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Second Saturday = Self-Empowerment

Just a quick reminder that our next Second Saturday Divorce Workshop is this Saturday, May 14 at our new office in Woodland Hills.  Register before 4 p.m. Friday, May 13 and save 50% on the registration fee. Register today by calling (888) 852-9961 or register online at TheLawCollaborative.com.

Rules for Fair Fighting

Everyone disagrees sometimes.  In fact, a relationship that avoids conflict may be unhealthy. A healthy relationship does not avoid conflict, but uses it to clear the air productively, without hurt feelings.

Here are fourteen rules for fighting fair:

1.  Take Responsibility. It may take two to argue, but it only takes one to end a conflict. Make a commitment to never intentionally harm your partner’s feelings.

2.  Don’t escalate. The most important commitment you will make to fair fighting is to overcome any desire to speak or act hurtfully.

3.  Use “I” speech. When we use “you” speech, it is often perceived as accusatory.  Instead, talk about your own feelings: “I feel hurt when I hear that.” This may prevent defensiveness, as it’s hard to argue with a self-report.

4.  Learn to use “time out”. Agree that if hurtful speech or actions continue, either party may call a time out.  The three elements to a successful time out are:  1.) Use “I” speech to take responsibility, such as, “I don’t want to get angry.”  2.) Say what you need: “I need to take a walk to clear my head.”  3.) Set a time limit: “I’ll be back in 15 minutes to finish our talk.”  These steps will keep either of you from feeling abandoned.

5.  Avoid and defend against hurtful speech. This includes name-calling, swearing, sarcasm, shouting, or any verbal hostility or intimidation.  Agree to a key phrase that indicates hurt feelings, such as “That’s below the belt.”

6.  Stay calm. Don’t overreact.  Behave with calm respect and your partner will be more likely to consider your viewpoint.

7.  Use words, not actions. When feelings run high, even innocent actions like hitting a tabletop may be misinterpreted.  Use “I” speech to explain your feelings instead.

8.  Be specific. Use concrete examples (who, what, when, where) for your objections.

9.  Discuss only one issue at a time. If you find yourself saying, “And another thing….,” stop.

10.  Avoid generalizations like “never” or “always”. Use specific examples.

11.  Don’t exaggerate. Exaggerating only prevents discussions about the real issue.  Stick with facts and honest feelings.

12.  Don’t wait. Try to deal with problems as they arise — before hurt feelings have a chance to grow.

13.  Don’t clam up. When one person becomes silent and stops responding, anger may build.  Positive results are attained with two-way communication.

14.  Agree to these ground rules.

Remember, when you both agree to common rules, resolving conflict is more likely.  Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to fight fair, we simply can’t resolve a conflict.  When this happens, talks with a trained professional may help.  We are always available to assist you when you are unable to reach a resolution you can both live with.

The family law lawyers at The Law Collaborative, Los Angeles, is dedicated to providing useful tools like these to assist couples in managing conflict, resolving issues, and preserving families.  Please visit our website for more tools and resources.

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 Info@TheLawCollaborative.com.