Author Archives: commissioner

The Divorce Options™ Workshop

Marriage is supposed to last forever, but approximately  half the marriages in California end in divorce.  Just as couples carefully plan their weddings, if divorce occurs, the dissolution process should be carefully researched and selected.

There are many choices to transition a family when a marriage ends.  One of the best ways to make an informed decision is with the assistance of the Divorce Options Workshop, a presentation which informs couples about all their divorce choices including mediation, collaborative divorce, court litigation, and self-representation.

Each Divorce Options Workshop features legal, financial, and mental health professionals who describe the different, interconnecting issues of divorce including the division of property, money, and the parenting of children.  Then with information acquired from the Divorce Options Workshop, individuals and couples can more intelligently and respectfully plan their divorce through the process which best suits them and their family.

Locally, in Orange County, the Divorce Options Workshop is presented through the Community Education program at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa.  Information about the locations, dates, and times, of the Divorce Options Workshop is available on this CDSOC website, by contacting any of our members, or the Orange Coast College Community Education program.… Read More

How To Help Your Children During Separation and Divorce

By Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“If we don’t stand up for children, then we don’t stand for much.”
~Marian Wright Edelman, Founder, Children’s Defense Fund

 

Research about the effects of divorce on children indicates that:

  • Each year, over 1 million American children experience the divorce of their parents.1
  • Ongoing parental conflict increases kids’ risk of psychological and social problems.2
  • Improving the relationships between parents and their children helps children cope better in the months and years following the divorce.3

Children are the innocent victims of divorce.  Divorce ranks second only to the death of a loved one as life’s most stressful experiences.4 Litigation, which by definition is adversarial, can compound that stress exponentially due to the hostility it can engender and the exorbitant costs that parents can incur.  “Combat divorce,” a common term for litigation, requires that each parent have the biggest battleship armed with the biggest guns, which take aim at the battleship of the other parent.  Let’s remember that, no matter what else changes, each of these soon to be “ex-spouses” forever remains their child(ren)’s other parent.  During the process of litigation, that obvious fact can become obscured in the harsh and … Read More

7 Ways To Make a High Conflict Divorce Easier on Your Children

by JANN GLASSER, LCSW, LMFT, Divorce Coach, Co-Parenting Specialist

 

1. Recognize and Deal with Signs of Distress in Your Children.

  • Altered sleep or eating habits
  • Declining scholastic performance
  • Frequent, sudden or broad mood changes
  • Acting out with anger, aggression, or defiance
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lethargy or disinterest
  • Infantile or other regressive behavior
  • Becoming accident-prone

Excessive catering to parents, which may signal a child’s self-blame for the divorce
If you observe such behavior, contact a mental health professional. Also consider consulting with a divorce coach who can help improve communication with your children, and your ability to care for them during your divorce.

 

2. Step AWAY from the Buttons!

Spouses in dysfunctional marriages know well how to expose each other’s vulnerabilities and provoke each other’s anger. Use that knowledge to avoid pushing your spouse’s buttons, because anything that increases parental conflict increases the prospects for harm to your kids.

Also, use what you know about your quarrelsome co-parent to avoid confrontations. During any encounters with your spouse be careful not to convey disrespect in front of the children either by words or by body language.

 

3. Confirm Substantive Conversations with Your Co-Parent.

Confirming conversations in writing … Read More

Self-Help Is Not The Best Remedy at Time of Divorce

By LESLEE J. NEWMAN, Family Law Mediator & Collaborator

Today in Orange County, approximately 75+% of the couples who are seeking divorce or legal separation do not have attorneys, and most do not even seek any professional advice.  Most couples believe that by finding information on the Internet, they can represent themselves through some of the most important decisions they will ever make in their lives concerning money, property, and most importantly, their children.

Most people do not know that family law is one of the most complicated areas of California law and the court system is not designed for couples who do not know how to represent themselves before a judge. If you have to put on evidence in the form of a court hearing or trial, the California Rules of Evidence apply.   Most of the time, the self-represented person cannot competently present their most important documents or statements into the court record for judges to consider in making their decisions.

There are so many self-represented people now going to court who do not know how to address a judge or to present their case.   They spend much more court time than necessary and have substantially … Read More

The Power and Empowerment – Child Specialist

By Bart J. Carey, Esq.

In speaking with a parent contemplating divorce, I always speak with the understanding that it is most likely the parents who best understand their children and what is best for themselves and the family. I assume parents are best situated to shepherd their children through life’s toughest challenges, including divorce, if …

Divorce is one of those times. It’s a tough time for the whole family, parents and children – of all ages. A crisis like they’ve never faced before, challenging their very identity as parents, children, family and each of their places/roles/futures in and as a family. But I also know, empowered to do so, parents will do their best to meet these challenges in consideration of the best interests of their children.

For these and many other reasons, I always assure parents I am confident, with the best advice and counsel available, they will make the best decisions regarding their children.

Uniquely qualified to advise and to equip parents with the information and insights which, when combined with their own, will empower them to best serve the best interests of their children, here are some of the ways which I have witnessed … Read More

Arbitration and Mediation in California: What’s The Difference in These Forms of Dispute Resolution?

by Diana L. Martinez
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC

As a family law lawyer, I really look forward to my time on duty to volunteer at Riverside County Superior Court for VSC (Voluntary Settlement Conference) day. It is offered two Fridays per month and is THE most successful mediation program in the nation with an over 90 percent success rate!

Why? Because, in order to be a mediator on this panel, you must have the highest training and qualifications as both a family law lawyer and as a mediator. Not only do we donate our time, we must be in practice at least 10 years and have hundreds of hours of mediation training and practice under our belts. Other family law mediation programs that either do not have a structured program with high mediator qualifications, or that pay retired judges to do this work, enjoy a success rate below 60 percent.

Judges have an incredibly difficult job. It takes very specific skill sets to be a good judge. But being a talented judge does not, in and of itself, make you a good mediator.

I also volunteer as a fee arbitrator in attorney-client fee disputes … Read More

Diana L. Martinez and Tracy McKenney Receive Eureka Award

Statewide award honors Collaborative Practice professionals

Media Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR 619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

(Irvine, California) – Family law attorney Diana L. Martinez and financial professional Tracy McKenney were honored as recipients of the 2017 Eureka Award, bestowed annually by Collaborative Practice California. Martinez and McKenney received their awards at Conference XII held in Redondo Beach, California. McKenney’s award was bestowed posthumously; she served as CDSOC president before her death due to cancer in September 2016.

The Eureka Award recognizes and honors those who “have made significant contributions and demonstrated an abiding dedication to establishing and sustaining Collaborative Practice in California.”

Diana L. Martinez is a committed Collaborative professional who has tirelessly served the California Collaborative community for many years. Ms. Martinez has devoted 100 percent of her family law practice to out-of-court dispute resolution including Collaborative Practice since 2007. She is passionate about educating others about the benefits of Collaborative Practice through personal contact. Ms. Martinez is a noted trainer and educator for legal, financial, and mental health professionals locally and nationwide on family law topics including Collaborative Practice, confidentiality, cultural competency, and ethics and best practices. She has presented to state and local bar associations and legal … Read More

John Denny takes Collaborative Practice leadership role

John Denny speaks to delegates at the 2017 Collaborative Practice California conference. Photo: David Kuroda

Will serve as 2017-2018 Collaborative Practice California Board President

Media contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA 619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

(Irvine, California) – Orange County family law attorney John Denny, member and past president of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County, was installed as president of Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal), the statewide organization for Collaborative Practice groups, at its annual conference in Redondo Beach, California on Sunday, April 30.

Individual members of the practice groups include Collaborative lawyers, mental health practitioners, financial specialists, and other professionals. The Collaborative Process is being used in family law, probate law, trusts and estates, and other civil law areas.

CP Cal’s mission is to unify, strengthen and support the Collaborative Practice community and to increase public awareness of the Collaborative Process throughout California.

“My goal during my tenure as Board President is to spread the word about the many benefits of Collaborative Practice in family law, civil matters, and trusts and estates,” said Denny. “Californians who must address legal or financial matters will benefit knowing about their Collaborative options for working through these critically important and sometimes contentious issues. They can resolve even the most difficult disputes while still preserving personal relationships with … Read More

Why Is Divorce So Stressful?

by Dr. Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.” ~ John Bowlby, M.D.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse. Why is divorce so stressful?

When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful. Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.

We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us. Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human. It’s that simple. And it’s that important.”

From birth to death, throughout the human life cycle, attachment bonds ensure our safety, security and even survival, and these … Read More

Orange County Collaborative Professionals Contribute Expertise at California Conference

Twelve members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County contributed their professional expertise to the annual Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal) Conference XII, held in Redondo Beach, California from April 28 – 30.

Cathleen Collinsworth, a CP Cal Delegate for 2017-2018 and a workshop presenter, said, “This year’s theme of ‘Harnessing the Energy’ came true. The energy was very evident throughout the entire weekend. It is my hope those of us who attended can keep that energy going throughout the coming year.”

Also presenting workshops were Bart Carey, Patrice Courteau, Dr. Carol Hughes, and Diana L. Martinez.

CSDOC member and Orange County based family law attorney John Denny received the gavel from outgoing CP Cal President Lisa Zonder, and will serve as CP Cal President for 2017-2018. Also serving with Denny on the board of directors is Diana L. Martinez.

Collinsworth expressed her desire on behalf of the conference attendees to continue collaborating together in their daily work, as well as their daily lives, and continue to educate all they meet on the value of peacemaking.… Read More