Second Saturday Central Mass panel: Pedro Silva, financial planner; Polly Tatum, divorce attorney/mediator; and Jacqueline McLean Zekos, divorce counselor
By Jane Keller Gordon
Westborough – “Gray” divorce rates are definitely increasing. From 1990 to 2012, the rate has doubled for those ages 55 to 64, and tripled for those 65 and older, according to researchers at Bowling Green State University.
Many have attributed this pattern to longer life spans, more financial independence, lessening stigma of divorce, and the higher likelihood that second or third marriages will end in divorce.
Second Saturdays, a nonprofit monthly divorce workshop, founded by Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall in 1989, is an excellent source for empowering older women who are divorcing or contemplating divorce. Since then, these workshops have spread across the country, and helped thousands of woman avoid costly financial mistakes, and ease the emotional transition for them and their families.
These workshops have been held in Arlington since July 2015, and in Needham Heights since September 2015. Second Saturdays Central Mass. started offering workshops in Westborough in February 2016.
Westborough workshop panel members Pedro Silva, financial planner; Polly Tatum, divorce attorney/mediator; and Jacqueline McLean Zekos, divorce counselor, believe that it is important for women to understand the financial, legal and emotional challenges of divorce, especially since the rate in Massachusetts is close to 50 percent.
Each speak with a depth of knowledge, and personal experience; Silva, Tatum, and McLean Zekos have all been divorced.
Tatum and McLean Zekos were recruited by Silva to participate in the workshop.
“I knew that they would be willing to go outside their comfort zone and contribute to the community,” he said.
All three participants are volunteering their time.
Silva calls himself a “financial educator and life transitions specialist.” Silva has worked as a financial analyst at Provo Financial in Shrewsbury for the past seven years. He is a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA).
“I find a lot of professional enjoyment in this work because I have been in (their) shoes,” he said. “The senior divorcing population has some specific challenges and concerns as it pertains to retirement… The underlying issue with the senior divorcing population is time. They are closer to retirement so the decisions that are made with regard to retirement assets will be felt sooner and could have substantial long-term impact to someone’s financial wellbeing,” said Silva.
“We want (women) to be confident and empowered when they are feeling most vulnerable,” he added.
McLean Zekos brings years of experience counseling woman through divorce. She taught divorce education for 12 years for the probate court in Worcester, and was the clinical coordinator for the pediatric and adolescent program at the Fallon Clinic.
By sharing evidence-based information and advice, McLean Zekos noted, “a lot of tears and heartache can be avoided… We know what will help children and families get their life going forward.”
McLean Zekos covers a wide range of topics, including difficulties faced by adult children dealing with divorce; how to co-habitate when separated; and advice for those over 65, the fastest grouping group of divorcees.
Tatum, whose firm, Mediation Advantage, based in Worcester, commented,
“As a legal expert, I will be provide information about how the divorce process works in Massachusetts, the difference between hiring two separate attorneys versus using a mediator, and explain the divorce mediation process.”
She said, “Couples who are over 50 face major financial concerns when they are contemplating a divorce. They are concerned about preserving their assets, dealing with their debt and possibly college funding.”
Tatum will also discuss property division, alimony, division of assets and allocation of liability, health insurance, life insurance, taxes and legal issues.
“(This) is going to be a resource… in a more informal setting where women can gather some background information about the divorce process and also obtain support as they are going through the emotional process,” she said.
Workshop participants can register at the door or ahead of time. Upcoming dates are March 12, April 9, May 14 and June 11. It is recommended that you contact the local workshop to confirm the meeting.
Contact: Wyckoff Nissenbaum 617-544-7140 or Wyckoff@somervillelawoffice.com
700 Massachusetts Ave.
Arlington, MA 02476
Contact: Gail Nickse 617-678-5388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Law Office of Marc Canner
200 Highland Ave., 3rd Floor
Needham Heights, MA 02494
Contact: Pedro Silva 508-842-0539 or email@example.com
Corridor Nine Area Chamber of Commerce
30 Lyman St. #6
Westborough, MA 01581