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When it is your choice

Photo by Dopey LaRue on Flickr

Continued from yesterday…

What followed was a trip by Bill and Mary to see a lawyer who helped them draw up a divorce settlement along the lines that Mary wanted.  The whole thing was accomplished for a few hundred dollars, and Bill moved out of the house to live with his parents.

In the months that followed, Bill’s anger finally erupted.  He secured a lawyer and pushed a long, bitter, and futile suit for custody of his children.  In the end, he emerged with a considerable debt to his lawyer and nothing more to show for his trouble — except for one thing.  The pain had taught him to see himself fmore clearly.

Bill began to recognize that Mary’s discontent had rested on his steadfast unwillingness to take responsibility in their family life.  Slowly, and with the help of counseling, he began to make some choices that said, “I am going to take responsibility for my life.  I have tried to lay the blame for my failures at the feet of others.  But I choose to do that no longer.”

Bill’s divorce, the thing he had feared the most, had been, in the end, the costly crisis that had broken him free from self-defeating behavior that had persisted unexamined throughout his married life.  It took several years, but before it was over, he had taken custody of his children with the consent of their mother.  Being a single parent gave him the opportunity he needed to put some muscle in his resolves to take responsibility for himself and those he had been given to care for.  Before two more years had passed, he met a woman who was willing to share his life.  They were married and moved ahead into the unfamiliar waters of step-parenting and rebuilding a full-fledged family.  As of this writing they are moving on course, thanks largely, in my opinion, to Bill’s willingness to break with his old patterns of indecisiveness.

One way Bill exhibited his unwillingness to take responsibility for himself and his marriage was the acquiescent way he tagged along to see the same lawyer his wife had selected.  He would have been wiser to find a lawyer for himself, an advocate to represent his interests.  Instead he followed a policy of appeasement.  Not uncommonly I have observed a tendency among some people to confuse appeasement with willingness to change.

The reason Bill proceeded imprudently through his divorce was that he violated a cardinal rule it has taken me years to learn:  In order to derive any benefit from a divorce, you must separate the emotional divorce from the legal divorce.

Making that separation is a big order, but it is vital.  Gale — the young woman who was married to Jack the drug dealer — was able to do it.  She used her head and took an important setp to protect herself.  Hers was a temporary divorce, if you will, that resulted not in the dissolution of her marriage but in the resolution of her problem.

It is absolutely necessary that we acknowledge the role we play in our own lives, that we take responsibility for how our actions affect the situations we find ourselves in.  Divorce has the ability to make us feel as if the wind has been knocked out of our sails, as if we are drowning and out of control, as if we are victims to whom terrible things happen.  But that doesn’t have to be true.

Divorce can be an opportunity to change your life for the better. It is up to us to take control of our future and our happiness.  This Saturday we are hosting The Law Collaborative’s Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for Women.  Attorney Robert Borsky, CDFA Irene Smith and LMFT Rosalinda O’Neill will speak on the various financial, emotional and legal issues that surround divorce.  The workshop begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m., pre-registration is $45 or it’s $50 at the door.  This is an opportunity to empower yourself, educate yourself, learn about your rights, and learn how to protect yourself in court.

If you’d like to pre-register, email or call our toll free number now: (888) TLC (852) – 9961.

Save the Date…

The Second Saturday Divorce Workshop for Women is an excellent way for women who are contemplating divorce or who are in the process of divorce to take control of their lives, learn about their rights, and protect themselves in court.  Speaking at the event will be attorney Robert Borsky, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Irene Smith and licensed marriage and family therapist Rosalinda O’Neill.

About Robert Borsky
Robert Borsky has been practicing law since 1981. He limited his practice to Family Law from 1984 through 2001, taking occasional special cases referred by Judges. During this time, he spent four years on the exclusive Gang Intervention Task Force, representing juveniles. From 2001 to 2006, Robert also practiced insurance defense and Workers’ Compensation Law while maintaining his family law practice. Robert Borsky has served as a mediator, arbitrator and Judge pro tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court since 1986. He is a member of the Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and San Fernando Valley Bar Associations. Robert served as President of the Long Beach Bar Association, Family Law Section, 1994-1995 session, and is a past Co-Chair of the California State Child Custody Committee. As an advisor to the Superior Court, he received the first ‘Judge William McFadden Award,’ for his contribution in assembling the first Master List of qualified Child Custody Evaluators, Protocols and Evaluator Retainers. Robert taught college level courses at USC Law School from 1990 to 1998, and has been a guest speaker at State Bar functions, and local County and City functions. Robert has spoken frequently on local radio stations, and has written numerous articles for the bench and bar. Click here to read more about Robert Borsky.

About Irene Smith
Irene Smith holds the designations of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Public Accountant. Irene obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University, Northridge and her MBA degree in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Before starting her financial planning practice in 2001, Irene had an extensive corporate career and developed expertise in the fields of taxation, finance and real estate. After experiencing the impact divorces had on the lives of her family and friends, she decided to obtain additional training as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) to help divorcing individuals make better informed financial decisions. As a CDFA, Irene analyzes the financial issues of a divorce and informs clients about the long-term effect of financial decisions made today. She can help clients avoid the common pitfalls of divorce by evaluating the tax implications of dividing property and the financial impact of various settlement options.  Click here to read more about Irene Smith.

About Rosalinda O’Neill
Rosalinda O”Neill holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Miami and a master’s in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She is a California Licensed Marriage Family Therapist with expertise in addiction, conflict resolution, partner dynamics, relationship, trauma and achieving success. Rosalinda has over 30 years of high level corporate experience. Rosalinda is President and founder of CEO LifeMentor®, Inc since 1984. She is a member of the Physicians’ Diversion Evaluation Committee of the Medical Board of California. Her non-profit leadership involvement includes Rotary International and Rotary Club of Beverly Hills, City of Hope Board of Governors and the American Heart Association, Ventura Division.  Click here to read more about Rosalinda O’Neill.

What women need to know about divorce

The Second Saturday workshop was developed by WIFE, the Women’s Institute for Financial Education, founded in 1988. It is their mission is to empower women to succeed and prosper.  WIFE is dedicated to providing women with information and education during life transitions and their quest for financial independence.

The Second Saturday Workshop is held the second Saturday of each month, and is designed to help divorced and divorcing women take the next step in their life, no matter where they are in the process of untying the knot.  The workshop deals with the legal, financial, family and personal issues of divorce in a logical, yet compassionate way.  With the guidance of trained professionals, workshop participants gain greater understanding of the confusing divorce process.

Second Saturday is a great opportunity for women anywhere in the divorce process. The next Second Saturday workshop is scheduled for Saturday, June 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Speakers will include attorney Robert Borsky, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Irene Smith and marriage and family therapist Rosalinda O’Neill.  To register for the event, or if you’d like more information, email

Helping Families

Just a reminder about tomorrow’s program, Helping Families.  For more information, click here!

Also, we recommend this excellent podcast interview of Rosalinda O’Neil talking about how to tell your kids you’re getting a divorce.

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Rosalinda O’Neil holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Miami and a master’s in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.  She is a California Licensed Marriage Family Therapist with expertise in addiction, conflict resolution, partner dynamics, relationship, trauma and achieving success.  For more information about Ms. O’Neill click here, or you can check out some of her publications here.