Author Archives: CDSOC

13 Tips for Talking with Your Children About Your Separation and Divorce

Mother consoles young daughter

by Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT

The following tips will help you prepare to talk with your children about your separation and divorce. You care about doing the best you can for your children because you are reading this article. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. No one is. This is a stressful time for all of you. Remember to keep taking slow, deep breaths — you and your children will get through this difficult time.

  1. Agree on a time when you both can be present to talk with your children together. Siblings need the support they can provide each other. Divorce is a major life crisis for all family members. Treat it as such. Ideally, it is best to share the news with your children when they have adequate time to absorb what you will be telling them, for example, when they do not have to go back to school in a day or two after hearing the news.
  2. Plan your presentation to your children in advance. Make some notes about what you plan to say and review them to be familiar with what you intend to say. Anticipate what they may say to you. You can
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How to Have a Peaceful and Successful Divorce

Couple smiles at each other in divorce lawyer's office

How do you avoid the trauma of divorce – the battle, the fighting which can endure for many months or years, and the constant argument and opposition to a partner whom you once loved or even still care about?

What does it mean to have a peaceful and successful divorce? How do you discuss and create solutions to divide your assets and debts; share the parenting of your children who are not yet adults or still in school; and calculate a fair distribution of earnings to support two households?

Mental health professionals tell us that when we are angry, in trauma, and emotional, that we are not thinking with the best, problem-solving parts of our brains. How are we able to master our emotions to think rationally and to creatively develop solutions and a new sense of purpose? How can we recreate some of the empathy that we formerly had for our spouse to create a base for teamwork, connection, and solution?

Through an out-of-court process of collaborative divorce, working with a collaborative team of professionals, it is possible to transition from battle to cooperative settlement. It is also possible to save months of court litigation by selecting a collaborative … Read More “How to Have a Peaceful and Successful Divorce”

Our Collaborative Process… A More Peaceful Way to Divorce

Divorce lawyer smiles at a couple from across his desk

The Collaborative Divorce Process is a respectful, peaceful and dignified process that is designed to ensure that the participants and their children successfully transition to the next chapter of their lives.  In the Collaborative Process, the clients retain maximum control over the outcome of their case, as opposed to turning over the decision-making to a judge who does not have intimate knowledge of their particular family.

All of our members are committed to the Collaborative Process, a non-adversarial approach designed to resolve family law conflicts in a mutually-beneficial manner.  Collaborative attorneys are specialists in settling disputes.  Clients and professionals work together respectfully, and in good faith, to gather the information needed to reach an agreement.  The goal is to achieve a “win/win” outcome for all participants.

Typically, clients and professionals meet together to discuss all issues, plan for information gathering and make interim arrangements, as necessary.  A team will be assembled based on the individual participants’ needsThe team may consist of two collaborative attorneys and the clients, or can include attorneys, communication coaches, child specialists (both roles are filled by mental health professionals), and a neutral financial specialist.  Information gathered will be shared with the other clients and … Read More “Our Collaborative Process… A More Peaceful Way to Divorce”

The Role of the Financial Professional… After 1995 If You Live in Ireland

Role of Financial Professional

By Amy Clews, CPA, CDFA, CVA, CFE
Addleman & Associates

Why do we need a financial neutral in our Divorce?

The month of March is upon us, and many of us are looking forward to St. Patrick’s Day and celebrating all things Irish; however, did you know divorce in Ireland was not even legal until 1995? And if you’re struggling with the six-month waiting period in California, imagine waiting three years in Ireland where divorcing couples must live apart for two of the last three years before they can divorce.

How will a family potentially support two households both temporarily and in the long-term when finances are separate? How will an equitable settlement be achieved so the family can move forward amicably? These are only a few of the financial questions divorcing couples must consider.

In the collaborative process, the financial professional is there to help the couple address financial issues such as: 1) assisting with gathering financial documents, 2) preparing financial analyses, 3) presenting financial analyses to the collaborative team and the couple, and 4) assisting with financial planning for the future. The financial professional will help you plan for the agreements that you decide will work best … Read More “The Role of the Financial Professional… After 1995 If You Live in Ireland”

Creative Divorce Solutions: Thinking Outside The Box

Creative Thinking

By Jennifer Webb Gordon, CFLS

“Why divorcing couples should consider creative solutions in their divorce”


If you are contemplating divorce you probably want to know “what you are legally  entitled to.”  This is the most common question asked by new clients, who often tell me “I just want what I’m entitled to.”

It is natural to want information to help with divorce planning and to set expectations.

Since divorce is a legal process, people turn to “legal entitlements” as a measuring stick.

What most couples contemplating divorce don’t realize is the restrictive range of outcomes available through the court system. Judges are limited by the laws that exist at the time you arrive in court.  Laws change, and what is true today may not apply next year or next month. One recent example is the tax deductibility of spousal support (alimony) payments.  Up until January 2019, spousal support payments were tax deductible to the party paying and taxable to the recipient.  Today, the payment of spousal support is no longer deductible on federal returns.  Similarly, the spouse who receives spousal support is no longer required to claim the amount as income on their federal tax return.  This is just … Read More “Creative Divorce Solutions: Thinking Outside The Box”

The Best Kept Secret to a Successful Collaborative Divorce: Utilizing Coaches, Child Specialists and Financial Neutrals to Focus on Interests and Manage Emotions

Effective Communication in Divorce

By Paula J. Swensen, Esq.

As family law collaborators and mediators, we know all too well how the emotional aspects of a divorce can threaten to derail what often begins as a stable and effective process toward a peaceful resolution of our clients’ family law disputes.

Clients come to us for help in resolving their family law matters with the hope and intention of staying out of court.  This is a laudable goal, and most everyone comes with the highest intention of achieving that goal.  But then, something quite predictable happens… and if we collaborative professionals are not ready for it, the entire process can be unexpectedly hijacked, thereby posing a threat to the successful outcome for our clients and their families.  The ‘something’ that invariably shows up is our clients’ deeply held emotions about the unraveling of their marriages, including all of the uncertainty and fear that accompany such momentous changes in a person’s life circumstances.  As we know, once strong emotions enter the picture, it is quite challenging to remain in option-creation and problem-solving mode during the collaborative or mediation process.  However, that is what we must do, relying effectively upon our best kept secret, the “neutrals”.

 … Read More “The Best Kept Secret to a Successful Collaborative Divorce: Utilizing Coaches, Child Specialists and Financial Neutrals to Focus on Interests and Manage Emotions”

Five Important Financial Issues in Military Divorce

Military mother with a child on lap making notes

By Kristine Rushing, CFP®, CDFA®

Intro: There are many considerations in divorce, but those experiencing military divorce have some additional things to think about. Here are five issues military spouses should be aware of. 


Along with cooler weather and thoughts of Thanksgiving, November also brings Veterans Day, providing an opportunity to honor and thank those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. For many, that service has required personal sacrifices, from family challenges to the ultimate sacrifice. Whether during war or peacetime, events such as frequent moves, multiple deployments, isolation, stress of war, injuries, and returns to civilian life can all cause stress and anxiety for service members, spouses and their children. While the military branches offer programs to support relationships, divorce becomes a reality for many. Like their civilian counterparts, military spouses will need to determine a co-parenting plan, asset and debt division, and child/spousal support. However, those experiencing a military divorce need to be aware of some special rules.


1. Jurisdiction and State Law

Generally speaking, a spouse may file for divorce in the state where either spouse legally resides, with minimum residency requirements. However, the laws and treatment of property varies from state … Read More “Five Important Financial Issues in Military Divorce”

What is Effective Communication During a Divorce?

Effective Communication in Divorce

A recommended article written by CDSOC member Carol R. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, Collaborative Divorce Coach, Child Specialist, Mediator, and Trainer

“Couples who are considering separation and divorce often say that they had difficulty communicating during their marriage.  Their communication is unlikely to improve during separation and divorce unless they learn more effective skills.”

Click the link below to read more:


Out of every ending, there is a new beginning

Out of Every Ending

Intro: The sixth phase of grief for couples and families after divorce bring meaning and renewal.

By Hiram Rivera-Toro & Karen Shipley

Entering autumn is a time of goodbyes.  Of saying farewell to summer and all the special memories the season brings:  family get togethers, backyard Bar B Q’s, beach outings, and long road trips.  September 22, 2020, however, marks the passage of a summer that never was:  cancelled proms and graduation ceremonies, June weddings rescheduled, and sheltering at home instead of hanging out.  COVID has rendered our lives unrecognizable as we come to realize there’s no going back to the way it was.  The past is lost, and the future is uncertain.

Parents facing divorce is much like facing Autumn in the time of COVID.  It produces “anticipatory anxiety”, that feeling of dread that accompanies unwelcome change.  It is part of a painful divorce experience that, in many ways resembles the type of grief associated with tremendous trauma and loss.  Professionals trained in the behavioral sciences identify this as the Grief Cycle (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, MD),  which include five distinct emotions and thoughts: denial, anger, depression, bargaining (often experienced as wishful thinking, what if’s, and “only If I had . … Read More “Out of every ending, there is a new beginning”

Dealing with the Fear in a Divorce

Fear in Divorce

By Bart Carey | Originally posted on

All of the emotions that we see during the course of the breakdown of a marriage and the divorce process boil down to fear. I do not say that from my own expertise but from what I have heard over and over again from my colleagues in the mental health profession.

The first victim of any marriage that is going south is communication. As communication breaks down, people cannot solve problems together anymore. So, what they do is out of frustration and they start taking unilateral action.  However, because we are in a relationship, what you do affects me.  This is when the fear sets in. You lose control and you do not know what’s going to happen next and you don’t understand why your spouse is doing this to you.

This is when the fears arise and what it leads to is a tit for tat situation. It leads doing something that will make me feel like I am back in control of the situation. This back and forth starts to happen and it evolves. All of this happens before the client comes to us in the family law arena. This … Read More “Dealing with the Fear in a Divorce”