BVR and the AAML were pleased to present the Virtual Divorce Conference that focused on the issues most impacted by COVID-19. If you missed the live virtual event, be sure to watch the recordings and view the presentation and reading materials via the links below.

The Old Normal, The New Abnormal—Executive Compensation in Divorce

Speakers: Mary Cushing Doherty, Sandy Klevan, and Mary Vidas
Join two seasoned family law practitioners, Mary Doherty and Mary Vidas, and a well-versed financial expert, Sandra Klevan, in exploring executive compensation. After providing a summary of executive compensation plans and the implications in a divorce setting during “normal” times, the panel will provide insight into the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is currently having on the compensation packages being paid to executives and how they may look post-pandemic. The discussion will proceed into how these changes could affect current and future divorce or support cases. Many executives had salary reductions voluntarily, due to management directives and as required by the CARES Act. The panel will discuss the impact of these cuts on alimony and child support obligations, as well as the ultimate divorce case. It is further anticipated that changes will occur in the compensation arrangements of executives. For example, increased deferred compensation packages may be offered to compensate for lower compensation during the pandemic period. The panel will present possibilities as to what these changes might be and prepare the attendee to identify them. They will also provide guidance on ways to handle them in the support and divorce case. The attendee will leave the session with the tools needed when faced with a complex executive compensation plan in a family law case that the pandemic has further complicated.

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Key Facts About Alcoholism and How Monitoring is Important

Speakers: Dr. Sol Rappaport, PhD, ABPP
A discussion with Dr. Sol Rappaport, PhD, ABPP around the balance of alcohol monitoring for parents who are abusing alcohol and keeping kids safe. Learn about the best practices with today’s modern tools.

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New Reality: 2020 and the Life-Changing Impact on Attorneys, Financial Experts and Our Clients

Speakers: Stacy Collins, Jim Hitchner, Ken Pia, Lisa Ann Sharpe, and Adam John Wolff
COVID-19 has impacted us all financially, politically, and culturally with unforeseen magnitude. Six months in, the repercussions on divorce attorneys and the experts that work beside them are still being understood, and the uncertainty makes advising clients the most difficult it has been in memory. The AAML and BVR have assembled a veteran group of five all-star matrimonial experts to advise on how the macro effect of COVID-19 changes division of property. Led by conference committee co-chairs Lisa Ann Sharpe and Stacy Collins, along with Adam John Wolff, Ken Pia and Jim Hitchner, you will leave this session more prepared to advise your clients in these uncertain times. Understand where there is convergence (and disagreement!) on key issues such as valuation date, alimony, and settling cases today. One hundred minutes of your time will help give you the confidence and calm to tackle what lies ahead for your practice.

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To Sum It Up PART I: How Tax Issues, Government Programs and COVID-19 Have Impacted Business Value

Speakers: Jim Hitchner, Michelle Gallagher, and Brian Vertz
New government programs, major impacts to ongoing business operations, and uncertainty make valuing a business in a divorce intensely difficult. Keeping track of the evolving changes is a herculean task, but understanding the implications on a business’s worth is a full-time endeavor. Cut out the noise and get the concise update you need to complete your 2020 engagements. Michelle Gallagher and Jim Hitchner are experts you can trust to synthesize critical issues such as valuation date and cost of capital considerations. Brian Vertz brings the hard questions and attorney’s perspective to help both attorneys and experts get the most out of their relationship. If your matrimonial engagements involve a business, this is the one super-concentrated session you must attend in 2020.

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To Sum It Up PART II: New Tax Laws, Government Programs and Other Financial Considerations in Family Law During the COVID-19 Era

Speakers: Don DeGrazia, Michelle Gallagher, and Brian Vertz
In the era of COVID-19, one thing is still certain: taxes. At the 2019 AAML/BVR National Divorce Conference, the hot topic was the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. With wide-ranging changes that impacted tax rates, business structure, and alimony deductibility, the TCJA was referenced repeatedly during the conference. In 2020, the matrimonial litigation attorneys and experts are faced with a new level of complex acronyms that cause many to look fondly back at the TCJA. Attorney Brian Vertz, along with Don DeGrazia and Michelle Gallagher, help you decipher the new programs such as the CARES Act, PPP, FFCRA, PPPFA, and SECURE. These changes have meaningful effects on matrimonial dissolution and knowing how your client is impacted today and in the future is the mark of a top-tier divorce professional. And those sweeping changes from 2019? They haven’t gone anywhere, but will they stick around?

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Managing Client Expectations in Uncertain Times

Speakers: Joy Feinberg, Jim Godbout, and Kelly Shindell DeLacey
This presentation is designed to help both lawyers and accountants look at the critical concepts of how a case and the valuation issues develop and how the lawyers and accountants support one and other. Since March 2020, COVID-19 has turned each of our worlds upside down. We must educate our clients and the courts differently. Experts Joy Feinberg, Jim Godbout, and Kelly Shindell DeLacey will provide examples, tools you can use, and ideas on how to make your zooming experience in any platform better. We will also discuss how to handle in courtroom experiences.

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Thoughtful Analysis vs. Random Averaging and Other Lazy Forensic Accounting Traps

Speakers: Marie Ebersbacher, Charles Fox Miller, and Sherri Evans
Don’t be that expert! Join Marie Ebersbacher, Charles Fox Miller, and Sherri Evans as they look at a few of the top perils of applying generic models and not taking the extra step in forensic accounting analyses. Explore standardized valuation and other models that do not reflect thoughtful expertise and how attorneys can use those “lazy” analyses to successfully cross-examine an expert.

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Where There Was None: Creative Settlements When Working with Distressed Businesses and Catastrophic Losses

Speakers: Jason Naimi, Briggs Stahl, and Tracy Farryl Katz
The global pandemic presents challenges to all aspects of martial dissolutions. The pandemic very likely negatively impacts business values, depending on the valuation date and type of business, as revenues are significantly decreased in 2020 as compared to prior years. Real estate holdings are impacted as tenants are unable to pay rent and parties are seeing their wealth dissipate due to market uncertainty/fluctuations. These uncertainties impact all aspects of a marital dissolution, from property division to support/maintenance. Join Tracy Farryl Katz, Briggs Stahl, and Jason Naimi, who will help you focus on the challenges practitioners face during the global pandemic and will provide creative solutions to assist in case resolution.

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Myths and Realities of Using a Discounted Future Benefits Method in Family Law Business Appraisal

Speakers: Ron Seigneur, Darryl Feldman, and Andrew Soshnick
In this fast-paced session, family law attorneys Drew Soshnick and Darryl Feldman along with financial expert Ron Seigneur will explore the use of a future economic benefits method (DFB) to value closely held businesses. Learn why the use of future benefits of the propertied spouse, when appropriately adjusted for the reasonable compensation of the individual, is often the best method available for determining the value of a closely held business in a dissolution of marriage proceeding. Attendees will leave with an understanding of why a discounted future benefits (DFB) method is as appropriate as a capitalized earnings method and superior to a market-based method in today’s unique economic environment. Case law supporting the use of a DFB in family law matters will be covered.

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I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS SHEET! How to Most Effectively Use Spreadsheets to Collect, Analyze, and Present the Facts and Arguments

Speakers: Richard West and Shawn Hyde
This session will focus on how the forensic expert and attorney can collaborate through all phases of a divorce case in order ensure all necessary data has been collected efficiently and then analyzed properly by using various spreadsheets to determine the true economic status of the family. From simple to complex marital balance sheets, to more extensive and more complex analyses such as lifestyle analysis, nonmarital spending, dissipation of assets, income determination, etc., the effective use of spreadsheets can make all the difference in a case! The session will also include a demonstration on how the data can be used to create powerful presentations in court along with a discussion on admissibility issues. Sample spreadsheets will be provided, and the presenters will provide real-time overviews and demonstrations of their favorite tips, tricks, shortcuts, simple graphs, and more!

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