Blog

The information contained in these articles is of general interest, and should not be relied on for specific advice in your case.

Providing Spouses with the Power to Make Healthcare Decisions

By Cozette Vergari Originally published in LOS ANGELES LAWYER / NOVEMBER 2007 THE RIGHT TO MAKE HEALTHCARE DECISIONS is a protected individual right held solely by the patient. Recently, federal law and state law expanded the scope of exclusivity of this right to the privacy realm by limiting the sharing of patient information and records. Thus a patient’s spouse, domestic partner, and other family members face increasing obstacles when they seek information from the patient’s records-even though some healthcare providers, perhaps motivated by compassion, are disregarding the legal restrictions. Nevertheless, spouses, in particular, should be very clear about their ability to make […]

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Mental Health of Children in Divorce

Child’s Testimony in Custody Cases

ELKINS TASK FORCE REFORMS – UNCERTAINTY ABOUT IMPLEMENTATION An important change regarding children’s testimony in custody cases, (Family Code §3042).went into effect last year. “If a child is 14 years of age or older and wishes to address the court regarding custody or visitation, the child shall be permitted to do so, unless the court determines that doing so it not in the child’s best interests. In that case the court shall state its reasons for that finding on the record.” Professionals have expressed concerns about how this is going to be implemented. There is a provision that a minor’s counsel, evaluator, […]

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Proposals For Helping Judges in Court

PROPOSALS FOR HELPING JUDGES ESTABLISH A MEDIATION PANEL TO REDUCE NUMBER OF CASES FOR HEARINGS The Superior Court maintains “panels” or lists of professionals who provide child custody evaluations services, parent education groups and co-parent counseling services. A similar list of professionals who provide mediation could be very helpful. The court could require the child custody mediators to provide pro bono services as a requirement for being on the list. Volunteer attorney mediators have already been helping settle cases at no cost to the court, although the ADR program at the court will be eliminated by this summer. The Los […]

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Child’s Attorney in a Divorce

MINOR’S COUNSEL, THE ATTORNEY FOR THE CHILD – STILL CONTROVERSIAL In more and more cases, the courts are relying on Minor’s Counsel to assist in the resolution of cases. In some jurisdictions, the use of minor’s counsel is almost routine. A number of factors have led to the greater use of attorneys for children. Because of the limited resources of Family Court Services, fewer cases are being resolved in mediation and it’s also taking longer for child custody evaluations. Even the “fast-track” evaluations have been renamed, in part because it’s not a speedy way of getting recommendations before the court. Minor’s […]

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Collaborative Divorce: How a Parenting Plan Will Help Co-Parent

 SPECIAL MASTERS, OR PARENTING PLAN COORDINATORS – KEEPING SMALL ISSUES OUT OF THE COURTROOM Not since the first training session for Special Masters over six years ago, has there been a training program in s Los Angeles County for attorneys and mental health professionals interested in becoming Special Masters. The Superior Court, along with the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts, AFCC, sponsored a training program in March. Matthew Sullivan, Ph.D. provided the training, followed by a panel, including Judge Robert Schnider, Lynette Robe, J.D., Angus Strachan, Ph.D. and Jane Shatz, Ph.D. A list of the attendees who attended the training, […]

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Keeping Johnny out of the Middle

By Susan F Schwartz, L.C.S.W. Avoid fighting when children are around Practice Anger Management Walk away when either party angry Do deep breathing and positive self-talk to calm down Allow partner to have the last word if necessary, just walk away! Recognize people are not thinking clearly when angry and are saying things they don’t   really mean Wait for calmness and only then return to the issue Don’t confide in children Be aware of the whereabouts of your children-don’t talk about issues they shouldn’t hear when they’re around. Don’t bad mouth your spouse/ex to children, and coach family and friends […]

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Divorce, Remarriage, and Taxes

By Ron J. Anfuso, CPA, ABV, CDFA, DABFA The statistics are startling. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, more than half of the people who have been divorced remarry, although recent surveys have found that nearly 60% of these marriages break up as well. Without a doubt, these events can make tax paying ever more complex. This article briefly explains the tax implications of divorce and remarriage. Filing Status Marital status is an important factor in determining income and estate tax liabilities. Marital status is determined on the last day of the tax year. So if a marriage […]

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Telling the Children

By Steven Reiter Ph.D. and Paula Van Doren LCSW Under the best of circumstances divorce is a profound trauma for everyone involved. Telling the Children  is a moment that the child (unless they are very young) will remember for the rest of their lives.  WE have a very strong bias.  Our bias is that the welfare of the children is primary.  Their needs should be put in the forefront.  In this brief article we wish to present information to assist you in helping your children to receive and to respond to the traumatic news that their parents are divorcing.  Let […]

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Advice From the Front Line

advice from adult children of divorced parents To Parents: Keep your differences away from the kids so they don’t have to listen to it, and don’t make them make choices or choose between each other and don’t screw with the kids’ minds. Don’t put the kids in the middle; don’t make kids the jury; don’t make visitation difficult; don’t speak ill of the other parent. Kids don’t care whose fault it is. Don’t blame each other. Each of you is responsible. Keep your differences private. Don’t let the kids hear it and don’t make the kids feel guilty. Don’t make […]

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Collaborative Divorce: Avoid Criticism of Co-Parent

A COACH HELPS A FATHER LEARN: COMPLIMENTING INSTEAD OF CRITICIZING A father desperately wanted joint custody of his young children. The mother had reservations because he had never spent much time with the children. He persisted in pointing out his strengths and her faults. In frustration he criticized her parenting. She responded by threatening to seek sole custody. The coach suggested a break, and asked him what he really wanted. He said, “I want to be able to take care of my children; I need to spend time with them.” A different strategy was suggested. Rather than criticize their mother, […]

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