The Strength of the Collaborative Team

Posted by on October 31, 2019 in Collaborative Law, Family Law

The Strength of the Collaborative Team Many people choose to engage in the collaborative process for many reasons.  One of the reasons I hear over and over again from clients that have chosen this process is that the strength of the team is one of the greatest benefits, but what does that really mean.  When you choose to divorce using the collaborative process, it means that you not only have your attorney representing you, but you also have two additional neutral professionals.  The financial professional is trained and has a background in finance.  Many are either certified divorce financial professionals, CPAs, or financial advisers.  These professionals have been trained in the many financial nuances and issues that arise in divorce including the implication of tax law changes, how different types of assets are treated to ensure the best outcome for both parties and how to manage debt after divorce.  The financial neutral is not representing either party, but working as a team member to support the family and generate options for the best possible outcome for both parties. Similarly, the coach facilitator also works in harmony with the financial neutral and both attorneys to ensure that the case is proceeding smoothly.  Because the collaborative divorce operates outside the oversight of the court’s case management system, the coach facilitator acts as a kind of case manager for the process.  Ensuring that the team stays on task, the parties use their time in meetings efficiently and effectively and most importantly manages the emotion between the divorcing couple so that they can stay on task, focused on obtaining the best possible result for their family.  While this role is frequently undervalued by parties, as a professional I have witnessed numerous families fall into the trap of spending hours arguing over a particular issue, those issues are often simply the focal point of an underlying deeply emotional concern.  Having a coach facilitator able to work with the parties in order to recognize those emotional triggers, helps to keep them at bay and move the process forward to a more equitable and cost effective resolution. ...

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Congratulations to Jane Schirch

Posted by on September 26, 2019 in Collaborative Law, Family Law, S&S Firm News

Congratulations to Jane Schirch Many congratulations to our friend and colleague, Jane Schirch, who is the 2019 recipient of the NH Collaborative Law Alliance John Cameron Memorial Award.  Jane is the forth annual recipient of this award since its creation in 2015 to honor the memory and work of Attorney John Cameron.  Jane was honored at the NHCLA annual meeting held on September 26, 2019.  T he Cameron Award is given annually to a member of the NHCLA who embodies the spirit and practice of collaborative law.  Jane demonstrates the qualities that John embraced in his practice to promote the tenants of the collaborative law practice and to maintain respect and dignity for families during divorce and separation.  During Jane’s entire career, she has embraced the practice of collaborative law to keep divorce and parenting matters focused on parents and children, maintain the priorities of the family and to minimize the impacts of divorce and separation.  From all that she does through her work in collaborative law, in helping other attorneys who call our office with questions, in teaching, in her parenting coordinator and mediation trainings, Jane always reflects the idea of working together with others to create something great.  Jane is a current member of the NHCLA Board of Directors.  Shanelaris & Schirch is proud of all Jane’s accomplishments and congratulate her on this...

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Congratulations to Attorney Jane Schirch

Posted by on February 16, 2019 in Family Law, S&S Firm News

Winner of the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award On February 15, 2019 Attorney Schirch was awarded the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award.  Jane is a dedicated attorney who works with determination and compassion for all her clients and we want to congratulate her for the work she performs for pro bono. Jane has made a difference in the lives of dozens of families and children in crisis, applying her knowledge, skills and empathy to their challenging situations giving them an opportunity to secure a more stable and hopeful future. We are so proud of all her accomplishments. Congratulations,...

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When can I change my child support order?

Posted by on September 21, 2018 in Child Support

Modifying child support in light of the February 2018 NH Supreme Court Case of In the Matter of White and White   The law in NH provides for when and how child support payments can be modified.  Specifically, the law allows a parent to request a child support modification 1) if at least three years have passed since the most recent support order OR 2) if there has been a substantial change in circumstances.   The law in NH does not provide a list of what equals a “substantial change in circumstances” but if there has been a loss of a job, a significant pay raise, moving from part-time to full-time employment, the emancipation of a supported child turning 18 and graduating from high school, and other such significant changes that now make the support order unfair, you might qualify for a modification.   There can be complex factors involved in whether requesting a modification is the right move for you and this should be a time to consult with an attorney.  The attorneys at Shanelaris & Schirch, PLLC will be able to help you understand whether a modification would most likely benefit you. Additionally, it is important to talk to an attorney soon rather than waiting.  The law in NH will not make a support modification retroactive back to the point when the substantial change happened but only back to the point when the other party received notice from the court that you are seeking a modification.  This important point was reaffirmed in the February 2018 NH Supreme Court ruling for In the Matter of White and White.   If you believe that you have had a substantial change of circumstances, or if it has been at least three years since your most recent child support order, it is a good time to consult with our attorneys to determine whether requesting a modification from the court is the right move for you.  If it is, our attorneys can assist you in petitioning the court for that...

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Cathy Shanelaris to receive Marilla Ricker Achievement Award

Posted by on July 25, 2018 in Family Law, General Law, S&S Firm News

Congratulations to our friend and colleague, Cathy Shanelaris on being selected as the 2018 recipient of the Marilla M. Ricker Achievement Award from the New Hampshire Women’s Bar Association.  Cathy works tirelessly for the advancement of women in the profession and this recognition is so well deserved.  Congratulations Cathy! Congratulations to the 2018 Marilla M. Ricker Achievement Award Recipient: Catherine E. Shanelaris,...

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HOW TO DETERMINE ALIMONY

Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Alimony

In New Hampshire, the court has the authority to issue an order for alimony.  Alimony is spousal support.  It is usually intended that alimony is rehabilitative.  In other words, it is a payment for a period of time to allow a spouse to get back on their feet and to become self- sufficient.  The current alimony statute in New Hampshire, RSA 458:19, provides that the Court shall make an alimony award if the court finds that the party in need lacks sufficient income, property, or both to provide for that party’s reasonable needs, and that the party from whom alimony is sought is able to meet their reasonable needs while meeting those of the party seeking alimony.  This two part test generally is very fact specific.  The Court will analyze whether the party seeking alimony is unable to meet their reasonable needs taking into consideration the style of living the parties were living while married.  Once the Court determines that a spouse is in need of alimony, the analysis then shifts to the paying spouse to determine whether that spouse can afford to pay alimony.  Because this analysis depends a lot on the individual parties and their financial circumstances, there is a wide variety of outcomes that can occur, which does not give parties a lot of direction in determining if alimony will be ordered, and if so, how much will be ordered and for how long will the paying spouse be required to pay the alimony. Because of the difficulty in predicting outcomes, parties are oftentimes unwilling to reach agreement if they and their attorneys cannot agree on a likely outcome should they go to court on the issue of alimony.  To help this uncertainty, there is currently a bill pending in the New Hampshire legislature that would change the alimony statute and would, hopefully, provide more guidance to individuals and attorneys on what a likely outcome would be.  The proposed bill introduces a formula which essentially provides that the amount of alimony shall be the lesser of the individual’s needs, or 30% of the difference between the parties’ incomes.  The bill also provides clarification that the maximum duration of the alimony award shall be ½ of the duration of the marriage.  This bill, if it is passed, is likely to provide additional guidance to practitioners and parties when trying to determine an appropriate alimony...

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