Starting February 2018: Convenient New Time for Divorce Options Workshop

Thanks to your feedback, our Divorce Options workshops now run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon the first Saturday of each month. Photo: Camera4U/Creative Commons License

San Diego County residents considering divorce tell the Collborative Family Law Group of San Diego our “Divorce Options” workshops helped answer their difficult questions about divorce, and provided the guidance they needed to help them make the right choices for their family.

The single drawback to our workshops: they needed to start earlier to take up less of their valuable weekend time.

We hear you! Starting on Saturday, February 3, Divorce Options workshops start at 9 a.m. and end no later than 12 noon, allowing you to have more of your Saturday available for other activities.

Thanks to your feedback, our Divorce Options workshops now run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon the first Saturday of each month. Photo: Camera4U/Creative Commons License

Thanks to your feedback, our Divorce Options workshops now run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon the first Saturday of each month. Photo: Camera4U/Creative Commons License

The next Divorce Options workshop is scheduled on Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the same location, Torrey Plaza Business Park, 11622 El Camino Real, Suite 100, San Diego, California, 92130. The building is next to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse at the intersection of Route 56 and Interstate 5. See a map here.

Cost is $25 per person. RSVP and reserve your seat here.

Divorce Options™ will help you understand and manage the legal, financial and emotional aspects of this challenging life transition.

Divorce Options™ will provide you with information about the various options available to you for ending your marriage without damaging family relationships.

Divorce Options™ will help you take control of your divorce and move forward with your life, with guidance from expert family law attorneys, financial professionals, and counselors, all with special training in Collaborative Divorce and other no-court divorce methods.

Members of the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego can help you explore your options and make informed decisions about the right process to get to your desired outcomes at our informational Divorce Options workshops.

Divorce Options™ workshops cover the following topics:

Different approaches to divorce including:

  • Self-representation (Pro per, or “do-it-yourself”)
  • Mediation
  • Collaborative Practice
  • Litigation

Key legal and financial considerations of divorce including:

  • Spousal support, alimony and child support
  • Separate and community property
  • Tax consequences of divorce
  • Legal and physical custody

How to manage the emotional consequences of divorce including:

  • Impact of separation and divorce on children
  • Talking to your children about divorce
  • Preserving family relationships
  • Your emotional health and stress management

Workshops are open to all individuals and couples in California who are contemplating separation or divorce whether married, domestic partners or cohabiting; whether same or opposite gender; and with or without children.

Becoming more knowledgeable can go a long way to ease the anxiety about your divorce, and allows you to take control of your future.

For additional information call Divorce Options at (858) 472-4022 or email at sandiegodivorceoptions@gmail.com

Reserve your seat today! RSVP for our next workshop here.

About the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego

CFLG San Diego’s members work together to learn, practice, and promote collaborative processes for problem-solving and the peaceful resolution of family law issues, with an eye toward preserving the emotional, as well as the financial, assets of the family. Its goal is to transform the resolution of family law issues through respectful, collaborative processes that protect the integrity and health of family relationships and eliminate the need for families to resort to litigation.

SDVoyager Feature: Lynn Waldman on Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is featured in a new profile Q&A with Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego board president Lynn Waldman on SDVoyager.com, a platform whose mission statement aligns with our own in many ways: “Our mission is build a platform that fosters collaboration and support for small businesses, independent artists and entrepreneurs, local institutions and those that make our city interesting.  We want to change the way people spend their money – rather than spending it with the big, cookie-cutter corporations we want them to spend their money with the independent, creative, local entrepreneurs, small businesses and artists.”

Lynn answered questions about the natural of Collaborative Divorce and its many benefits for families.

“Some of our proudest moments include when couples come together and are able to make decisions about how they wish to proceed with their divorce; they determine how to share assets and their children,” said Waldman. “With coaching, clients are supported in communicating with one another. Clients may find themselves at an impasse. Through the support of their attorney and coach, they are able to look more deeply at their fears and consider the fears of their spouse, often allowing for movement on a previously intractable issue. Couples who could not have discussions previously, are now able to make proposals and talk about options; they learn to listen, they feel validated as they are heard by their soon to be ex-spouse, and by their team of professionals.”

Read the entire Q&A feature at SDVoyager.com.

 

What About The Kids?

by Dr. Debra Dupree, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Relationships That Matter

Dr. Debra Dupree

You’ve made the decision to divorce. It’s been agonizing but a decision that had to be made. Now, what about the children? Never in your wildest dreams did you expect to bring children into the world so they could live in two different households. Where do you begin? What’s in their best interests? How will they be affected?

Tip #1: Even though you are at odds with the other parent, crafting a joint message is critically important.

Pull no punches here. There are plenty of websites that offer good sound guidance to parents on how to tell the children and what to expect at different ages. Here’s what Psychology Today has to offer.

The most important tip here is to assure them these are adult differences. Place no blame and never tell the children if there has been an affair or other adult misbehavior. Those are adult issues, not children issues.

Tip #2: Children respond differently to divorce depending on their age and maturity. Here is a breakdown by age:

Some common issues that surface for younger children include fear of abandonment, self-blame for the divorce, the need for reassurance, conflicting loyalties, and fantasies about parents reuniting.

Older school-age children are often angry, embarrassed about their parents’ chaos, often take sides, experience depression, experiment with drugs and alcohol to escape the home pressures. How you support and cooperate with the other parent in helping teens through the transition is crucial.

Regardless of the age, what all children need are consistency, stability and predictability.

And, don’t think the impact of divorce stops there! The young adult, ages 18 to 25, often have the most difficulty with their parents’ divorce as the life they’ve known is shattered through divorce. Studies suggest that adult children of divorce are less likely to attend or complete college, are more likely to be unemployed or on welfare, are more likely to have problematic relationships with parents and siblings, and have more trouble forming their own marital relationships. So do your homework and be prepared.

Divorce is difficult on children no matter their age. Photo: Michael “Mike” L. Baird/Creative Commons license

Tip #3: How parents handle their divorce is the single most contributing factor to how children adjust.

We’ve just taken a look at how children react to divorce differently at different ages. One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to develop a structured parenting plan that is predictable (no surprises or frequent changes) and consistent. There is already enough turmoil going on during the transition into two households. You are most likely frazzled and on edge. Having a schedule the kids can rely on helps stabilize the anxiety that can come with change. Using daycare and school as places for transitions, rather than directly from one parent home to the other, allows the kids to go through a normal day just like any other kid in school. It is also reduces the anxiety that comes from leaving one parent for the other.

It is critical that parents learn to disengage from what was their intimate marital relationship and re-engage in the business of parenting (like two professional partners working through business decisions). It might sound odd, but over 20 years of experience working with families in divorce proves this shift in mindset between the adults in the divorce is essential for minimizing the negative effects of divorce on children. After all, the divorce is ending the marital relationship between two adults, but it does not end the parent-child relationship that is intended to go on forever.

Now is the time for parents to get help through short-term counseling, educational programs, or coaching on how to parent in a post-divorce world. It is different! Children need structure and they need both parents in their lives, just not at the same time in a post-divorce world. They will adapt but much of it has to do with how the adults manage their lives and interactions with others, including new significant others.

The bottom line: divorce is a tough road to follow. Take a good look at ALL your options for recovery, both inside and outside of the marriage. And, if divorce is the only option, choose Alternative Dispute Resolution such as Collaborative Divorce or mediation as the route to follow, as this offers the greatest potential for recovery.

Dr. Debra Dupree is a forensic mental health professional, licensed as a Child and Family Therapist in 1986 and a Credentialed Mediator in 1994. She obtained her Doctorate in Psychology, specializing in Marriage and Family Systems, in 2014. Debra has an extensive background spanning more than 30 years helping people understand their communication dynamics, belief systems, and impact on those relationships that matter. She is a member of the Southern California Mediation Association as well as the San Diego Family Law Bar Association.

Your Pre-Divorce Holiday Season Coping Guide

There are many unanswered questions that you may face in the New Year, but for now coping with the reality is a challenge.

There are many unanswered questions that you may face in the New Year, but for now coping with the reality is a challenge.

by Lynn Waldman, LCSW

Have you been facing this holiday season with a mix of emotions; on one hand, hoping things will get better in your relationship, while at the same time dreading another holiday feeling stuck, empty, alone and wondering why you stay?

Suppose part of you has decided you are going to leave your marriage, but you need to get

Lynn Waldman, LCSW

Lynn Waldman, LCSW

through this holiday season for yourself and for the sake of your children. There are many unanswered questions that you may face in the New Year, but for now coping with the reality is a challenge. Staying calm in front of family, friends and children may be one of your goals.

Clients often struggle with how to make the best of things until they can leave their relationship. One coping strategy that works for clients begins with letting go of expectations. Letting go of hoping things will change or get better or that you will feel differently. Sometimes it is a relief to just accept things as they are. With acceptance comes a willingness to let things unfold and be as they are, as opposed to a sense of willfulness and of trying to change things we have no control over. To feel the willingness of accepting things as they are, try sitting with your arms slightly outstretched, palms up, take a breath, and repeat to yourself, “it is what it is.”

Another coping strategy is to check into your thoughts. When we have difficult feelings, it is often due to a difficult thought lurking somewhere in our minds. We may not even be aware of the difficult thought. With the difficult thoughts and feelings we often engage in behaviors we may regret. Try and identify those thoughts and feelings. Naming feelings often releases us from the overwhelm. Also, ask yourself, “what else may be true besides my difficult thought?” Focus on the facts of the situation, and if you need more information, seek out professionals who may be able to help. Remember, just because we have a thought or a worry, does not mean it is true.

In going forward with your divorce, the Collaborative process is one that takes into consideration, not only the legal and financial aspects of your marriage, but also your emotions and the emotions of your family. A Collaborative divorce coach offers assistance with coping skills to help you manage through the transition of divorce while focusing on the best resolution for everyone.

While this holiday season may be the last you will spend under the same roof with your spouse and co-parent, you certainly will have many more holiday seasons to come. Making the best of this season may be the best gift you can give yourself and your children this year.

Can I Be Divorced Yesterday? Or is Slower Faster?

Thanks to your feedback, our Divorce Options workshops now run from 9 a.m. to 12 noon the first Saturday of each month. Photo: Camera4U/Creative Commons License

Photo: Camera4U/Creative Commons License

by Shawn Skillin, Esq.

I get calls all the time from one spouse who is in a great big hurry to get divorced. And that’s OK. But, the other spouse is often in exactly the opposite frame of mind. Why is that and how do you deal with it?  What does the law say?
Shawn Skillin
Let’s deal with the law first. In California, there is a mandatory six-month (181 day) waiting period before the court can terminate your marital status and make you single again. This is a mandatory waiting period. The six months starts when the Respondent is served or otherwise submits to the jurisdiction of the court, by filing a response or making a court appearance. The waiting period does not start when the petition is filed. Therefore, it will be at least six months before anyone can be single again.

In order to be divorced on the 181st day, you have to file your judgment package and your Marital Settlement Agreement with the court and give them time to process it. Because our California courts are backed up, none of this happens quickly and you should allow 8 to 20 weeks for your Judgment to be processed. That’s an additional two to five months!  In the meantime, you are still married. So as I always tell my clients, the wheels of justice turn, but they turn very slowly.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the waiting period, there is the issue of the “slow moving spouse.” In a divorce, it is not uncommon for one spouse to be in a bigger hurry than the other, who may be in no hurry at all.

The slower moving spouse is probably in a different part of the grief cycle than the faster-moving spouse. The end of a marriage is a great loss and both parties must grieve it.  The grief cycle is comprised of five phases: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Most people do not move through the process in this precise order. They move one step ahead, then two steps back, and will likely pass through one phase or another more than once.

In addition, everyone proceeds at a different speed and likely started the grief process at different points in time. The faster-moving spouse is likely to have already done most or all of their grief work and the slower moving spouse may just be getting started. The slower moving spouse may be stuck in denial or mired in depression. At this point, the slow moving spouse is not likely emotionally able to make the many significant decisions facing them in a divorce. They may seem unable to make any decisions at all. The spouse still processing their grief needs time, support, and maybe even some counseling to help him or her move forward.

If the faster-moving spouse tries to push the slower moving spouse ahead too quickly, the likely result is putting on the brakes and slowing down even more. The better plan: allow the process to proceed more slowly, so the other spouse is steadily moving forward. The slower moving spouse needs time to get to an emotional state of mind where he or she can take in, and process, information in order to make good decisions.

In other words, sometimes slower is faster when it comes to divorce.

The team approach of the Collaborative Divorce process works well in these situations. Divorce coaches can help each party in managing their own grief process and in understanding where the other party stands in his or her grief process. The attorneys can focus their attention on keeping the process moving forward legally at a pace agreeable to both parties.

 

Desensitizing, Brutalizing, And Degrading: Is This the Effect of Divorce Court?

Learn about your Divorce Options at our October 7 workshop.

by Mark Hill, Certified Financial Planner, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
and Ryan Fentin-Thompson, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Pacific Divorce Management

Divorce can be a dehumanizing experience, especially for children. Avoiding a court battle can help relieve some of the negative effects of divorce on the family.

Divorce can be a dehumanizing experience, especially for children. Avoiding a court battle can help relieve some of the negative effects of divorce on the family.

Oftentimes, a couple going through divorce is portrayed as angry, revengeful and resentful towards one another. While these feelings may be present we have found that the more prevalent sentiment for both parties is a feeling of sadness and sorrow. Despite any current animosity that may be felt towards one another, no one enters into marriage expecting to divorce, so there will always be some sense of loss.

From the outsider’s perspective, one might assume the hostility between the couple stems from the decision to divorce; however, more often, it is the process of divorce which produces these feelings. The litigation system drives people from sad to furious, furious to enraged, enraged to resentful. Open court is usually the worst place to negotiate the end of an intimate relationship. Not only is this a public forum but also it tends to place the focus on winning and losing which usually does not benefit the whole family.

mark-hill-photo-02One example I saw in my own practice was in a highly contested divorce where both husband and wife wanted to keep the family home. Since they could not reach agreement, the judge ordered the house sold, which had the result of taking the children away from their friends and requiring them to change schools based upon their parents’ new residency.

Even the best judges seldom have time to do more than render strictly legal based decisions which lack the creativity which families always need when facing divorce. I was struck by a recent TV commercial related to our current presidential election using the tagline “Our children are watching,” and thought how it also relates to divorce. Offspring of divorcing couples always learn a lot about relationships from how their parents behave throughout the process. My experience is that choosing the adversarial approach seldom improves such behavior.

It can be dehumanizing for the professionals involved as well. Most people go into this field from a desire to help families work through what is usually an incredibly difficult life event. Too often, we find the system forcing decisions that we know will not fit the needs of our clients. It undermines what motivates us to do this work and can distance us from our own sense of humanity and compassion. We in the field have all experienced cases where outcomes fall well short of what our hopes and expectations were at the point at which we were retained. Recent research has suggested divorce professionals pay an ongoing price for this, described as “vicarious trauma.”

Alternative dispute resolution allows many of the shortcomings of a traditional divorce to be addressed. Professionals are required to look for creative solutions that benefit the entire family rather than trying to advance the cause of one side. The clients are engaged and required to take responsibility for the decisions that are reached. In the case of Collaborative Divorce they do so with the resources of legal, financial, and mental health professionals together with them at the table. We have found that this provides the best opportunity for outcomes that avoid much of the negativity usually associated with divorce.

 

 

 

Not Your Parents’ Divorce: Hear Debra Caliguri on 1700 AM ESPN Radio

Listen to ESPN AM 1700 on August 4 for Real Talk San Diego with attorney Debra Caliguri about the benefits of Collaborative Divorce in San Diego

San Diego based family law attorney Debra Caliguri, member of the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego, will talk about Collaborative Divorce and other family law issues when she appears on the ESPN 1700 AM Radio program “Real Talk San Diego” with hosts Ryan White and Karen Kaseno on Thursday, August 4, at 1 p.m.

Debra will discuss challenges during divorce dealing with its impact on children from toddlers to teens to adult children, who all suffer from the effects of their parents’ divorce; how to preserve family relationships; and how to navigate the difficult financial issues. Listen to ESPN AM 1700 on August 4 for Real Talk San Diego with attorney Debra Caliguri about the benefits of Collaborative Divorce in San DiegoYou can listen online on the Real Talk San Diego website.

Four Tips For Healing After Divorce

by Julia M. Garwood, Certified Family Law Specialist
Garwood Family Law and Mediation

Allow yourself time to grieve and reflect after a divorce. San Diego mental health professionals in the Collaborative Family Law Group can help.

Allow yourself time to grieve and reflect after a divorce.

The divorce process can be grueling and cumbersome. The best way to allow yourself to heal is by starting fresh in order to move on and start the healing process. The following are just a few tips that can help you overcome divorce.

Julia Garwood, Family Law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, San Diego, Collaboartive Family Law Group of San Diego

1. Visualize what you want in your life.

When you have been in a long term relationship you may have put everyone else before yourself. It is time to change that! Put yourself first. Think about what it is you enjoy the most or what your interests are. Set new goals or simply work on old ones that you had set on the back burner. It is time to make those goals a reality. Decide what steps you need to take in order to achieve a goal and visualize yourself achieving that goal.

2. Open yourself up to new experiences.

Being independent can be a scary thought after committing yourself to someone and doing everything together as a couple. You are an independent man or woman. Let that inspire you.

You would be surprised at the amazing experiences that may come from saying “yes”. Open yourself up to a new hobby, a date with someone who may not be your type, a new cuisine, or even moving to a new neighborhood. The bottom line is allowing yourself to experience new things.

3. Allow yourself to grieve.

There is no handbook on how to approach life after a divorce. Everyone deals with it in their own way. Focus on yourself and make your well-being a priority. Your healing is the first step in rebuilding your life.

Too often, we deny ourselves the time to grieve. We allow everything to come in the way and bury the pain. Confront it. It is okay to be upset or hurt. It is part of the process.

Allow yourself the time to have those nights where you might just curl up with a pint of ice cream and cry. You are only human. These emotions are normal. Soon you will see the need to cry will fade away.

4. Reach out to other people.

You are not alone. There are others around you that can help. It may be a parent, a friend or even a co-worker. It does not mean you are weak. It shows you have the strength to acknowledge that you need help in order to heal and overcome divorce.