Tag Archives: Collaborative Divorce

What is a Divorce Coach and Why Do I Need One?

Divorce Coach and Spouse Talking About Divorce - Collaborative Divorce of Orange County

The Divorce Coach: A Vital Member of the Professional Collaborative Team

As has been proven, the collaborative model works so well because all of the members of the collaborative team play an equally-critical role in the success of the collaborative process. We know that emotions can run high during a divorce. We also know that emotions can get in the way of rational thinking, and the ability to access the cognitive areas of our brain, which is critical for effective problem-solving. Divorce Coaches are best-suited to help clients move past the emotion of a given impasse, and past the high emotions of the divorce itself, and to help clients focus on realistic options to obtain a more favorable outcome for their families.

What is the Role of a Divorce Coach?

A Divorce Coach is a licensed, mental health professional who has specialized training in Collaborative Divorce and Mediation. The Divorce Coach is a co-equal member of the clients’ Collaborative Divorce Team. In a full Collaborative Team, each spouse has a Divorce Coach. In some cases, clients choose to share one Divorce Coach to assist each of them through the collaborative divorce process or mediation.

The Divorce Coach helps clients translate … Read More “What is a Divorce Coach and Why Do I Need One?”

Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know

Perhaps you have already tried counseling. Sadly nothing has worked. One or both of you have decided on divorce.

If you decide to divorce the most important next decision you will make for your family is what process to choose.

Divorce has two tracks and they operate simultaneously. There is the Business Track and the Emotional Track. If the Emotional Track is not handled well it can easily knock the Business Track off course, create enormous damage to your family, including your children, as well as cost you more money and time.

The Business Track generally involves attorneys and financial specialists. The Emotional Track benefits from the expertise of a well trained and experienced Divorce Coach.

In most places, there are four ways to get divorced. Unfortunately, many people only know about two options.

  • Get an aggressive attorney and fight it out
  • Try to do it yourself.

These two choices above carry significant risks.

  • Trying to maneuver your way through a complex legal system without professional guidance can be costly.
  • Family Law can be confusing and it is easy to make mistakes.
  • Hiring lawyers to fight it out can become a war. There will be winners and losers in
Read More “Thinking about Divorce? This Is What You Need to Know”

The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce

In high conflict litigated cases, a Judge will often appoint Minor’s Counsel in order to assist them in determining orders that are in the best interests of the child or children of the marriage. Minor’s Counsel is an attorney who represents the children. They are not a therapist or a custody evaluator, however they will gather evidence to present arguments to the Court as to what orders are best for their client or clients [the children]. Minor’s counsel is able to access the confidential records for the child such as medical records, educational records or any records from therapists that have been treating the child.

When I have been in the role of Minor’s Counsel, I try to meet with the child in a neutral setting such as a park or a setting that will be comfortable for them. If I know that they like animals, I may bring one of my dogs with me to the first meeting. My goal in the first meeting is to provide the child with a safe space so that they can talk to me. In most litigated cases, the child has been exposed to the conflict of the parents for a long time. … Read More “The Role of Minor’s Counsel in Litigation and in Collaborative Divorce”

Arbitration and Mediation in California: What’s The Difference in These Forms of Dispute Resolution?

Divorced - She Got Half

by Diana L. Martinez
Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, West Coast Law & Mediation, APC

As a family law lawyer, I really look forward to my time on duty to volunteer at Riverside County Superior Court for VSC (Voluntary Settlement Conference) day. It is offered two Fridays per month and is THE most successful mediation program in the nation with an over 90 percent success rate!

Why? Because, in order to be a mediator on this panel, you must have the highest training and qualifications as both a family law lawyer and as a mediator. Not only do we donate our time, we must be in practice at least 10 years and have hundreds of hours of mediation training and practice under our belts. Other family law mediation programs that either do not have a structured program with high mediator qualifications, or that pay retired judges to do this work, enjoy a success rate below 60 percent.

Judges have an incredibly difficult job. It takes very specific skill sets to be a good judge. But being a talented judge does not, in and of itself, make you a good mediator.

I also volunteer as a fee arbitrator in attorney-client fee disputes … Read More “Arbitration and Mediation in California: What’s The Difference in These Forms of Dispute Resolution?”

Diana L. Martinez and Tracy McKenney Receive Eureka Award

Statewide award honors Collaborative Practice professionals

Media Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR 619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

(Irvine, California) – Family law attorney Diana L. Martinez and financial professional Tracy McKenney were honored as recipients of the 2017 Eureka Award, bestowed annually by Collaborative Practice California. Martinez and McKenney received their awards at Conference XII held in Redondo Beach, California. McKenney’s award was bestowed posthumously; she served as CDSOC president before her death due to cancer in September 2016.

The Eureka Award recognizes and honors those who “have made significant contributions and demonstrated an abiding dedication to establishing and sustaining Collaborative Practice in California.”

Diana L. Martinez is a committed Collaborative professional who has tirelessly served the California Collaborative community for many years. Ms. Martinez has devoted 100 percent of her family law practice to out-of-court dispute resolution including Collaborative Practice since 2007. She is passionate about educating others about the benefits of Collaborative Practice through personal contact. Ms. Martinez is a noted trainer and educator for legal, financial, and mental health professionals locally and nationwide on family law topics including Collaborative Practice, confidentiality, cultural competency, and ethics and best practices. She has presented to state and local bar associations and legal … Read More “Diana L. Martinez and Tracy McKenney Receive Eureka Award”

John Denny takes Collaborative Practice leadership role

John Denny speaks to delegates at the 2017 Collaborative Practice California conference. Photo: David Kuroda

Will serve as 2017-2018 Collaborative Practice California Board President

Media contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA 619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

(Irvine, California) – Orange County family law attorney John Denny, member and past president of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County, was installed as president of Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal), the statewide organization for Collaborative Practice groups, at its annual conference in Redondo Beach, California on Sunday, April 30.

Individual members of the practice groups include Collaborative lawyers, mental health practitioners, financial specialists, and other professionals. The Collaborative Process is being used in family law, probate law, trusts and estates, and other civil law areas.

CP Cal’s mission is to unify, strengthen and support the Collaborative Practice community and to increase public awareness of the Collaborative Process throughout California.

“My goal during my tenure as Board President is to spread the word about the many benefits of Collaborative Practice in family law, civil matters, and trusts and estates,” said Denny. “Californians who must address legal or financial matters will benefit knowing about their Collaborative options for working through these critically important and sometimes contentious issues. They can resolve even the most difficult disputes while still preserving personal relationships with … Read More “John Denny takes Collaborative Practice leadership role”

Why Is Divorce So Stressful?

Stressed Out

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

“There are few blows to the human spirit so great as the loss of someone near and dear.” ~ John Bowlby, M.D.

The Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale indicates that divorce is the second highest stressor for humans, second only to the death of a spouse.  Why is divorce so stressful?

When we view divorce through the lens of British psychologist, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby’s attachment theory, it helps us understand the reason why divorce is so stressful.  Attachment theory states that we humans have a biological predisposition to form attachment bonds (strong emotional ties) with significant others to have a secure haven and safe base where we can thrive and return for support and comfort during times of need, stress, and crisis.

We form these attachment bonds via our relationships with other human beings who are of primary importance to us.  Indeed, Dr. Dan Siegel, Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, states, “Relationships are the most important part of our having well-being in being human.  It’s that simple.  And it’s that important.”

From birth to death, throughout the human life cycle, attachment bonds ensure our safety, security and even survival, and these … Read More “Why Is Divorce So Stressful?”

Orange County Collaborative Professionals Contribute Expertise at California Conference

Twelve members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County contributed their professional expertise to the annual Collaborative Practice California (CP Cal) Conference XII, held in Redondo Beach, California from April 28 – 30.

Cathleen Collinsworth, a CP Cal Delegate for 2017-2018 and a workshop presenter, said, “This year’s theme of ‘Harnessing the Energy’ came true. The energy was very evident throughout the entire weekend. It is my hope those of us who attended can keep that energy going throughout the coming year.”

Also presenting workshops were Bart Carey, Patrice Courteau, Dr. Carol Hughes, and Diana L. Martinez.

CSDOC member and Orange County based family law attorney John Denny received the gavel from outgoing CP Cal President Lisa Zonder, and will serve as CP Cal President for 2017-2018. Also serving with Denny on the board of directors is Diana L. Martinez.

Collinsworth expressed her desire on behalf of the conference attendees to continue collaborating together in their daily work, as well as their daily lives, and continue to educate all they meet on the value of peacemaking.

Why a Collaborative Pre-nup Makes Cents

Before you get married, getting a prenuptial agreement can lay the foundation for a solid marriage. If a divorce does occur, it helps lessen the trauma on your family and lowers the costs.

by Suanne I. Honey
Attorney at Law, CFLS, Mediator and Collaborative Attorney

Sorry for the silly pun when this is such a serious topic. Seriously, though, pre-nuptial agreements are hot topics which give rise to many emotions.

“It paints the Devil on the wall.”

“It is anticipating failure of the marriage.”

“If he or she really loved me, this would not be necessary.”

“I am uncomfortable talking about finances.”

The list can go on and on. Sometimes emotions are an unnecessary waste of energy. Other times emotions have some benefits, even negative emotions. For example, fear in a dark alley in a dangerous neighborhood will cause you to be zealously vigilant about your surroundings which will lead you into taking appropriate steps for your safety … much like the pre-nuptial agreement itself.

Unfortunately, statistics today are not favorable for a lasting marriage. If and when there is a decision to get divorced, the person you once loved turns into the enemy. There is often a total lack of trust at the time of a divorce. There are fights over money, property, and other issues creating stress for both partners. This stress almost always filters down to the children.

Collaborative Law … Read More “Why a Collaborative Pre-nup Makes Cents”

Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference

Orange County Collaborative Practice professionals will share their expertise with colleagues in April at the annual Collaborative Practice California Conference XII in Redondo Beach.

Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County (CDSOC) are in demand as professional education panelists and seminar leaders throughout Fall 2017 due to their expertise and experience working with a diverse array of Orange County clients in the Collaborative approach to divorce.

“Many collaborative professionals are committed to continuing professional education in order to provide the best service to our clients,” said Dr. Carol Hughes, CDSOC member and workshop leader. “The annual conference of Collaborative Practice California is one venue for us to do this.

“We CDSOC members are honored to be contributing to the further growth of our Collaborative colleagues throughout the state. Ultimately, the reward is offering better options to clients who want to avoid the trauma, time and expense of a litigated divorce or other disputes,” added Dr. Hughes.

Collaborative Practice California presentations include:

Collaborative Family Lawyer and Mediator Bart Carey, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist Dr. Hughes, Ph.D., LMFT, and Financial Specialist Cathleen Collinsworth, CDFA™, MAFF™ will facilitate an advanced seminar titled “Grand Rounds for Collaborative Practitioners.”

The workshop format introduces … Read More “Experts Contribute to Best Practices at Collaborative Practice California Conference”