Monday, April 26, 2010

Divorce Mediation-When does it work

What you need to know about divorce mediation:  Mediation is among a few "alternative dispute resolution" strategies now in use as an alternative to litigation.  Actually, it's been around for years, but is becoming increasingly popular.  Done well, it is a lower-conflict, less expensive and more effective way to settle differences in, really, any kind of litigation.  

So why doesn't everyone do it?  Not everyone should.  Mediation is a process that requires honesty and transparency.  So, when one or the other is playing "hide the ball", it won't work.  The process also requires cooperation, even collaboration.  By the time some couples get to the point where the COULD use mediation, some spouses or parents are so hostile toward one another that the thought of getting along through the separation process is just as foreign as a full-blown reconciliation.  Open hostility, and to a lesser extent nagging suspicions of dishonesty can make mediation a poor choice. 

Lastly, mediation in cases involving children requires both parents focus on what's best for the children, often to the exclusion of what that parent wants for him / herself.  When each parent already has his / her defenses up, it's natural for the the parent's thinking to be, well, about self.  Many are able to convince themselves that themselves that what's good for them is also good for the children.  Sometimes that true, sometimes it's not.  The point is, objectivity can be hard to muster.  Understandably so. 

The best candidates for mediation are a couple with mature, child-centered dispositions, able to look beyond their own preferences for the best interests of their children.  They are able to work with, instead of against, one another to resolve conflicts involving custody, support and property issues effectively, and at less cost than if each hires an attorney and litigates.  

Thursday, April 15, 2010

MOSAIC - Gavin de Becker's Online Threat Assessment Tool -

This was on Oprah . It will provide an assessment of risk for people who are facing domestic violence.MOSAIC - Gavin de Becker's Online Threat Assessment Tool -

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Do You Get E-mail Rage?

MSN Careers - Do You Get E-mail Rage? - Career Advice Article
This is a great article for families that are now communicating by e-mails with their ex- spouse or their child's parent .This happens at work to us all. As a family lawyer,I know e mail rage happens at home too .

Good Luck Out There!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dealing with co-workers

Dealing with co-workers

This is my wife's cousin ,but it is great advice for those dealing with ex spouses and those going through divorce

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Fights during divorce

 Fighting over the Pot and Pans.  Don’t let yourself get pulled into a costly argument over “the pots and pans." Some things will be important now and in the future, some things won’t. Keep reminding yourself that the more important question is: Can I buy another one of these at Target? (or on Craig's List, but you get the idea.)  Will losing this thing have long term consequences? In my earlier days of practice, I hadn't handled many cases yet, and had never been divorced myself. As a result, I think I was sort of surprised at how far off on tangents one can get.  Especially when emotions are running high.  or low.  You get my drift.

Anyway, in this one case, my client REALLY wanted some of the camping gear, and especially a Coleman cooler.  I mean REALLY wanted it.  He'd compromised on spousal support, but by gum, he was determined to get that cooler. Okay, there were other items on the list, but none he felt quite as passionately about.  He and I had a series of conversations about his list, and about that cooler, before it dawned on me that he could have replace not only the cooler, but maybe several items- with brand NEW stuff - for the cost of the litigation. From that case one, I was armed with the education that I suppose only experience can give: to do my best to keep the client focused on what - and who- really matter most.  We talk about priorities from day one these days, and revisit the subject with a client as often as needed to stay on point, and not waste valuable time and attention on, well, stuff that is just that: stuff.

How to Stop Spending Money Poorly

How to Stop Spending Money Poorly

Friday, March 12, 2010

Military Divorce ,What do you need to know ?

 I am going to do a series of blogs on divorce in the military.Because I practice family  law in San Diego a big military town, I have had many  military clients . Military divorces do take some special legal  knowledge. In this series I will cover some basic question people need to know when divorcing in the military

Military divorces are often complicated by issues including military retirement pay,
government health insurance, and commissary/exchange benefits. We know that each
case is unique, and we hope to answer some of your general questions regarding
military divorce:

Where do I file for divorce?

Military divorces are controlled by state law, and must be handled in state court.
Divorces involving military members can be filed (1) where the military spouse resides,

(2) in the military spouse’s domicile/“home state” (selected by the military spouse even
though he/she may not live there currently), or (3) where the military spouse consents
to the jurisdiction by appearing in the case.
What about health insurance?

Health care coverage continues while the couple is in the process of separating and
divorcing. When the divorce is finalized, a former spouse may be entitled to military
health insurance depending on the length of the marriage and the military spouse’s
length of service during the marriage. If the military spouse served at least 20 years
during the marriage, then the former spouse is entitled to TRICARE and inpatient and
out-patient care at a military treatment facility.

In cases where the military spouse served 20 years in the military and was married for
20 years but the marriage overlapped the period of service by only 15 years, the former
spouse is entitled to full military medical benefits only for a transitional period of one
year following the divorce.
Former spouses who do not satisfy the above requirements (20/20/20 nor 20/20/15) are
not entitled to any military health benefits after a divorce. Military health insurance
coverage can, however, continue if it is part of a court order. The court order allows the
former spouse to be enrolled in his/her own right and pay his/her own premiums. If the
former spouse remarries before age 55, he/she is no longer entitled to military health
insurance. If the court does not issue an order for the continuation of coverage after
divorce, the former spouse is still entitled to 36 months of temporary insurance and the
former spouse must pay the premiums.

Monday, March 8, 2010

"If you really love me, you'll sign this prenup."

"Prenups", as we call them in slang or vernacular, aren't necessarily a sign of wavering commitment by the love of your life.  Especially when the to-be-weds are getting hitched for a second (or, I suppose a third) time, are, say, middle-aged with grown children (or young ones), and assets. These situations are, well, complicated.  There's the delicate matter of explaining to your new bride-or-groom to be that you want to be sure the assets you already have go to your children.  Or that you want to make sure his / her assets, or community assets that the two of you hope to amass together, don't get targeted for, say, child or spousal support arrears, or an obligation to pay for college.

It helps if  the other person is thinking along the same lines. That way neither of you feels slighted when the other suggests making sure the children of each of you is protected.  Expect the other person to take it much more personally, though, if you are proposing a waiver of spousal support if y'all get divorced, or locking in as "separate property" - i.e. belong ONLY to one person - an asset that is going to go up, maybe dramatically, during the marriage - say, the business run by one of you. That's not to say is can't or shouldn't be done. 

Prenups don't have to be a romance killer.  Done well and handled delicately, they can make both of you less worried.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Happiness and expectations.

A very wise man once quoted someone else to me (since apparently this advice has been around for awhile), saying: : "The source of all unhappiness is unmet expectation."  The context where I heard this isn't important now, but I think of the saying often.  No matter where I am or what I'm doing, or what's being done, there's always the option to decide on adjusting my expectations.  Works like magic.  Mostly.