage for one spouse and COBRA is often viewed the solution in spite of COBRA typically being expensive and always temporary.

    The healthcare environment is constantly changing. The private insurance marketplace includes new products, legislation is introduced at both the federal and state levels, and Medicare becomes increasingly complex. It certainly appears that this year there is likely to be major legislation passed at the federal level. At any rate, many individuals who are losing group coverage for the first time have no background or knowledge to evaluate their alternatives. Most individuals have no idea that state insurance environments vary widely or that some health plans are regulated at the state level and larger group coverage under federal law.

    This session will help attendees understand the nuances involved in thinking through whether clients should elect COBRA and the other alternatives that should be considered prior to doing so.
  3. Unwinding and Otherwise Dealing with Pre-Existing Estate Planning Vehicles in Divorce: Is That Irrevocable Trust Really Irrevocable?
    Adam J. Gottlieb, Esq., Ruskin Moscou Faltischek

III Breakout Sessions

  1. Tax Issues in Divorce: What You Don't Know Can Hurt Your Clients!
    William Donaldson, CFP®, EA, CDFA™

    In this interactive seminar, you will learn about the most common tax issues facing divorce professionals as well as an update on new provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 signed into law on February 17, 2009.

    Some of the topics that will be covered include the following:

    The tax impact of real estate sales and transfers in divorce How to avoid penalties when transferring retirement plans The tax trap of alimony recapture and how to avoid it The impact of Alternative Minimum Tax on exemptions and deductions New Rules under the "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" Development of Financial Information: The Lawyer's Perspective - Barbara A. Stark, JD This interactive workshop will focus on the collection, interpretation, reporting and dissemination of financial information in divorce cases. The workshop topics will include: The attorney/divorce professional relationship and integration, the discovery process, formal and informal, financial reports tailored to the process and the needs and directives of the attorney, working as the divorce mediator or neutral in a collaborative process, assisting divorce lawyers who are mediators, knowing when and how to provide projective reports for use in settlement or litigation.
  2. Bankruptcy Strategies for Divorce Proceedings
    Wayne Greenwald, JD