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How To Have A Better Divorce

Here are some tips and suggestions to help make the process of divorce a little bit easier. If you follow these suggestions, you will save yourself a lot of potential frustration down the road.

1. Always take your file with you everywhere.

2. Keep a journal. Write down every significant event, conversation, discussion and action of your spouse at the time it occurs.

3. Keep a ledger. Write down every financial aspect of your case to assure a complete, accurate, and legible record of all the financial aspects of your case.

4. Memorialize every agreement with every person who is interested/involved in your case. Keep/send copies.

5. Meet with your attorney in person to design strategies for your case. Explore consensual dispute resolution; confirm everything in writing.

6. Know your strategy; do not deviate without advice and counsel.

7. Participate in the preparation of your case; draft, document, investigate, gather information and pre-interview all witnesses.

8. Let your attorney know when s/he is on track or off.

9. Schedule regular spit and grouse sessions with your attorney. DO NOT let resentments accumulate.

10. Keep your account current at all times and offer security if you fall behind.

Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, P. 4

Randy Morrow is a Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, not a lawyer. He does not give legal advice, but he does offer compelling personal advice: Either get divorced or get married, but do not keep any strings. No financial strings, no real estate strings. Cut them all. Listen to part 4 of this 6-part series to find out exactly what he means when he says “Cut them all.”

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Missed the first three parts of this series? Find them herehere, and here.

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

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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Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, P. 3

When Randy Morrow, Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist, takes on new clients who are parents going through divorce, he has them sign an agreement stating that they will not argue in front of their children. If they refuse to sign, he will not work with them. This is just one of the reasons why Randy is a gem in the divorce and real estate community.

Randy understands the pain and difficulty of divorce better than most real estate agents because he’s been through three divorces himself. His first was at the age of nine, when his parents divorced. His second and third were as an adult going through his own divorce. From his website:

Randy is trained in the legal and tax aspects of the divorce process as it relates to real estate. His specialty is learning about obscure divorce-related legal rulings, regulations, and tax implications. This enables him to help his divorcing clients take advantage of tax laws that are specific to selling a house during a divorce.

“Divorcing couples are going through one of the most stressful times of their lives and they need all the help they can get. I know,” says Randy “I have been through these times myself. I know from firsthand experience what my clients are feeling and why.”

Listen to the third part in this six-part series and discover the most important factors to consider when making the decision to sell or keep the family residence.

Missed the first two parts of this series? Find them here and here.

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

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: The Problem with Court

This is the fourth and final installment of Honest, Blunt, & Brilliant: Interviews with Attorney Leslie Ellen Shear. This week she talks about some of the problems with California’s family law courts.

“Family courts have been the stepchild of the judicial system all over the world for all of history. They don’t receive the percentage of trial court funding proportionate to the number cases, complexity of cases, importance of cases to individuals involved or the importance of the wellbeing of families and children to the society as a whole. The caseload and the budgets do not compute.”


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Missed Parts 1, 2 & 3? Here they are:

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: “A” Stood for Alternative
Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Child Development
Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Custody Matters

Don’t miss another episode! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

Learn more about Leslie Ellen Shear at CustodyMatters.com.

May Newsletter: Retiring?

Who Wants to Retire?

What we have learned over time about retirement is that people in their twenties don’t plan because they think they’ll never die. People in their thirties don’t plan because they are too busy building careers and keeping up with the Joneses. People don’t plan during their forties because they’re too busy paying off their kids’ college tuition. Most don’t start planning until their fifties, sixties, and seventies and sometimes that’s too late. It’s not too late for you. When are you going to plan? Is your plan current? Know that laws change every year and plans need to be reviewed and updated to reflect these changes.

We are pleased to announce that we’ve joined Wealth Counsel, the premier Estate Planning organization for Estate Planning Attorneys. We offer Estate Planning services to clients who are considering reviewing, renewing, or initiating their estate plan. We can draft your simple or complex will, a living trust, or a more complex and elaborate wealth transfer plan. Call us today. We are here to serve you.

On another note…

Let’s Bring Back That Loving Feeling

Dr. Mark Goulston wrote an article titled, Human Cooling, Global Warming, & Childhood Obesity, that reflects his observations of our society today. How we’ve replaced listening with lecturing, taking responsibility with excuse-making, contentment with immediate gratification, value with ROI, giving with taking. This is not true for all people, but, unfortunately, it is true for many. Why? Why have we replaced joyful laughter with laughing at others, and gratitude for our blessings with disappointment for what we lack? According to Dr. Goulston, we’ve done it because we’ve lost sight of life’s positives. We grasp at ‘stuff,’ to fill the gaping hole left behind.

The more we make excuses, blame others, react without listening, and indulge in resentments, the more likely we will consume, buy, take, and grab to fill the void. The more we listen, contemplate, give to others, and take responsibility for our actions and choices, the more complete and whole we begin to feel. Dr. Goulston recommends the following powerful exercise to anyone who wants to bring back more of those loving feelings.

1. Think of someone you are grateful to, why you are grateful to them, and the difference they have made in your life. Contact them (or a surviving family member if they have passed) and tell them. Thank them.

2. Think of someone to whom you need to apologize. Contact them and apologize. If it’s been a long time say, “This is a long overdue apology, but time slipped away and I felt too embarrassed to contact you. I’m contacting you now to tell you I ____________________. I was wrong and I am sorry.” If you use email, write in the subject line, “A long overdue apology,” which should get their attention.

This exercise will uplift you and give you a new attitude towards life. It will be easier to take care of your health and you will be able to model these positive, powerful behaviors for your children. To read Dr. Goulston’s article, click here.

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

Sign up for our newsletter here. Subscribe to our weekly podcast, Ron and Robert on Divorce, on iTunes. You can “like” The Law Collaborative on Facebook and you can follow our tweets at Twitter.com/TLC_Law.

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Custody Matters

Ron and Robert had the opportunity to interview Attorney Leslie Ellen Shear at the Pepperdine Law School Consensual Dispute Resolution seminar in 2010. Leslie Ellen Shear is a graduate of UCLA Law School, a California State Bar Board Certified Family Law Specialist and Certified Appellate Law Specialist, and she’s the author of numerous published opinions. Ron and Robert have known her for over twenty-five years and she is one of their most respected colleagues. Honest, blunt, and brilliant, Leslie Ellen Shear is a true powerhouse.

This week Attorney Shear finishes her conversation on child development, then goes on to discuss move-away cases, frequency of contact between children and parents, and the current problems in the California Family Law courts.

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Missed Parts 1 & 2? Here they are:

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: “A” Stood for Alternative
Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Child Development

Don’t miss another episode! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and tune in next week for the final episode in this four-part series, Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: The Problem with Court.

Learn more about Leslie Ellen Shear at CustodyMatters.com.

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Child Development

Ron Supancic asked Attorney Leslie Ellen Shear what steps parents can take to insure that their children are not harmed by the divorce and she answered,”They can take a deep breath to begin with.”

In part two of this four-part series, Attorney Shear describes beautifully the emotional process a couple goes through while divorcing, what their children go through, and what parents can do to help their children get through it.

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Missed Part 1? Here it is:

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: “A” Stood for Alternative

Don’t miss another episode! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and tune in next week for Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: Custody Matters.

Learn more about Leslie Ellen Shear at CustodyMatters.com.

Honest, Blunt & Brilliant: “A” Stood for Alternative

Ron and Robert caught up with Attorney Leslie Ellen Shear at the Pepperdine Law School Consensual Dispute Resolution seminar in 2010. Leslie Ellen Shear is a graduate of UCLA Law School, a Board Certified Family Law Specialist, a Certified Appellate Law Specialist, and the author of numerous published opinions. Ron and Robert have known her for over twenty-five years and she is a deeply respected colleague. Honest, blunt, and brilliant, Leslie Ellen Shear is a true powerhouse.

In the first of this four-part series, Attorney Shear discusses the shift from Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to Consensual Dispute Resolution (CDR), as well as the pros and cons of both CDR and the traditional adjudicative legal system.

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Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes and tune in next week for Honest, Blunt, and Brilliant: Child Development.

Learn more about Leslie Ellen Shear at CustodyMatters.com.

Mary Culbert’s ABCs of Mediation (Part 3 of 3)

Thanks to the new USA television show, Fairly Legal, mediation is getting a lot more attention than ever before. But how does it really work? In Part 3 of Mary Culbert’s ABCs of Mediation, Southern California’s own real life mediation guru takes listeners through a step-by-step guide to the mediation process.

Missed Parts 1 and 2?  Listen now:

Part 1: Mediation giant Mary Culbert discusses how her family history and a background in theatre paved the way to a career as a peacemaker.

Part 2: Every question you’ve ever had about mediation answered in a single podcast.

Don’t miss another episode! Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.