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The Impact of Collaborative Law

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I’m honored to be featured as the lead author in this great series published by Thomson Reuters Westlaw. If you want to learn about the early history and beginnings of Collaborative Practice, this is a must read! My gratitude goes out to Isabel Kunkle for her foresight and vision in putting together this important compendium.

Reducing Your Legal Fees

a couple argue

REDUCING FEES- What the client needs to know

The dissolution of a marriage often comes at a time when a family is going through a financial as well as emotional crisis. Sometimes the emotional crisis can make the financial one worse by increasing the attorney’s fees incurred and costs expended. For example, if a spouse is vindictive or just plain upset, he or she can refuse to negotiate in good faith, or act in such a way as to provoke numerous court appearances or otherwise delay the proceedings. When this happens it is usually beyond our control, and we have to cope the best we can though the mechanisms provided by the court. Frankly, it can be extremely expensive and frustrating.

However, you can help to keep your fees and costs to the minimum for your case by following these simple rules:

Read the rest here…

Divorce Can be an Opportunity for Growth

divorce source

Thanks to Deborah Moskovitch for this great opportunity to tell the story of my own family divorce. I was just a little boy when it happened and it changed me forever.

“It’s Never Too Late to Have a Good Childhood” — with Deborah Moskovitch.

Rob, His Family, and the Tree

Protect your assets - prepare an estate plan

Most people contemplating divorce don’t consider the sad reality that one of the parties may die while going through the process. When this does happen it results in chaos for the survivors. I’ve witnessed this several times during my practice, but one of the most poignant was early in my law career. I represented a young man with three children who rode a motorcycle to work every night. Rob worked the night shift as a machine technician at a local trade school. He was responsible for the necessary cleaning and repair of the machines that were used each day by the teachers and students. During the day, Rob happily packed lunches, took the children to school, and attended school functions.

He was married to a woman who wasn’t very interested in marriage or family. She was home at night while the kids were asleep, but spent that time entertaining various married boyfriends. During the day, she also had a very active social life. When the decision to divorce was made, she agreed that most of the property should be put in trust for the children, and that Rob would have physical custody. She also agreed to accommodate Rob’s work schedule by continuing to care for the children at night while they slept. But before we could finalize the divorce, Rob lost his life in a motorcycle accident on his way to work one night when he was cut off by a drunk driver and hit a tree.

Rob was a great father but he failed to prepare an estate plan. Despite my advice that he prepare an interim estate plan during the divorce process, he chose to wait – he believed that he had plenty of time. He had not taken his wife’s name off of his life insurance. She was the sole beneficiary. He had not taken her off his retirement and pension plan. She was still the joint tenant on the real estate, the vehicles, the bank accounts, free to use and spend everything any way she pleased.

Most of us act like we’re going to live forever, or like we can predict our death. We deny the truth. Statistics show that only half the lawyers who are married and have children also have an estate plan! That’s among a population that should be most informed and knowledgeable about the need. I do not know the statistics for the general public, but I know that most people have not made even the most basic arrangements for the allocation of their estate.

Don’t make the kind of mistake Rob made. His wife, not his children, inherited everything. Nothing was set aside to provide for the children and she probably squandered it all as she continued the self-indulgent lifestyle that ended her marriage. Act now to ensure that your assets are protected and go to the right people. We are here to assist and support you. We can help you set up a plan, or make any changes that need to be made to an existing plan. Please let us know how we can help.

Best wishes,

Ronald M. Supancic, CFLS

Financial and Estate Planning Workshop with CPA CPE Credits

Smith Seminar

Gray Divorce

 Divorce Among Senior Citizens is on the rise

By Ty Supancic, Esq.

When people ask about our client demographic they’re always surprised to learn that about a third of our divorce clients are seniors. Some are ending short-term second, third, and fourth marriages, but many are dissolving marriages longer than 25 years. I’d like to think the high number of seniors is a testament to their maturity and wisdom – after all, the majority of our clients are attracted by our pioneering work in Consensual Dispute Resolution – but the truth is, divorce among seniors is on the rise, so much so that it’s given rise to the term “gray divorce.”

According to the CDC, the divorce rate among people over 50 has more than doubled since 1990. Experts suggest that is because divorce currently lacks the social stigma which traditionally surrounded it. If social stigma were the predominant factor, one would expect overall divorce rates to increase, but divorce in general has decreased over the last decade.

Many believe the reason for the increasing numbers of divorcing seniors is longevity. A generation ago people could expect to die shortly after retiring. Today, even if most people can’t afford to retire, they may expect to live for another 25 -30 years beyond 50. One of my clients observed, “I’ve been unhappy for the last 30 years; I don’t want to be unhappy for the next 30.”

I suggest that one reason divorces are in decline is the new understanding that most marriages can be saved if the parties are willing to work on communication skills – whether it be communication about important issues like finances or communication for intimacy’s sake.

After living with someone for 30+ years, it’s easy to find your relationship in a rut. Resources like the website Suddenly65.com are wonderful tools for new relationship ideas. And sometimes, the spark of something new is all it takes to put a couple back on the path towards working to strengthen their marriage. We also emphasize Conflict Avoidance Planning when we meet with couples contemplating marriage or divorce who are looking for a Prenuptial Agreement or Post-Nuptial Contract to keep their affairs in order.

These are some of the reasons The Law Collaborative encourages our clients to consider working with a communications coach or marriage counselor before making the life-changing decision to end a marriage.

The Law Collaborative supports marriage, we support families, and we support families during their transition if the marriage cannot be saved. We are pioneers in the creation and development of Conflict Avoidance Planning Tools. If you are interested in learning more about this, give us a call. (818) 348-6700.

Guess the leading cause of divorce?

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Check this great NY Times article here:

When you’re done reading that, click here for more information regarding Prenuptial Agreements and how they can help protect a future marriage.

 

Finally – An Informative Newsletter Just For The Savvy Senior!

photo by mightymightymatze via PhotoRee

A fantastic newsletter has shown up on the internet. Suddenly65 is a weekly newsletter sent to those over age 60 in the greater SFV area (Burbank up to Westlake Village).

As appealing, fun, and informative as it is educational, it contains many interesting and undiscovered resources for seniors ranging from health and nutritional tips, restaurants that give senior discounts, entertainment venues that are reminiscent and also fresh, senior exercise information, products and services, and so much more.  It even includes sentimental YouTube videos as well as any scams targeting seniors.

Check it out today: Suddenly 65

Ty Supancic, Esq. – Avvo Rated Estate Planning Attorney

Ty Supancic Esq, Avvo Rated

I’m very proud of my son and associate, Ty Supancic, Esquire.  Ty has an Estate Planning practice, which includes Wills, Trusts, Asset Protection, and Gun Trusts.  He also practices in all areas of Family Law with an emphasis on Mediation, and he continues to represent Artists from his days in the Entertainment Industry.

–Ron Supancic

 

The Five Pillars of Marital Success

Relationship experts tell us that there are five pillars which can support a healthy marriage, but not all marriages have all five pillars supporting them. Four or five strong pillars can support a relationship that will last the age.  But if a relationship has only one or two strong pillars and the others are weak, the marriage might not survive the ravages of time. During the honeymoon period when the weather is fair, the marriage stands tall — but when stormy weather comes, when the winds start blowing and there’s been some erosion, the whole structure might come tumbling down.

Before people get married they should assess their pillars. Couples already married can shore up their pillars. People can make an effort to stay in shape and preserve the first pillar, they can write budgets and meet with financial advisors to shore up the second. They can agree to compromise on going out Saturday night. They can read books together. They can learn to accept the other’s spiritual journey. Knowing that the pillars exist is the first step, assessing and working on them comes next and takes time.