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

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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.

$25 Divorce Workshop at The Law Collaborative

After much consideration, we have decided to try a new approach to the Second Saturday Divorce Workshop. We’re still offering tools, strategies, and information from three top divorce professionals, but the program is more compact and more affordable.

Join us Saturday, October 8, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at our office in Woodland Hills for a comprehensive workshop about the divorce process. Robert Borsky, Esquire, of The Law Collaborative will speak about the legal divorce, Pete Collins, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, will discuss important financial and tax issues that most people don’t know about, and James E. Walton, PhD will cover emotional agendas, how to help the kids, and how to deal with your ex. Breakfast is included.

The new rate for our two-hour Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is $25 in advance, $35 at the door. For more information or to register online now please visit www.thelawcollaborative.com/secondsaturday.htm or call us toll free at (888) 852-9961.

The Big Lie About Co-Parenting

photo by greekadman via PhotoRee

Joseph Nowinski, PhD, has written a compelling article for the Huffington Post about whether or not co-parenting is actually in the child’s best interests. This is something I think about whenever I hear fathers of breastfeeding infants demand equal parenting time. While I appreciate the desire to be an integral part of your child’s life, I can’t help but wonder how the father plans to breastfeed his infant during his custodial time.

The idea of co-parenting between ex-spouses who are able to treat each other with respect, communicate in a healthy and adult manner, and work together to raise their children is brilliant.But what about a four-month-old breastfeeding infant? Is it in that child’s best interest to spend 50% of the time with dad? Probably not. What if, during marriage, Dad was responsible for 75% of child care while Mom worked full time and supported the family? Does it make sense, in the wake of major life changes (such as one’s parents divorcing) for the children to suddenly find themselves in Mom’s care 50% of the time? I can’t answer that question because it really depends on the child, the child’s age, the parents and their relationship after the divorce. From the article:

My personal bias is to try to roughly match initial visiting and custody arrangements with each parent’s level of parenting experience. For example, if reality shows that one parent has had 75 percent of the parenting experience described in the above questionnaire, while the other has had only 25 percent, after the divorce children should divide their time between the parents in roughly the same proportions, at least initially. Such an arrangement can easily be written into a divorce agreement, which might place a time limit on the 75/25 split.

Over time the less experienced parent should be given opportunities to “catch up” in the day-to-day parenting; for example, by taking the child or children to pediatrician appointments, by cooking family meals, and by supervising bedtime preparation. Then, as the less experienced parent begins to catch up, living schedules can gradually move toward a true fifty-fifty split. This gradual increase avoids making the child or children anxious and avoids having to separate a great deal from the parent who early had done most of the parenting.

What do you think? Would co-parenting work in your family? Have you tried it and had success? Or have you tried it and discovered that it’s not all its cracked up to be? Read the rest of the article here and share your opinion – we want to know what you think.

Pssst: Tomorrow is the last day to RSVP for our complimentary retirement seminar, Retirement Illusions: Where do we go from here? Click here to RSVP now!

A Child of Divorce

When I was nine years old, my mother took me by my shoulders in my grandparents kitchen in Seattle and said: “Ronny, we are not going back to Long Beach. I am divorcing your father. You are going to be my little man.”

My world fell apart. Suddenly, I felt the whole burden of the responsibilities and problems of our family shift to my shoulders. That was not what my mother intended, but that was how I felt. In response to the anxiety, I regressed and started wetting the bed, for which I was punished. I eventually got past that. I also started biting my nails, an anxiety habit I still struggle to overcome sixty years later. My mother’s mistake was honest and well-intentioned. She wanted to enroll me in the change, and make me feel important, but she had no way to assess the effect her statement could and would have on me. It changed my life forever.

How can parents do better? What, specifically, can we do to act responsibly as parents to guide our children through the aftermath of divorce? On Saturday, September 10, I am presenting the Second Saturday Divorce Workshop at The Law Collaborative office in Woodland Hills. Among the various topics covered, you will hear from a licensed mental health professional discussing what we, as parents, can do to help our children cope with divorce in a healthy and productive manner. Don’t have kids? We’ll also be teaching communication skills necessary for dealing with a difficult Ex. We’ll cover the divorce process from beginning to end, how to protect yourself in court, the Seven Options for Divorce, and what to do if you feel your case isn’t going anywhere. Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Irene Smith will provide important financial information for anyone going through or contemplating divorce, including common tax pitfalls most lawyers don’t know about. Breakfast is included.

You may not be thinking about a divorce or going through one, but someone in your life, someone you care about needs this information. We thank you in advance for passing this invitation on.

Also, this month we are offering a free retirement seminar presented by Irene Smith of Smith Financial Management. If you are concerned about the recent economic downturn, then Retirement Illusions: Where do we go from here? is for you. Join us on Tuesday, Sept. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for a comprehensive review of the challenges you’ll face during retirement and discover strategies for a lifetime retirement plan. Dinner is included. RSVP before Sept. 15, 2011 by calling (818) 884-4888 or RSVP online at www.thelawcollaborative.com/events.htm.

Best wishes,
Ron Supancic, CFLS and Robert Borsky, Esq.
Partners at The Law Collaborative, LLC

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