A Network of Professionals to Help

Divorce and other family law cases may require the expertise of professionals other than family law attorneys to obtain information needed to understand a particular issue that may be crucial to resolving your family legal matter.

These experts come from a variety of backgrounds, depending on the need, and Levitt Family Law & Mediation assists clients in obtaining the professional resources they may require in any given case. The expert then works with the lawyer and client or mediator and parties to answer questions, analyze an issue, or provide other valuable information as necessary. Not all cases require additional professional resources, and in fact some cases are straightforward such that, with the assistance of an attorney, mediator or collaborative professional, the case can be easily resolved. However, in those cases that require more, some of the experts we use on a regular basis are described below.

Business Appraisers
In some divorce cases, one or both of the parties owns or has an interest in a business, and that business interest may be a marital asset. A business appraiser may need to be hired to determine the value of the business interest. Business appraisers are often certified public accountants who have specific training in business valuation, and have to meet specific accounting and legal standards in order to appraise a business. An appraisal can be joint, or either or both parties can hire their own appraiser. Business appraisers can also provide assistance once a business is valued, in how to structure a transfer, buyout, or sale of a business interest in a divorce or other family law matter.
Business or other Legal Consultants and Estate Planners
In divorce, there may be issues related to taxes, corporations, trusts and inheritances, stock and stock options, application of foreign laws, or other areas where the lawyers and their clients require additional assistance from a business consultant.
“Collaborative Coach” or Case Facilitator

A “Collaborative Coach” or Case Facilitator can be used in any case, but is most often used in mediation and Collaborative Law. Their role is to help the parties and their attorneys manage the inevitable emotions that are part of divorce or any family law issue, which can derail negotiations and resolution by agreement. They work with the clients and the attorneys, to identify and then strategize about each client’s concerns, in order to find the most effective and efficient communication method for a positive outcome.

Clients can benefit by working with a Collaborative Coach or Case Facilitator, in preparing for and setting realistic expectations about whatever process the client chooses, whether it is via mediation, settlement counsel, or Collaborative Law. Being prepared helps clients make important decisions with confidence. Guiding clients in clarifying their thoughts, needs, and concerns, promotes purposeful and rational communication, helps to ease tension, and fosters understanding and ultimately agreement.

A Collaborative Coach or Case Facilitator can serve a valuable function that may lessen legal and other costs by keeping negotiations on track, allowing the lawyers to focus on legal rather than emotional issues, and by offering services “offline” with respect to parenting plans or other issues that may not require the presence of the attorneys. For more information see www.collaborativepractice.com and www.massclc.org.

Financial Professionals
Every divorce case comes with financial issues, whether it is dividing assets and income, or debt. Financial issues can be complex, and come with related problems such as taxes, business and corporate issues, division of resources such as dependency exemptions, mortgage interest, and real estate taxes, allocation of child support and/or alimony, determinations regarding whether it is prudent to keep or liquidate a particular asset such as real estate, transfer of retirement assets, analyses of settlement options, or understanding trusts or inheritances. Financial planning either during the divorce, or after the divorce, can also be crucial to the parties and/or their children’s future.

The goal of parties is often to achieve a monetary settlement that is both tax efficient and financially compatible with the needs of both parties. The use of financial professionals can be critical in a divorce or other family law legal problem.

Mental Health Professionals

When it comes to parenting plans, parents and children are usually better off if the parents can craft a customized agreement rather than having an outside party or court impose a ruling. Social workers, psychologists, family and child specialists, and other mental health professionals can provide expertise in family and child related matters, and help clients create effective and workable parenting plans.

Mental health professionals may have competencies in a variety of areas, including:

  • child development
  • the impact of divorce upon children including at different developmental stages
  • the effects of parental conflict and how to reduce that conflict for the benefit of children
  • effective parenting and co-parenting skills during and after divorce
  • effective communication skills
  • safety planning when substance abuse, mental health, or domestic violence is an issue
  • working with attorneys and mediators to help create workable parenting plans for parents and children which can be incorporated in an agreement
Real Estate Appraisers
In many cases where there is real estate, the parties may initially get an opinion of value from a broker in the form of a Market Analysis. This is at no cost and in some cases is sufficient. However, for many reasons including where there is a difference of opinion regarding the value of real estate, or the real estate is difficult to value such as raw land or farm land, a licensed real estate appraiser may be necessary. These are trained professionals licensed by the state, who provide a more detailed and comprehensive valuation than a market analysis.
Other Professional Resources
There may be other professionals that can be helpful in a case, who have special expertise in a particular area. For example, you may need a valuator of art, jewelry, or antiques, or a corporate attorney to help prepare documentation related to a family-owned business. At Levitt Family Law & Mediation we can assist you in determining whether other professionals are necessary in your case in terms of cost and benefit, and provide referral options.

We may also be able to provide you with referrals for professionals that you need for other legal services or needs that we cannot provide, in areas such as personal injury, employment, landlord tenant, or financial planning. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you need such a referral and we will do our best to help you.


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