Child’s College Adds Years to Retirement Date

There’s a considerable amount of pressure to have your children attend the best college or university that money can buy. Many high school students believe attending their dream school is a reward for working hard in high school. College financial experts argue that’s the wrong perspective. Instead, selecting a college is driven my market conditions and having your children attain financial independence after graduating.
Ivory Tower

Unfortunately, for most families, taking a close look at the price of college, the ability to pay, and the child’s earning potential after graduation isn’t part of the conversation. Last year, CNN featured the documentary “Ivory Tower,” by Andrew Rossi, an eye opening reveal of the cost of higher education compared to the employment opportunities available after graduation. This film is a must watch for anyone considering college for themselves or their children.

I’m sure we can agree that higher learning is important, and even more important, in a very selective job market. It’s the cost attached to higher learning that must be scrutinized. Not every career plan requires an Ivy League price tag. Andy Lockwood, a college finance and admissions consultant based in Syosset, New York, states that you can achieve the same for some majors, like education, at a state school as you would with an expensive private school.

According to a study from the Georgetown University Center on Education and Workforce, the difference between a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering and early childhood development, over a lifetime, is $3.4 million. It’s not that lower paying fields are unimportant. Rather, it’s making sure that the college education to achieve that specialty doesn’t cost more than the value.

Students might work to […]

By |December 28th, 2015|Categories: Blog, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Child’s College Adds Years to Retirement Date

Required Disclosures for Divorce in California

In this blog, I’ll discuss the required Disclosures for a divorce in Santa Clara County, also known as the Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure.  In Santa Clara County, prior to finalizing your divorce, you and your spouse must complete your Preliminary Declarations of Disclosure. This means: complete and exchange your Schedule of Assets and Debts (FL-142) and your Income and Expense Declaration (FL-150). You must complete these forms even in divorce mediation. At Families First Mediation, we work closely with our couples so that completing these forms is straightforward and complete. I have provided you a link to these forms below.

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On the Schedule of Assets and Debts more here, you list the assets you own and the debts you owe. You might value or list the assets as of the date of separation or today’s current date. List both your separate property and community property assets and debts. The Schedule of Assets and Debts is not filed with the court, but you do sign and submit a Judicial Council form with the court stating it has been done.

On your Income and Expense Declaration  click link, you disclose your income on pages 1 and 2, and the expenses you pay on page 3. On page 4, you provide information related to any minor children as it relates to health insurance, medical expenses, child care, education, travel costs, and hardships. Of importance is paragraph 13 on page 3. This section asks you to list your monthly expenses. For your benefit, you might work on two versions. The first one might list your expenses while married. The second version you would list your […]

By |April 1st, 2015|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Required Disclosures for Divorce in California

When Should I File for Divorce in California?

In a past article, I discussed that the process a party chooses to pursue a divorce or legal separation whether in San Jose, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Campbell, or any other Bay Area city, severely impacts the outcome of their case. Once a party has decided on the process, the next decision might be when he or she should file for divorce. A divorce is initiated when a party files a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and has it properly served on the other party.

When a petition for dissolution of marriage is filed and served, there are several legal outcomes of which to be aware when making decisions. First, once the petition is filed and served, certain protections are afforded to each party in the form of restraints. These are known as “Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders,” or “ATROS.” These restraints apply in California divorce cases. Specifically, both parties are legally restrained from:

1. Removing the minor child or children from the state without prior written consent of the other party. Clients should take note that Las Vegas is in Nevada as some parts of Lake Tahoe.
2. Cashing, borrowing against, canceling or changing the beneficiaries of any life, health, automobile, and disability insurance.
3. Transferring, encumbering, concealing or disposing any property, whether community or separation, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the court, except in the usual course of business or for necessities of life (i.e. food, shelter, and other daily needs).
4. Creating a nonprobate transfer or modifying a nonprobate transfer in a manner that affects the transfer of property without the written consent of the other party.

Unless a divorce petition is filed, there are no restraints. If a party is concerned that his […]

By |February 12th, 2015|Categories: Articles, Blog|Comments Off on When Should I File for Divorce in California?

Collaborative Divorce San Jose

Collaborative divorce or collaborative practice is one option to resolving your divorce. It is similar to mediation because it is considered an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) option. ADR options are non-adversarial options available to resolve disputes outside of court. This also applies to family law or divorce. If you are searching for a collaborative divorce in San Jose Ca, we can help. First, you should understand the benefits and cons of collaborative divorce san jose when selecting the best divorce process for you. We believe mediation it a superior approach to divorce over collaborative in most circumstances.

collaborative divorce san joseIn collaborative divorce, each spouse retains a collaborative divorce attorney, and a joint mental health professional and forensic accountant. The couple then works with this team of professionals to resolve their divorce, all who have agreed not to use the court process. This is one of the chief benefits of collaborative divorce, as well as having a concentrated group of professionals for support. However, there are potentially more shortcomings to collaborative divorce when compared to divorce mediation. Collaborative divorce runs the risk of stalemate, because there is no external force to overcome obstacles and the team may not be united on every point. If the couple cannot resolve their dispute or at any time someone breaks rank and uses the court system, both husband and wife must fire all their collaborative law professionals and start over with new divorce attorneys. This can be a very costly process. The couple has to hire four collaborative professionals, and can risk losing it all! It is not surprising that a collaborative divorce, while can be less expensive than an adversarial divorce, is […]

By |December 9th, 2014|Categories: Articles, Blog, San Jose|Tags: |Comments Off on Collaborative Divorce San Jose

Putting the Client in the Driver’s Seat of their Divorce


Occasionally, I have the opportunity to step is as a temporary judicial officer for personal property arbitrations in Santa Clara County at the San Jose courthouse. I really enjoy working with these parties because they are litigated cases that are often having their first opportunity to mediate – albeit at the tail end of their case. Recently, I was poignantly reminded how important the client’s role is in the divorce process. Using different names, Jennifer and Mark had not spoken to each other for over a year. Jennifer was not even sure why she was before me, and I soon learned that Mark did not either. Both believed they had resolved the outstanding issues related to personal property, and were beyond ready to settle all remaining issues. In fact, they genuinely assumed the other was unwilling to settle, based on the information they received from their attorneys.

I was very disheartened. Here, both Jennifer and Mark wanted to treat each other fairly and desperately wanted a safe space to speak with one another to resolve their case. However, the only way they communicated was through their attorneys. Somehow the parties’ message was lost.

Divorcing parties need to actively participate in their divorce. Divorce revolves around the intimate details of the family structure. Just as you and the members in your family are best situated to operate your family, the same is for divorcing parties. This might require members in your family to learn about healthy living, but rarely should it strip them of their decision-making power.

How can you equip your clients in a divorce to stay in the driver’s seat?

  • First, the client should understand the process. How does it start, what has to happen, and how does […]
By |August 25th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Comments Off on Putting the Client in the Driver’s Seat of their Divorce

Developing a Successful Timeshare Plan

During the busy holiday season, I braved San Jose’s Trader Joe’s for some last minute grocery items. As I exited the store, I headed into a jammed parking lot in Almaden Plaza. You know the kind…carts parked under trees, cars in every direction, all set to the holiday tune of honking cars.

Out of the corner of my eye, a dad was struggling with his two tiny tots and a cart full of groceries. I watched as he pulled his cart close to his SUV, unloaded one child and buckled him into his seat, leaving the other child unattended.

I can’t help but think how this would play out in a custody battle in Santa Clara County, even years later. No longer is this dad brave for facing the holiday crowds to help mom out, but careless and negligent, always putting these children in harms way. California lawyers will have a field day with this one.

Developing a Successful Timeshare Plan

The holidays have a way of magnifying our relationship problems. Simple mistakes become catastrophic. Now this family has had a horrible holiday season and despite the best counseling, and because of other compounding issues, is determined to move on this year with a divorce. Front and center, the parents wonders how they will co-parent, what the court would do, and how they should go about doing it. In our other blog posts, you know the various processes the parents can pursue to obtain a custody schedule (litigation, kitchen table divorce, collaborative, and mediation) Read more at  I’m Getting a Divorce Now What? and the importance of a detailed custody plan from my previous blogs. In this blog, I hope to provide […]

By |July 7th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Comments Off on Developing a Successful Timeshare Plan

How to receive temporary spousal support?

Sally is struggling in her marriage of eight years, and feels abandoned by her husband, Darrell. She’s been left alone to raise the couple’s three children, who are all under the age of seven. Although Darrell has been a wonderful financial provider, he has failed Sally and their children in providing them emotional support.

Sally is exhausted and contemplating divorce. She married right out of high school, and the only job she held was as a waiter in her senior year of high school.  Darrell had just graduated from the university and took a job in finance. In the last eight years, he did very well and climbed the corporate ladder. The couple agreed that Sally would stay home and raise their children.  Sally is very afraid. With no work experience and three young children, how will she support herself?

DivorceSally shares that everything she and Darrell have was earned during the marriage.  She assumes she should be okay financially after the divorce. She also heard that she would be entitled to permanent spousal and child support, but her real concern is how will she support herself before the divorce is completed. Can she receive some of Darrell’s income during the divorce process? If not, she is afraid she would have to stay in the same home as Darrell during the divorce. Once Darrell finds out about the divorce, she believes he will be outraged. He would make it even harder for them to live together, and if she moved out, he might prevent her from accessing any funds, including his on-going salary.

Sally’s situation is similar to many others starting the divorce process. You can find out more at […]

By |June 24th, 2014|Categories: Articles, Blog|Comments Off on How to receive temporary spousal support?

Unconscious Uncoupling: Be Happy! Get a Divorce?

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin are separating, or according to Gwen’s post, pursuing “conscious uncoupling.” Often, celebrities bring new or unknown concepts to the public’s attention. As such, this is the first time I have heard of “conscious uncoupling.” The term was coined by Los Angeles therapist Katherine Woodward Thomas, who offers a five-week online course to “release the trauma of a breakup, reclaim your power and reinvent your life.”

Gwen explains that marriage and divorce is the manner in which a person can be a “fully realized person.” “Unconscious uncoupling” is that process. The end of a marriage has less to do with the other’s spouse’s fault, but an opportunity for interpersonal growth. In other words, you look to yourself to find out what you did wrong in the marriage and how you could mature as a person. This does not result in the couple reconciling, but moving on as single “newly realized person.”

Moments of crisis definitely give us an opportunity to grow interpersonally, emotionally and spiritually. Divorce certainly is one of these times. However, “unconscious uncoupling” ignores the pain, betrayal, and confusion of divorce. Before true interpersonal growth can happen, couples should have an opportunity to be angry, grieve, and separate from their marriage, both emotionally and physically.

 Unconscious UncouplingI’m also very curious how “unconscious uncoupling” works when one partner has had an affair, an addiction, or there’s been domestic violence, abuse, or criminal activity. Should the injured party (or in some of these situations, the victim) assume fault for the ended marriage for his or her interpersonal growth? How could these situations fall within “unconscious uncoupling?” These marriage-ending situations have little to do with the couple’s […]

By |May 30th, 2014|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |Comments Off on Unconscious Uncoupling: Be Happy! Get a Divorce?