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.
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.
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 effect of divorce on children and the benefits of the Collaborative Divorce approach were recently featured in the community news publication Stu News Laguna. Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County member Patrice Courteau was interviewed and provided her insight and expertise on lessening the negative effects of divorce on children, particularly teenagers who are not always considered as vulnerable as younger children.
Why do so many people behave so poorly when they separate and divorce? You know what I mean. As people choose to separate and divorce, as we get caught up in emotions and conflict, we say and do things that, in our everyday lives we’d never do or say.
Worse, this behavior is often condoned, counseled and/or supported by well-meaning family friends and even professionals. We fight for control or justification by speaking to and treating our children’s mother or father in ways we’d never condone under any other circumstance. We’d certainly never teach our children such behavior is acceptable, except they actually are learning from observing what we do.
This reality became personal for me when after a number of years as a litigator, I experienced my own divorce. I learned that divorce is not a legal process. It is a life experience.
Divorce is just as much a life transition as marriage. Divorce is not about the division of property; it is about the division of lives.
Closure rarely comes with the decree of dissolution issued by the court. Closure can come more easily through Collaborative Divorce, where a team of Collaborative professionals helps you to facilitate peacemaking in a private, respectful process out of court instead of waging war in a courtroom.
Depending upon the needs of the transitioning couple, various professionals are selected to be part of the team assisting spouses in a healthy positive transition from their lives together into two separate households. One of these professionals is the Divorce Coach, a licensed mental health professional who is a specialist with clinical experience in human behavior and family systems. We help families learn new skills in conducting themselves in times of stress during the Collaborative Divorce process.
Our role as Divorce Coaches during a Collaborative Divorce is assist people through the transition process, to provide a soft landing spot for clients to deal with the range of emotions that are inherent in any marital breakup. Coaches can help you to determine what is truly … Read More “The Role of a Collaborative Divorce Coach”
by Brian Don Levy, Esq., Collaborative Attorney & Mediator
The case history: John first came to see me looking for an attorney to represent him in his divorce case in family court. This is the most important choice he will have to make in the entire divorce process: choosing the process for his divorce case.
As a firm believer in the Collaborative Divorce Process, we discussed why John should consider the Collaborative Divorce process, which is part of every initial divorce consultation – when I meet with clients – I discuss divorce process options.
John then disclosed he had already been in mediation with some of my legal colleagues. John’s wife, Mary, withdrew from the process. He was distrustful of the process and not inclined to give it another try.
In spite of John and Mary’s failure, I still believed the Collaborative Process would serve them well. Nearly a year later, the divorce case was successfully concluded through the Collaborative Process.
Members of Collaborative Divorce Solutions of Orange County had a wonderful opportunity to train with Vicki Carpel Miller and Ellie Izzo, Collaborative mental health professionals from Scottsdale, Arizona. Miller and Izzo discussed how people going through divorce are often in a “fog” of confusion and paralysis. Our job as competent and compassionate Collaborative professionals is to help each of the spouses to “recover” through what we hope will be a transformative process through Collaborative Practice.
How does this happen? By the use of a cohesive and skilled team of Collaborative professionals—attorneys, mental health, and financial professionals– who can alert you, educate you, and bring you out of the chaos and into the sunlight. This can be done by identifying the different phases of transition and encourage the following stages of recovery:
Recovery Mode: Burned out, over stimulated. Trying to be productive is hard. Transition by focusing on the basics like adequate sleep, water, exercise, the comfort of friends, etc.
Although divorce rates in the United States have seen a decrease in the last decade, divorce rates for couples over 50 have doubled. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, in 2010, one out of every 20 people in the U.S. who divorced was over the age of 65! Now, with the retirement of the “Baby Boom” generation (persons born between 1946 and 1967), the numbers of divorcing seniors is expected to escalate. This phenomenon is often referred to as “gray divorce.”
Some reasons for this increase in gray divorce include the following:
There’s no longer a social stigma for seniors divorcing.
Seniors are living longer and are generally healthier.
Our culture promotes happiness.
A few years ago, a Chicago area billboard advertised divorce with a message that life was too short to be miserable.
Are you a senior and contemplating divorce? Have you helped a parent, colleague or friend who was in their 50s, 60s, or older get through their divorce? Does it make sense financially for a senior married couple to divorce?