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
by Jann Glasser, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Coach/Psychotherapist, and Collaborative Coach
During your divorce, you may find your heart pounding and your thoughts racing as if you were driving in the Indy 500. An email, text or voicemail from your attorney, accountant or spouse in your inbox may result in fear and dread as immediate reactions. This is one example of the brain on divorce; easily triggered, distraught and overwhelmed. You are trying to function while stressed, sad, and sleep deprived, reacting as if under attack.
Divorce is one of the most significant losses and stressful life events people experience. Unlike other losses, there is no bereavement leave from work, no sympathy cards, and no rituals that bring your friends and family around you to acknowledge the loss. Life goes on without skipping a beat. You are expected to go on.
Not only are you expected to go on, but you are also expected to gather all financial paperwork, other information, make time in your schedule for additional meetings, phone calls, emails, help your kids cope, and be prepared to make major parenting and financial decisions that have long term consequences. No wonder … Read More
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
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