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Collaborative Practice in Sacramento, CA |  Child Support, Divorce Attorney, & Divorce Solutions | Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group

Contrary to what many people think, filing for divorce does not automatically end a marriage. While starting the divorce process with the Court helps people move forward, the fact is that becoming unmarried does not happen overnight.

In California, the waiting period to become unmarried is six months. The six month clock starts ticking when a spouse is served with the petition and summons for dissolution of marriage filed by the other spouse. This waiting period or “cooling off” period often comes as a surprise to a couple. It does allow a couple the opportunity to reconsider reconciliation during this six month period.

Even in the most acrimonious cases, reconciliation can and does happen. Divorcing spouses may find that a trial separation and time gives them the opportunity to reassess themselves and their relationship. In some cases, people decide they would rather work on the marriage than end it.

Divorce is an emotional event and you can’t always predict how you will react or feel about someone, particularly when the relationship is in trouble. While you and your spouse may no longer get along or even like each other, things can change over time. If you are in this situation, you may be relieved to know that just because you have filed for divorce doesn’t mean it’s already finalized. In reality, the divorce is not final until a Judgment of Dissolution has been filed and entered by the Court and the six month period has elapsed.

One of many benefits of the collaborative divorce process is that the parties are in control of the process. Unlike the litigation process – escalation between the parties are less likely to occur. The presence of mental health professionals and a team that is working to help the couple resolve difficult issues helps a couple keep a better perspective of their situation.

Contact information is below to select an attorney to discuss finding the approach that works best for your specific situation

www.DivorceOption.com 916-863-9777

by Hal Bartholomew

Collaborative Divorce – a new process in which a divorcing couple, together with trained professionals, work as a team to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court.

It begins with something we all agree on – mutual respect.

When people get married, they typically don’t expect to get divorced. They don’t expect that they’ll fall out of love with their spouse or become so bitter and angry that they can’t even be in the same room as the other person. And they don’t expect that they might do or say things they would later regret.

During a divorce, good people can make some bad decisions. However, the fact that you and/or your ex may be reacting in negative or hurtful ways doesn’t mean you can’t try to work together to reach a fair and amicable end to your marriage.

Collaborative divorce is something that people all across California have pursued in recent years. Essentially, it allows two people to work together with open communication, compromise and negotiation in an effort to resolve some or all aspects of their divorce.

You might be thinking that collaboration is just not in the cards for your situation because you and your ex aren’t on the best of terms, or because you have both said and done some hurtful things. However, collaborative divorce is not just you and your ex trying to resolve complex issues on your own.

With the help of attorneys and professionals like those in the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group who are experienced in collaborative law, mental health professionals, financial specialists and other supportive advisors, you can navigate the process in a positive manner and focus on the future rather than dwelling on past mistakes and placing blame on the other party

Again, you do not have to be on great terms with your ex to pursue collaboration; you both just need to be willing to try and work toward the same goal. Divorce is not easy, and people experience strong, negative emotions during this troubling time. However, with guidance, support and a little perspective, you can try to make the best of a very difficult situation.

www.DivorceOption.com (http://www.divorceoption.com/) 916-863-9777

By Hal Bartholomew, Attorney – Sacramento, CA.


Collaborative Divorce – a new process in which a divorcing couple, together with trained professional, work as a team to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court.



1. Hiding InformationYour attorney will be your advocate through this emotional process. It is important you disclose any and all information, no matter how embarrassing or personal it may seem.

2.Negative Activity on Social Media Today we use social media to update friends and family on our daily lives, however remember to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram wisely. Don’t post anything that may hurt your family law case.

3.Showing Inappropriate AngerAs emotional as this time can be for everyone involved, keep your cool as much as possible. You have an audience watching and how you respond or react can reflect on the process

4.Using the Children as a “Get Back” ToolRemember who the innocent bystanders are during the divorce process, the children. Their world is crumbling just as yours is. Do not use them as leverage or revenge on the other party.

5.Getting Advice from Family and FriendsWhile friends and family may mean well, they are not your attorney. Avoid following through with advise given to you by them. Every divorce is different and your attorney knows how to guide you through yours.

6.Introducing a New Significant Other While moving on and meeting new people may be good for you, remember this is still fresh for the children. It’s best to wait until time has healed some wounds and life has settled down before bringing a new significant other around the children.

7.Confrontation with your SpousePick good times and locations to have conversations. If you believe the topic can get heated be sure the children are not around for the conversation. Remember that you still need to communicate with your ex spouse for the children, so it’s best to work at being as amicable as possible.

8.Rushing the Process– Sit back and breathe. Sometimes it’s best to just contemplate on what is happening or about to happen in your life. Ask your attorney questions, get help from professionals on how to deal with this process for you and all parties involved.

9.Confiding in your Spouse– While it is good to be able to communicate with your spouse, be aware of confiding too much personal information to them. Even if you both see each other as still “”friends” during the family law process, it’s best to be respectful of each others private lives.

The process of divorce can be an emotional roller coaster ride. It can be hard to think clearly and make rational decisions. Remember you are not alone and there is professional help out there to guide you.

For a free copy of Carol Delzer’s book “Divorce Done Easier” visit Family Law Center in Sacramento. www.familylawcenter.us


It seems like everywhere we look, we are being told that there is a right way to do something and a wrong way to do something. For instance, stories about divorce are more available than ever.

We read about dramatic celebrity divorces ending in multi-million dollar settlements, the quiet, amicable divorce of two strangers who took a picture that went viral and everything in between. And for every story on someone’s divorce, it can seem like there’s also someone telling us that’s either the right way or wrong way to divorce. But is there such a thing as the right way to divorce?

The answer to this question is yes. There can be a right way to divorce, but what the right way is means different things to different people.

For some people, the right way to divorce is one where they remain amicable and peaceful, particularly if there are children involved, and the parents are able to reach agreements between themselves on how to parent their children.

Other couples would consider a divorce that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to be right for them. Those couples would likely be interested in self-help services or using the services of a mediator to work out agreements without going to court.

In situations where divorcing spouses are particularly contentious or there is a lot of money or property at stake, it might be right for them to take the case to court (“litigate”) where decisions on legal matters are left to a judge to make. This is by far the most expensive option a couple may choose and most likely lead to more litigation in the future and even greater estrangement among the family and extended family.

Fortunately, today couples who have great animosity have the availability of a collaborative divorce. This process offers support and guiding to each party to help them reach a mutually acceptable agreement. An agreement that was not forced upon them – but understood and agreed to between the parties.

Collaborative divorce is a team approach to helping a couple resolve their disputes. Each party has an attorney and a divorce coach. The divorce coach’s role is to help the couple reduce the anger, deal with the emotional issues and to make sure everyone is heard. The attorneys help guide the process in a non-adversarial manner.

Other team members include a financial specialist who collects and analyzes the financials and a child specialist (if there are children) who helps represent the children interests.

An important part of the collaborative process is that everyone commits solely to helping resolve their problems and disputes and is hired solely for that purpose. None of the team members have a hidden agenda of escalating the disputes because they are only hired to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable agreement and the attorneys will not take the couple to court.

Contact information is below to select an attorney to discuss finding the approach that works best for your specific situation

www.DivorceOption.com 916-863-9777

By Hal Bartholomew, attorney - Sacramento, CA. 


Collaborative Divorce – a new process in which a divorcing couple, together with trained professionals, work as a team to resolve disputes respectfully, without going to court.



5 Insane But True Facts About High Conflict Divorce

03/05/2016 11:58 am ET -- Huffington Post


Elizabeth Esrey Mediator, Conflict Resolution Specialist and Coach

1. High Conflict Divorce is expensive: The cost of litigating divorce has always been high even with cheaper alternatives, such as mediation and collaborative law, on the rise. Still, litigating a high conflict divorce is expensive. According to an Associated Press article, the costs of divorce varies depending the process you use. Mediation is the least expensive option, at a typical cost of $6,600. Collaborative law costs average $19,723 while full-scale divorce litigation average, $77,746.

2. High Conflict Divorce is more susceptible to violence
It’s sad but true. Family courts pit couples against each other - especially in high conflict divorce cases. There have even been documented casualties. Earlier this year in Delaware a mother of three, as well as her friend, were shot and killed inside the courthouse as they were arriving at for a child-support hearing. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/02/25/delaware-courthouse-shooting-family/1945261/

In October 2011, eight people were killed when a man opened fire in the hair salon where his ex-wife worked. The two were involved in a difficult, ongoing custody battle.

Divorce litigation can be so stressful a family law judge in West Virginia found himself in hot water after a screaming rampage aimed at a party. The court video which begins with a ‘Viewer Discretion is Advised’ warning from YouTube, shows the judge screaming at the husband so loudly that the audio starts to cut out.

3. High Conflict Divorce is best handled like Hostage Negotiations
Lt. Jack Cambria, a chief hostage negotiator for NYPD’s elite hostage negotiation team, gave a talk entitled “Lessons on Conflict Resolution from an NYPD Hostage Negotiator,” to The New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. It cited many similarities between High Conflict Divorce and Hostage Negotiation. Essentially, both need to be able to stay calm while setting an appropriate pace for negotiations. A hostage negotiator and divorce mediator need to treat people with respect (yes, this is from the hostage negotiator) and use active listening skills. Finally, the hostage negotiator, like the divorce mediator, should never give up!

4. High Conflict Divorce is better served through Mediation.
To avoid the drama and cost of divorce litigation, more people are using healthier methods to resolve high conflict divorce. With mediation, divorcing couples manage their divorce through peaceful conversation. Judges and lawyers typically don’t deal with the emotional aspects of divorce. Mediators help couples navigate the divorce process and reach agreements that are less expensive, more lasting and customized. Legal and non-legal issues can be resolved in mediation. Mediators can deal with the emotional aspects of divorce to avoid heightened conflict. The goal of mediation is to procure a long- lasting, customized, peaceful and private resolution to divorce and life after divorce.

5. High Conflict Divorce is a choice.
As ½ of a divorce, you get to decide if you are going to engage in a high conflict divorce or not. If you refuse to “lawyer up” and get nasty about the divorce, you aren’t likely to have a high conflict divorce. If you choose to “lawyer up” and litigate then, you are more likely to have a high conflict divorce. By choosing mediation over litigation, you model dignity and privacy in your divorce. Even in “high conflict” divorces you can be heard, respected and resolute in avoiding the cost and dehumanization of high conflict divorce litigation.


Divorce is always a delicate subject, especially when there are children involved. No matter how amicable and well-intentioned the separation may be, striking a parenting balance that is in the best interests of the children and maintains their relationships with both parents should be approached carefully and purposefully.

family law

“Best Interests”

This is a difficult time for everyone including the kids, even in a friendly divorce. The phrase “best interests of the children” is one you will hear during the process of divorce when it comes to the matter of child custody. Factors that impact this are your children’s age(s) and maturity level(s). Once the issue of child custody is settled the issue of child support will follow next.

Child Support

This is financial support given for the child(ren) by either or both parents. This is meant to ensure that the children’s living expenses will be accounted for in a way that maintains the lifestyle you and your ex-spouse want for them. A Sacramento-area divorce attorney can help you approach these questions and decisions by filling out forms, attending court procedures, and even helping you understand the amount of child support that may be required by the court and explaining how the court reached the decision on the child support amount.

Members of the Sacramento Collaborative Practice Group (SCPG) can provide you with guidance and advice regarding child custody/support as well as other issues related to divorce including family law attorneys, divorce coaches, counselors, neutral child specialists and neutral financial professionals. The membership also includes health and life insurance experts, residential specialist, business appraisers, real estate appraisers, mortgage specialists, and vocational counselors. Get in touch with them or any of their experts for assistance.


Child Support. Courts.ca.gov. http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-support.htm

Child Custody FAQ. NOLO. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/child-custody-faq-29054.html


When a family unit breaks down and two partners are no longer on the same page, the most affected party is always the children. Children are too young to fend for themselves so certain laws have been put into place in order to ensure their welfare even when mom and dad are at odds with each other.

child support


Defining Child Support

In simple terms, child support is a continuous scheduled payment made by one parent for the financial needs of his or her child. In most cases, the payment is made to an obligee which could be a guardian, a custodial parent, or the state. In the state of California, for example, the payment for child support, especially if it involves custodial parties, would be made through the State Disbursement Unit. From there, the payment is then made to the concerned parties via direct deposit, electronic payment card, and bank check.

There are many ways by which child support can come. One of the most common, however, would involve the dissolution of marriage regardless if it is via divorce, annulment, or legal separation.

Child Support Laws in Sacramento

In Sacramento, CA, claims or order for child support are only acted upon if there is an active case in the court. If there is none and you are married, you would need first to file for the dissolution or nullity of the marriage. On the other hand, if you are not married, you are required to file a petition in order to establish parental relationship after which, you can already file for request orders for custody as well as support.

In determining how much the child support should be, the income of both parents are taken into consideration. If you are also providing child support for your other children, this could also have an impact on how much you have to pay for the current one. Of course, other external factors are taken into consideration including tax updates, current minimum wage rate, and low income adjustment, among others. Keep in mind that Sacramento County adheres to statewide guidelines when it comes the computation of child support.

Nuances of the Child Support Payment

Once your child support claim has been approved, you would be able to receive the child support via your chosen method. Child support payment amounts can change over time. Some of the causes of this would include changes in the income of the other party, deduction of the annual service fee, and the existence of other child support cases.


(Child Support, saccourt.ca.gov)

(Custodial Party FAQs, childsup.ca.gov)



Unfortunately, not all marriages last a lifetime, as differences between spouses may become irreconcilable. When a marriage is going south, one the options that a couple has is divorce. However, getting a divorce is a life changing event and should only be used as a last resort.

Should You Get A Divorce?

Before considering divorce, you have to realize that it is just one of the options, not the only option. While you might be thinking that getting out of the marriage will eliminate all the stress that you have been under, that is not always the case.

divorce agreement

One of the things that you would need to consider is the impact of your divorce on your children and your relatives. Make sure that you look at things objectively and as much as you can, not based on your emotions. Some of the other things that you should consider would be your lifestyle as well as your financial status. It is also a good idea to take a look at your reasons for divorce. In some cases, marriage counselling and couples therapy can help instead of going straight to filing for a divorce.

Filing A Successful Case

If you have decided that divorce is the only way out and that you are ready for the arduous process, the first thing that you need to do is to retain the services of a good divorce lawyer in Sacramento. It can be tempting to try to save money and represent yourself during legal proceedings but keep in mind that a good divorce attorney has years of experience and help will you get the best outcome with your divorce case. This Is true even if you are fortunate to have a “friendly” or collaborative divorce.

Your lawyer will guide you through the process, let you know what documents are needed and assist you with other matters like serving your spouse. Keep in mind that, when it comes to official documents, any omission or wrong tone can be used by the other party against you. This is where the counsel of your attorney can be very helpful.

Since divorce can be an emotional time for both parties, it would be best if you let your lawyer handle the paperwork. Keep in mind that divorce proceedings do not just end with the dissolution of the marriage. It would also involve division of property as well as custody cases. Your divorce lawyer can assist you with other helpful advice during your case.


(Tips for Divorcing, sacramentodivorcesolutions.com)

(Divorcing Women: Don't Make These Five Costly Mistakes, Forbes.com)




In Sacramento County, terminating a marriage or partnership may be done in a number of ways. Sacramento divorce solutions include divorce, dissolution of domestic partnership, legal separation, and nullity.

In a divorce case, the marriage is terminated and such matters as child custody, visitation rights, child support, and asset division, are also resolved. Dissolution of partnership is similar to a divorce; however, domestic partnership is defined as two adults who are in a committed relationship provided that one or both of them are at least 62 years of age.

file for divorce

Sacramento also provides for legal separation. The only thing that sets legal separation apart from dissolution of domestic partnership as well as divorce is the fact that the spouses remained married to each other albeit are no longer living under the same roof. Lastly, in the case of nullity, it can only be filed for based on a number of reasons including incest, bigamy, underage, prior existing marriage, and force, among others.

Jurisdiction and Process of Filing

Before you can check the steps on how to file for divorce in Sacramento, CA, you first have to figure out jurisdiction. Dissolutions of marriages can only be done in Sacramento if one or both spouses have been local residents for at least 3 months, and have resided in California for at least 6 months. If the court is dealing with legal separation or nullity of marriage, however, one or both of the spouses need only to be local residents at the time the case was filed.

If the partnership or marriage is less than five years, the first thing that you need to do would be to file a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of Marriage. For those whose marriage or partnership has gone for more than five years, the first step would be to file Dissolution of Marriage or Domestic Partnership, Legal Separation, and Nullity form.

Keep in mind that divorce proceedings can take a while. In most cases, it would take about six months and one day from the date the other party was able to receive the Summons and Petition. There are, however, some partners who can take advantage of the One Day Divorce Program.

This program can be taken advantage of those who are representing themselves and who have already served the summons and petitions to the other party with proof of it, and if both parties have already reached agreement on all areas.


(One Day Divorce Programsaccourt.ca.gov)

(United States Divorce Statisticscadivorce.com)



After a divorce/dissolution is complete, there are a number of extremely important financial housekeeping items that must be addressed. One of those items that often gets overlooked or put off is revising one’s estate planning documents. The following is a list of those documents and issues which must be addressed, post divorce to ensure that the individual and their family is protected from the unexpected.

1.Living Trust/Will

  • These documents contain instructions about a number of crucial estate planning decisions: who is in charge of administration of the individual’s estate, who is nominated as guardian of minor children, who are the beneficiaries of the estate, and who is in charge of managing assets on behalf of the beneficiaries if they are minors. The last thing a newly divorced individual wants is to have their ex-spouse be in charge of handling their assets should they become incapacitated or pass away. After a divorce, joint trusts need to be dissolved with each individual creating their own with the appropriate updated instructions and properly titled assets.

2.Durable Power of Attorney for Finances/Advance Healthcare Directive

  • These VERY IMPORTANT estate planning documents allow for the appointment of an agent to act on one’s behalf to make crucial financial and medical decisions in case of incapacity. Again, the last thing a recently divorced individual wants is to have their ex-spouse in charge of their finances and medical decisions. New powers of attorney should be executed immediately post divorce.

3.Beneficiary Designations (Life Insurance Policies, Retirement Plans, PODs, TODs)

  • Beneficiary designations are essentially contracts between a financial institution/administrator and the person who owns the account. These are extremely important because for estate planning purposes they generally trump any outside instructions. Therefore, even if a trust/will document has been updated post-divorce, those instructions will not control an asset with a beneficiary designation attached to it unless the trust is named as a beneficiary. Individuals often forget to update all of their beneficiary designations post divorce. In fact, most people rarely, if ever, update them and this can cause a nightmare when that individual passes away.

4.Titling of all Major Assets

  • In estate planning, title means everything! Title dictates to whom and how an asset is transferred at death and who has control over it during lifetime. The most common mistake made in estate planning is simply listing an asset in a trust document. Proper and formal titling of all of the major assets is imperative to ensure that the assets go to whom the individual wants in the way they want it to happen.
By SCPG Resource Specialist - Cecilia Tsang, Trusts and Estate Attorney owner of Family Wealth Law Group 3626 Fair Oaks Blvd, Suite 300 Sacramento, CA. 95864  800.818.3954

About SCPG

Sacramento Collaborative Practices Group is a group of professionals interested in avoiding court battles and power struggles to resolve conflicts. Our group is a multi-disciplinary, multi-field group open to all professionals interested in Collaborative conflict resolution. Read more...

Will CP work for me?

If the following values are important to you, it is likely to be a workable option:

  • I want us to communicate with a tone of respect
  • I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
  • My needs and those of my spouse/partner require equal consideration, and I will do my best to listen objectively.

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