Tag Archives: Collaborative Practice

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

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

Limited Scope Representation and Collaborative Law Featured at October Luncheon

Robert Hawley speaks with CDSOC members and guests at its October luncheon. Photo: Diana L. Martinez

Robert Hawley, former Chief Labor Counsel, Deputy Executive Director and then Acting Executive Director of the State Bar of California, addressed members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County and guests at the organization’s monthly luncheon on October 11.

Mr. Hawley shared his expertise to a full house luncheon honoring former CDSOC president and dear friend, Tracy McKenney who passed away on September 22, 2016.

Robert Hawley began his legal career as a disciplinary prosecutor for the State Bar.  He then entered private practice for over ten years representing management in labor and employment matters before state and federal courts and administrative agencies.  He served as a member of the State Bar’s Standing Committee on Professional Responsibility and Conduct (COPRAC) as well as its Chair and Special Advisor, as a hearing officer in the former voluntary State Bar Court, as a frequent MCLE speaker, and as a qualified expert witness in professional responsibility and labor law matters.  Mr. Hawley has taught Professional Responsibility and labor law at various Bay Area law schools for the past twenty-five years, and is currently on the adjunct faculty of Pacific McGeorge School of Law. Mr. Hawley is the recipient of the National Organization of … 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

How You Can Benefit from the Collaborative Practice Philosophy

Divorce can create anxiety in many ways. These tips can help you find ways to cope. Photo: Marinadel Castell, Creative Commons

by Brian Don Levy, Esq., Collaborative Practice Attorney & Mediator

Social science research including the United States Census routinely reports that roughly fifty percent or more of all marriages end in divorce. Co-habitating relationships fail at similar rates. We expect same sex marriages to follow the same pattern statistically once enough time passes to gather the data over the next decade as well. Psychology Today reports that in 1990, fewer than one in 10 persons who got divorced was over the age of 50, while today one in four people getting divorced is 50 or older.

Since a certain amount of divorce is statistically inevitable, it is imperative we find better ways to facilitate the legal, financial, and emotional processing of a human experience through our civil systems. The emotional devastation that often occurs with the breakup of a relationship shouldn’t be a given. This is where Collaborative Practice lives.

Despite the jokes and eye-rolling over the term “conscious uncoupling,” actress Gwenyth Paltrow put her finger on a healthy modern attitude embodied within Collaborative Practice. Collaborative Practice is the process that provides a more respectful alternative to the destructive divorces we see too often when parties use the court … Read More