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

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 “The Power and Empowerment – Child Specialist”

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

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 “Diana L. Martinez and Tracy McKenney Receive Eureka Award”

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 “John Denny takes Collaborative Practice leadership role”

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 “Why Is Divorce So Stressful?”

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.

Why a Collaborative Pre-nup Makes Cents

by Suanne I. Honey
Attorney at Law, CFLS, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Sorry for the silly pun when this is such a serious topic. Seriously, though, pre-nuptial agreements are hot topics which give rise to many emotions.

“It paints the Devil on the wall.”

“It is anticipating failure of the marriage.”

“If he or she really loved me, this would not be necessary.”

“I am uncomfortable talking about finances.”

The list can go on and on. Sometimes emotions are an unnecessary waste of energy. Other times emotions have some benefits, even negative emotions. For example, fear in a dark alley in a dangerous neighborhood will cause you to be zealously vigilant about your surroundings which will lead you into taking appropriate steps for your safety … much like the pre-nuptial agreement itself.

Unfortunately, statistics today are not favorable for a lasting marriage. If and when there is a decision to get divorced, the person you once loved turns into the enemy. There is often a total lack of trust at the time of a divorce. There are fights over money, property, and other issues creating stress for both partners. This stress almost always filters down to the children.

Collaborative Law … Read More “Why a Collaborative Pre-nup Makes Cents”

Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference

Orange County Collaborative Practice professionals will share their expertise with colleagues in April at the annual Collaborative Practice California Conference XII in Redondo Beach.

Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) are in demand as professional education panelists and seminar leaders throughout Fall 2017 due to their expertise and experience working with a diverse array of Orange County clients in the Collaborative approach to divorce.

“Many collaborative professionals are committed to continuing professional education in order to provide the best service to our clients,” said Dr. Carol Hughes, CDSOC member and workshop leader. “The annual conference of Collaborative Practice California is one venue for us to do this.

“We CDSOC members are honored to be contributing to the further growth of our Collaborative colleagues throughout the state. Ultimately, the reward is offering better options to clients who want to avoid the trauma, time and expense of a litigated divorce or other disputes,” added Dr. Hughes.

Collaborative Practice California presentations include:

Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator Bart Carey, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist Dr. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, and Financial Specialist Cathleen Collinsworth, CDFA™, MAFF™ will facilitate an advanced seminar titled “Grand Rounds for Collaborative Practitioners.”

The workshop format introduces … Read More “Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference”

12 Reasons To Create Your Premarital Agreement Using the Collaborative Process

by Leslee J. Newman, CFL-S, Family Law Attorney
Orange, California

  • Each premarital partner selects their own Collaborative attorney to represent him or her from the very beginning of the premarital Collaborative Process. You and your Collaborative attorney work together until the premarital agreement is completed and signed.
  • Neutral professionals such as a financial planner and/or a Collaborative coach may also be added to your Collaborative team to help you and your partner develop and fully understand your goals as a couple, and the legal and financial ramifications of your decisions.
  • Before any drafting takes place, you and your partner are encouraged to express your thoughts and concerns about what you plan to build together as joint property and what you want to maintain as separate property.
  • Full disclosure of the property and debts of each premarital partner is exchanged including some verification of each asset and each debt.
  • After full discussion, disclosure, and agreement is reached by the premarital couple, the agreement is drafted through the participation of both Collaborative attorneys.
  • After the draft of the premarital agreement is completed, the draft is fully discussed and explained to each premarital partner by his or her Collaborative attorney.
  • Additional drafts
Read More “12 Reasons To Create Your Premarital Agreement Using the Collaborative Process”