Collaborative Separation Agreements: Pros + Cons

How you proceed forward once the decision to separate has been taken by one spouse requires some consideration. The values, work ethics, and best practices of the lawyer you retain are just as important as the forum in which you proceed. It is also important that you and your lawyer see eye to eye on

Why Ask a Family Law Lawyer for Advice?

Transitions in our personal lives signal a new journey tumbling with emotion, stress, and at times overwhelming our daily lives. Families aren’t predictable. Alliances are dynamic and change over time. Emotional responses interrupt our brain’s natural ability to think clearly, analyze data, and make plans appropriate to the situation. Some of that emotional stress interrupts

Holiday Separations:  7 Critical Considerations

Separating during the holiday season can be complicated, balancing your own needs with the needs of your children and family expectations. Keep these considerations in mind as you transition into a separated family this season. Your children always come first Regardless of how you feel about your spouse, the key to good co-parenting is making

5 Basic Legal Rights When Given a Family Law Contract to Sign

Independent Legal Advice: You have an inalienable legal right to seek to independent legal advice from a lawyer of your choice before you sign a prenup, marriage contract or separation agreement. If the person telling you that you don’t need a lawyer, don’t sign the document. Free will and the ability to understand the proceeding:

Family Business Valuations and Marriage Contracts

A business owner was discussing seeking legal advice with Sandra, his high school sweetheart, about the impact his flourishing import/export corporation may face once they married. Jacques and his business partner, Sam, started seven years ago what is today a successful international company. There are four divisions employing 38 people; each with a family of

Customizing a Private Approach or Going Public

One of my best friends, Jim, is facing what he sees a tough road ahead. It’s not that he and his wife are separating; it’s the unwelcome help he’s receiving from his gym mates. One soccer buddy boasts that Jim must lead the troops and show the rest of the guys what we’re made of.

Betrayal or Good Economic Sense?

For senior adults stepping into their second marriages, the tough conversation is often about the marriage contract. Not so long ago, this discussion would have been a nonstarter and certainly a deal breaker. Feeling personal betrayal during this honeymoon phase, a tough discussion about money seems to come from nowhere.  The spouse being asked to

3 Tips from Experienced Clients on Picking the Right Lawyer

There was no course in school where you learned how to select the right family law lawyer. And, you probably didn’t need one back then. Now, you’re considering making a transition from being in a relationship to going solo or, from being solo to being a couple. It’s a good move to understand what legal

Step Up: Collaborate!

First Thoughts

Whether you are entering into a relationship; already sharing a home together; or you or find yourself at the end of your marriage or long term partnership, developing a comprehensive prenuptial, cohabitation, marriage or separation agreement can be a daunting task.

How do you start? How do you create an ideal parenting plan? How do you divide the funds held in a joint account and who will carry the jointly held mortgage? Do the terms in your prenuptial agreement need to be reviewed when you decide to marry? What is the difference between a family home and a matrimonial home?

To create a viable long term agreement by directly involving you, a critical participant with your spouse or partner, requires acknowledging difficult emotions, distinguishing individual goals from interests in common, and being able to deal promptly with urgent needs. It also means ensuring that each spouse openly and fully shares with the other all information necessary to understand the big financial picture. Consider the current cash flow, future resources available for retirement, and savings available to fund the children’s post secondary educational programs. With each spouse fully understanding their legal rights and obligations and with complete financial information in hand, they will be able to critically assess all possible options: sorting the viable and durable ones from those which sound intriguing but are unsustainable. Working with a mutually agreed framework also helps to develop trust and consensus.

The Toddler, His Toy and a New Skill

Introducing the Collaborative Process

I stopped to watch this little toddler and his encounter with a wrought iron railing. With his stuffed toy firmly in his little grip, he ventured confidently between two posts of the railing as though they didn’t exist. He quickly gained his balance standing on the bottom rail and excitedly waved his arms freely on the other side of the posts. He was fascinated that he could see his arms and his toy waving over there. His parents stopped in their tracks, turning to watch him with knowing expressions on their faces.

The toddler’s confidence slowly waned to insecurity. He became unsure how to continue forward with his beloved toy still in his grip.  Without uttering a word, the father gently took the toy from the toddler’s hand, and watching the child’s eyes pop wide in wonder, the father moved the toy in a slow, gentle arc from in front of the child to beside the child outside the end post. The toddler followed the movement of his toy and stepping backwards, he freed himself. He joyfully reached out for his toy and fell back in step behind his parents.