Monthly Archives: February 2012

Returning to School in Middle Age: Hey Mom, I Got an LLM!

Well, if anyone had told me that I would go back to school at age 51, I would have told them they were crazy.  I was not looking to return to school at that point in my life.  However, I was encouraged by my firm to take classes in an LLM program to prepare myself to practice and specialize in a slightly different area of law.  The opportunity sounded interesting, so I went ahead and applied to The John Marshall Law School to participate in the employee benefits LLM program.

I was afraid that I would not be able to keep up with the younger students because I thought it was harder to learn as you get older.  However, I learned that my years of work experience actually helped me to understand the concepts more readily than did some of the youngsters who had never worked.  I also enjoyed getting to know the other students and the professors, whom I otherwise would never have met.

I did find, however, that I was at a disadvantage when it came to technology.  When I attended law school, no one had a laptop computer.  Now, everyone has one and everything is done on line.  Want to sign up for a class?  Do it online.  No more standing in line and turning in registration forms.  Want to check your grades?  Do it online.  Nothing is mailed out.  Want to know what special speakers or other events are being offered by the school?  Check it online.  There is no school newspaper or newsletter announcing events.  Everything is all online.  Classes can even be taken on line instead of in person.  All of these changes turned out to be more challenging for someone like me, who is less technically sophisticated than the younger students, than learning the actual subject matter.  I even had to break down and buy a laptop.  Then there was the fun of explaining to my family and friends what the degree was that I was working toward.  What does LLM stand for?  Legum Magister or Master of Laws.

Continue reading

Divorcing in a Volatile Economic Market

In uncertain times, dividing the matrimonial pie is more than slicing equal pieces

For couples contemplating a divorce, the volatility in the financial and real estate markets has created an impediment that has left many questioning how they will achieve future financial security while attempting to establish two households.  A common goal may be to split assets equitably, not necessarily  50/50, but all assets are not created equal, and establishing fair market value can be challenging at best.

In these uncertain times, we are focusing on two key messages with our clients.  Number one, make sound financial, not emotional decisions.  And number two, work to create mutual benefit.  This is important at all times, but especially in unpredictable ones like we’re experiencing today.

As you navigate the financial aspect of the divorce process, you should

Develop a realistic budget.

Recognize the financial reality of establishing and maintaining two separate households by developing a realistic budget during and after the divorce.

Thoroughly review your assets and establish fair market value.

Calculating the fair value of your assets can be challenging.  It’s important to consider both the cost and value of assets such as real estate, investments, personal property and a business.

Strive for diversification in division of assets.

The new normal in dividing assets is to understand the risk factors associated with all classes and diversify.  Just as with investing, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket.

Be civil.

Recognizing the real financial hardships of divorce can be challenging, but it’s important to divide your assets constructively without causing resentment.  The decisions are difficult to make, but with the guidance of a good family law attorney you can reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both partners.