By Thomas Moore, Office Manager

First of all, my thanks to attorney Steven H Silton, whose article, Counseling Clients in Financial Distress, in the August 2009 issue of Bench & Bar of Minnesota is the inspiration for this blog. Bench & Bar of Minnesota is published by the  Minnesota State Bar Association.

Here’s my personal reaction to what Mr. Silton says in his article. 

The financial crisis, and your personal crisis, is really about what you can do.

The global financial crisis is real and can be a rude awakening to someone who does not pay attention to the economy, or who does and who has, until now, enjoyed prosperity.  In fact, today’s circumstances can be particularly hard on you if you’re used to hard work, success, and success based upon your hard work.  Sometimes it seems that what you’ve done has been for naught.  But, understanding your limits, rethinking your life, and taking a holistic approach to life and work, can help — though nothing can guarantee that your investments, or your marriage, or your social position, or anything else for that matter, will keep on an upward curve.  We are all subject to market forces, nature, and social forces beyond our control.  We have to learn how to learn from failure; and we must learn how to best deal with the psychological and personal aspects of the situation we are in.  

You need experts, carefully selected, to work your way through this.

You should work with professionals, experts, to deal with what you cannot handle on your own.  There is no shame in this.  This could involve an attorney, a financial advisor, a life coach, a realtor, or a therapist.  You have to do your life work and engage others in this work as appropriate.  Getting depressed can be part of this but we have to learn to work through all the aspects of our situation.  To quote Mr. Silton, “Accepting responsibility is one thing, but there is no room for despair in a sinking ship…”  We must focus on how to get through the present crisis and how to build a better future.  Victories in these necessary struggles, instead of avoiding the struggle, are what build confidence and reduce anxiety. 

Stress and strain require you to be careful, ethical, and honorable.

If you are stressed, if those with whom you deal are stressed, you and they are inevitably being pushed in the direction of making distressed, even desperate, decisions.  Someone sinking into apparently hopeless debt and bankruptcy will not always make rational decisions about their finances or about anything else, for that matter.  Many examples could be cited of a party in a divorce who spends what he does not have on his bar tab, his ‘toys,’ and in other ways to avoid thinking about and dealing with what is inevitable.  Be careful in your dealings, guard yourself from those who are not and work at living your life as ethically and as honorably as you can.

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Even a Family Attorney Needs a Break!

Take the Kids Camping!

 

This is the last unofficial weekend of summer, and the last chance to take a long weekend camping at any of the many Minnesota State Parks      .    I recommend going to some of the ones further outside the Twin Cities than usual.  I spent a long weekend at the beginning of August at  Bear Head Lake     State Park outside Ely, MN,     the wanna-be-hosts of the    2016 Olympics  .)   

This weekend I’m venturing to  

Upper Sioux Agency State Park, where I plan to hike some trails and kayak some waters.  Favorites in the past have included Gooseberry Falls State Park outside of Duluth, and Sibley State Park, outside Wilmar.

 

State Parks are a great destination for families, small and large.  At Bear Head, our neighbors included a large family reunion with people from all over the five state area.  I enjoyed watching uncles teach nieces to fish, and grandpa argue with son over who snored louder.  State Parks have nice sized campsites, some with electricity for RVs, shower facilities, and well-informed staff that can help you make the most of your time out in the wild.

Stress, Strain, and Divorce

A Few Words from A Family Law Office Manager

We live in stressful times. Half the people I know are depressed, it seems, agitated or both! Stressed out.

I can identify with you.  Take blogging.  Blogging is good for the spirit, provides a basis for helping folks out and of course is a great way to let other folks know who you – and your organization — are. But what if you’ve spent all week doing data entry and balancing the books? Dull, dull, dull!

What if you, like me, are not really qualified to blog about the most interesting things in the office? Here I am, office manager in a family law / probate / trusts and estates law firm with one paralegal, several attorneys – and me.  Everyone here is more qualified than I in the legal field.  My expertise is in marketing and cash management and, well, managing the office. 

Stress and Strain and the MTA (Marital Termination Agreement)

Recently a client came into the office to sign their MTA (Marital Termination Agreement – that’s legalese for divorce papers, at least here in Minnesota.  He was upset, he did / didn’t want to sign them. We talked. I was glad for a chance for some human contact and he and I actually have a lot in common – we’ve both been through a divorce and we’re both emotional about it – and committed to making it happen so we can move on.

Speaking of emotions, have you noticed the number of people going off the deep end lately and launching on various violent and destructive sprees? It’s a lot, it seems to me anyway. I think everyone is suffering from stress.  Divorce, like running or mountain climbing where you hit *the wall* and keep on going on raw will power – divorce, child custody, probate, estate planning – though divorce is the worst – all of these are emotional and often force you to go beyond what you think you can do and in fact sometimes do force you into situations where you really don’t know how to cope, or cope as well as you want.

Divorce and Self Help

Here’s my point.  Divorce almost inevitably involves real estate, child care arrangements, financial planning, health issues, and mental health issues. Seek help. If you had a broken leg you’d see a doctor. If you have to sell the house, find a realtor and a mortgage banker. If you have a spirit at risk of being broken, or a life in danger of being damaged, seek out not only friends you can talk with; but a support group, individual therapy, group therapy. Many of us have been there. It’s worth it.

So, that’s it!  Be your own best advocate for you and for your loved ones.

And the man who did / didn’t want to sign his divorce papers? He signed — *after* I promised that his attorney  would talk with him next week about it before proceeding.

Thomas Moore, office manager

Moore Family Law 

Thomas.Moore@MooreFamilyLawMN.com

Thankful Things in Divorce Law

Family Law and Peace and Quiet

It’s Friday, we have been very rushed all week and we have a firm retreat this weekend. Tonight we plan to have a summer cookout with friends. Hopefully today will be a quiet one! As it is I have a few minutes here to count our blessings. It may sound odd to think of being thankful in a law practice consisting of divorce cases, child custody cases and – more and more, recently – child support actions. Still, looking at the bright side really isn’t a luxury but a necessity; and it struck me earlier this week that I was really being inordinately grouchy!

The Bright Side of Working With Divorce, Child Custody, and Probate

Here are a few bright sides to our family law practice here in Minnesota.

1. Helping a client through a difficult divorce, custody dispute, etc.

The old saying that what does not break us makes us stronger can sound smug, I know, but I think it is, for me at least, true. Takes work!

2. Helping a client – and myself — grow to learn to apply the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) prayer

“God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference.” No matter what your belief, or disbelief, in God, I think this works and I am thankful that I have the opportunity at least to try to apply this to myself.

3. Making things go more smoothly in my daily tasks

Which result in more timely and economical delivery of our product – legal opinions – to our clients; with less friction along the way. 4. Hearing that what I do has actually helped someone in their divorce, probate, estate plan, child custody case.

5. Collaborating in the office with our family law and probate attorneys

To provide the best service we can to our clients.

6. In a divorce or probate legal case, successfully balancing

The emotional needs of our clients to the very practical matters of deadlines, paperwork, fees, billing, and so on.

7. Helping mesh everyone’s different styles, strengths, and emotions

In a productive way, whether they be lawyers, opposing counsel, client, vendor, or just me.

8. At the end of the day, knowing I have done my duty

To the firm and to our clients to the best of my ability.

Thank You

 And, to you who are reading this – thank you!

Thomas Moore

Office Manager

Moore Family Law

www.moorefamilylawMN.com

Plymouth, Minnesota

Thomas.Moore@MooreFamilyLawMN.com