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Divorce Can be an Opportunity for Growth

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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.

Is Flat Fee Divorce Even Possible?

 

Flat Fee Divorce

Most lawyers will tell you that it is impossible to do a divorce on a Flat Fee Basis. That is only true based on their inherent flawed assumptions. Those lawyers are assuming that there always has to be either two people, a husband and a wife, or four people, the parties and their attorneys involved in a divorce. Granted, it is virtually impossible to predict the outcome of a proceeding in a contested, adversarial process, when those factors are controlling the outcome.

What I am proposing, and the reason I can offer a Flat Fee Divorce, is because I have altered the essential equation. I am talking about a situation in which only three people are involved: (1) a husband, (2) a wife, and (3) a Neutral Attorney/Mediator who is negotiating and drafting a document congruent with an understanding arrived at by the parties, with the help of the divorce Mediator in which all the parties are in agreement.

Here at The Law Collaborative, we offer three Flat Fee Divorces Packages – $1,495, $3,495, and $5,495. Each is clear, precise, thorough, and accurate as to what is being offered. The Packages do not include the filing fee, which is currently $435.  Our most affordable package reflects the time it takes for a Paralegal to put together fully executed Agreement by the parties in which they have a complete agreement on Custody, Visitation, Support, allocation and apportionment of Assets and Debts. This does happen. However, it is infrequent. More likely there is going to be some conversations or discussions that may lead to two or three meetings. We call that the Mid-Range Flat Fee Divorce. Our high-End Flat Fee Divorce for $5,495 assumes there is going to be some difficulty, a few meetings, but the parties are willing to work together.

Working with this new set of assumptions, an Agreement can be reached within two to three meetings. If the parties are willing to accept the ultimate Mediator recommendations, it can go even faster. The reason this process works is that the Mediator works for neither party. The Mediator is a neutral who is facilitating and supporting an outcome. If anything, the neutral is representing the minor child or children.

This alters the equation in so basic and essential a manner, that it is possible to predict with some certainty the outcome. This is only possible, however, because the attorney, who is negotiating and drafting, is controlling the outcome subject the guidance, advice, and input of the parties. But the parties must accept their responsibility and participate in good faith. It cannot work unless the parties are willing to work. That is the key. The matter and the parties must be ripe. I have seen all too often the sad result where one or the other of the parties is not ready.

Lawyers must become proficient in assessing and addressing the parties in this crucial regard. Failure to do so can and will produce sorry results. Therein lies the challenge we all face. We must all become competent, skillful, experienced, knowledgeable, and masterful in the practice of our art. The law, after all, is an art, not a science.

Navigating a Mediation Career

To download a PDF of the flier to your computer, click here —> April mediation event flyer

The Law Collaborative Los Angeles is pleased to announce that Ronald Supancic, CFLS is speaking along with Myer Sankary, Esq., at the Mentor project event at Cal State Dominguez Hills on April 23, 2012 from 5-7:00 p.m. in Loker Student Union. It is vital to provide support and mentoring to up and coming peacemakers. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend. We look forward to seeing you there.

New Webinar – Collaborative Law in Civil Litigation


I’m going to be speaking in a webinar about the Collaborative Law movement’s application to Civil Litigation for The West LegalEdcenter on March 9, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. Click the link below and sign up- It’s going to be very interesting and I’m excited to be a part of it 🙂

Sign up now for The West LegalEdcenter – Collaborative Law for Civil Litigation

Free Divorce Workshop

This year, in accord with my resolution to live more mindfully, I am offering the Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for FREE as a contribution to the community. If you know someone who is going through a divorce, thinking about divorce or is faced with other family law issues, please pass this invitation on. If you are experiencing a family law crisis yourself, I invite you to join us on the Second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at my office in Woodland Hills for a roundtable discussion providing information and guidance. Learn about the 7 options for divorce, how to communicate with your ex effectively to achieve goals that are consistent with your interests, and how to restructure your family in a healthy and positive way.

As a California Bar Certified Family Law Specialist, one of my goals is to help clients achieve a successful divorce. It may seem like the words “successful” and “divorce” contradict themselves, but they do not. Experience and academic studies have helped us identify the basic elements of a successful divorce. “Successful,” as used here, means to complete the process of emotional separation, establish a new center of balance as a single person, maintain the welfare of your children, and develop healthy attitudes toward yourself, your ex-spouse, and your past marriage.

As in life itself, absence of conflict is not part of a successful divorce. A degree of anger and conflict is natural, useful, and constructive. It helps break the bonds of attachment and old patterns in the relationship, stimulates reflection, and enables change. (Excessive and destructive conflict, however, requires special treatment – usually the intervention of divorce coaches).

I ask clients to try to view their “ex” as a problem-solving partner. It is helpful to consider the ‘ex’ as someone who can actively and constructively participate in resolving the issues created by the separation. The closer the parties come to mutuality and balance, the healthier it will be for them and their family.

If you would like to attend the next free family law workshop, please RSVP by calling toll free (888) 852-9961, or reply to this email. To view other upcoming free events at The Law Collaborative, please visit www.thelawcollaborative.com/events.htm. I encourage you to forward this invitation to your friends, family, and colleagues.

Best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year,

Ron Supancic, CFLS
The Law Collaborative, APC
21051 Warner Center Lane, Suite 100
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
T: (818) 348-6700
F: (818) 348-0961
www.thelawcollaborative.com/

Helene Antel, Lawyer and Peacemaker – P.4

If you have been following along for the last three weeks, you are familiar with Helene Antel’s story. If you haven’t been following along, you should start now. Her story is incredible. A former criminal prosecutor district attorney, a ferocious advocate for her clients, and a victim of domestic violence. Listen to Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.

This week Helene talks about what she learned from her life experiences and how they changed her attitude about the practice of law. She discovered that being kind, patient, thoughtful, and charming, made her a better, more effective lawyer. In her words:

“The long drawn out expensive divorce litigation is the perpetration of the anger, the fight. It’s that neither party is willing to move on; the fighting is just a way to maintain a connection. If you declare peace, then the relationship is really over. Without knowing it, many people are not ready to truly separate themselves from their partner so they connect through a long drawn out battle. But you can choose not to fight anymore. You can choose to learn how to mediate your conflicts or manage your conflicts and keep the family together.”

Listen now to the fourth and final interview with Helene Antel, lawyer and peacemaker.

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Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and download free podcasts every week.

Helene Antel, Lawyer and Peacemaker – P.3

In last week’s episode of Ron and Robert on Divorce, we heard the story of Helene Antel, a successful, powerful, ferocious district attorney who was the victim of domestic violence. It took her years, but she finally learned how to follow the very advice she routinely gave her clients. Once she learned how to do that, she was able to begin building a life of freedom for herself and her child. When asked what the turning point was that allowed her to start taking her own advice, she says it was when she achieved ambivalence.

Now, she finds herself moving away from litigated court cases because she doesn’t want to make war anymore. She wants to make peace. In her words:

“Violence only breeds violence. Respectful communication breeds solutions. You can get a resolution without all the hate, the fighting and the misery. It takes less time, and it takes a far less egregious toll on the participants.”

Listen now to part 3 of this fascinating series:

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Missed the first two? Listen to Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.

Don’t miss another one! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and download free podcasts weekly.

Helen Antel, Lawyer and Peacemaker – P.1

Former criminal prosecutor Helene Antel grew up in a low-income housing project in the South Bronx. It was a rough and ugly neighborhood where people did not treat each other with kindness. She knew, even as a little girl, that so much hatred was not normal. She remembers being eight or nine and flying with fists of fury at a burly, tattooed gang member because he was picking on a little fat kid. She’s had the heart of an advocate since she was small.

Helene is a lawyer in Alaska who recently made the decision not to litigate any more. Over the course of her impressive career, and with a little help from her personal life, Helene has come to the conclusion that most conflicts are the product of a misunderstanding, or the lack of a good translator. And so she doesn’t litigate, she translates. Through translation, she reduces conflict while increasing peace and understanding.

Listen as Ron and Robert interview Helen Antel, lawyer and peacemaker.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and download free podcasts weekly.

Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, P. 6

In this sixth and final segment of Ron and Robert’s interview with Virginia’s leading Real Estate Divorce Specialist, the gentlemen discuss the difference between distributive bargaining (which is what you get when you go to court) and collaborative negotiation, which is what happens in a Collaborative Divorce. We like to tell the story of the orange:

Two young siblings are fighting over an orange. Their father walks in on them, takes the orange away, cuts it in half, and hands a half to each. Sister bursts into tears. “Why are you crying?” asks the perplexed father. “You and your brother both wanted the orange, there was only one orange, so I cut it in half. You should be happy.”

“I don’t want half!” sobs Sister. “I only wanted the peel. I need it for a cake I’m baking, but I have to have the whole peel.”

“Oh. Bobby?” He asks Brother, “Will you give your sister the whole peel if she’ll let you have the whole inside?”

Brother’s eyes light up. “Gee, sure! I didn’t want the crummy peel anyway.”

And that, dear friends, is the difference between distributive bargaining and collaborative negotiation.

The gents go into more detail about distributive bargaining, and then they talk about how to divide a property that was owned prior to marriage, what happens if you file bankruptcy during divorce, and whether or not you should keep your house if you file for bankruptcy.

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Missed the first five parts of this series? Here’s Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, and Part 5.

Don’t miss another one! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and get free podcasts every week.

Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, P. 5

Maybe you’ve been following along (if you haven’t, start playing catch-up now!) but today’s episode of Ron and Robert on Divorce is crucial. Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist Randy Morrow delves into the topic of short sales: What is a short sale, do you qualify for one, and what will it do to your credit score? In Randy’s words, “This is mandatory to understand.”

Listen to this new podcast from Ron and Robert on Divorce – you’ll be glad you did.

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Missed the first four parts of this series? Find them hereherehere, and here.

Don’t miss another one! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and get free podcasts every week.