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Sun Sentinel Article January 2015

Divorce Experts Educate to Minimize Impact

Local News Palm Beach County News Delray Beach News Helen Wolt

A panel of divorce experts shared tips to save sanity and money. Divorce is one of life's hardest transitions. But making decisions based on professional expertise may soften its financial and emotional impact. "Everybody knows that you need an attorney, but there's so much more to consider to get through a divorce," said Dr. Amy Botwinick, a chiropractor turned divorce coach. Botwinick and attorney Tammy Saltzman, both of Boca Raton, have assembled a team of experts to guide those navigating divorce. The team put on the Florida Divorce Expo at the Delray Beach Public Library recently to share some of their top tips.

Botwinick's divorce 15 years ago led her to write "Congratulations on Your Divorce: The Road to Finding Your Happily Ever After." The book was published in 2005 by HCI, known for its "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series. "I was going through hell and started journaling for my own satisfaction," Botwinick said. Her mistakes were costly. Among the quandaries she faced was dividing the couple's assets. "I had a lawyer, but didn't know how to split the estate. I got whipped in taxes," she said. Botwinick realized specialists such as accountants and financial advisors are better equipped to make those decisions. And friends and family, no matter how loving their intentions, may not have the right answers for your situation.

The divorce team is all about taking control and finding solutions, Botwinick said as she introduced the panelists. Each is an expert in their field and specializes in dissolution. Saltzman hosts a talk show on and bills herself as a "heart-based attorney." She gave the audience pointers on choosing a lawyer. Hiring based on a friend's recommendation is a big mistake, she said. Consider certification, retainers, reach-ability and your gut feeling. "Do they have empathy? Only if they've been there and done that," Saltzman said.

Panelist Craig Richman is a certified divorce financial analyst. "Divorce is the biggest financial action in life, he said. "After the judge signs the papers, you can't go back." Before filing is the time to have an advisor. Mediator Elinor Robin explained the four legal processes, starting with a simple do-it-yourself divorce. Picking the wrong process is one of the deadly sins of divorce, she said. Panelists Pam Polani, a wills, trusts and estates attorney, and Elizabeth Dunn, CPA, talked about the ramifications of death and taxes. Laurie Dubowe, a real estate broker, warned that the decision to keep the house and the dog may not be the best financially. Divorce brings up all kinds of emotions – fear, worry, guilt, anger – when you need to be calm and centered, said Suzanne Wachtel of Therapy Boca. Therapy is critical in planning for the future.

For more information, visit The next Florida Divorce Expo seminar is March 11. Email

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