Twitter Facebook Myspace

Marriage Insurance

Ty Supancic

Most people understand the reason for insurance. We spend huge chunks of income each year on life, fire, and medical insurance, and newer types of insurance such as long term care. Consider viewing a Prenuptial (or Premarital) Agreement in the same way, as a kind of insurance policy. Why?

Parties facing divorce who have such agreements in place and abide by them, have helped to insure themselves against conflict, sky-high legal bills, and dissipation of valuable assets.

Who might need a Prenuptial Agreement (PNA)? Interestingly, it is not just people with large incomes or those who own several properties. If either of the parties about to be married have been married before, or if either of the parties have children by other relationships, a PNA is a necessity. If one of the parties owns a home, business, or a financial portfolio – in other words, if that person’s monetary resources considerably outweigh those of the other, a PNA is essential.

Once a couple has decided that they would like to make their relationship permanent, a discussion of finances becomes crucial. This is often difficult. Money is usually a sensitive issue in relationships and many times partners have divergent views.

Clear understanding and agreement should be reached on the management and disposition of all real estate, income streams, deferred benefits, and all other assets whether separate or community.

There are several key points to keep in mind. First of all, the agreement must be deliberately conceived and completely voluntary. Full disclosure of all assets and debits is required. It must be drawn up to give each party adequate time to carefully review. It is important that the agreement be just and fair-minded in order to insure that it will not be overturned in a legal challenge. To be safe, it is a good idea to video record the execution ceremony as evidence that it was signed voluntarily by competent parties.

At The Law Collaborative we help mediate, negotiate, and review Prenuptial Agreements and Post-Nuptial Agreements. Call us for more information or visit the relationship planning section of our website.

And don’t forget! Our Second Saturday Family Law & Divorce Workshop is coming up on Saturday, May 13 from 10AM to 12PM. To RSVP, call (818)348-6700.

Best wishes,

Ty Supancic, Esq.

The Law Collaborative, APC

5955 De Soto Avenue, Suite 125

Woodland Hills, CA 91367

T: (818)348-6700

F: (818)348-0961

info@thelawcollaborative.com

www.thelawcollaborative.com

“Like” us on Facebook.com/thelawcollaborative

Follow us on Twitter.com/TLC_Law

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.

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.”

A Dirty Word Or A Saving Grace?

PREMARITAL INSURANCE
By Ty Supancic, Esquire

I regularly help couples design and build foundations for the most important project in their lives. The work is long and involved and at times unpleasant, but I believe the results are worth it in the long run. We take the time to examine and investigate their dreams and circumstances, and using that information, we design and create a strong foundation together which will support whatever they chose to build on it. If what they build together fails sometime in the future, it will not be for lack of planning.

No, I’m not a contractor or an architect. I’m a family law attorney and the “foundation” I’m describing is a mediated premarital agreement.

“Premarital Agreement” and “Pre-Nup” are dirty words in the common vernacular, but I believe this is due to misunderstandings based on Hollywood propaganda and sensationalistic news coverage. Premarital agreements need not be unilateral documents forced by one spouse upon another. The alternative to the Hollywood stereotype, and the vast majority of the premarital agreements we draft in our office, is a premarital agreement reached by mutual discussions and assent to terms designed to support marriage and discourage divorce.

At the most basic level, people get divorced because they’re “unhappy.” Unfortunately, statistics tell us that divorce does not bring happiness. Studies reveal that most people are just as unhappy after their divorce as they were before it. But in addition to being “unhappy”, after divorce they’re also damaged; emotionally, spiritually, and financially.

Despite this reality, people get divorced anyway. Why? I believe people are “playing the odds” or gambling on a different future. People know what they have, and they think they’re unhappy. They don’t know what things will be like after their divorce, but they figure, “it can’t get any worse.” They’re wrong. They’re trading known circumstances for unknown circumstances on the misguided premise that things will be better. They seldom are. Remember the old Irish adage, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”

Read more…

Spinning Record

photo by joshfassbind.com via PhotoRee


YourTango.com recently posted a great article by Dr. Margaret Paul called “Do You Have The Same Fight Over and Over?” about why couples can sometimes resolve conflict easily and why other times resolving conflict seems completely impossible. From the article:

As long as avoiding pain is more important to you than being loving to yourself and your partner, you will be closed and protected and the conflict cannot reach a mutually satisfying resolution.

Dr. Paul says, “If you are stuck in resolving conflicts, let go of the issues and look at your intent. I assure you that when both of you are open to learning about yourselves and each other, and want to support your own and your partner’s highest good, you will be able to easily resolve your conflicts.”

Read the article HERE.

When is It An Affair?

Today’s guest post is by James E. Walton, Ph.D.

WHEN IS IT AN AFFAIR?

By James E. Walton, Ph.D.

For something to be called a sexual affair, it requires three conditions and all three must be present.

1. There’s more intimacy than in the primary relationship
2. There’s sex involved
3. It’s kept a secret

Men consider it an affair when sex is involved. An affair does not have to be physical for women to consider it cheating. It just has to be emotional.

The Internet has brought on a new issue for people who had no intention of cheating. They innocently cross the line as they divulge more and more of themselves to each other and find themselves involved in an emotional affair.

For an emotional affair, it requires all three conditions to be present:

1. Greater emotional intimacy than in the primary relationship,
2. Secrecy and deception from the spouse
3. Sexual chemistry

Emotional affairs can cause a good deal of marital strife. However, the affair that includes sexual intercourse typically does the most damage to the couple.

Affairs are an indication that there are problems in the dynamics of the marriage. And they bring with them an opportunity to rediscover the intimacy and closeness that was either lost or was never present in the primary relationship if the couple is willing to work through the violation.

How can you avoid all of this? Simply don’t have the affair. If you feel the temptation, get yourselves into couples counseling immediately. Open up to better communication skills and greater intimacy. The earlier you get yourself into counseling the better. Most people wait to enter into counseling until it’s too late. It’s much easier and more effective to deal with issues and have a great outcome when you enter into therapy at the very first sign of trouble.  It’s economical too.  After all, it’s a lot cheaper than a divorce.

Ultimately, affairs don’t cause divorces; poor communication and lack of intimacy within the couple do.

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.

Winning Is A Losing Battle

photo by timsamoff via PhotoRee

Is your relationship riddled with disagreements, a constant need to defeat your spouse, or just old-fashioned competition? An article written by Jeffrey Rubin, Ph.D., cites a need to “win” as the number one cause for divorce and loss of intimacy.

Love is not about victory for one, defeat for another, but the triumph of the union. The alternative to winning is really hearing where your partner is coming from and what she is upset about. Striving to understand doesn’t mean you agree with your partner or let go of what you value–only that you take his or her feelings seriously.

This reminds me of something Joseph Campbell wrote in An Open Life, “Marriage is an ordeal.  It means yielding time and again.  That’s why it’s a sacrament.  You give up your personal simplicity to participate in a relationship, and when you are giving, you are not giving to the other person, you are giving to the relationship.  And if you realize that you are in the relationship just as the other person is, then it becomes life-building; a life fostering and enriching experience, not an impoverishment, because you are giving to somebody else.  This is the challenge of a marriage.  What a beautiful thing is a life together; is growing personalities.  Each helping the other to flower, rather than just moving into the standard archetype.  It’s a wonderful moment when people can make the decision to be quite astonishing and unexpected, rather than to become cookie-mold products.  Failure to recognize that is the main reason for the high divorce rate that we experience today.”

To read the rest of Jeffery Rubin’s article, click here. To purchase a copy of Joseph Campbell’s book, click here.

Fable of the Porcupine

It was the coldest winter ever. Many animals were dying because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing their situation, decided to group together to keep warm. This way they covered and protected themselves. But the quills of each one wounded their closest companions. After awhile, they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen. So they had to make a choice: Either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from Earth. Wisely, they decided to join together again. They learned to live with the little wounds caused by the close relationships with their companions, in order to receive the warmth that came with them. This way they were able to survive.

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the one where each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others while admiring the other person’s good qualities.

Checklist for Healthy Families

It’s easy to get caught up in the blame-game. It’s easy to focus on what our partner does wrong, the things that frustrate us, the things that make us angry. But if we all spent a little time and energy focusing on what our partner does right, what makes us feel good and loved, we’d all be a lot happier. This checklist for healthy families is designed to help couples and families work on the positive aspects of their relationships so that the good will so outweigh the bad that the bad won’t even be noticeable. Print this list and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or your closet door, or your dashboard – somewhere you will see it and read it on a daily basis. Make it a priority to try and work on one item a day. If you do, you will be surprised at the difference you will see in your day to day life.

1. Work on positives; eliminate negatives. Successful adults are people who grew up in homes that kept positive focus.

2. “Act as if…” Decide that your day will be a good one and act accordingly. Act as if you want to get out of bed. Act as if things will go well. This exercise sometimes brings astounding results.

3. Live in the NOW. Focusing on the past or future is an unhealthy practice. Successful families live in the present.

4. Learn to process anger. When the feeling comes, say, “I feel furious! What you have done enrages me!” This is much more effective than calling the offender names, and it still allows for the release of powerful emotions that must be expressed.

5. Make a list of at least eighteen things that especially please you. Spouses who make and share such lists with each other often find real surprises – and find new ways to enjoy each other.

6. Know where you are going. Families need to meet and talk together to establish agreed-upon goals for themselves.

7. Take the initiative. Make plans for the family. Think of things to do and places to go.

8. Practice good communication. Make plans as a family. Share the planning activities regularly. Sit down for full-fledged conversations. Practice writing out things you want to say to each other. Remember that listening is nine-tenths of good communication.

9. Avoid accusation, blaming, and name-calling. The hallmark of emotional maturity is the ability to accept responsibility for oneself, eliminating the need for a scapegoat.

10. Don’t be afraid to seek help in formal or informal settings. In my own effort to grow as a person, I have found that professional help from time to time expedites the maturing process. I know I need help: from God, from trusted friends, and from competent therapists.