Tag Archives: Divorce and Finances

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

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

CDSOC Members Honor and Remember Tracy McKenney

Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County members share their remembrances of their colleague Tracy McKenney, former CDSOC Board President who passed away from cancer in September 2016.

“Tracy McKenney was always, smart, positive, with an uncanny ability to summarize and synthesize all thoughts on a collaborative team or in a Collaborative meeting.”

“Cannot think of Tracy without remembering her smile and her laugh. Professional and competent go without saying but her heart and the ability to reach out to touch the people she worked with. That was her gift and I will miss her.”

“Tracy was positive. She had a great laugh and was very helpful to her (and our) clients. I have come across people lately who she helped before and who she encouraged into a non-adversary process. Her children are her everlasting testament.”

“It still feels surreal. With Tracy’s sense of humor and sense of adventure. I still feel like she’s just away on one of those amazing trips. I still see and feel her in my everyday life. I still think she’s messing with me. Like the weekend after she passed, I met a couple named Scott and Tracy. That’s classic Tracy. She will always be with … Read More

Dividing Stock Options and Restricted Stock In Divorce

Orange County Divorce and Employee Stock Options

by Thea Glazer, CFP®, CDFA™, MS Accounting
Glazer Financial Advisors, Laguna Hills, California

Stock options and restricted stock may be part of the marital estate. And they are some of the more complex assets. This brief overview provides a basic understanding of the factors you need to take into consideration. It does not go into all the many tax and technical issues that are aspects of equity compensation. Seeking professional guidance for your specific circumstances is always a good idea.

Many companies grant their employees equity compensation in addition to their salaries, commissions and cash bonuses. Equity compensation is non-cash compensation representing a form of ownership interest in a company. Among the most common are employee stock options and restricted stock or restricted stock units. In divorce, stock options and restricted stock are property to be divided. The employee’s separate shares are often also considered as income in the calculations of support.

Employee Stock Options (ESOs)

An employee stock option is the right given by an employee to purchase a specified number of shares of the employer’s stock for a specified price and for a specified time. There are two types of ESOs, Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) and … Read More

When 50/50 Isn’t Always Equal in a California Divorce

Splitting your property in half, known as a "50/50 divorce," isn't always the best option for couples.

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

California is one of nine “community property” states as it relates to divorce. This means that assets and debts acquired and incurred during your marriage will be divided equally upon divorce. Exceptions exist for specific items received during marriage that are deemed “separate property” under the law. This includes gifts and inheritance.

This is one of the most misunderstood concepts in divorce law. Spouses often believe their divorce will be easy if they just split all of their property in half, or “50/50.” While strong emotions present a barrier to resolving issues during a divorce, not far behind is the misunderstandings by couples about the concept of what is “fair” when it comes to dividing up assets and liabilities.

From extensive experience as a mediator, consultant, and Collaborative Divorce lawyer, I am a strong advocate for giving spouses a greater voice in the outcome of their divorce. I am also a strong proponent of ensuring divorcing spouses have as much information as possible to make the best decisions moving forward.

Although the courts are required to enforce the laws, spouses in a divorce, with … Read More