Tag Archives: Alternative Dispute Resolution

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

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

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

Learn Your Divorce Options at Spring Workshops

Attending our Divorce Options Workshop and learn about the various methods for divorce in Orange County.

Informative seminars help you learn about the different divorce processes

If you are struggling to find answers for your difficult questions about divorce, attend one of the Spring Divorce Options workshops offered by Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County.

The workshops take place at Orange Coast College, 2701 Fairview Road, Costa Mesa, California. The final date for spring 2017 is:

  • Thursday, April 20, 6 – 9 p.m.

Register online at the Orange Coast College website here (enter “Divorce Options” in the search box), or by phone at 714-432-5880, extension 1 (Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. only). For additional details, visit our Divorce Options page here. The seminar cost is $55 per person and includes all materials.

Our goal is helping people in a diverse range of situations. Divorce is difficult and stressful even under the best of circumstances. It can be especially hard if you have children or economic difficulties. Divorce affects people from all walks of life, and no two situations are alike.

We know from experience it IS possible despite challenges to preserve the emotional and financial resources of the family while respecting everyone’s needs during a divorce.

Led by volunteer attorneys, financial specialists, … 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

Tracy McKenney named President of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County

 

New board named to serve 2016-2017 term

August 4, 2016
 Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

(Irvine, California) – Tracy McKenney, CDFA, CFP, has been named President of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County for the 2016-2017 term. McKenney is a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst in private practice based in Irvine, California.

Joining McKenney on the 2016-2017 Board of Directors are:

  • President-Elect: Therese Fey
  • Vice President: Patrice Courteau
  • Secretary: Diana L. Martinez
  • Treasurer: Leslee Newman
  • Advertising and Marketing Chair: Yaffa Balsam
  • Membership Chair: Marvin L. Chapman
  • Training and Education Chair: Suanne Honey
  • Speakers Bureau Co-Chairs: Carol Hughes and Bruce Fredenburg
  • Website Chair: Sara E. Milburn
  • Member at Large: Jann Glasser

“It is important to me to be involved in an organization like Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County. Collaborative Divorce represents a significant advancement in resolving divorce respectfully,” said McKenney. “Going through a divorce is in some ways harder than dealing with the death of a loved one. It worsens when the process is dragged out through contentious, time-consuming and costly litigation in court. In so many cases, couples can avoid the damage of a court battle, even when they aren’t sure they … 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