Southern California Mediation Association
2019 Family Mediation Institute
Empowering Mediators into the 2020’s and Beyond
Thank you to all of the speakers and presenters for this year’s lineup of great workshops.
Reboot Your Mediation Practice: Boost Profits, Make Clients Happy, Streamline Services and Modernize Systems
Law is changing from a low-tech, individualistic system to a dynamic and collaborative market. The modern legal consumer values easy communication channels, efficient services, experienced practitioners and transparency with fees and information. This workshop explores steps we can take to stay relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing industry. By leveraging technology tools, ethically outsourcing and authentically marketing, we can reduce overhead, increase profits, stand out from the “crowd,” remain competitive and satisfy clients.
- Erin Levine, Founder & CEO – Hello Divorce
- Michael Daniels, Founder & CEO – Fayr
“I Know Respectful Communication Is The Key, But My Co-Parent Gets Me So Upset !!!” … How Our Brains Get In The Way of Respectful Communication and How We Can Help Co-Parents Get Around It
Respectful Communication is the key to successful negotiations, and truly is the most-expedient means of achieving a resolution all sides can accept (and, may even be happy with!) Why, then, is it sometimes so very difficult to do, especially when working with separated Co-Parents?? Well, it appears our brains may, initially at least, actually be working against the idea of working cooperatively with someone! This workshop will look at the ways our brains push against the idea of collaborative problem solving, ideas for overcoming this primarily-involuntary-unconscious push, and demonstrate how skills of Respectful Communication between separated Co-Parents can be developed and fostered.
- Marcie Kraft, MA, MS, JD
To Sell or Not to Sell: That is the Question
It isn’t often that a divorcing couple will come to your office and state, “We have agreed to sell the marital home and split the proceeds 50/50.” To be an effective mediator, you must be educated on the legal, financial, tax and psychological issues that may arise when considering four options:
- Immediate sale of the home
- Deferred sale of the home
- Negotiated buyout so one spouse can keep the home
- Co-ownership: keep as rental or for use as a “nest”
Participant will learn from four (4) expert panelists how to identify which experts are needed to trace claims for reimbursements, provide Moore/Marsden analysis as well as learn how to structure interim agreements for paying real property expenses, and drafting interims in the MSA regarding the disposition of the marital home.
- Laurie Itkin, CDFA
- Jennifer K. Kinnard, CPA
- Laura McGee, JD
- Zach Taylor, Mortgage Advisor, Commerce Home Mortgage
The Power of Asking the Right Questions in Divorce Mediation
It would be wonderful if all the information that a mediator needs was just automatically handed to us by our clients. Unfortunately, the information we need is often missed because clients provide incomplete disclosures and documentation, or because a client’s feelings, thoughts or emotions are blocking them from sharing the things we need to know to do our best work as mediators. By asking the right questions we are able to elicit important information and facts, we can obtain important feedback, learn about underlying conflicts, motives, and why a client wants what they want. Questions allow us to stimulate thinking and brainstorming, give us valuable information, put us in control, get people to open up and allow us to build repour with our clients. The right questions and listening to the clients’ answers can be empowering for both the mediator and their clients.
- Terri Breer, Attorney Mediator
Stock, Restricted Stock, and Stock Options in Settlement Agreements: Addressing the Challenges of Property Division, Income Available for Support, and Taxation
Employer-provided equity compensation is one of the most vexing issues for mediators and attorneys to address in a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA). Clients sometimes fail to disclose their existence as a result of thinking, “They are not vested so they are not worth anything.” Or, when the discussion of child or spousal support comes around, they might say, “They are not guaranteed so they can’t be included in income.”
While estimating the value of equity compensation may not be possible – especially if restricted stock units or stock options haven’t yet vested – they are an asset that simply cannot be overlooked or brushed aside, especially if they were fully or partially earned during marriage.
In the workshop, Laurie Itkin, CDFA, and Jennifer Kinnard, CPA, will present a case study that involves both Restricted Stock Units (RSU’s) and Non-Qualified Stock Options (NQSO’s) based on actual mediation clients they assisted at different stages of the process.
While going through the case study, we’ll discuss the following questions:
- Are the shares/options considered an asset or income?
- How is the community property portion calculated?
- How much are the shares/options worth today and potentially in the future?
- Can the shares/options be divided between spouses?
- Can the shares/options be transferred between spouses?
- What is the concept of “net” shares?
- What happens if the employee is fired or leaves the company?
- Does the other spouse get saddled with employment taxes tied to employee spouse?
- What obligation does each spouse carry post-divorce to ensure they don’t make any tax mistakes?
- Jennifer K. Kinnard, CPA
- Laurie Itkin, CDFA
Emerging Family Law Issues in the Next Decade and Beyond
This workshop will provide family mediators and family law professionals with education and training to address family law issues that have recently emerged and can only be expected to gain traction in the next decades.
Three’s a crowd? Family law attorney Rick Faulkner will examine Family Code Section 7612 (c) that acknowledges that a child may have more than two parents. Case law in this area is minimal and continues to develop with changing family structures and a shift to non-traditional models. Family mediators and attorneys should be aware of the third-parent family structure and the impact it is likely to have upon divorcing couples, and children of divorced parents, as more of these cases arise. Mr. Faulkner will discuss this statute’s impact on child custody and child support issues and family law mediator Sarah J. Gross, will present the tools and strategies mediators can use to mediate a litigated third-parent case. This workshop will provide family mediators and professionals with education and training focusing on the impact of three parent cases.
Workshop panelist Lydia Liberio will discuss how reproductive technology advancements have impacted and will continue to change ADR and divorce processes in the future. She will examine the potential for new technologies such as on-line mediation, new apps and other social media advancements to help family law professionals mediate these new and emerging legal issues.
Today’s family mediators will need to know more than basic mediation skills in order to keep up with these emerging issues in the next decade and beyond.
- Rick Faulkner, Esq.
- Sarah J. Gross, M.Ed., J.D., LL.M
- Lydia Liberio, Esq. LL.M, MCIArp, MBA, PMP, RMP, CFE