• July 30, 2016 8:08 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    Collaborative divorce is an alternative form of dispute resolution, designed to foster the resolution of divorce and family law related issues respectfully and equitably, without court intervention. Like mediation and arbitration, it takes place outside of the purview of the court system, with the goal of reaching a fair settlement, but without the pressure and uncertainties which accompany litigation.

    Collaborative practice is different from other approaches to divorce in that it promotes respect and enables spouses to be in control of the divorce process. The goal is to address each couple’s unique concerns, and advance each party’s interest without reference to the often arbitrary; one size fits all, resolutions available through the Superior Court.

    With a collaborative approach, each party selects an attorney of their own choosing, and commits to working outside of the court system to develop a settlement in the matter. Because the clients agree not to go to court, the process itself can be more open and less adversarial. The lawyers are used in a much for focused way in their capacity as problem solvers and knowledgeable divorce professionals. The goal is to enhance communication throughout the process and lay the groundwork for a healthier post-divorce relationship between the parties.

    Unlike litigation, a collaborative divorce gives the parties control of when, where, how often and how long they need to meet for each negotiation session. In addition, the collaborative divorce professionals are always looking for a way to advance both parties’ interests in a mutually beneficial way. The win-lose mentality of litigating in Court is dispensed with, in favor of a collaborative team working with each other, not against each other, to craft a mutual beneficial solution. Often, the first step of the process is to create a framework for effective communication, to enable the building of a fair settlement framework, and the trust for both parties to commit to it.

    At the JSCLG, depending upon the complexity of your case, our collaborative professionals can put together a team of experts to address unique issues and specialized concerns. Our members include not only attorneys, but mental health professionals, child specialists, divorce coaches, accountants, mortgage bankers, financial planners and other financial professionals. If the issues in your case warrant it, and you desire the assistance, our group can serve as a strong source of reliable, expert information to assist you and your spouse in making divorce decisions for yourselves and your children.

    What Are The Benefits?

    Can give children a voice in the separation process

    Helps keep assets and personal problems private

    Aims at improving communication between parties

    Each party selects an attorney of their own choosing

    Keeps control of the process in the hands of the parties alleviating the potential of future trauma that sometimes persists for generations

    Is It For Me?

    Collaborative practice is designed to be civilized, sophisticated, creative and respectful. It is for parties wishing to find a solution to their separation rather than assign blame. It is for parents who need and desire to find a way to co-parent their children despite their separation, and minimize the negative impact of divorce on their children. It is for people who prefer to be in control of their divorce outcome, rather than letting a judge decide. It is for people who place value on a working post-divorce relationship with their spouse, and value quality of life over quantity of resources. Lastly, it is for those who value privacy; couples in collaborative divorce are spared the airing of their dirty laundry in open court for all to see.

    For additional information view out videos:

  • February 19, 2016 9:07 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    JSCLG February Meeting featured a game show format called "Financial Red Flags". Two competitive teams played an exciting game about financial facts, with the help of game show host, Doug Lyons.  Team A won the game and an exciting prize!

    The Winners!!!

  • October 28, 2015 9:15 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    International Academy of Collaborative Professionals 16th Annual Networking and Educational Forum - October 2015

    Our members at the Gala

  • September 16, 2015 9:18 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    By: Matthew Abatemarco, Esq. and Anna Mae Perillo. Esq.

        It is no surprise that more and more couples are choosing Collaborative Divorce. When clients come into our offices, we ask them, “What type of divorce do you want?” We explain, if you want to save money, figure out long term financial solutions, work in a dignified, private, and respectful manner in a process allowing for your children to thrive, then a Collaborative Divorce may be right for you.   A Collaborative Divorce meets the needs of families in a cost-effective and private atmosphere.   

        The goals of most clients include financial stability during and after the divorce and protecting their children. When we discuss the option Collaborative Divorce with clients, we find that most are relieved to discover a process that protects their children and their assets. 

         With a Collaborative Divorce, clients have an opportunity to control the outcome with a team of trained professionals. Collaboratively trained attorneys advocate for their clients while assisting them to create creative solutions to resolve all issues.  Clients also choose amongst trained therapists and financial professionals to help the family move forward in a positive manner. 

        Collaborative Divorce is child centered. When a couple has a child, a divorce is not the end of the relationship, but the beginning of a new relationship as co-parents. Choosing a Collaborative Divorce shows a willingness to work together for the benefit of the children. Children are less likely to be affected by divorce when their parents work together for their benefit.   Children who see their parents being able to communicate respectfully at their soccer games, birthday parties, and ultimately their own weddings will be healthier, happier children. 
    Divorce does not have to be hostile. Even where there are hurt feelings, anger, and resentment, the Collaborative approach provides a framework for the family to heal.  If a couple wants their children to have healthy relationships with both parents and to thrive in school, socially and emotionally, then the Collaborative process deserves consideration. 

        The Collaborative Team helps clients meet their financial goals.  Whether it is keeping the home, planning for college, or being able to retire, financial professionals can meet the challenges of the divorcing couple.  Financial team members have knowledge of taxes and investments and assist in producing long term solutions for the family’s financial security.    

            The attorney and process chosen to complete a divorce has a substantial impact on the entire family. With  Collaborative Divorce, gone are the days of long hours at the Courthouse, waiting over a year for a trial, and having a stranger decide how two adults and their children will live their lives.   Couples can now resolve their entire divorce in a private, cost-effective, and dignified manner.  

    For more information on Collaborative Divorce, visit or contact a Collaborative Professional.   
    By: Matthew Abatemarco, Esq. Atkinson & DeBartolo, P.C., Past President of The Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group, and
    Anna Mae Perillo. Esq, A pioneer of Alternate Dispute Resolution whose practice is devoted to Mediation and Collabortive Divorce, visit

  • August 19, 2015 9:20 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    By David R. Cardamone, Esq.

    As we all get past the cold winter and look forward to Spring, there is a tendency to perform Spring Cleaning.  In my house, this includes going through all of the past year’s financial statements, insurance policies, etc., and getting rid of everything I do not need.  In so doing, I will always come across my box of important documents, i.e. my Will, Living Will, passport, etc.; for divorced individuals, the box of important documents will likely include a copy of your Judgment of Divorce and Settlement Agreement.  

    First, as an aside, if you have not reviewed your Will in a few years, I would encourage you to call an attorney to have it updated, as a Will should be reviewed and updated periodically as your life changes.  This is especially true for divorced individuals because you want to be sure that the beneficiaries and trustees named in these documents correspond with your new divorced status.  In so doing, you will also want to review the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, retirement accounts, and other accounts with death beneficiaries.  

    Second, for divorced individuals, I would encourage you to review your Settlement Agreement.  I am often confronted with people who have not reviewed or considered their Settlement Agreement for years, only to find out that their ex-spouse has not been complying with their obligations and/or that they have neglected to request and receive various entitlements.  In reviewing your Settlement Agreement, therefore, you should consider the following:

    • Life Insurance:  If you or your ex-spouse has a life insurance obligation, either to secure alimony or for the benefit of your children, it is reasonable to request proof of coverage on a yearly basis.
    • Retirement Accounts:  All too often, divorced individuals discover years later, regularly at the time of retirement, that the various pensions or IRAs or 401(k) accounts were never divided.  
    • Income Verification:  Child support can be modified on a change in circumstances.  This does not only happen upon a loss of employment or reduction in earnings.  Rather, child support can be increased if the parent’s income increases or if the parent receives an inheritance or wins the lottery, as a child is entitled to share in their parent’s good fortune.
    • Reimbursements:  Parents are often required to share in unreimbursed medical costs, extracurricular activity expenses, etc.  If you have not been requesting or receiving your reimbursements, you should review your Agreement and start making the requests.

    There may be other items particular to your specific case that have been overlooked or not complied with.  As such, I would urge you to review the Settlement Agreement, and if you believe that your ex-spouse has not fully complied with the terms therein, contact an attorney to review your options moving forward.  It is important to avoid a situation where you are deemed to have waived claims due to a lack of action to enforce the terms of your Agreement.

  • July 20, 2015 9:22 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    by Madeline Muise

    How can you shift your feelings?

    Turn your attention to those you do love in your life: your children.

    When parents are struggling to cope, feeling anxious, depressed, or overwhelmed children are left to handle this upheaval in their life on their own. Children often hide their feelings of pain to protect their parents.

    What’s a parent to do? Here are some suggestions I share with my clients.

    1) Establish routine in your home. Have a family meeting to talk about changes. Elicit ideas from your children . Don’t be afraid to ask children to help with chores. Research shows that children of divorce develop a sense of responsibility from contributing to the running of the home.

    2) Discipline with love. Children feel more secure when they have limits. Remember that the divorce is not the cause of all bad behavior. Don’t let the children get away with behavior you would not have tolerated before the divorce. Compassionate discipline requires energy and discernment.

    3)Spend time alone with each child. I know you’re super busy as a single parent. Time doesn’t have to mean a couple of hours or half a day. Time alone can be the 10 minute ride to basketball practice or a slice of pizza after grocery shopping. Warm up February with hugs from your hearts’ treasure: your children.

  • July 20, 2015 9:21 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    By Lawrence B. Stein, PhD

    Divorce. When most people hear that word they think of heartbreak, tears, arguing, and a big hit to their pocketbook. Divorce, indeed, is an emotionally-charged process that’s full of intense and unpredictable feelings. In fact, divorce is one of the most stressful life changes that a person can undergo. Because of that, it is in your best interest to get a trained mental health professional/divorce coach on your team.

    As you may already know, collaborative divorce is a process in which a married couple, at odds with each other, seek to amicably end their marriage. This process leads to smoother transition to post-divorce life and has a positive impact on the whole family, most notably the children. As with any worthwhile endeavor, splitting up is typically not easy for the husband and wife, even if it’s what they ultimately want. Specially trained and experienced mental health professionals play a key role in assisting the divorcing parties as well as the entire collaborative team to stay focused, work on the problems at hand and deal with the emotional challenges that invariably come up in the course of a successful collaborative divorce.

    You might think to yourself, “But, I don’t need a mental health therapist, there’s nothing wrong with my brain,” but divorce coaching and psychotherapy are two different experiences. Collaborative Divorce coaching focuses on the on the immediate challenges and obstacles related to the break-up – parenting, conflict resolution, and working through squabbles about the minutia. As a member of the collaborative divorce team, the divorce coach does not take sides, will not think you are “crazy” and helps prepare the family adjust to the challenges of rebooting a family.

    As complex and trying as divorce is, one of the major advances and advantages of collaborative divorce is the inclusion of mental health wellness coaches on the team. The recognition that a healthy divorce goes beyond legal matters represents how collaborative divorce is truly a value-added process that pays attention to the whole person and the whole family. Best of luck to you in the next chapter of your life.

  • May 18, 2015 9:23 PM | Tracy Gibson (Administrator)

    by Donna Ranieri

    There are many questions you might be asking at this time, particularly regarding your marital home.

    If I want to stay in my home, what do I need to keep in mind?

    First, take into consideration the size of the home, monthly utility payments, taxes and your family needs. Does staying in the home truly make sense? You may now be entirely responsible for the house payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance and other expenses. Make sure you can handle it before you start the negotiating process. 

    How do we determine how much equity we have in our home?

    The equity in the home needs to be determined by an appraiser. You should also get an inspection of your property. You do not want to have issues with the property and have to make repairs after you divide the equity with your spouse.

    If you choose to stay in the home, you can refinance your home to get cash out. With your own good credit and income, you can usually qualify on your own. Child support and alimony is viewed as stable income if it has been received for at least 3-6 months and is likely to continue for at least three years. 

    What If I am the one leaving the home?

    It is important to know that even though the divorce decree awarded the home to your spouse, you are still obligated for this debt in the eyes of the mortgage company. 

    Do not assume that by filing a Quit Claim Deed removing yourself from the title, that you are no longer responsible for the mortgage. A Quit Claim Deed only eliminates your name from the title of the property, not from the mortgage loan. 

    How might this impact my credit?

    Because you are obligated on the mortgage until it is paid in full or refinanced, it is imperative that the person responsible for the payment remains current. That is why it is extremely important to have your name removed from the mortgage as quickly as possible.

    "Call Me Today At 732-547-3736 to Schedule a Free Review of Your Options"

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Legal Notice: The information provided on this website is provided for educational purposes. It is not to be considered legal advice, and nothing in this website shall be deemed to create the attorney-client relationship between the user and any member of the Jersey Shore Collaborative Law Group. No action should be taken based upon the information learned from this website without a personal consultation with an attorney. Before making your choice of attorney, you should give this matter careful thought. The selection of an attorney is an important decision. The attorney's on this site work independently of each other, and their affiliation herein extends only to the promotion of Collaborative Law and the education of the public regarding its use in family court matters.

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