Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone whose relationships are forever changed by the shootings in Santa Barbara.

Blame abounds. Who or what is responsible? Video games, lax gun laws, a seriously flawed mental health system, garbage movies and video games, the parents, a kid suffering from Affluenza and narcissism?

Apparently, the shooter was a lost, lonely kid who we believe was mentally ill, but do we know his diagnosis? Schizophrenia? Antisocial Personality Disorder? Who knows? But his self-admitted ‘pining for his mother’ speaks volumes about the ugly seed growing in him. This guy experienced a lot of loss in his formative years.

Loss 1 – Parents moved him from Europe to the U.S. at age 5 = Loss of culture, home and possibly extended family

Loss 2 – Parents divorced at age of 6 = Loss of family, safety, and stability

Loss 3 – Dad quickly brought new woman into his life = Loss of hope of family reunification, loss of time with Dad

Loss 4 – Mom moved back to Europe = Loss of primary relationship…and hope.

Most kids, depending on their temperament, could handle this.

Instead of pointing all fingers at the shooter, we could take a look at a narcissistic society that lacks emphasis on commitment to marriage and family. I’m not blaming the parents for doing what most have done. Sometimes dissolution is unavoidable but in many or maybe even most cases we could make it work. Maybe we ought not to rely on the common thinking that we shouldn’t stay together for the kids. Maybe we should.

Here are a few suggestions for help in dealing with building a strong marriage, or helping kids cope when divorce is the only answer.

An evidence-based online program for kids whose parents are going through divorce. Children of Divorce – Coping with Divorce. Kids who take this course during their parent’s divorce, or maybe even after, have a far better chance at sustaining good mental health both now and into their adult lives. Highly Recommended

A helpful book on building a strong marriage: Take Back Your Marriage: Sticking Together in a World That Pulls Us Apart

Great gift for anyone having a baby:

Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love

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TN-217598_MarkB_BaerEsq_originalIn theory, it is best when parents with minor children are able to work out a custody and visitation arrangement on their own when they separate and/or divorce. After all, the matter involves their children/family and wouldn’t they know what is best for their particular situation? Not always!

I was recently representing a father of three (3) minor children in a divorce case in which he and his wife entered into an Agreement under which he would see his children every other Friday from 7:00 p.m. to Sunday at 4:00 p.m. He entered into this Agreement in Conciliation Court, which is the mediation program that parents are required to attend in Los Angeles County before going into court on a matter relating to child custody and visitation. For those who are unaware, lawyers are not permitted to participate in Conciliation Court.

Before my client ‘s Conciliation Court appointment, I warned him against entering into a Custody and Parenting Agreement that he would not be able to live with for a long time. As requested, my client contacted me as soon as he left the courthouse. During that conversation, he informed me that he had entered into a Conciliation Court Custody Agreement and Parenting Plan. As soon as he finished describing the terms of the Agreement, I asked him whether or not he realized that he would not see his children for twelve (12) days between each of his alternate weekend visits. I commented that most, if not all, of his children’s friends will see their fathers on a more frequent basis, regardless of marital status. I explained to him that his children will most likely assume that he sees them less than other father’s see their children because he loves them less and that this would most certainly negatively impact his relationship with them. After our conversation, he agreed with me that his children would most likely perceive their relationship with him in the way in which I had described, especially since he resided in close proximity to them. He then requested that I file an Objection to the Conciliation Court Agreement and Parenting Plan. As discussed in my article from the September/October edition of the San Gabriel Valley Psychological Association Newsletter, I informed him that the Court might refuse to acknowledge the Objection to that Agreement.

I immediately contacted his wife’s attorney, who had not yet been informed of the fact that they had reached an Agreement regarding the custody issues. I explained my concerns to him and he immediately acknowledged the problem and validated my concerns. I requested that he see if we could modify the Agreement to include some visitation during the week. He told me that he would discuss the matter with his client. Meanwhile, I filed an Objection to the Conciliation Court Agreement and Parenting Plan. As an additional complication, the hearing on this matter was scheduled for the next Court day and therefore it was virtually impossible to resolve the matter prior to that hearing. As a result, I suggested that everyone arrive at the Courthouse at 7:00 a.m. the following morning (1 ¾ hours before the scheduled hearing) in order to try and resolve the matter without judicial intervention. Everyone agreed to my proposal and we were able to settle the matter outside of Court. With the assistance of their attorneys, the parents were able to work out a parenting plan that suited their particular situation and which was in the best interest of the children.

After entering into that Agreement, which was signed off by the Court and made into an Order, I received a copy of the Conciliation Court Agreement and Parenting Plan which the Court also signed off on, even though we had subsequently resolved the matter differently and I had filed an Objection to that Agreement. Under the circumstances, the fact that the Court signed off on the Conciliation Court Agreement and Parenting Plan in that case is of no significance. However, it is indicative of the fact that courts tend to disregard Objections to such Agreements. Although I knew and had previously written about such concerns, it bothered me that courts sign off on Agreements entered into by parents which most certainly are not in the best interest of the children and will negatively impact the children’s relationship with one or both parents.

Over the years, I have come across many situations in which parents enter into Custody and Visitation Agreements which are clearly detrimental to the children. Nevertheless, the courts sign off on such Agreements because they are “Agreements.” On several occasions, I have seen parents with multiple children enter into Agreements whereby each parent would have 100% of the time with particular children of the relationship in order to “avoid conflict with the other parent and to protect the children from being exposed to such conflict.” In other words, rather than learning to co-parent, the parents decide that it is in the best interest of the children that they have a relationship with only one of the parents and that their relationship with their siblings in the other parent’s custody be severed. Such a parenting arrangement is by no means in the best interest of the children. Under such circumstances, the children not only need to deal with their parent’s divorce, but also with the loss of one parent and certain of their siblings. Although courts would never make such orders, they do sign off on such Agreements, thereby making them binding Orders of the court.

Thus, while it is best when parents with minor children are able to work out a custody and visitation arrangement on their own when they separate and/or divorce, some parents need assistance in determining what is in the best interest of the children. Without such assistance, parents can do things that are very detrimental to their children, often without even realizing it. Should Judge’s just sign off on such Agreements, without even addressing the possible consequences? Who protects the children from such parents?

If you have a child custody issue, please contact Pasadena Family Law attorney Mark B. Baer, Esq. at Mark B. Baer, Inc. a Professional Law Corporation.

By Caroline Choi, Family Law Attorney and Child Advocate, www.divorce-confidential.com
Anger, sadness, guilt, anxiety, grief and loss are just some of the various emotions that you may be experiencing as a result of your divorce. Due to this vortex of emotions, it’s not uncommon for you to act and behave in a way never imagined, nor should you beat yourself up about it. Can someone say “social media” as the new therapeutic emotional outlet?

However, acknowledging and being aware of your emotions during the divorce process is the first step in managing your emotions. And it is managing your emotions that will help you overcome some of the more difficult aspects of your divorce, not to mention it will also help you build a foundation for peace and harmony with your former spouse once the divorce is final. 

As a family law attorney, clients contact me constantly when they are having a difficult time resolving issues with their spouse. And while many of these issues are of significant importance, there are many times when these issues can be resolved without the assistance of a professional. Calling your attorney every time you experience a stressful event is extremely costly and does not lay a foundation for problem solving once the divorce is complete. That is why I encourage individuals to think creatively about how to resolve these issues on their own so that their well-earned money can be used for another useful purpose and not always towards attorney’s fees and costs. 

In my last blog post, I discussed some practical applications on how to cope with an impossible spouse during and after a divorce. Here, I am also going to discuss some practical applications on how to manage your emotions during the divorce process in hopes that it will help ease the difficult divorce process.

1. Flexible Thinking: Flexible thinking means that you don’t automatically reject what your former spouse may say when new ideas are discussed or decisions need to be made. Bill Eddy, President of the High Conflict Institute and author of several books related to high conflict divorce, explains that flexible thinking includes having the ability to think of several proposals for solving problems rather than just fighting for your first idea. This in turn results in making better decisions.

2. Check Yourself: It is always important to check yourself and your reactions to your spouse. Are you saying no because you’re angry and upset over what your spouse did to you during the divorce? Are you saying no to spite your spouse? Or are you making decisions based on the situation at hand and what is best for you and your family going forward? Ask these questions before you respond to your spouse. When you make decisions that are born out of a rational and calm thought-process, you may find that you are making better decisions. “Being able to focus on changing yourself and not trying to change the other person will make your life less frustrating and more successful” says Eddy.

3. Focus on the Big Picture: Look at the big picture and write your goals down on paper so that you can keep track of what you are hoping to accomplish at the end of your divorce and beyond. For example, if your goal is to be cost conscious, then you may think differently about constantly picking up the phone to call your attorney asking him or her to intervene on your behalf. If your goal is to make the divorce a peaceful and as seamless as possible transition for your children, you may think differently about how you react and respond to your spouse in front of your children. Focusing on your goals will help you avoid sweating the small stuff and focus on what’s really important.

With all of this being said, don’t beat yourself up when you are immersed with a sense of overwhelming emotion. Divorce is a difficult process and it is important to allow yourself to indulge in the emotions you are feeling during the process. Be sure to contact trusted family and friends and seek professional assistance from psychological experts if you need a safe place to process through your emotions. Do your best however to keep your emotions out of the divorce process because divorce is essentially a legal business transaction.

    

            Follow Caroline Choi on Twitter:             www.twitter.com/@carolineychoi        

                              

Roger LeyThis is an essay on compassionate divorce and the role of lawyers in the divorce or dispute resolution process. For the parties, the core of my system is to negotiate for the welfare of both sides.  For the lawyers, the core is to throw away the law books and let imagination help the lawyers find creative resolutions to their cases. 

Of course, there is nothing new under the sun, and there is probably nothing new about my ideas, but perhaps I have cobbled many ideas together in a way that hasn’t been expressed before. It is like the Gutenberg press: nothing new, but a new compilation of technology and ideas of the day.

I have experience in the legal field because I was a practicing lawyer in Seattle from 1971 to 2007, and I worked in the areas of criminal defense, divorce, bankruptcy, personal injury and many other areas of litigation. In 2007 I moved to Svensen, Oregon, a rural area outside Astoria, practiced here a little, and spent a lot of time thinking about dispute resolution. I also took training as a collaborative lawyer both in Seattle and in Oregon. In collaborative cases, lawyers and clients negotiate in person. They do that because stressed people tend to flare into argument but they stop when others are present. Thus, the lawyers’ desire to argue is tamped out, and the clients’ desire to blame is tamped out too. The lawyers and parties negotiate for what they want, rather than arguing about rights and liability. The lawyers agree to drop out if they cannot settle, which motivates the lawyers to succeed and stimulates candor.

I have some basic ideas or postulates about how people work and about how lawyers and the legal system work. These ideas are the basis for believing that benevolent divorce works. 

First, I believe that most people in a divorce have a deep down desire to be kind and beneficial to the departing spouse that is stronger than a desire to hurt the spouse or accumulate property.Oxytocin over testosterone!

Second, in any divorce where children are involved, the parties have a deep common interest in the children.  Usually the parties benefit the children when they act for the welfare of each other, and they hurt the children when they fight. 

Third, lawyer imagination is stimulated if they throw away the law books, stop thinking about their clients’ prospects in court, stop modeling warfare with the other lawyer, and let imagination work.  I have no basis for this in literature or elsewhere, but it works for me, and I believe it is extremely difficult to create imaginative resolutions to conflict while constantly preparing for war. 

Fourth, the value of an estate can be increased by the cooperation of the parties. For example, if the parties cooperate, they can manipulate their assets in such a way as to minimize taxes, and create more wealth for the former husband and wife.

Fifth, criminal lawyers are skilled at seeing an objective and driving both themselves and their clients to that objective.  [For example, sometimes a lawyer can negotiate a favorable plea if the client stops drinking.  But often clients are not good at changing their ways.  The lawyer drags the client to alcohol cessation classes; the lawyer cajoles the client into going to AA; the lawyer calls the client early in the morning to remind them to attend meetings; the lawyer is determined and eventually a manageable plea emerges.]  Further, and in spite of what I said before, criminal lawyers think simultaneously about preparing for war and creating imaginative solutions; that is, they defend aggressively and at the same time look for ingenious ways to enable their client to make an advantageous plea. These criminal lawyer skills provide a basis for cross training divorce and other lawyers in the art of encouraging clients to reach a goal the lawyer and client both want. 

Sixth, litigation is extremely expensive for both lawyers and clients, but in ways lawyers and clients often don’t see. The math is simple but many lawyers don’t consider it. As an example, a party may have an offer of $10,000 but wants $20,000.  If it is fair to say there is a 50% chance of that result, then the value of the claim is $10,000 “on the table” plus $10,000 more, less 50% because half the time the case will be lost, for a cash value of $15,000.  But the ultimate value is much less.  In a divorce, time consumed by litigation is time lost from life.  Just looking at tangibles, parties must devote valuable time attending to a divorce, and they must pay fees and costs.  The value of money a year from now is less than the value today.  Considering these burdens, the value of a resolution now is attractive compared to a larger amount somewhere in the future:  most people would not sacrifice a year of their lives to the Gods of litigation for a few more dollars.  One can guess at the chance of prevailing, that is, determine if there is a 50% chance of prevailing, by taking a hard, cold, realistic look at the amount a disinterested person would pay for the anticipated proceeds of the suit today.

Now some analysis of the legal profession:  Lawyers settle cases by predicting court results. They analyze cases, statutes, facts, rules and personalities, predict the result if the case goes to trial, and argue about their respective predictions. They settle on the basis of compared predictions. This is like preparing for war. Lawyers have done this for 800 years, and don’t easily abandon it. 

Lawyers are afraid to settle creatively because they are afraid to abandon possible court claims even for something that seems beneficial for both sides. This fear is reasonable. 

Divorce becomes estate planning. The lawyer, or hopefully both lawyers, think about the welfare not only of their own client but also of the welfare of the departing spouse. When the lawyers think about both clients, it naturally follows that they stop thinking about battle in court, and it naturally follows that they stop thinking about the rules, laws, cases and traditions that apply to court. That clears the lawyers to be imaginative, and creative settlement possibilities start to boil out of the legal mind. It’s as simple as that.    

The role of a court lawyer is to protect the property and limb of the client from abuse by a spouse. In this, the lawyer acts like private police by bringing abuse to the attention of the court, and the court protects the parties with its enforcement powers. The role of the court as the source of wisdom for dividing property and providing for children I believe came later in legal history. This essay walks away from the concept of the court as the “parent” who decides for the parties how their lives will be arranged. In some cases, courts are not necessary to act either as police or parent, and their role is to audit an agreement of the parties for possible abuse and then “sanctify” the agreement, sometimes until the parties pass away. 

Now, finally, how a lawyer can  assist a client to obtain a benevolent and divorce: the lawyer should first have a thorough discussion with the client to determine whether or to what degree the client wants to be benevolent to the departing spouse.  It is important to do this right away because it can be difficult to back away from court conflict once it starts. Lawyer and client may understand where the parties want to be when the divorce is done; they may understand where the parties want to be when their lives are over.  In this way the intentions of the parties evolve from fear and selfishness to benevolence and compassion. The lawyer should also determine whether there are “embedded” claims between the parties that are legitimate objects of recovery. For example, if one party has deliberately wasted assets, it is reasonable for the other party to ask for recompense, just like in any other arms length partnership situation. 

It is also important ethically for the lawyers to obtain a thoroughly vetted consent to whatever process the parties take. 

Divorce becomes estate planning.  The lawyer forgets all about the law of divorce, she or he forgets courtroom jousting, she or he forgets child support schedules, courthouse customs, and lets imagination work.  It’s as simple as that.  As an example, if the parties have children but want to live in different cities, this can be a terrible problem. The lawyer can consider both parties moving to the distant city, both moving to a different city, both staying put, or buying a giant Skype machine or other creative resolutions. 

The lawyer might engage a CPA or financial person to save money and increase the wealth of the parties.  For example, I once had a case with complicated assets and debts and mortgages, but the husband wanted to provide for the wife in old age.  Every lawyer knows about alimony, or maintenance, or spousal support, as it is called in different places, but I thought of long term care insurance and realized I knew nothing about it, had no idea what it cost, had no idea whether it is a good replacement for alimony, had no idea what tax consequences might exist.  This was a CPA problem, not a lawyer problem.  An estate planning lawyer might have skills similar to that of an accountant, and so a lawyer could fill the role of “financial person.”

The lawyer supervises negotiations and keeps the client on the track of arriving at the result that was thoroughly discussed in the beginning. The lawyer may have to be determined and tenacious because divorcing clients sometimes have incendiary conflicts.  Here criminal law skills might play, because criminal lawyers are often good in subtle ways at keeping a client on a track that leads to a beneficial disposition of their case.

It is of course true that both sides may not agree to the wisdom of cooperating.  However, even if one party insists on punitive or competitive goals, the sweet voice of reason tells all parties that a court solution is more expensive, often vastly more expensive, than a cooperative settlement.  And, as wise lawyers say, going to court is rolling the dice.  Surprising results are not surprising: a party may hope for more but end up with less.  To be repetitive, litigation means extended pain, and it means dropping normal activities to feed the dragon of litigation. Part of a lawyer’s job is to convince the other side of this, and it works some of the time… but not all the time. 

Other lawyers or other lawyer roles have to exist.  In my opinion, the lawyer should always have another lawyer on call to litigate in the event that hostilities break out.  The course of true separation does not always run smooth. Sometimes parties grab children and flee.  Both sides should be ready, unfortunately, to go from negotiation to war. In addition, there should be a lawyer skilled in translating whatever the parties may agree to into a final decree that is acceptable to a judge. This is more true the more unconventional an agreement may be. 

Once a resolution is reached, the lawyer should thoroughly compare the proposed resolution with a prognosis of what might happen in court.  This would be going from the imagination role to the role of negotiating on the basis of predicting the result of a court battle.   For example, if the parties agree to divide property instead of agreeing to a traditional schedule of payments, the lawyer should know the comparable worth of the different options. With that knowledge, the lawyer and client should thoroughly discuss the options so the client can make an informed choice whether to use an unconventional settlement. The lawyer should also review any agreement to make sure it is understandable and viable from a legal standpoint for the many years it may be in effect. 

The parties and lawyers may want to negotiate some claim of right by one party against another.  In this my idea is possibly different from collaborative law, where the parties are supposed to negotiate for what they want, without regard for fault or liability. 

I believe that if the customs of the legal world changed divorce would become a humane process, and the parties would end up on good terms for the remainder of their lives.  Lawyers would be happy because they would be helping their clients.  Lawyers and former spouses would be happy to see each other when they run into each other on the street. Lawyers starved for work might be able to find work by pioneering benevolent settlement of divorce cases.  It is just possible that these concepts might spill over to other areas of law too.  

As a postscript, I have found it very difficult to apply these ideas.  Some clients are receptive.  Most lawyers I have seen are not.  Some people I know create benevolent forms of divorce for themselves without even thinking about it as such; for example, providing for health insurance for a departing spouse is a prime example of divorcing couples caring for each other. 

I hope lawyers and mediators will consider the ideas I have expressed here.

 

Roger B. Ley was a litigation lawyer in Seattle from 1971 to 2007 and represented clients in business, divorce, malpractice,
criminal and other practice areas.  He learned about mediation and collaborative law starting about 2005. In 2007, he relocated to
Oregon, near Astoria, and practiced law on a limited basis there. 
He developed my ideas about compassionate or benevolent divorce in the course of representing clients in coastal Oregon.  The idea that clients should think about where they want to be when their life is ending came from attending the funeral of a dear friend in Seattle.  His former wife, with whom he had conducted a bitter divorce for years, was there,  along with his current wife.  The idea of avoiding focus on preparation for courthouse conflict  as a means of invoking imagination comes from personal experience with clients.  He has not located any literature on the role of imagination in conflict resolution. 

billeddyby Bill Eddy

Movie review Part 1

[I am writing this movie review “Part 1” before I have seen the movie Divorce Corp which will be released on Jan. 10, 2014. I have just seen some trailers and received some inside tips.]

I was pleased – but also concerned – when I learned that a movie about Family Court reform was coming out. Why pleased? Because I’m a family lawyer and family counselor who practices Divorce Mediation. I want everyone to know that Divorce Mediation is a better way to make divorce decisions – for most people. Not because Family Court is evil, but because it has an adversarial structure which is designed around one party “losing” and the other party “winning.” This may be good for deciding criminal guilt, business disputes and some public policies, but not good for working out parenting relationships and household finances after a breakup. I had hopes that this movie would help point this out.

I represented clients in Family Court for 15 years and I also give seminars to family law judges for the National Judicial College. I know that most judges and family lawyers try to overcome the adversarial structure to truly help families make good decisions out of court, or good decisions in court – especially to help the children of parents in conflict. I also know that about 80% of people getting divorced never go to court and settle their divorces or parenting disputes with out-of-court agreements – such as in Divorce Mediation or Collaborative Divorce – based on family laws and guidelines that have been well-established over the past 40 years.

For this reason – the inability to resolve issues based on established standards – and because of my mental health training, I know that one or both parties in many (most?) Family Court cases today have a mental health issue that is unrecognized – such as a personality disorder, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, depression – disorders which are often characterized by denial and blaming others. This reflects the growth of these problems in the larger society today. These are not problems unique to Family Court, but Family Courts need to recognize them.

Sadly, Family Courts provide a forum for people with such problems today (in contrast to when I began practicing law), especially because family lawyers, judges and other professionals are not trained in identifying mental health issues, get stuck arguing about them out of ignorance and there are few mental health resources for treating them even if they were properly identified. Family courts were never designed to diagnose and treat mental health issues, and the adversarial process is guaranteed to fail at it. Reforms need to involve more mental health training for professionals and more conflict resolution skills for clients to help them make decisions out of court in non-adversarial settings.

Why am I concerned about the movie? Because I have been informed that Divorce Corp does not focus on the structure of court, but focuses on a more shrill “all-or-none” view of family court, family lawyers and other professionals. By seeming to claim that Family Court judges think they are God (a few, but not most), that family lawyers are all greedy (some, but not most) and that most allegations of abuse are false (many are but many aren’t – but the adversarial process makes it harder to figure these out), this movie is likely to create a lot of noise and anger, but very little useful dialog and reform. By making it personal and using “all-or-none” thinking – rather than talking about the mental health issues which dominate today’s family court hearings – it misses a great opportunity to promote useful reforms.

[I’ll talk about the reforms that I believe are needed, after I see the movie – in Movie Review Part 2 next week.]

—————————————————–

Bill Eddy is a lawyer (Certified Family Law Specialist), a child and family therapist (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) and the Senior Family Mediator at the National Conflict Resolution Center. He is the President of the High Conflict Institute, which provides training worldwide in managing “high-conflict people” in legal disputes, workplace disputes, healthcare disputes and educational disputes. He is the author of several books, including The Future of Family Court: Structure, Skills and Less Stress. www.HighConflictInstitute.com.

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

254x331With the holidays right around the corner,  it may be the perfect time for you and your co-parent to try KidsOnTime.com, the most advanced shared parenting calendar on the market.

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About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.

Disarming the “D” Word!

November 5, 2013

by: Janie McQueen

“Kinder Divorce” Programs Gain Steam in Georgia, Pave Way To Less Costly, More Family Friendly Divorces. Few live their lives untouched by divorce.

We see the gloomy statistics. We attend lovely weddings with crossed fingers, knowing half will fail. And when someone close to us announces a split, we recoil, as if in fear it’s catching.

But the increasingly land-mined divorce scape is far more harsh—and expensive–than most suspect. A Forbes Woman article this week, reported the chief concern in today’s divorces—even above finding an attorney–is the price tag. Even survey respondents who reported child custody issues as their chief concern, ranked cost a close second.

Unprepared spouses, regardless of means, can face alarming fees upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 for an average divorce, according to Kelley Linn, whose Atlanta-based consumer advocacy organization, Transition Resource, LLC, offers practical help and divorce budgeting tools including a user-friendly workbook, that also helps structure long-term debt.

“Long, drawn-out divorce cases can be very costly on a family emotionally as well as financially,” Linn said. “A family who can move swiftly through the process, achieving a fair settlement and parenting plan, can minimize the conflict between divorcing parties and set the stage for a healthy co-parenting environment post-divorce.”

Lee W., a Georgia resident who participated in the Transitions Resource program, reported a fundamental difference between Transitions and other divorce programs is its hands-on guidance to navigate the tricky legal and financial waters of divorce. She cited the user-friendly workbook as her most valuable tool.

“The Transitions workbook is direly needed in a world where there are many self-help resources to manage the emotional pain of a divorce, but a lack of resources to assist with the divorce logistics,” she said.

Indeed, the financial and emotional components of divorce go hand in hand. “If you know the resources that can substantially lower the conflict, keep money in the pockets of the family, and wrap up legal proceedings in a timely fashion rather than drawing it out to grueling lengths, significantly impact the experience and quality of life of all involved,” Linn said. “It is not so scary, not so risky and emotionally tumultuous.”

A key component of Transitions Resource is educating those who find themselves dealing most closely with divorcing couples—not the attorneys, but the therapists. Transitions Resource has partnered with 26 professional licensed practitioners to date to bring Post-Divorce Support Groups to Georgia. A 12-hour continuing education certification course offers professional counselors and coaches tools and innovative approaches to help them best serve their divorcing clients.

The 14-session structure of the support groups helps participants recognize common emotions related to the change in family structure as they seek to rediscover the person they were before the divorce, Linn said. A faith-based module is offered as well.

KOT_New_Logo900Complementing programs like Linn’s are web-based organizations including Kids On Time, which helps parents become better organized and improve their relationships and communication with one another and their children.

“This helps create a healthier and happier environment for the entire family,” says Anne Sleeman, president of Kids On Time, Inc., which is based in Maine but available to anyone with access to the Web. A mobile app also is available.

Primary tools to manage this include a shared online family calendar, a parent-to-parent messenger, a money manager, and a wellness center. Like Transitions Resource, Kids On Time keeps the divorce focused on creative and beneficial outcomes, not a win-or-lose proposition many divorces have become.

Kids On Time’s rapid growth includes presence in the U.K. and a partnership with Easter Seals, which offers solutions to parents of children with disabilities.

“Essentially, you become a better, more informed and effective parent,” Sleeman explains. “Harmonious co-parenting makes for well-adjusted and resilient kids.”

The bottom line is openness, Linn agreed. “No one wants to talk about the D word. But the emotional wounds caused by a lengthy, high-conflict divorce case are very difficult to overcome, and will greatly hinder post-divorce relations with all family members including minor children. If you knew about resources that could substantially lower the spousal conflict through a divorce and save the family way upwards of $10,000 in unnecessary fees, wouldn’t you want to talk about it?”

About Unhooked Books
Unhooked Books is the one place for people to find the best and most current information and resources available on personality disorders, high-conflict personalities, divorce, parenting, co-parenting, living healthy, eating healthy, and managing your life. Founder & CEO, Megan Hunter, established one place for people in any type of relationship to find tools to enhance relationships, prevent relationship disaster and handle relationship transition. Her firm belief is that with just a little education, most people can resolve most relationship issues.