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The Blame Game

14-04-09 Newsletter The_Blame_Game

We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘The Blame Game.’ It is very easy for most of us to play. We have been programmed to play it since childhood. “He did it!” “She did it first!” “It’s your fault!” Finger-pointing is so simple when we’ve been disappointed. If a situation has not gone our way, and we find ourselves feeling ‘wronged,’ we can usually find someone else to blame. However, blaming is generally not helpful, and may even be perceived as abusive. In fact, it is an attitude that will easily embitter any relationship. This is because any relief the Blamer may experience from taking a blaming position will usually be more than matched by the bitterness, anger and guilt that the ‘Blame-ee’ will feel.

Fortunately, there are alternative ways to communicate disappointment without accusations or ‘dumping,’ even when we have been legitimately wronged. If someone has caused or contributed to a difficult situation, the transgression must be discussed. Instead of accusing or blaming, try resolving. In other words, focus on a future preventative solution. “I understand that you did not purposely (drop the ball, blow the account, insult the client), so, if we find ourselves in this situation again, I’d like you to (fill in the blank).” If a colleague has messed up, frame your response in terms of, “should this happen again, here is an alternative way to handle it.”

It is okay if the other person feels badly because of what he or she did or did not do, but it is not okay to hurt or humiliate them with your words or attitude. If you use this new approach, your relationship will likely not deteriorate. The other person will probably breathe a sigh of relief, and thank you (silently) for not chewing him or her out, and most people will appreciate getting a second chance. Try it. Let me know how it goes. Let’s keep this conversation alive. We can all be more collaborative.

Your friend,

Ronald Melin Supancic
Certified Family Law Specialist
The Law Collaborative, APC
T: (888) 852-9961  F(888) 852-9962 

New Ideas For Old Holiday Traditions

Holiday_Banner_2013

 

Like a devastating fire, divorce is usually tragic. But good can rise from the ashes. I am not a child of divorce; my parents have been married for over 50 years. But growing up, my family had two Christmas traditions: We celebrated Christmas Eve with my mother’s family because that’s what they “always” did, and we celebrated Christmas Day with my father’s family, as he had growing up. The compromise worked out to benefit all.

I cherish my Christmas traditions, but the truth is they were made up. They only became traditions because we repeated them.

When child custody comes up in my work with divorcing couples, this is one of my first questions: Do the parents have new family traditions they can adopt for their children going forward? Alternate custody is often the court’s solution, and seems to create a “loser” out of one parent each year. Since the couple is permanently reorganizing their family, I propose that divorcing parents consider starting new traditions. This idea can make the holidays even more joyful.

Hanukkah has eight nights. Parents might choose to alternate their evening celebrations. If Christmas is celebrated, rather than yearly alternating holidays, couples have the opportunity to create a new tradition: The children can look forward to spending every Christmas Eve with one parent’s family and every Christmas Day with the other parent’s family. This eliminates the holiday “loser.”

These new traditions will be cherished by the children if the parents embrace them. Perhaps they’ll have to flip a coin to see who gets what, but once they start observing the new tradition, the children will never experience a year where they wish they were with the other parent during a particular holiday.

Happy Holidays,
Ty Supancic and all of us at The Law Collaborative
The Law Collaborative, APC
T:(818)348-6700
F:(818)348-0961

The C**P That Makes You Want To Stay Home From Work, Keeps You Up At Night, Makes Your Life Miserable

C - - P_R1

 

Dear Friends,

This month, I’m addressing the c**p that makes you want to stay home from work, keeps you up at night, makes your life miserable: Conflict.

Let’s start out with the philosophy that conflict is normal. Conflict is good. Conflict opens the door to innovation, revelation, opportunity, understanding, and improved communications. That is, it can open those doors. But – we must each open our own door.

Recognizing that it’s our job to open our own door is the important first step in moving toward the opportunity to turn our relationships around. We don’t become Masters overnight. This endeavor requires time and patience, dedication, determination, and consistent follow-through.

Here is an Introduction to true Conflict Avoidance. And truth be told, it is not really about Conflict Avoidance.

The only people who avoid all conflict are in the cemetery. Living, breathing people who interact with other people experience conflict daily. Some even go out of their way to create conflict. We don’t have trouble finding it.

What do we do when we do? We all need help. We all had models of conflict engagement as little people. Some of us even had good models. Unfortunately, those positive models are in the minority.

What models did you observe in your home of origin?
How did that influence your reaction to conflict?
How do you deal with conflict now?
Has there been growth?
What changes still remain to be made?

Here is an exercise to explore with someone you trust. Take 5 minutes in some quiet place with a pad & pencil in hand. Write brief answers to the 5 questions raised in the paragraph above. Not more than a line or two. Take another 5 minutes to discuss your reply with your partner.

Be brief. Invite your partner to go next. Same protocol. After you’ve both shared, open a discussion about what you have learned. Write down your insights. How you will use them in the future to improve your approach to conflict management?

I hope you find this email helpful and that it puts you in the mood to converse. We only truly learn through discussion and, ultimately, fearless self examination.

Your friend,
Ron Supancic
The Law Collaborative, APC
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
T: (818) 348-6700
F: (818) 348-0961

I understand that this is controversial; I’d love your feedback.

NEW_Newsletter_Header_Second-Amendment

 

Experts estimate that American civilians possess at least 310 million firearms. In 2010, U.S. companies manufactured 5,459,240 new firearms compared to only 2,966,133 automobiles. The Economist recently declared, “It’s too late. Gun control in America is as quaint a proposition as prohibition.” Meanwhile, lawmakers are considering laws that will criminalize the passive act of having Grandpa’s old rifle in the closet, even if it doesn’t function.

Whether you support gun control laws or believe the only form of gun control should be the use of both hands, guns are here for the long haul and so are the legal traps they represent. If you’re a gun owner, or acquainted with one, you need to continue reading.

Unless you’ve purchased a firearm recently, you might be surprised by how many confusing and often conflicting laws control the transfer and ownership of firearms in California – and the laws aren’t any clearer for heirs. Putting firearms in a will or trust exposes heirs to accidental felonies and possible state and federal criminal charges.

If someone borrows your key ring, and one key opens Grandpa’s gun cabinet, both parties may be instantly guilty of several felonies.

If Mom gives Grandpa’s old broken rifle to Jimmy, and Jimmy has a prescription for medical marijuana — Mom and Jimmy may both go to jail.

During your life, a properly written Gun Trust will protect you, your family, and your collection should laws change, or should you or a family member lose the right to possess firearms.

When the gun owner is no longer around to provide guidance, a Gun Trust will help protect heirs by providing instructions for proper conveyance to prevent illegal transfers which might occur with a regular will or trust. A Gun Trust can also provide a means to support the continued use and maintenance of the firearms or instructions to maximize their sale potential.

If you want to pass on 2nd Amendment values to your heirs, we can prepare a Family Armory Trust which will provide firearm safety and marksmanship training, incentives to support the 2nd Amendment, and preservation of multi-generational heirloom collections.

Whether you own one gun or several, whether you own guns as an investment, or for self defense – you have a responsibility to ensure that those firearms are handled properly, now and in the future. You will leave a legacy – Make certain it isn’t a legacy of prison time.

How do you feel about gun control?  What do you think about the 2nd Amendment? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this controversial subject. Leave a comment on our Facebook page (Facebook.com/TheLawCollaborative), tweet us @TLC_Law, or reply to this email.

Call us now to discuss protecting your heirs and your guns today, before it’s too late.

Ty Supancic, Esq.
The Law Collaborative, APC
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
T: (818)348-6700
F: (818)348-0961

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

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

The Blame Game

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The Blame Game.” It’s very easy for most of us to play. We’ve been programmed to play it since childhood. “He did it!” “She did it first!” “It’s your fault!” Finger-pointing is so simple when we’ve been disappointed. If a situation has not gone our way, and we find ourselves feeling ‘wronged,’ we can usually find someone else to blame. However, blaming is generally not helpful, and may even be perceived as abusive. In fact, it is an attitude that will easily embitter any relationship. This is because any relief the Blamer may experience from taking a blaming position will usually be more than matched by the bitterness, anger and guilt that the ‘Blame-ee’ will feel.

Fortunately, there are alternative ways to communicate disappointment without accusations or ‘dumping,’ even when we have been legitimately wronged. If someone has caused or contributed to a difficult situation, the transgression must be discussed. Instead of accusing or blaming, try resolving. In other words, focus on a future preventative solution. “I understand that you did not purposely (drop the ball, blow the account, insult the client), so, if we find ourselves in this situation again, I’d like you to _(fill in the blank)_.” If a colleague has messed up, frame your response in terms of, “should this happen again, here is an alternative way to handle it.”

It’s OK if the other person feels badly because of what he or she did or did not do, but it’s not OK to hurt or humiliate them with your words or attitude. If you use this new approach, your relationship is less likely to be damaged by the conflict and may even improve. The other person will probably breathe a sigh of relief, and thank you (silently) for not chewing him or her out, and most people will appreciate getting a second chance. Try it. Let me know how it goes. Let’s keep this conversation alive. We can all be more collaborative.”

What Everyone Who Has or Wants a Family Needs to Know

All personal relationships, from casual dating all the way through marriage and the relationships we have with our children, are governed by the law. Unless you’re a hermit, at some point the law will intersect with your personal relationships. Join us on Tuesday, November 15 at 6:30 p.m. for a discussion designed to cover some areas which will be of concern to everybody attending, even those with perfect marriages and perfect children.

Attorney Ty Supancic will discuss how California’s 2000 page prenuptial agreement (aka the California Family Code) can be overcome with some advance planning by dating couples, designed to strengthen relationships before marriage so that the resulting marriage has a better chance of enduring.

Ty will present and discuss communication tools developed by mental health professionals to enhance relationships before, during, and after marriage. Powerful tools we can bring to bear in all of our relationships.

Even in the best marriage, the law is ever present. Ty will discuss and explain responsibilities couples have to each other, parents have to children, and parents have to the world. This includes child labor law, dealing with troubled children, and planning for your children’s retirement.

If you know someone whose marriage has fallen on hard times, Ty will discuss tools that can help save a marriage, or if it can’t be saved, may help the parties have the least destructive family reorganization possible with the fewest casualties and at the lowest cost.

Not only is divorce second only in stress to the death of a loved one, but it often results in financial disaster. It doesn’t have to be that way. Ty will discuss the seven options couples have if they decide their marriage cannot be saved. The options include creative solutions not considered by any court, which can minimize impact to children and the couple’s finances.

Ty will also discuss the process of dissolution in California. What procedures are required, what pitfalls and dangers might be encountered and how to avert them, and what measures can be taken to minimize the long-term impact. He’ll also discuss relationships after a final divorce decree.

The Law Collaborative takes a holistic view of family law: We realize that divorce isn’t the end. Relationships continue in one form or another, especially if there are children. Without this insight and without proper acknowledgment of this truth and careful planning, a divorce can destroy lives in the long term — solving nothing but creating many new problems.

Ty Supancic is an attorney with a perfect marriage and a perfect child, but that wasn’t always the case. Ty also has a decent sense of humor and will try to utilize it during this discussion. Questions are welcome, refreshments and handouts will be provided.

This seminar is open to the public. Licensed attorneys who attend will earn 1 MCLE Credit. The seminar is on Tuesday, November 15, 2011 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at our office in Woodland Hills. For more information or to register for this seminar today, please visit www.thelawcollaborative.com/events.htm


Getting Anger Under Control

Dr. Walton will be presenting at this month’s Second Saturday Divorce Workshop on Saturday, October 8, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at our office in Woodland Hills. He’ll discuss combating emotional agendas, tips for better communication with your ex, how to help your kids through the divorce, and how to get through it yourself. Register now for $25 at www.thelawcollaborative.com/secondsaturday.htm or call us toll free at (888) 852-9961.

Getting Anger Under Control Is Easier Than You Might Think
By James E. Walton, Ph.D.

The first thing to understand about anger is that you, and only you, are responsible for your thoughts, feelings and actions. That includes anger and angry behavior. You are responsible for becoming angry and you are responsible for letting it go. No one can “make” you angry. Only you make yourself angry. Anger is a feeling. When we are able to put anger into words, we can clearly communicate our strong feelings to another.

Angry behavior is not a clear form of communication, rather, it is a form of acting out when we yell, scream, throw things or hurl insults. This behavior doesn’t express anger. It simply demonstrates our feelings of helplessness and our desire to force another to bend to our will through intimidation.

Uncontrolled angry behavior interferes with talking and listening. It is actually a very ineffective way of expressing anger. Instead of the receiver hearing clarifying words, they are left to interpret the behaviors, and often their interpretations are not what the sender was trying to express.

To better get anger under control, ask yourself if the angering situation is going to really matter 20 years from now. Then, ask yourself if you would rather be right or happy. Sometimes we prefer to be right, but usually we prefer to be happy. These are two techniques for reducing feelings of anger.

Never attempt to settle an argument when you are angry. Walk away, sit down and cool off. Deal with the situation later when you are rational. Feel with your heart, but act from your head.

Dr. James E. Walton, Ph.D. is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist with a private practice in Sherman Oaks. Log onto his website at LAtherapist.com or call (818) 753-4865.