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New York City’s First Divorce Expo: 3 Ways to “Start Over Smart”

Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 12:40 PM

posted by April Daniels Hussar on https://www.self.com/health/blogs/healthyself/2012/03/new-york-citys-first-divorce-e.html

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes … well, sometimes the happy ending you had in mind doesn’t quite work out.  But that doesn’t mean there isn’t life after divorce, or that it can’t be a step to another, truly happy ending.

This weekend in New York, several thousand people are expected to attend the city’s first Divorce Expo.  Taking place at the Metropolitan Pavilion on March 31 and April 1, “Start Over Smart” aims to help those contemplating or going through divorce by giving them the information and answers they need.  The Expo also intends to provide inspirational ideas about how life can begin anew after a split.

Presenting experts include everyone from lawyers and therapists to style advisers, plus some big names like New York Times best-selling author and life coach Cheryl Richardson and TODAY show Financial Editor and Adviser Jean Chatzky.  And yes, on Saturday night, there will be a mixer for attendees.

The Expo is the brainchild of the mother-daughter team of Francine Baras (a clinical social worker with an advanced degree in child psychiatry and parent guidance) and Nicole Baras (a divorce and family mediator). “As trained divorce mediators, we saw a need to help epopel gather correct information when going through a divorce,” Baras told HealthySELF.  “There is so much overwhelming information and a lot of it is not accurate.”

Baras and her daughter were writing a simple how-to-get-divorced guide when they heard about a divoce expo in France. “We flew to Paris, spent two days iwth the expo organizers and we were sold,” she says.

Who should attend? “Men and women who are thinking about a divorce, going through a divorce or who have just completed the process,” says Baras Feuer. “There is something for anyone, in all stages of the divorce process.”

What can you expect at Start Over Smart? According to Baras Feuer, each of the approximately 100 speakers and exhibitors has been curated by the founders and an advisory board. “The Expo will represent four pillars,” she explains, “building a community, keeping the cost of a divorce down, minimizing the impact of a divorce on your children and reinventin oneself.”

There will be several featured workshops and panel discussions throughout the weekend targeted to crucial divorce-related topics, including the Top 10 Parenting Mistakes, Same Sex Divorce, Reinventing Your Style, Be Your Own Handyman, Blending Familieis & Co-Parenting with Your Ex, plus book signings, makeovers, dating advice and career counseling.

Above all, Expo founder Baras says she hopes people come away from the event armed with information and a brighter outloook.  “Less anxiety, a clearer understanding of thier options, help with theri finances, help with their children and a connection with others who are experiencing the same things,” she says.

Speaking of finances, on the of the Expo’s presenters Lili A. Vasileff, CFP, CDFA, president of the national Association of Divorce Financial Planners and co-author of Ultimate Divorce Organizer: The Complete Interactive Guide to Acheiving the Best Legal, Financial and Personal Divorce, says money is one of the things people worry about the most when it comes to divorce.  According to Vasileff, the biggest mistake you can make in a divorce is letting your emotions drive your financail decisions.

Here are 3 of her top financial tips for being smart about your start-over:

1. You are your best advocate. No one, not even your attorney, understands your needs or goals better than you. Do not let someone else make your decisions without you understanding them.

2. Remember, your attorney is a legal expert, not a financial expert.

3. Three things that people often fail to do, but must: Examine your long-term financial projections, develop a post-divorce financial plan and insure your divorce settlement.

And remember … you will have another shot at your happy ending!

For more about the expo, visit https://startoversmartny.com.

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