Category Archives: Legal

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

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

Members Lend Expertise at Collaborative Divorce Education Institute 3-Day Training

Experienced legal, financial, and mental health Collaborative Practitioners from Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County shared their expertise at the 2017 Three-Day Collaborative Divorce Interdisciplinary Team Training in January. Through lectures, discussions, and group participation, the training team helped both new and experienced Collaborative Professionals to develop more skills and a new understanding of how to support and lead their clients to a successful resolution without resorting to litigation.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure mark your calendar for next year’s training in January 2018.… Read More

Resolve to Improve Your Practice in 2017: Attend CDEI Three-Day Interdisciplinary Team Training – Fundamentals and Beyond

Resolve to improve your professional practice in 2017 by attending the Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County in cooperation with Collaborative Divorce Education Institute’s (CDEI) Interdisciplinary Team Training January 26-28, 2017 at National University in Costa Mesa, California.

As an intermediate or senior legal, financial, or mental health practitioner, which of the following are true at this stage of your career?

•    You are tired of the grind of litigation in divorce and civil litigation
•    You are tired of toxic personality clients only interested in going to war
•    You are tired of being the “middle man/woman” and the client’s only resource
•    You want to shift your practice orientation from litigation to collaboration, mediation or other out of court resolution processes
•    You want to spend more time working with motivated, quality clients
•    You want to dramatically reduce your receivables and your professional stress
•    You want to help your client put their personal, financial, and social goals at the forefront of their settlement process
•    You want to improve your listening, coaching, and assessment skills
•    You want to learn new ways to communicate with your clients and other professionals in a way that you can … Read More

A Divorced Parent’s Holiday Gift Guide: Your Child’s Wish List

by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, Collaborative Coach

Holiday season is here again. If you are divorced with children, the season can be challenging as you attempt to coordinate two households and extended family, trying to meet everyone’s needs simultaneously. As you begin to review your child’s wish list for the season, there is something more precious every child wants that you won’t find in any store or even on Amazon.

It’s time with both parents during the holidays, the kind of quality time that helps your children feel reassured that while their parents might not be living together anymore, your relationship with your child remains the same.

If your child could write out their wish list for the things to make it easier, the list would look like this:

1. Help me shop for or make a gift for my other parent, if I’m not old enough to do it myself. It feels good when I can give you each gifts that you like.

2. Don’t make me feel guilty about the gift I got or what fun I had with each of you.

3. Let me celebrate family traditions … Read More

The Honey Experiment: Can It Help Your Co-parenting Relationship?

by Suanne I. Honey, Certified Family Law Specialist, Law Offices of Suanne I. Honey

Let me start this blog by letting you know I am a family-law attorney who, unfortunately, still litigates cases. I prefer the Collaborative Process for many reasons. This means I work with couples who at times can be very angry with each other.

This post, however, has to do with attitudes. A recent Facebook post keeps popping up frequently about a teacher of mentally challenged students. He started each school day telling each student compliments specific to that student. There were both expected and unexpected results with her experiment. Most impressive, the students began giving each other compliments and their academic grades improved.

Being a strong believer in the concept of positive energy spreading just as quickly as negative energy, I decided to start my own experiment. A few months ago I started asking my clients who are engaged in a high-conflict relationship with the other parent to give the other parent a compliment. Daily seems too often and rings of insincerity and ulterior motives. I requested once a week or if that was too onerous, once a month.

There is an old saying that you … Read More

New Professional Resources Page Provides Valuable Referrals to Orange County Divorcing Couples

Working with a Collaborative Practice team can make the divorce process less traumatic, less time consuming and less costly for everyone involved.

In its effort to assist divorcing couples in Orange County pursue a divorce outside traditional litigation, Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) now provides a “Professional Resources” page on its website. This page offers referrals to individuals familiar with the Collaborative Practice model who offer services that divorcing families can access to help them through the process.

CDSOC welcomes Orange County real estate broker Juliane Waggoner of RE/MAX College Park Realty in Seal Beach as its first Professional Resources member listing.

Waggoner, a fourth generation real estate broker, is also a probate specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE), and has completed mediation training through the Los Angeles County Bar Association. She is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara and has attended graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine.

“My mission is to work as a neutral real estate agent throughout your divorce or separation, bringing peace to the parties and negotiations along the way,” said Waggoner. “I can help couples explore their options, which sometimes means working to help one spouse keep the property. I can also remain a neutral consultant if a sale is required, marketing the home nationally and internationally and helping couples negotiate … Read More

Community Property and Separate Property: What’s the Difference?

Laws governing real estate can complicate divorce matters. Be sure to get expert advice before making financial decisions.

 by Sara E. Milburn, Attorney at Law
Milburn Family Law, Laguna Beach, California

Many of my clients come into my office with the mistaken belief that after a long marriage, everything they own together is community property, and they are going to leave the marriage with one half of this property. Sometimes it is a shock for them to learn that is not necessarily the case.

Property issues in a divorce can be very complex. These are the basics to help you start working through your decision-making process.

Separate Property

In California, separate property is defined by Family Code 770. Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:

  1. All property owned by the person before the marriage,
  2. All gifts or inheritances received.
  3. The rents and profits the separate property earns.

Where this can become confusing is when the spouse who owns the separate property uses his time and talent (called “community effort”) to cause an increase to his or her own separate property. This must be more than a diminutive amount of time or effort. The court has wide discretion here. If the separate property was a stock account and the spouse was a … Read More

The Cost of Divorce To Your Business

Personal challenges follow employees into the workplace and negatively affect their performance, including divorce.

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

Divorce takes an emotional, physical, and financial toll on spouses and their children. But the potential negative effects of divorce don’t stop with the family directly involved. They often spill out past the front door and affect many other people.

When a valued employee is going through the trauma of a divorce, the divorce can affect the entire workplace. The cost to employers can go well beyond absenteeism for a few days here and there to attend court hearings or meetings with the lawyers. Trying to accommodate the employer and the divorce process can prove challenging.

Courthouses are open only between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Most lawyers’ offices are only open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. While some lawyers can be more flexible, most judges and courts cannot. The higher the conflict in the divorce, the more court appearances and the more time spent with the lawyers and in court.

Additionally, less obvious costs include:

  • “Presenteeism”: The employee who is physically present at work, but unable to focus as a result of the divorce.
  • Employees wasting valuable work time talking with co-workers about their
Read More

Six Ways a Collaborative Divorce Supports Your Family Values

Collaborative Divorce supports your family and your family values through a difficult, stressful process.

by Bart Carey, Attorney/Mediator and Family Law Attorney
Law Office of Bart J. Carey, Mediation and Collaborative Family Law

Why do so many people behave so poorly when they separate and divorce? You know what I mean. As people choose to separate and divorce, as we get caught up in emotions and conflict, we say and do things that, in our everyday lives we’d never do or say.

Worse, this behavior is often condoned, counseled and/or supported by well-meaning family friends and even professionals. We fight for control or justification by speaking to and treating our children’s mother or father in ways we’d never condone under any other circumstance. We’d certainly never teach our children such behavior is acceptable, except they actually are learning from observing what we do.

This reality became personal for me when after a number of years as a litigator, I experienced my own divorce. I learned that divorce is not a legal process. It is a life experience.

As a life experience, I had to ask myself how I could square my own behavior with my values as a husband and father. Like many, I can’t say I was proud of everything I said and … Read More