Twitter Facebook Myspace

Reasons to Love Second Saturday

Posted by A Serious Girl

When my husband and I moved from New York City to Los Angeles, we became involved in a dispute with our New York landlord over the terms of our lease and our security deposit. This dispute became the source of a tremendous amount of stress, lost sleep, and some very unpleasant digestive trouble. One of the reasons the dispute was so upsetting, both to our bellies and our brains, was because we didn’t know what our legal rights were. We felt like we were being cheated by a crooked landlord, but since we weren’t familiar with New York tenant/landlord law, we couldn’t be sure. Were we in the wrong? Was our credit going to be destroyed? Were we being swindled or were we being ignorant? We spent hours online looking for answers to our questions but what little  information we found was vague and inconsistent. We tried to find an affordable source of legal information, a website to visit or a human being to talk to, someone familiar with the law who could explain our rights, but there was nothing out there and no one willing to talk to us for less than a week’s pay.

During the height of the dispute with my landlord, I sat in on a Second Saturday Divorce Workshop and was completely blown away. What I would have given for a $50 seminar on tenant/landlord law! What I would have given for a chance to ask a legal professional what my rights were and what I could expect and what I needed to do to protect myself. Instead, paralyzed by a lack of information, my husband and I gave up. We settled on a check for half of our deposit and swallowed our frustration like a bitter pill. Fortunately, you don’t have to do that.

The Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is an excellent, affordable resource for people who are thinking about getting a divorce, or who are in the midst of a divorce. It’s an opportunity to spend four hours with three professionals whose careers are focused on helping people through the divorce process. You can show up to the workshop with a list of questions and leave with every one of them answered. You hear from a lawyer, a mental health professional, and a financial expert, all for the low cost of fifty dollars. Don’t let a lack of knowledge cost you the ability to make decisions that will protect you and your family. Take advantage of this opportunity to educate yourself. Find out what your legal rights are, what you can expect from California’s legal system, and how to protect yourself. Learn how to help your children deal with their reaction to your divorce, and how to manage your own emotions and expectations. Find out the best ways to protect your assets and minimize financial loss during divorce. Address your concerns and get your most pressing questions answered.

The final Second Saturday Workshop of 2010 is Saturday, December 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and includes a light breakfast. To register now and get the early bird discount, call The Law Collaborative at (888) 852-9961 or email

Dr. Kathy Memel on Divorce (Part 4 of 4)

Dr. Kathy Memel is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a divorce, custody, and family mediator. In the fourth and final segment of this live recording from a recent Second Saturday Workshop, Dr. Memel discusses how children manage the complicated web of emotions they feel during a divorce, how parents can help them better manage their feelings, and what happens if they don’t.

For more information about Dr. Kathy Memel, visit her website at

Missed Parts 1, 2, or 3? Click HERE for Part 1, click HERE for Part 2, click HERE for Part 3.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

November Newsletter

Peacemaking in Italy:
The Law Collaborative and Mediators Beyond Borders Go Abroad
An article by Ron Supancic

Last month, I traveled to Italy as part of a group sponsored by Mediators Beyond Borders, to speak at several seminars held to affirm the ideas of Global Peacemaking.  The following is taken from one of my presentations:

“When I was a little boy growing up in Seattle, Washington, I studied the life of an extraordinary Italian man. Several days ago I had the privilege of kneeling and praying at the tomb of this man, Francis of Assisi. He lived during a time of dissonance, distress, and hostility, amid a crisis of violence and bloodshed. He had been a soldier. He was taken as a prisoner and spent a year in a dungeon. Through his suffering he came to the awareness that violence does not end violence. He came to the conviction that there had to be another way. He realized that he must give his life as the example of this new and different way. In so doing he founded the Franciscan Order based on poverty, charity, and good works.

We also live in a time of crisis, conflict, violence, and bloodshed. Innocent people are dying in unprecedented numbers in many places around the globe. Our leaders only fuel the flames with their failed efforts to force peace through war. It is again time for a new and different way.

Not long ago, Ken Cloke, a mediator from Santa Monica, watched paratroopers dropping into Bosnia with machine guns and grenade launchers.  He wondered what the outcome would be if they came bearing tools of peacemaking, rather than weapons of destruction.  If the paratroopers were facilitators of dialogue and mediators of conflict, carrying only the skills and technology of dispute resolution. What if their message elicited and encouraged disputants to stop, listen, and reflect in a mindful way that promoted understanding and invited participation? His musing was the birth of Mediators Beyond Borders. Still in its infancy, but engaged in eleven countries around the world, it is helping to build indigenous capacity with tools for dispute resolution wherever requested and invited.

My own journey is similar. A scorch-and-burn litigator for over thirty years, I knew my training in traditional methods of dispute resolution left wreckage and chaos in its wake. Mediation opened the door to consciousness and collaboration, and underscored the need for signed agreements to avoid litigation by both parties and counsel. First I used the services of a court mediator. Then I became a court mediator. Now I am a member of a Collaborative Firm that, first and foremost, promotes consciousness, awareness, discernment, and litigation avoidance whenever and wherever possible.

Having known Ken Cloke for several decades, and as impressed as I was with his intelligence and empathic peacemaking skills, I was immediately drawn to the vision and mission of MBB. Attending the Annual Congress, serving on Committees, and becoming familiar with the caliber and the talent of my professional colleagues among MBB members has confirmed my belief that this organization, by virtue of its values and the quality of its aspirational intentions, would only attract the best of the best.

If you only read one book about Mediation, it must be Conflict Revolution by Ken Cloke.  It paints a picture both breathtaking and inspirational of the possibility of peacemaking on a global basis. It deserves to be translated into all languages and shared with all people who seek to peacefully change the world. The information is essential to the present task we face together.

When I was a little boy growing up in Seattle, I read, ‘Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.’ I still believe that. I believe you do as well. Welcome to the Revolution.”

For more information, visit

Please call us if you have any questions. We are here to serve you.

Ron Supancic and Robert Borsky
“Bringing Peace to the Legal Process”

Visit our blog
Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes
Follow us on
Be our friend at

Thanksgiving and Ex-In-Laws

Freedom from Want, 1943, Norman Rockwell

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for the newly separated or divorced person, this could be cause for real anxiety. It’s likely that the holiday traditions you’re used to will change, and change can feel complicated, even frightening. Below is an excerpt from an article from, a website that helps divorcing people deal with divorce like any other big change in life – as an opportunity for growth and renewal. The article, written by Karen Salmansohn, provides important tips for the newly single person who may wish to spend the holiday with his/her ex-in-laws, for starting new holiday traditions, and for helping children manage their expectations so they can better adapt to their changing family during the holidays.

As we all know, Thanksgiving is a time for over-eating big piles of food with one’s family. But what we don’t all know is: What the heck is a “family” post-divorce?

For example: Does family include your ex-in-laws — if you still love them and miss them?

Admittedly, knowing who to over-eat turkey dinner with can be quite difficult to determine–especially if you’ve remained close friends with your ex-in-laws–and very especially if they’re known for making really yummy sweet-potato pie – the kind with that gooey marshmallows topping. I just love that!

But I digress.

The topic I wanna explore: What do you do around Thanksgiving time if you’re feeling like “family” might still include “your ex’s family” and you want to enjoy Turkey dinner with your ex-in-laws?

Read more…

Dr. Kathy Memel on Divorce (Part 3 of 4)

This is the third segment in a four part series featuring a live recording of Dr. Kathy Memel presenting at one of our recent Second Saturday Workshops. In this podcast Dr. Memel discusses why it’s important for divorcing parents to present a united front to their children, the best ways for the parent who’s moved out to stay in touch with their kids, and how to keep your child’s life as stable as possible even in the midst of a tumultuous divorce.

Dr. Memel is a licensed marriage and family therapist with a private practice in Beverly Hills. To learn more about Dr. Memel, visit her website at

Missed Parts 1 and 2 of Dr. Memel’s interview? Click HERE for Part 1, click HERE for Part 2.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

Budgets for Lovers

Originally posted on

This weekend, for the first time in weeks, Mike and I found ourselves with a free afternoon. We used to have regularly scheduled budgeting sessions, much like our regularly scheduled dates, but since we moved across the country for the second time in four years, all that has fallen by the wayside. So how did we spend our free afternoon? We sat down with coffee and cookies and we drew up a budget.

I don’t know if you’re big on budgeting your expenses, but we definitely are. It’s a habit we got into when we wrote our pre-nup, and we’ve found that whenever we slip out of it, life starts to get really stressful. Money can be frustrating enough, but when you’re in the dark about how much is coming in and how much you’re spending and whether or not you can make the bills next week, it’s hard to focus on much else. Alternatively, when we’re staying on top of our finances, everything else seems to fall beautifully into place.

The first two years we lived in New York we didn’t have a budget. Sure, one had worked before, but I didn’t need that crutch anymore! I could just keep track of our finances in my head! Why waste time writing a budget? Budgets are for sissies! Ahhh… those were the years. The years of expensive restaurants, shopping sprees, and crushing guilt. The years we lived off frozen soybeans and microwave popcorn because we’d spent that week’s grocery money at a bar. The years our debt stacked higher no matter how much we paid on the balance each month. The wilted salad years.

When we were both laid off in 2008, I discovered Crazy Aunt Purl’s Budget Worksheet. It was serendipitous, if you ask me. We were in dire straights and one day, on a break from searching the Craigslist job ads, I got curious and clicked a link and there it was, in all its automatic built-in mathematic glory. I plugged our numbers into the appropriate cells and discovered that we were spending waaaaaaay more than we were earning, and had been for a long, long time. Which explained our credit card situation.

That was when we started getting hot and heavy with our finances. In 2009 we made less than half of what we’d made the year before, but because we were living by our budget, we felt like we had more income than we’d had in ages. Our budget included money for dates and personal spending, and when we stuck to it we had everything we wanted and more. That budget enabled us to get out from under our debt and save enough money to move home.

Then we moved and stopped paying attention to our finances all over again, so yesterday was a real eye-opener. But I’m glad we did it. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders, even if the news isn’t what I hoped it would be, to know what’s going out and what’s coming in, instead of ignoring the bankbook and crossing my fingers. And I swear, budgeting goes hand-in-hand with romance because when we’re not worrying about money we can do other things that are a lot more fun.

Whether you’re married or single, knowing exactly where your money goes every month can help you redirect your funds so you can live a life that’s congruent with your goals and dreams. And because I’m a giver, I’ve attached my version of Aunt Purl’s Budget Worksheet. It’s basically exactly the same as hers, except I added cells for things like Date Night and Savings and then I renamed it Budgets for Lovers. Click it! It’s downloadable!

Budgets for Lovers

If you’d rather download her Personal Budget Sheet, click here, then scroll down past Archives and past Categories, until you get to Knitting Recipes. You’ll find it there.

If you’ve downloaded Budgets for Lovers, you might be wondering where you’re supposed to come up with the numbers for the cells. That’s what this baby is for:

Weekly Budget Worksheet for Lovers

I drew that one up myself, so it’s not nearly as fancy and automatically mathey as Aunt Purl’s, but it does its job. At the end of every week I sit down with my checkbook and all the receipts from Mike’s and my wallet, and I plug in everything we spent and what it was spent on. Then at the end of the month I plug the totals from my weekly sheet into Budgets for Lovers and voila! An eye-opening glimpse into the real-life mysteries of an American couple’s spending habits.

How do you take care of your finances? Is it something you pay close attention to? Do you make lists and notations and use a calculator? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants and let things work out as they will? What helps you feel like your finances are under control?

Pains of Divorce

Dina Haddad is a former law clerk from The Law Collaborative, who now practices family law at McManis Faulkner. sent me this article in one of their recent newsletters. It is an excellent piece about the power of sincere apology. For more information about Attorney Haddad, click here.

By: Dina Haddad

If you are contemplating divorce, in the midst of a divorce, or already have a divorce decree in hand, you know pressures of the legal process do not compare to the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. The emotional pressures can be quelled when you give a meaningful and complete apology. It has the effect of freeing you from the weight of the divorce, helps heal you and the person you offended, restores your relationships, and even provides direct legal benefits to your case.

Apologies: The Need to Give and Receive

During the divorce, you process a variety of thoughts and emotions while attempting to understand what lead to the dissolution of your marriage. You conclude that some of these failures were your spouse’s fault and others were yours. Many were a result of both you and your ex-spouse. You may struggle with the shame and guilt you experience for the affair you had or the misuse of your family’s money. You may feel guilty that your marriage failed. You may have even come to terms that this guilt is not going to disappear when the divorce process is over. You are haunted by the thought of having on-going contact with your ex-spouse and you can’t imagine co-parenting for the next ten years in any healthy way or being at your children’s celebrations with your ex-spouse in the years to come. [1] Internal factors, such as shame, guilt, or empathy, may motivate a person to apologize as well as external factors, such as restoring a damaged relationship.

These are heavy and weighty issues many divorcees feel. A meaningful and complete apology, however, has the power to heal, relieve you of the humiliations and grudges, and help you establish a more healthy future relationship with your ex-spouse. [2] An apology can take you from desiring revenge to a place of acceptance. It has the power to make your situation better and reduce the anger and resentment your ex-spouse has towards you and you have against your ex-spouse.

But even for what is undoubtedly our own fault, most of us find it very hard to apologize. It’s hard to admit we were wrong to anyone, especially to an ex-spouse. We worry that if we did apologize, we would feel weak and our spouse would feel superior to us. [3] In fact, there is no guarantee that once we put ourselves at the mercy of our spouse that we will be forgiven. If our spouse does not forgive us, would it only result in injury to our pride and self-esteem?

The Apology Risk

Apologies are not easy, but the benefits likely outweigh the risks and your fears. And without an apology, you are likely to face additional short-term and long-term consequences. As you are probably aware, the divorce process can be very nasty. Spouses are pitted against each other to fight for important issues such as time with their children, ownership of the family home, and division of the family estate. An insulted spouse may be too hurt to discuss settlement options and may express his/her anger in litigious tactics. Even in mediation an insulted spouse would find it difficult to trust the other spouse enough to reach a mediated settlement or forgo tit for tat strategies.

An apology, however, can prevent this antagonistic behavior [4] and heal the damaged relationship between you and your spouse. Apologies heal because they satisfy at least one – and sometimes several – distinct psychological needs of the offended party. Those needs are: restoration of self-respect and dignity, assurance that you and your ex-spouse still have shared values, and your ex-spouse’s assurance that the offense you are apologizing for was not his or her fault. [5] For example, an apology that you are sorry you mismanaged the finances and did not save enough money as your spouse requested for the children’s college fund demonstrates that you understand the value of your children’s education – a value both you and your spouse share.

The apology process also allows you and your ex-spouse to keep the past in the past, and create a relationship based on the present circumstances, absent hate and revenge. This gives you an opportunity to deal with your ex-spouse on a more level playing field. Otherwise, the insult from the injury and the indignity your ex-spouse is experiencing can be a large barrier to compromise. It will affect you when you try to settle your case. It will have an emotional weight on you personally. And it will hamper your on-going relationship with your ex-spouse, particularly if you and your ex-spouse have children to raise together. [6] On the other hand, a meaningful and complete apology has the power to keep your ex-spouse from being unreasonable in mediation and settlement discussions and using the courtroom to punish you. It will give you a healthier and redefined relationship for the future.

How to Apologize

The manner in which you apologize is crucial to the success of your apology. I am sure we each can recall countless examples of apologies that just didn’t work. For example, we’ve had our spouse, friend, or family member apologize half-heartedly. Other times, we’ve received an apology so vague it was not clear if the person was in fact apologizing. We’ve also been recipients of conditional apologies, in which the offender says something to the effect: “I’m sorry if I hurt you,” leaving us questioning whether the offender even believed she or he had actually hurt us or done something wrong. Other times, the offender doesn’t even admit to his or her personal fault when apologizing. For example, the offender may say, “Mistakes were made,” rather than “I made a mistake.” [7] We know from experience that these apologies don’t work because they leave us wondering whether the offender really understood what was done wrong, whether the offender would never do the same wrong again, and whether the offender was really sorry.

Read more…

Dr. Kathy Memel on Divorce (Part 2 of 4)

Dr. Kathy Memel is a licensed marriage and family therapist and a family law mediator with over twenty-five years of experience. In Part 1 of this live recording from a recent Second Saturday Workshop, Dr. Memel talked about how family history can play a role in current family conflict. This week she will discuss how and when to tell your children about your divorce.

Missed Part 1? Listen to it HERE.

Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

Our next Second Saturday Workshop is tomorrow, Saturday, November 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A light breakfast is served. If you would like to register, call our Woodland Hills office at (818) 348-6700 or email


The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization held a ceremony in September honoring Certified Specialists in Judicial Service, 30-Year Certified Specialists and 20-Year Certified Specialists. Our very own Ronald Melin Supancic was one of the 30-Year Certified Specialist Honorees.

Congratulations to Ron for 30 years of service as a Certified Family Law Specialist!

Second Saturday Divorce Workshop

The Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is a special event for people who are thinking about divorce or going through a divorce and want more information. Ron and Robert host the workshop at their Woodland Hills office on the second Saturday of every month as part of their continuing effort to provide people with education, information, and guidance. This workshop is a wonderful way for you to determine where you are in an existing case, what you can expect from the legal system, and how you can protect yourself. It’s an opportunity to talk with a divorce lawyer, a mental health professional, and a financial expert. You can ask questions and get honest answers. This four hour seminar is only $45 if you register in advance, or $50 at the door, and a light breakfast is included. To register today, call (888) 852-9961 or email