In divorce we have Fear, we need Courage, we go through Adaptation to changing circumstances, and we need techniques for Communication to deal with the settlement.


All three of our guests, Brian Bushway, Jaimee Kadish, and Brandon Shin were born sighted and now blind. The messages they have to share are inspirational, practical, and myth-shattering.


They still have relationships, too. Access to the visual world is one thing, but relating to the emotional world is another. Visual impairment brings a different perspective to life. We see in another way, through hearing, primarily, and through touch.


Find reasons to be hopeful. Hope brings us the future.


How we face challenges is common to everyone.


Eco-location means image with sound. Blindness causes people to see their environment differently, as do people going through divorce. Neuroscientists say that we can adapt to challenges.


See with sound.


Grief and drama go along with being blind. Cry. The transition to blindness is an Emotional Roller Coaster, as is divorce. Brandon lost friends while losing his eyesight. Felt sorry for himself, grieved more, and then met Brian as a mentor for eco-location and went through a transition to living life differently.


Light and sound work from the same principles. There are characteristics of sound; sound is different depending on the shape and size of the object. There is an Acoustic vocabulary that takes over. Neuroplasticity is engaged. People’s brains can change according to what we have to work with.


Preparing for mountain biking, Brian started by walking, then running, then using his body to address and react to the sound of his environment as he moved through it.


Shattered all preconceptions about what he could do in life once he mastered biking.


All three of our guests started doing things they never thought were possible.


Physical versus emotional blindness.


Jaimee Kadish, “You can’t experience courage if you don’t deal with fear.”  Grief for Jamie is a constant, so she uses it to overcome fear. Jamie works with fear and used it as an opportunity to grow.


Brandon deals with fear by quoting Mike Tyson’s coach, “Fear can cut you or it can move you forward in life.” Fear is necessary to grow.  


If Jamie is resistant to things that feel uncomfortable, it creates a space between Jamie and all other emotions. If you push away the things that don’t feel good, you can’t really appreciate the things that do feel good, or the things that do feel good don’t come to you as much.

Jamie goes back and forth with sight; she is not 100% blind 100% of the time. But she chooses to close her eyes and to purposefully do some things, like dancing, unsighted.


Feeling to know as opposed to seeing to know. Know who we are and how we fit in life.


“People use the mirror to confirm insecurities,” Brian. “I broke free from the mirror!”


“Vision is being constructed in the mind,” Brian stated. “The brain can stop constructing visual information. Vision is then the picture we construct in our minds.”


Brian focuses on people’s essences. He can sense people. A visually impaired person judges people by their gate, how they walk, their shoes.


“The breath and voice are the windows to the soul,” Brian continued. The breath and the voice is coming from the inside out.


People don’t have control over their vision. They are distracted by the bright shiney objects. Brian trains sales people with their eyes closed.


How do you decide who you want to be around? Brian invests in people who want to be of service to others. I get to know people to see if those people want to invest in others.


Listen to your gut. I want to hear people talk. I only ask a few questions so that I give people a platform to let them talk without interruption. What do people project, not visually but philosophically; how do they think? How do people see the world and want to function in the world?


Communication in mediation is key. Communication is a personal and spiritual mirror of ourselves. I can see my own reflection coming off of another person. We listen to the physical world for eco-location; we can become a better listener in relationships.


What if we all closed our eyes when speaking to each other, can we have deeper relationships with each other? Having a different physical issue is a tool to determine who is right for us and who isn’t.

Adaptability and imagination are necessary to be resilient.


Creativity is a result of spiritual imagination. The roadmap is yours to determine. Am I willing to stand in uncomfortable places, uncomfortable moments, which leads to character attributes. Can’t compare the future to the past or we can’t be hopeful for the future. This is the process of growth.


We all have insecurities: Find friends, find partners to date, what I have to bring to life is the development of my passions and interests. I went from being the care receiver to the care giver. Finding creative ways to serve the people around him is one of Brian’s missions.


Jamie:  Courage and faith, “Are we going to be a victim or a student of this situation? If a student, we can develop a deeper understanding of what we’re capable of.”


Brandon: “The best creative product is found through suffering. Creativity has different forms, one being resourcefulness. Lean into the thing you’re afraid of and deal with it. You’ve blinded yourself by the thing that you’re afraid of: FIND YOUR BLIND SPOTS AND THRIVE!


Find your blind spots.


#fear #blindness #courage #eco-location #trust #relationships #perseverance #personalchallenge #imagination #adaptability #communication #acousticathletics #creativity #mountainbiking #neuroplasticity


Acoustic Athletics Team Bios


Brian Bushway:

Acoustic Athletics Co-Founder


As a pioneer of human echolocation, Brian Bushway mastered the ability to “see with sound” in his late teens, was recognized as the World’s Best Totally Blind Mountain Biker in his early twenties, and spent the next fifteen years providing perceptual training for athletes, teams, individuals, and organizations around the globe. Brian is a globally recognized keynote speaker, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DIA) leader, Certified Orientation & Mobility (O&M) Instructor, employment accessibility director, TV and film production advisor, musician, technology consultant, and entrepreneur.


Most recently, Brian has launched Acoustic Athletics, a performance and development company that offers cognitive, sensory, and perceptual augmentation programs for elite athletes with his business partner Thomas Izdebski.

In addition to working with professional athletes and blind students from all backgrounds, Brian also serves as a teacher of sighted mobility instructors on the use of FlashSonar™ (a specialized form of Active Echolocation) and Perceptual Navigation strategies. He designs and implements perceptual development plans for each client, and serves families by offering informational counseling and emotional support. But his impact doesn’t end there. He has helped them create blind mobility programs and education courses on FlashSonar™, Perceptual Navigation, and family coaching. Brian’s presentations about FlashSonar™ have also been showcased at the Museums of Science and Industry in Chicago and Oregon.


Brandon Shin


Brandon Shin, born and raised in Los Angeles, California, is a third generation echolocation student under the tutelage of Brian Bushway. Diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy at age ten, Brandon lost most of his vision by the age of twelve. Passionate about martial arts and combat sports, he competed in fencing during high school winning third place against sighted opponents. Brandon studied in various martial art disciplines such as MMA, JKD, FMA, Jujitsu, etc. Today, he is an avid Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who regularly innovates and experiments with his echolocation and perceptual skills to be more functional for martial arts. He enjoys being in the mountains, especially during the winter when the air is cool and when snow is regularly in the forecast. On his spare time, Brandon enjoys music and shooting guns with his uncles.


Jaimee Kadish-

Acoustic Athletics Movement Specialist


Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jaimee is a Movement Specialist with a lifelong passion to teach.  Starting her career in pursuit of professional dance, Jaimee studied classical forms of ballet and modern dance while attending numerous arts programs and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from California State University, Long Beach. After being diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa, Jaimee switched her focus from performance to physical literacy, allowing her to dive deep into the relationship between anatomy, movement and understanding how the body works, how it works in motion, and the role of foundational movement in physical fitness.  Jaimee pursued her Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education then entered the preschool classroom where she continued to develop her practice of using movement to help children learn and grow. In her role as a Certified Pilates Instructor (BASI) and Personal Trainer, she works with private clients in Los Angeles.  In her role as Movement Specialist with Acoustic Athletics, Jaimee accurately analyzes clients’ movement patterns, identifies overactive/underactive muscle groups and compensations, and creates tailored training programs to enhance creative and functional movement.


My Blind Coach- Relationship/Communication Coaching

Instagram: myblindcoach



Acoustic Athletics

Instagram: AcousticAthletics





Brian Bushway

Instagram: BrianBushway




Just this past week I had several of the topics on our show today come up with my clients. These topics have been mentioned separately in several of the celebrity divorce episodes, so I wanted to group them and provide thinking points for all of you.


I. Attorney Fees


  1. There are totally cool attorneys who would never charge their clients money just to make more money than the work that is needed. And then there are those that see wealthy clients as on-going cash machines, dollar signs, means to the attorneys’ own wealth. Horrific!
  2. I was told by an attorney recently that the concept of charging money to increase revenue, not as a result of providing necessary work, starts in college. conducted a survey in 2018 for the most and least trusted professions out of a list of 15 professions. Nurses were #1, doctors #2, lawyers #12, care salesmen #14, and Congress #15.
  3. The larger the hourly rate does not equal better work. The public may be fooled by the size of the hourly rate. And you know how celebrities spend top dollar. But the paperwork for a divorce is the same regardless of how much money a spouse has or an attorney charges.
  4. Beware of attorneys who might say something like, “Don’t speak to your spouse. All communication must go through the attorneys.” I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard this. Ridiculous! This is a way of creating more billable hours.


2. Don’t Play the Child and Spousal Support Game


  1. Kelly Clarkson doesn’t. The child and spousal support game is diminishing personal income to diminish the amount of child or spousal support obligation. Make money. No Judge will allow you to intentionally decrease your earning capacity to decrease your support obligation, especially for child support.
  2. You’re only hurting yourself when you try to decrease your income. Thrive. Be successful. It’s best for you and for your children. The money for child support, although it’s put into the other parent’s bank account is for food, shelter and clothing for your child. And there are so many creative ways of dealing with spousal support: Dividing an asset to weigh heavily in favor of the support recipient as opposed to spousal support; a lump sum payment that is less than the accumulation of the years to be paid for, advantaging the recipient in ways that monthly support cannot; or a smaller amount monthly over a longer period of time, or a larger amount monthly over a shorter period of time.
  3. Mary J. Blige said she had to start touring again to meet her spousal support obligations right after the 2022 Super Bowl Halftime Show.
  4. Erika Jayne said something weird on the most recent episode of the Housewives of Beverly Hills in the last episode. She said the divorce couldn’t move forward or she would owe her husband spousal support. Some of her castmates found that statement odd. I found it wrong. Spousal support is supposed to start when there are two residences, while the divorce is in process, which hers is


III. Pre-Nups and Post-Nups

  1. Camille and Kelsey Grammer supposedly didn’t have a pre-nup and Camille said she got 50 million dollars from the divorce settlement. You know Kim & Kanye had one, if you know anything about the business acumen of these two people. Sounds like Kelly Clarkson kind of had one. Most people who have earned and accumulated a significant amount of assets pre-marriage want them protected as separate property going into a new marriage.
  2. But how then do you intend to create community or shared assets? How is it possible to not create community assets during a marriage? Why would you marry if you don’t want to create something of value together – beyond your love for one another – by getting married?
  3. And then there’s the post-nuptial agreement, and agreement just like the pre-nup but after the marriage has taken place. These agreements seem to have more impact to me because they aren’t contingent on getting married. They are done after the marriage ceremony, which somehow translate to very serious meaning and intention to love first, and assign stuff to each other later.


IV. Social Media


  1. Just stop talking. Stop posting. Stop blathering your stuff everywhere. No one needs to know every detail of your life. And divorce is such an emotional roller coaster, don’t buy a ticket to the social media coaster. The ride can end in disaster. What you say on social media could set you up for adverse decisions made by the Judge, or you can expose your hand, your strategy if you’re litigating.
  2. Both Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have misused social media if they are invested in protecting their children from the drama of their divorce. Kanye is volatile; anything can set him off as we’ve seen if you follow him on social media. And the world doesn’t care or need to know who she’s dating until the divorce is final and the relationship is long term, committed and monogamous. Why hurt Kanye by posting about Pete Davidson? Does this really increase the number of shape wear sold?


Whether a celebrity or not, hire an attorney with a good track record, a heart, and a conscious.


Be the best earner you can be and live your life without fear of child and spousal support/alimony.


Protect separate property assets, while defining how to grow as a community, a couple, a family. Pre-Nups, Post-Nups, I say “Nope” to living completely separate financial lives as a married couple. Damn near impossible.


Social Media can become a very unsocial environment if you expose yourself and your dirty laundry of the marriage and divorce to the world.


#KellyClarkson #Adele #MaryJBlige #KimKardashian #PeteDavidson #KanyeWest #attorneyfees #divorcelawyers #LauraWasser #unethicalattorneys #PostnuptialAgreement #PrenuptialAgreements #childsupport #spousalsupport #socialmedia #mediation #divorcelitigation

In this episode we discuss the following issues:


  1. What does a good divorce look like with attorneys; what does a bad divorce look like with attorney representation?


  1. Why do people want to hurt each other in divorce? Why do some lawyers support hurting the other spouse?


  1. What is the primary function of a family law attorney?


  1. What is representation supposed to look like?


  1. The pejorative terms associated with family law attorneys that really don’t serve the clients: Bulldog Attorneys; Lawyer Up; Pitbull Attorneys; Sharks. Is there a value to these words and the type of attorney associated with these words?


  1. Can lawyers help change public opinion of them? If so, how?


  1. Do lawyers want to change public opinion of their pejorative image?


  1. Myth vs Reality

    1. The Judge will totally find favor with me and with what I want.
    2. The meaner the better in court.
    3. How do you get the Judge to like you and want to listen to what you have to say and request?
    4. Family Law is a credibility issue.
    5. Divorce doesn’t have to tear your family apart, so why does it?


#familylaw #Judges #Attorneys #LawyerUp #PitbullAttorneys #BulldogAttorneys #Ruthless Attorneys #FamilyLawAttorneys #Litigation #Divorce #Court Trial #LawyerLimor #Court #Child Custody #ChildSupport #SpousalSupport #Mediation #CourtTV



Biography of Limor Mojdehiazad, Esq.


Limor was born in Israel and grew up in Los Angeles. She has a natural ability to put her clients at ease and lend support when its needed. Her tenacious personality, relentless negotiation skills, and understanding of the law help her achieve excellent results for her clients. Prior to opening her own law office in 2018, Limor practiced family law at two other private firms in Los Angeles County, Bet Tzedek Legal Services and, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. She continues to volunteer at the Harriet Buhai Center on a monthly basis to serve the indigent in need of family law services.


Limor has trained with family law judges at the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University. She received her Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School and her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State university, Northridge.


Limor is a member of the Beverly Hills Bar Association, San Fernando Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Southwestern Family Law American Inns of Court, Provisors, and Divorce Transition Professionals. Limor is also a commentator for Court TV.


Limor is also fluent in Farsi.


Law Office of Limor Mojdehiazad, APC

Beverly Hills, CA


@lawyerlimor on IG and Tik Tok (over 11 million followers)

Undercover operations, Background checks and due diligence investigations and litigation support are primarily the work of Barry’s company, Talon Executive Services.


Romance, Financial, and Relationship Exploitation exists and is more prevalent than you think.


People who are being exploited avoid facts, and let their emotions engage their heart in a relationship and don’t want to believe that they’re being taken advantage of. It’s hard to accept that we’re being taken advantage of.


You have to be honest with yourself to be able to identify when there are problems of exploitation. Self-denial is high especially if the exploited individual is a successful person. People aren’t able to accept that they’re being taken advantage of because of the business or financial success. They believe they’re too smart to be exploited emotionally and financially.


Immigration marriages are a big part of the exploited relationships. There are requests being made of the exploited individual that aren’t normal. Asking for money for themselves, asking for money for their families, asking for continued financial support and an independent way of living are commons asks.


When you are face-to-face in an exploited relationship you are in a bubble. You can’t see and correctly interpret the signs that you are being exploited. Reach out to trusted personal and professional advisors to help you deal with your blind spots in the relationship. The heart wants what the heart wants.


“We curate solutions that work within the law to get the client the information they need to be able to clearly decide if they want to continue the relationship,” Dozian explained.


The right signals to be in a wrong relationship exist, but the exploited can’t see them. A personal sense of self-esteem has been destroyed in a highly successful person when engaged in an exploited relationship.


The exploiter uses human intelligence to exploit people in online dating, which is a target-rich environment. We are giving predators a reason to exploit us as we are asking for love and emotional support in this environment. Self-awareness is key when doing online dating.


What is exploitation, the signs, the red flags in relationship exploitation?

1) Red flag: Everything is moving faster than normal. Ask yourself, “Why?”

2) What do I truly know about this individual? If asked and answered honestly should act as a speed break for a relationship that is going down the path of exploitation.


3) When things become chaotic: My family needs help, and even though we don’t know each other that well, can I have money for my family? Exploiters are good at emotional entanglements. Exploiters are called predators. The depth and size of the ask means something. It is a result of a good predator assessing the victim for a time to give the ask, and for the size of the ask. No one in a normal relationship would jeopardize the relationship by asking for things that aren’t appropriate for the point they are at in the relations


Maybe the exploited thinks they’re too cynical.  Pay attention to your instincts, because your instincts are your guide. Ask, “Why did you think it was okay to ask me for money this early in the relationship?”


Predator:  Human beings are instinctual creatures. We follow society’s rules. We lose site of the fact that our natural default position is to think we’re wrong and are making an incorrect assessment of the relationship.


Question yourself why you’re in this relationship. There is a physiological dilemma when the sex is good.


Engaging with someone emotionally requires self-confidence.


“Online dating is the Serengeti of predatory relationships,” Dozian emphasizes. “Be mindful of everyone who approaches you.”


How to get out of a predatory relationship? Dozian suggests sitting down by yourself, in a quiet space, and put pen to paper. Write down a time line of when you met the individual; write down significant aspects of the relationships, and odd things that struck you about the relationship. Write significant benchmarks, until you come to a point that made you question the relationship. Identify the red flags. This is when the epiphany takes place. Then share the time line with someone you trust, to get their reaction to the events. The potentially exploited then starts doubting themselves, thinking there is something wrong with them, while it’s so easy to ignore the signs and let the relationship take its natural course.


Depending on the results of writing the time line, be prepared to close off access to your financial wealth. Prevent the syphoning of your money.


Divorce is an issue of compromise. If you need to end the marriage, go according to the law of the state and get out of the marriage. Decide if Annulment or straight law is better to end the marriage.


#relationshipexploitation #immigrationdivorce #onlinedatingsites #financialexploitation #romancefraud #annulment #privatedetective #backgroundcheck #trustyourgut #realitysucks #predatoryrelationship #immigrationmarriage #relationshipredflags #divorcingapredator #divorcinganarcissist


Biography of Barry Mozian, Licensed Private Investigator; President – Talon Companies


Mr. Mozian’s corporate investigations/security experience spans more than fifteen years and covers a diverse range of disciplines to include fraud investigations, undercover drug/theft investigations and targeted violence prevention. Mr. Mozian is an expert at conducting corporate internal investigations that detect, assess and resolve issues of malfeasance in the workplace.


As a result of extensive field experience, Mr. Mozian has developed a specific emphasis on mitigating the civil liability to the client that can arise as a result of an internal investigation while simultaneously yielding a better than 94% confession rate during investigative interviews. These result are achieved through the use of a proprietary investigation/interview technique that has been developed to meet the specific needs of businesses and labor attorneys alike.


Mr. Mozian’s background experience and training in the disciplines of security and investigations began during his years in the U.S. Army as a field intelligence specialist and has continued through his career postings with several corporate internal investigation teams.


And he’s really good at relationship and romance fraud as you will hear on this exciting episode!


Barry Mozian

President, Talon Companies


On Episode 180 of THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast we interviewed Mona Elhalwagy, JD, NMLS: 663069 is a mortgage broker with Forbix. Mona lays out the formulas to use to provide a mortgage for Moms especially, if Mom is the lower wage earner and wants to keep the house.


What does a mortgage broker do? Brokers go to mortgage companies to find funding. These mortgage companies do not promote themselves to the public, just to mortgage brokers.


We discuss a number of different situations to help Mom get a mortgage, or refinance the mortgage in her name solely.

  1. Mom reenters the workforce to qualify.
  2. Mom takes in renters.
  3. Mom gets significant financial assets in the divorce settlement enough to get a mortgage.
  4. Mom receives child and spousal support.


Here is the guideline: 

  • In order for alimony or child support to be considered as acceptable stable, income, it must continue for at least three years after the date of the mortgage application. To be considered stable income, full, regular, and timely payments must have been received for six months or longer. 
  • Income received for less than six months is considered unstable and may not be used to qualify the borrower for the mortgage.

How much to qualify for a $300k loan? Assuming the following:

  • $600k value
  • Good credit score
  • A car payment of $250, $100 for property insurance, $400 in property taxes and a 3.875% rate
  • Need to make about $4400 a month
  • Lenders want to make sure that the mortgage and minimum monthly debt is less than 50% of the gross income

Niche products

Asset depletion

  • Asset Depletion is a method of calculating a monthly income stream based on a borrower’s assets
  • In general, Checking accounts, savings accounts, mutual funds, bonds, trusts, public stocks, CDs, cash value of life insurance and retirement assets are eligible.
  • Different lenders use different formulas to convert the assets into monthly income. Some will take the assets and divide the by 84 months. Others use an amortization schedule based on the client’s age.
  • For example, if a client has $1 million of assets/ 84 months, that equals about $11,900 of monthly income and the assets can stay in the account.

Alternatives for self-employed clients

12 months Bank statements – flexibility in using personal or business statements

Pure stated income for owner occupied homes

  • Only use the equity in the property. Rate is generally higher, but interest only is available.
  • Very few lenders have this product because most lenders need to show an “ability to repay” when it’s an owner occupied home. This is a good alternative to private money loans.

Stated income loans for investment properties

  • If the community has investment property, it is generally easier to qualify for investment property because lenders can look to the rents received to qualify the client for the loan
  • Have a product where the rents just need to cover the mortgage, taxes and insurance payments. Interest only payments are also available.


How lenders look at income


Alimony or child support

In order for alimony or child support to be considered as acceptable stable, income, it must continue for at least three years after the date of the mortgage application. We will accept as verification that alimony or child support will continue to be paid with a copy of the divorce decree, or separation agreement if the divorce is not final

Document no less than six months of the borrower’s most recent regular receipt of the full payment.

This is good to know in terms of structuring support. For example, if support will continue for 5 years at a higher amount, perhaps structure the settlement so that it continues at a higher amount for 3 years, if possible.


Reentering workforce

A minimum history of two years of employment income is recommended. However, income that has been received for a shorter period of time may be considered as acceptable income, as long as the borrower’s employment profile demonstrates that there are positive factors to reasonably offset the shorter income history.


Part time income

Part Time Income can be considered for use in qualifying as long as the Borrower has a two (2) year history of receipt but no less than twelve (12) months (subject to underwriter discretion).  As far as re-entering the workforce, the Underwriter will need to review the Borrower’s prior employment history for the two (2) years prior to leaving the workforce


Staying on title if on mortgage

Some people think that if they remove themselves from title, that they are also off the loan. This is not the case. Being on title is what gives your rights to the property, like being able to sell or refinance the property. Being on the loan just means that you are liable for the mortgage payment. When your spouse refinances the house, it is best to coordinate with escrow to remove yourself from title. This way, you will be removed from title simultaneously when the loan is funded and records


A Stipulation and Order can correct the monthly amounts for child and spousal support if the settlement agreement doesn’t meet the requirements for the length of time that Mom has to receive child or spousal support to get the mortgage. The overall amount of money can remain the same for spousal support while the monthly allotments can be diminished to be over a longer period of time in order to meet the mortgage requirements.


BIOGRAPHY for Mona Elhalwagy, JD, NMLS #663069


Mona Elhalwagy started her career in lending more than 15 years ago as a wholesale lender.

One of her responsibilities was to educate brokers on loan products and how to structure loans. This allowed her to pre-underwrite files before they were submitted to maximize the likelihood of approval.


While working in lending during the day, Mona went to Loyola Law School in the evening and graduated in 2001. After graduation, she stayed in lending because she liked the fast-paced environment and had a passion for how financing works. Mona is a proud member of the California Bar Association.


At Forbix, a loan brokerage firm, she offers all types of loan products for residential and commercial properties. She has a passion for listening to her client’s situation, understanding their goals, and finding the suitable loan product for their needs. It is her vast variety of loan products and industry knowledge which allow her to accomplish this for her clients.


She can be reached at or 818-822-5550 (NMLS: 663069  DRE: 01221578). The company website is


Social media-


#realestate #thehouse #divorce #mortgages #spousalsupport #childsupport #divorcesettlement #creativefinancing #divisionofassets #divorcemediation #creativemortgages #mortgagequalifying #mediation #monaelhalwagy #theamicabledivorceexpert #theamicabledivorceexpertpodcast

#title and mortgage #leavingtitle #leavingmortgage

KATIE MALONEY & TOM SCHWARTZ – Vanderpump Rules stars




One of the hardest assets to deal with is the house. And when you’re a celebrity, you probably have an expensive home and maybe several of them. Our two celebrity divorces are Kelly Clarkson, winner of American Idol, singer, and talk show host, and her music manger former husband (divorce final in September of last year) Brandon Blackstock; and Katie Maloney & Tom Schwartz of Vanderpump Rules, Sur Restaurant and Tom Tom nightlife spot.


Real estate was part of their divorce and our topic for today.


Real estate is expensive, most times the most valuable asset people have, and the hardest asset to move forward, in many cases, by the time the divorce can be final. It’s emotional and financial. Emotions drive the initial decision. Then logic sets in. Or not. It just gets crazier, more complicated and back to emotional.


Let’s look at Katie Maloney and Tom Schwartz first. They had a very amicable split and mutual decision on selling the house. Katie was quoted in US Weekly saying that the decision was, in fact emotional at first, but then she went through the numbers to see if it was financially feasible for her to keep the house, and that logic became her determining factor to sell the house. It was too much of a financial burden for her to keep it and pay for everything herself, even with her cast member fee with Bravo for the reality show Vanderpump Rules.


Now let’s look at a more complicated situation, Kelly Clarkson and Brandon Blackstock. Many celebrities invest in real estate. It’s safer and more lucrative than stocks, typically. It’s also a tangible asset, which means that failing a flood, hurricane or fire, you always know how the asset is doing, and the volatility in the real estate market is far less than the volatility in stocks. There was a pre-nuptial agreement, and this one piece of property, a ranch in Montana, was solely Kelly’s in the pre-nup. But Brandon, as so many spouses do at the time of divorce, wanted to contest the pre-nup as far as the community property status of the Montana Ranch was concerned. No contest; it went to Kelly.


Here’s what happens with most divorces when the house is the largest asset and some complicated situations arise:

  1. There are children, Mom wants to stay in the house, but can’t afford it.

    1. Other spouse can continue to pay for the house until Mom can make more money and refinance the house to buy the other spouse out.
    2. Child and spousal support may not be enough for the loan-to-value ratio needed for a mortgage.
    3. Mom will have to earn more money, if possible, to be able to get a loan and refinance the house in her name and give Dad his equity share.
  2. One spouse doesn’t want to get divorced, is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and won’t sign the paperwork to put the house on the market.
    1. You’ll need a lawyer to discuss how this works in your state.
    2. In California, you can request a Hearing and request the court to order the house to be sold and sign the paperwork if the addicted spouse can’t. or won’t
  3. The community property value isn’t either agreed upon, or even that it is community property.
    1. It was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, and the other spouse wasn’t put on the Title. Lega; advice needed to see if it matters that both spouses aren’t on Title. There are other factors that come into play to determine if the house is part community and part separate property.
    2. It was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and the other spouse paid part of the mortgage, property taxes, or made some improvements to the property. Legal advice will explain how community property is created in your state. In California, the monies spouses make on their jobs from date of marriage to date of separation are community property dollars, and when spent on things used by both spouses, like paying the mortgage on a house, creates community property.
    3. The house was owned by one spouse during the marriage and that spouse had a separate source of money that existed prior to the marriage that was used to pay mortgage, property taxes, or improvements. Definitely need legal advice. Perhaps the house remains separate property, but the operative word is “perhaps”.
  4. There is a pre-nup that clearly states the house isn’t community property but the mortgage was paid for with community property money.
    1. Ask a lawyer for legal advice.
    2. What does the pre-nup say about using community funds for the house? This is key in determining whether community property was inadvertently created with the house.
  5. Sell the house and reinvest the money. Clean, simple, easy. If there is enough money for each spouse to buy something else with their equity share, you’ve hit the jackpot!
  6. The house is under water, meaning the mortgage is more than the equity in the house.
    1. A short sale still requires the sellers to make up the difference in what the house sold for and what the current owners owe the bank.
    2. Keep the house, continue to share the expenses, and sell it when there is no cash outlay from the sellers to move the property forward.


#realestate #dividingthehouse #buyout #TitleTransfer #equity #realestateadvice #realestatemediation #loanrefinance #communityproperty #equitabledivisionofassets #divorcesettlement #nesting #mediation #amicabledivorce #appraisingthehouse

On Episode 179 of THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast we have mediator Despina Mavridou, author of Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? And a child of divorce, as our guest to discuss the importance of communication between parents, how a lack of communication leads to growing apart and eventually divorce, and how divorce affects children and leads to Parental Alienation.


Highlights from the Interview:


I was trying to be the adult when I was 10. I saw my mother crying and tried to help her. I also tried to be the mediator between my parents, for instance, and ask my father for money, for my mother, because my mother didn’t want to.


There were emotions I tried to suppress until therapy in my adult life. I suppressed sadness, anger, and the alienation I experienced with my father.


My parents were using me as a weapon to hurt each other. They didn’t mean to, but they were because they never dealt with the issues that led to their divorce and therefore couldn’t talk to each other without arguing.


What should parents do to prepare for a divorce if there are minor children? Therapy. Nobody can deal with divorce alone. Everyone going through divorce needs help beyond attorneys. They need therapists, coaches, anyone who can help parents, especially fathers, to deal with the reasons for the divorce. Fathers feel a lot of shame and blame that they don’t express.


My mother cried a lot. I wanted to help her stop crying. I distanced myself from my father because I thought this would protect my mother from her sadness and anger. I thought that by siding with my mother it would make the whole divorce better for me, my sister, and my mother.


My sister and I felt like we were in a battle between our parents, even to explain to mom what we did with our dad was uncomfortable.  In order to make my mother happy, we felt we had to badmouth our dad.


If parents don’t know themselves well, lived a life that was fulfilling leading up to marriage and starting a family, they may not grow together as a family.


My parents never learned how to communicate, how to put themselves first, and blamed each other for not being happy.


My dad had an outside relationship because my mom spent more time working and raising my sister and I than she spent with my father, and they didn’t grow as a couple.  My mother made more money than my dad. That was a problem for my dad’s pride.


Listening and communicating are essential in developing a good relationship as parents and as a married couple.


Kids don’t want to be part of their parents’ arguments: Different rules in both houses; Don’t want to talk about money; Don’t want to negotiate the co-parenting schedule.


Parental alienation was the only answer in order to stop being the messenger between my parents. When I said to my mother that I would stop seeing my father in order to make her happy, my mother said this wasn’t right. Although my mother spoke badly about my father, she also said that I should still see my father. I was very confused about this.


I needed my mother’s approval, and wanted to be a good girl, so I thought that if I ignored my father I would please my mother.


30 years later, my mother is in a new relationship but still expresses anger towards my father. The issues from the divorce linger because my mother never got help to work on those issues, nor did my father. My parents still don’t talk.


Biography of Despina Mavridou


My name is Despina Mavridou. I am an author, a mediator and a lawyer in Greece. I have experienced the negative effects of divorce due to my parent’s separation when I was 10 years old. I was in the middle of their fights for many years, even after the judgement of divorce was issued by the Court, trying to find a balance. Thus, when I was approximately 17 years old I took the decision that I don’t want to see my dad anymore and this cost me my relationship with him for more than 20 years. We have reunited recently.


As an adult I have worked as a lawyer for many years but in the last four years I have discovered mediation and a passion for writing. For this reason, I have decided to leave my job as a lawyer and concentrate mostly on my passion. My first published book is titled Mum, Dad, Can You Hear Me? This is because I was always feeling inside me that I wanted to share certain things with my parents so as to make them understand how I was feeling about the divorce. Through family mediations I understood how difficult it is for parents to get in their kid’s shoes. For this reason, I wanted to give to the book Mum, Dad Can You Hear Me? a dual purpose. On one hand I want to help children understand that the divorce is not the end of the world and that they can have both parents in their lives. On the other hand, I want to help parents see the divorce through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl so as to better understand the thoughts, needs and feelings of the kids and how important it is for them to have both parents in their lives.




#parentalalienation #divorce #childofdivorce #coparenting #mediation #bestinterestsofthechild #communication #takingsides #childrenasmessengers #childrenasweapons #divorcecourt #childsupport #infidelity #divorcegrief #stagesofgrief #anger #forgiveness #apology

Episode 178:  How to Amicably Co-Parent with Dr. Lynne Meyer

On the Amicable Divorce Expert podcast Judith interviews Dr. Lynne Meyer, a psychologist who works with children and families. The questions addressed in this interview with Dr. Meyer are the following:

  1. Can an amicable divorce and co-parenting relationship change from contentious to amicable, and how?
  2. How can co-parents become child-centered if the parents are still fighting each other?
  3. What are some co-parenting techniques that will get the parents unstuck from a volatile relationship in order to co-parent in a child-centered way?
  4. How do you get parents to understand that the child needs to be with both parents as much as possible?
  5. How do you get parents to understand the size of the loss created with a divorce, both on the parents’ end and the loss that the children are experiencing?
  6. Are there therapeutic steps to take before filing for divorce?
  7. How should parents tell their children that there will be a divorce?
  8. How can parents support their children in expressing and dealing with their fear as a result of the divorce?
  9. What are the dangers in using two different co-parenting styles?
  10. What are the dangers in not allowing children to share accomplishments with the non-custodial parent if the custodial parent won’t allow communication between the children and the other parent when it’s not the other parent’s time with the child?
  11. What is the benefit in co-parenting therapy?
  12. What is the benefit in child therapy?
  13. Why does a child present themselves differently to each parent?
  14. Can child therapy help help the co-parents come together with a united parenting style?

Biography of Dr. Lynne Meyer

Dr. Lynne Meyer has been in private practice for 27 years.  She is originally from Cape Town, South Africa where she trained as a teacher psychologist at University of Cape Town.  After leaving South Africa, she lived in Israel for 5 years before coming to the United States to train as a clinical psychologist at CSPP now Alliant University where she obtained a doctorate in psychology.

Dr. Meyer has also trained at NCP in Child Psychology.  She is presently training in Mindfulness Trauma Work.


Dr. Meyer specializes in trauma and abuse.  Her specialty is working with children who are in high conflict custody divorce situations and are sometimes estranged from one parent.             Dr. Meyer works frequently for the court in family therapy, reunification therapy and co-parent therapy.  Dr. Meyer is focused on the child’s best interest and their development.  She is focused on helping children make the transition and adjustment in a divorced family. She works with children as early as 3 upwards.

Dr. Meyer has an empathic compassionate approach. She works with children in conjunction with parents to help families to heal from divorce. She works with a hybrid of psychoanalytic, trauma based and mindfulness therapy. 

#co-parenting #parallelparenting #mediation #familycourt #childtherapy #tellingthechildren #divorce #childtherapist #divorcelawyer #bestinterestofthechild #amicabledivorce #divorcepodcast #amicabledivorcepodcast #drlynnemeyer #amicabledivorcenetwork #amicabledivorcenetwork #coparentingtherapy

Today on THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast, we speak with Attorney David K. Yamamoto about creating the best attorney-client relationship, and what that means. David is highly respected among California Judges and attorneys, as well as his hundreds of happy clients. David’s approach to representation is ethical, calm, insightful, and thoughtful. Just speaking with David and listening to his tone of voice creates an environment of peace in a somewhat chaotic time.


The client is in charge whether they know it or not. The attorney needs the approval of their clients to move through the filing process.  Knowledge of the law is to every spouse’s advantage so that they can be a knowing participant in the divorce filing.


Only attorneys can give legal advice. Legal advice is based on extensive knowledge of the law and years of work in a courtroom. People can call an attorney just for legal advice. Most attorneys will give about 10 minutes of time pro bono, and then charge an hourly rate for a more extensive conversation, especially if the case is complicated. There is a difference between interviewing an attorney to see if that person feels right to you for full representation, and scheduling a talk simply for legal advice. Full representation will require an initial deposit of anywhere from $5,000 - $15,000, and that’s just to start a case.  Expect to provide more money in continuing retainers as the case moves forward. Once the initial retainer is used at the specified hourly rate for the attorney and his/her paralegals, additional retainers will be needed.A short meeting just to get legal rights defined is charged by the hour and typically lasts one to two hours. Some attorneys charge their standard hourly rate and other attorneys charge a little less than their standard hourly rate.


Many attorneys, after an initial consultation, decide if the client is right for them, and also determine if the client actually needs the services of an attorney rather than a paralegal licensed to file in court for what is called an “amicable divorce”. In those conversations the potential client is doing the same, deciding if the attorney’s approach, tone of voice, and demeanor is right for them.  The attorney-client relationship is one built on respect and trust.  Follow your gut as a potential client to determine how you feel about the conversation, what was said and how it was said.


 If people don’t need an attorney, there are other options in filing for divorce. In many states, like California where Attorney Yamamoto practices, there are Legal Document Assistants (LDA), people who have paralegal degrees and an additional license as an LDA to be able to file paperwork for people in a less litigious and contentious divorce. Or, there are now many online services that exist to remotely help with the forms and agreements for simple divorces.


The range in cost for a full divorce differs from state to state. If the divorce doesn’t go to trial and is handled as an out-of-court settlement, it can be around $20,000 - $40,000 per person. Yes, this is a lot of money especially considering that a trial may not be needed. If the case goes to trial, and there are many hearings for specific reasons like spousal and child support, custody, and vocational evaluations, the price could go up to and exceed a million dollars.


If the client needs an attorney but doesn’t have the money to go the distance financially with what they have in accessible cash, this creates a very difficult situation. If there is real estate in the asset portfolio of the client, or other large financial assets like retirement plans, they can be used to pay the attorney. Sometimes, the attorney is obligated to stay with a client, and put them on a payment plan, if there is a pending trial. There is an obligation within the legal framework of the law that requires an attorney to stick with the case if leaving the case would jeopardize the client’s outcome.


The key in keeping costs down is communication. Communication between spouses is essential in getting to the settlement faster, which brings the case to an end.  And keeping emotional communication with the attorney to a minimum as the attorney is only there to work on the legal aspects of the divorce, not the emotional side. Therapists are there to help deal with the emotions of the spouses.


Every client needs to have their attorney clearly explain everything that is planned for the filing. Clients needs to do their own research online so that they can ask the right questions to determine if what the attorney is suggesting is necessary. Unfortunately, there are many attorneys in family law that take advantage of the emotional fragility of their clients, and take advantage of their clients not doing their own research to be able to participate in the decisions of their attorneys. These attorneys see dollar signs with emotional, unknowledgeable clients, or see dollar signs in clients who simply want to hurt the other spouse and agree to participate in this somewhat unethical behavior.


A good attorney/client relationship is based on timely and accurate communication, trust, respect, and the mutual intention to be ethical, honest and intelligent. This goes both ways. Clients cannot ask their attorneys to do anything that is unethical, nor can attorneys respond to unethical requests other than to say, “No”. If an attorney agrees to do anything unethical for their client, know that the attorney quite often will pad their bill and perform in an unethical manner financially.


How can a client tell if their attorney is creating unnecessary work just for the attorney’s own financial gain?  Clients need to do research online regarding everything the attorney suggest.  The client should always ask “Why?” when next steps are suggested by their attorney other than the normal steps that are required in a divorce. There aren’t a lot of required filings in a divorce that doesn’t need witnesses and hearings.  But if the case is fraught with complication, intertwined assets and debts, substance abuse, and mental health issues, this is when the case gets expensive and many filings are necessary. The client should ask why the next filing is important. Then the client should take responsibility for stopping their attorney from doing something that doesn’t feel right or doesn’t make sense to the client.


It can’t be said enough that the client is bottom line in charge of the attorney-client relationship. With this responsibility comes the need for education, focus, discipline, and communication. If after the attorney-client relationship has begun, and it’s not working out, the client should end the relationship and seek other counsel. Nip it in the bud before the bill is too high to leave the relationship. Trust your gut and do your homework. Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you are, you have the wrong attorney.


Biography of David K. Yamamoto, Esq.


David K. Yamamoto, Principal Attorney at Yamamoto Family Law, Torrance, CA, has been in practice since 1986 and remains focused on the subtleties of family law. His extensive experience and skills in this area as a counselor, litigator (over 260 divorce trials plus 23 jury trials), mediator and collaborator has allowed his firm to achieve remarkable results for his clients.


In addition to David’s success as a strong litigator, advocate and mediator, he and his associates also practice collaborative divorce and provide mediation services which are non-adversarial interventions providing viable options to traditional divorce processes. David is a member of A Better Divorce – a group comprised of attorneys and other professionals committed to helping resolve family law issues without the need for court proceedings.


David is one of those rare attorneys who is practical, sensitive to his clients’ needs, moderately priced for his years of experience and success. David will do what is necessary to properly represent his clients, but will not take their money for work that is not necessary. A jewel among gems in Los Angeles family law.


#divorce #divorceattorney #collaborativeattorney #familylaw #mediation #litigation #litigator #attorneyclientrelationship #divorcetrial #davidyamamoto #legalfees #costofdivorce #legaladvice #legalcounsel #honesty #ethics #legalethics #communication #legalknowledge

THE Amicable Divorce Expert interviews Judy Graybill, Step-Parent Coach, on the best ways to be a step-parent in a second marriage. Second marriages are tough for several reasons, but there are empowering things you can do about it:


  1. If the biological parents haven’t healed from their divorce, the step-parent inherits the trauma from their marriage.  That trauma will play out in the co-parents’ relationship, in the co-parents’ relationship with their children, and will permeate the relationship in the second marriage between  the step-parent and biological parent.

  2. Initially, the step parent should step back from trying to parent their way, and instead follow the parenting style of their partner, to increase likelihood of harmony. As they build an organic relationship with the step-child over time, their influence with the children will grow commensurately.
  3. The age of the children should be considered when figuring out how to handle the presenting challenges. Kids who are 9 yrs old and older need more time to adjust to their new family. As such, the step parent should take a slow approach to bonding and getting involved.
  4. If the step-parent and their biological parent spouse have different parenting styles, this becomes friction in their relationship.
  5. Biological Dad in the 2nd marriage plays a key role in the relationship between the mom and step mom. If he has unrealistic expectations of step mom, she’ll find herself accidentally stepping on mom’s toes.
  6. Boundaries  need to be established between the biological parent and ex-spouse, in order to minimize conflict between households, as well as with the current spouse (the step parent).
  7. Step-parents need to be mindful of speaking well of the other biological parent regardless of how the step-parent feels about that parent.
  8. Two-way communication of expectations between the step parent and biological parent should be ongoing, although can feel repetitive.
  9. Keep the conversation with the other biological parent specific to co-parenting rather than anything personal.
  10. All co-parents ~ biological, step, and ex’s ~ would do well to learn and understand common stepfamily dynamics to help prepare for potential challenges, which will help them sidestep or navigate through.
  11. Any co-parent who can keep their side of the street clean will facilitate a positive relationship with all other parties.
  12. For holidays, it’s advisable for the step-parent to learn the family traditions of her family so to avoid inadvertently hurting the feeling of the other parent, while simultaneously creating new traditions that are unique to the step-parent and their step-children.


The best-case scenarios typically happen when the biological parent heals completely after their divorce, and is able to gain closure from their 1st marriage prior to remarrying. Called an Emotional Divorce, this facilitates co-parenting communications, and has best outcomes for the children.  Then, when there is an issue between the step-parent and co-parents over ideologies or logistics in decisions for the children, nobody feels threatened or undermined. Thus, it’s easier to answer the question, , “What would give the children the healthiest and happiest life? What would keep the peace and provide harmony in both households?”


Otherwise, if an emotional divorce is not achieved, the issues that ended the marriage can easily play out in co-parenting and influence the step-parent. Therapy for all three adults together can help work on the current blended parenting relationship if all parents want the relationship to work, and want to be the best parents they can be, minus the titles of biological and step. Children would like nothing more than for everyone to get along.


Bottom Line: Be a healthy Role Model for the kids, advocating the positive values you hold dear, even if you have to do it silently. This is ultimately what the kids learn.


#divorce #step-parent #co-parent #parentingstyles #blendedfamily #mediation #step-parentcoach #co-parentingwithanarcissist #co-parenting #step-mom #step-dad #highconflictparenting #boundaires #holidays #holidayfamilytraditions #secondmarriages #marriagetrauma #bestinterestofthechild #discipline #co-parentingtips

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