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Out of the Mouths of Babes

M. Marcy Jones is a Virginia family law attorney, author, speaker, coach and advocate for change. She founded Graceful Divorce Solutions for many of the same reasons Ron and Robert founded The Law Collaborative and Ron and Robert on Divorce — to provide tools, information, and education to separated and divorcing people.

Ron and Robert often talk about the rights of children in divorce. You can read some of their articles on the subject here. I just discovered Marcy’s Top 10 List of Do’s and Don’ts for Parents Going Through Divorce, and I thought it fit so beautifully with The Law Collaborative’s 12 Inalienable Rights of Children, that I had to share it with you.

    Check out Attorney M. Marcy Jones Top 10 List of Do’s and Don’ts for Parents Going Through Divorce. Her article has some wonderful insight for parents, divorcing or not.

    The Advantages of Collaborative Law

    February Newsletter

    Dear Friends of the Law Collaborative,

    We wish you the best in all of your relationships. In order to facilitate our wish for you, this month we have included a “tool” to help with communication in your relationships, professional and personal.

    As February is often referred to as the month of love, we would like to share an article written by Dr. Mark S. Goulston, Author of “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.”

    The single best predictor of how children do post-divorce is the amount of conflict between the parents. This is true whether you’re in an intact (living together) family, a separated family, or a divorced family.

    You have a unique opportunity to influence the outcome, because it takes two people to fight. You can’t fight alone. And while choosing not to engage in an argument or bad behavior is difficult, it is possible. It may take both practice and commitment on your part to make it happen.

    Parents in frequent contact who are supportive of each other have well adjusted children. That’s pretty compelling, isn’t it?

    10 Strategies for Preventing and Dealing With Conflict:

    1. It takes two to argue. Simply refuse to participate.

    2. A certain amount of tension is to be expected when you’re getting divorced. Expect difficult discussions. They don’t have to result in a fight.

    3. Try to understand your spouse’s viewpoint. Once you understand what he or she wants, you can begin to see how you might be able to help resolve the situation.

    4. Evaluate your own goals. Are you entrenched in a position that may have another solution? If you want your children on Wednesday night for dinner, will Thursday do? If your goal is financial security, is one particular asset the key, or could another be substituted?

    5. Use “I” statements. Begin every sentence with “I”, rather than “you”. Example: “I feel upset when I hear you say that I’m a bad father because I have to work so many hours,” instead of “You are always accusing me of being a bad father.”

    6. After you explain how you feel, listen to your spouse’s side of the story. Repeat what you heard, to make sure for yourself (and to convey to your spouse) that you understand how he or she views the situation.

    7. Plan a time to have a discussion with your spouse about a specific issue that bothers you. Limit the discussion.

    8. Choose your timing. The same comment may evoke a different response if, 1) neither of you is tired, 2) neither of you is already angry, and, 3) the children or others are not in earshot.

    9. Be prepared to say “I’m sorry” sometimes. “I was wrong” can go a long way.

    10. Above all, let annoyances go and choose your battles wisely. They are too important to squander. Research points to the benefits of shared parenting, defined as shared decision making, as well as shared time between two homes. Children need emotional sustenance and comfort from both parents to get their needs met. Your co-parenting responsibilities get easier over time as your children grow and their day-to-day caretaking needs lessen. One way to ensure your adult children have a good relationship with you and your former spouse is to set you own needs aside from time to time and take the high road whenever possible. Remember forgiveness is the permission you give yourself to get over an offense & move into health, healing & a happy life. It is not approval. It is not acceptance. It is a gift to you from you. Forgive.

    Visit Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes for additional information. Please call us if you have any questions. We are here to serve you.

    Follow us on www.Twitter.com/TLC_Law

    Add us on www.Facebook.com/TheLawCollaborative

    Ron Supancic and Robert Borsky

    * A free phone consultation will provide you with general legal information. Legal information is not the same as legal advice – the application of law to an individual’s specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, for specific advice on your situation, I will be pleased to provide legal advice after you accept and sign my retainer agreement.

    For more information, please visit our website at: www.ronslaw.com or click here: www.divorcemagazine.com/CA/pro/supancic.shtml

    Please forward a link for this newsletter to anyone you know who might benefit from this information.

    January Newsletter

    Dear Friends of the Law Collaborative,

    It is a New Year and also a good time to review your legal affairs. Here are a few things you should think about for 2010 and beyond.

    1) Review your licenses. Which ones will expire in the coming year? Mark on your new calendar the date when the license will expire and place a tickler note several weeks before the expiration date so that you have plenty of time to file for a renewal.

    2) Review your life insurance. Life insurance goes directly to the beneficiary named on the policy. It does not go through your will unless you have the policy made payable to yourself. Life insurance is, however, part of your estate when it comes to paying death taxes.

    3) Review your liability policies. For most people, their liability policies are their home and auto insurance policies. These policies are important because they will pay for a lawyer to defend you if you are sued.

    4) Powers of Attorney: Most lawyers recommend that every adult have a durable power of attorney which will allow someone to act on their behalf if they become incapacitated. These are very dangerous documents because they give the person named total access to your assets. They are very important documents because if you become sick, they provide your family with an easy and inexpensive way of taking care of your affairs.

    5) Minor Children: If you have minor children, you need to provide for their care if you get sick, are in an accident or die. Make sure your children and other responsible people in your family know where the children are supposed to go if something happens to you. Each year you should review your choice of guardian. Is that choice still a good choice?

    6) Wills and trusts: Wills and trusts, when used properly, are not substitutes for each other. They are different tools used in estate planning. One very good reason to have a will is to name a guardian for your minor children. The courts will generally honor your wishes. You can also create a testamentary trust within your will to manage any money you leave for your minor children. Once your children are grown, you should change your will to reflect the change in your circumstances.

    7) Elder law is a specialty. Things that elder law planners have you do are not the same as the things that tax planners will have you do. In tax planning they will tell you that you may make gifts of up to $11,000 per year to as many individuals as you want without tax consequences. That is true. Unfortunately the Medicaid rules are not the same. In many places (the rules vary slightly from state to sate) any sum of money you give away within five years of a nursing home placement will trigger a penalty.

    8) Charities:  While you are reviewing your estate plan, think about supporting those charities and organizations that have been important to you. Gifts to charities are deducted from your gross estate.

    9) The point is, plan ahead for yourself and your family.

    We hope that this short checklist is helpful to you.  It is not all inclusive but covers the most significant points.

    Visit Ron and Robert on Divorce on ITunes for additional information.  Please call us if you have any questions.  We are here to serve you.

    Follow us on www.Twitter.com/TLC_Law

    Add us on www.Facebook.com/TheLawCollaborative

    Happy New Year,
    Ron Supancic and Robert Borsky

    The attorneys and staff of The Law Collaborative join with me to wish you all Joy and Peace in the New Year.

    * A free phone consultation will provide you with general legal information. Legal information is not the same as legal advice – the application of law to an individuals specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, for specific advice on your situation, I will be pleased to provide legal advice after you accept and sign my retainer agreement.

    For more information, please visit our website at: www.ronslaw.com and www.thelawcollaborative.com. Or click here:www.divorcemagazine.com/CA/pro/supancic.shtml

    Please forward a link to this newsletter to anyone you know who might benefit from this information.  Thank you!