By Jane Keller Gordon, Contributing Writer
Westborough – A monthly divorce workshop, Second Saturdays Central Mass, will hold its first meeting Saturday, Feb. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Corridor 9 Chamber of Commerce, 30 Lyman St., #6, in Westborough. It is geared to woman of all ages and backgrounds who are contemplating or going through divorce.
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 will speak with a depth of knowledge and personal experience; Silva, Tatum and McLean Zekos have all been divorced.
Second Saturday Central Mass is part of Second Saturday, a nonprofit founded in 1988 by Candace Bahr and Ginita Wall, who both saw the need to empower women. Since then, the organization has spread across the country and helped thousands of woman avoid costly financial mistakes and ease the emotional transition of divorce, for them and their families.
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.” He has worked as a financial analyst at Provo Financial in Shrewsbury for the past seven years. Silva 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. “I apply knowledge to certain things common to divorce, and help avoid pitfalls… I think that the mistakes that people make are the same if they have $2,000, $200,000 or $2 million.”
“We want [women] to be confidant and empowered when they are feeling most vulnerable,” he noted.
McLean Zekos brings years of experience counseling women 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 said, “a lot of tears and heartache can be avoided… We know what will help children and families get their life going forward.”
McLean Zekos will cover a wide range of topics, including current thinking about children relative to education and financing; how to speak about divorce to children of all ages; difficulties faced by adult children dealing with divorce; how to co-habitat when separated; and advice for those over 65, the fastest growing group of divorcees.
Tatum, whose firm, Mediation Advantage, is 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 attorney versus using a mediator, and explain the divorce mediation process.”
She will also discuss property division, alimony, child custody, child support, parenting plans, 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,” Tatum said.
Workshop participants can register at the door or in advance at www.secondsaturdaycentralmass.com. There is a fee of $25 per workshop to cover expenses. For more information, contact Silva at 508-845-1603 or [email protected].