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Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.

Dan Simon's Blog

5 Tips for Avoiding Lawyers in Los Angeles

February 2nd, 2016

Some lawyers are decent people. I’m a lawyer myself. So are my beloved father and many of my friends. But, who are we kidding – you’d rather not have to hire one, right? Sometimes they’re helpful. But if you can avoid them, that’s ideal. These tips apply everywhere, not just Los Angeles, but my office is in L.A., so that’s my focus. Here are…

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Los Angeles Divorce Attorneys: Questions and Answers about Costs

January 26th, 2016

Question: How much do Los Angeles divorce attorneys charge for a divorce?

Answer: I know of couples who have paid their lawyers over $4 million for a divorce in Los Angeles. I know of other couples who have spent only around $15,000 each. And I know of many couples who have avoided lawyers entirely and completed the necessary paperwork on their own.

Question: Why does a…

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Minnesota Divorce Attorneys: Questions and Answers about Costs

January 26th, 2016

Question: How much do Minnesota divorce attorneys charge for a divorce?

Answer: I know of couples who have paid their lawyers over $2 million for a divorce in Minnesota. I know of other couples who have spent only around $10,000 each. And I know of many couples who have avoided lawyers entirely and completed the necessary paperwork on their own.

Question: Why does a divorce in…

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Discussion of Bad Neighbors on WHYY

January 13th, 2016

The Public Radio Station in Philadelphia, WHYY, has a weekly show called “Voices in the Family”, hosted by Dr. Dan Gottlieb.  A while back they invited me to call in and discuss how to deal with conflicts with your neighbors.  You can listen to the show here:

 

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My Appearance on Fox Business Network

January 13th, 2016

Although I’m not exactly an expert on criminal law, Fox Business Network asked me on December 31, 2015, to comment on the recent criminal charges against Bill Cosby. In the brief interview, I made one of the points that I often like to make about the legal system: Lawyers will come up with arguments.

Lawyers are paid to create legal arguments. These arguments are often…

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5 Reasons Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE) is a Bad Choice for Divorce in Minnesota

December 27th, 2015

IT WORSENS THE CONFLICT: If you and your spouse disagree about some aspect of your divorce, there’s one sure way to worsen that conflict. ENE. If you add in an evaluator who pretends to know what a judge would do, it adds tension and fear to the situation. The possibility that the ENE Evaluator will tell you that the law is against you on…

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Best Family Law Attorneys in Los Angeles: None.

December 14th, 2015

When mediating a divorce (aka marital dissolution) in Los Angeles (or anywhere, for that matter), I often need to start by helping the couple undo the damage their lawyers have done.  Whether the issues are parenting, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, property division, or any combination of those, lawyers always interfere with the communication between spouses.  Misunderstandings are always part of the story when Los…

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Best Divorce Lawyers in Minnesota: None at all

December 14th, 2015

The best divorce lawyer in Minnesota is no lawyer at all.  In very rare and extreme cases, they may be helpful, but the vast majority of the time family lawyers do more harm than good.  There are far better ways to deal with conflict with your spouse. If you disagree with your spouse about parenting, child support, spousal maintenance or property division, adding lawyers to the situation…

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Purpose Drives Practice in Transformative Mediation

August 18th, 2015

In the below video, here’s what I say about what transformative mediation, and how its purpose connects to its practice:

The way that we talk about transformative mediation, for me it’s perfectly accurate to say that my job as a transformative mediator is to help you have whatever conversation you want to have, period. When people are feeling like the other person needs to know…

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Why are divorce lawyers so damaging?

August 9th, 2015

Divorce lawyers are generally decent people who believe they’re being helpful. And some divorcing people find it helpful to consult with a lawyer.

But most often, engaging a divorce lawyer turns a good divorce bad or turns a bad divorce worse. Despite lawyers’ good intentions, they are limited by a system that increases defensiveness, fear and hostility and decreases the quality of communication. Within the…

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Mediation in Litigation could be MUCH better than it normally is – 5 minutes

June 15th, 2015

Here’s Five Minutes on How Mediation in Litigation could be MUCH better than it Normally is

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The Potential of Transformative Mediation

April 6th, 2015

In the below video, here’s what I say about the potential of transformative mediation:

When we hear somebody saying. . . calling the other person a “filthy, dirty, rotten, bad person,” we’re right there supporting the conversation by saying, “Ah, so you’re saying that this other person is a filthy, rotten, bad person”. We believe in this model that just simply by reflecting what the…

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The Transformative View of Conflict

April 6th, 2015

In the below video, here’s what I say about the transformative view of conflict:

You’ve got two parties, individuals, countries, or corporations, but two people or groups who are feeling threatened by each other and they are behaving therefore in ways that are designed to defend themselves from each other but often are perceived by the other side as threatening. So there’s the vicious cycle of both sides…

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What’s Wrong with Traditional Mediation?

March 31st, 2015

Most mediators simply haven’t thought about or studied the question of what is most helpful to people in conflict. Instead, they apply their lawyering skills against both parties. As lawyers, they learned to threaten the other side with what a judge will do and offer the other side the opportunity to do something slightly less painful. As mediators, they do that to both parties…

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The Transformative Approach to Mediation vs. the Mainstream Approach

March 3rd, 2015

I the video below, here’s what I say about the interest-based, Facilitative or problem-solving approach to mediation, along with an introduction to the very different transformative approach:

Facilitative: The next step of the evolution of mediation is the interest based or problem solving approach [also known…

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Transformative Mediation for Divorce – Teleseminar *Free

October 26th, 2014

This spring ACR (The Asociation for Conflict Resolution) had me present a seminar on my chapter, “Transformative Mediation for Divorce: Rising Above the Law and the Settlement”.  You can hear it here. 

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Simon Mediation Training Courses Testimonials

October 24th, 2014

Very engaging. The feedback was very helpful and encouraging. Pamela Kigham, Attorney, Saint Paul, MN.

I’ve had a couple transformative trainings now and I’m completely sold on the method of transformative mediation. 10 out of 10. Melissa Maher, Attorney, Lino Lakes, MN.

I really learned a lot and I improved my listening skills greatly. Michelle Brunt, Attorney, Cambridge, MN.

My favorite thing about the course was Dan’s…

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Old-School Mediation Techniques

October 22nd, 2014

Learn why old-school mediation techniques aren’t effective.

Here’s what I said in this interview about the unfortunate way that most litigation-related mediation is currently done:

” I think there is a wide spectrum of what is considered mediation or what is called mediation. From what I’ve gathered from anecdotes from the lawyers I’ve talked to who practice litigation and from the mediators I’ve talked to, the…

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My Introduction on Video

October 16th, 2014

Here’s the transcript of the part of the video where I introduce myself and explain how I came to be a transformative mediator:

 

I’m Dan:

My name is Dan Simon. I’m a transformative mediator. I’ve been doing that for 10 years now (as of 2008, that is.  I started in 1998). I started out, went straight to college and law school. I think I got through…

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Featured Blog at Mediate.com!

December 3rd, 2013

My blog is now one of the featured ones at Mediate.com:

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What’s the Process for Getting Divorced in Minnesota?

July 29th, 2011

Assuming that you are clear that you want to get divorced, the process for completing a divorce in Minnesota is pretty simple. The only serious complications that arise come from conflict with your spouse or over-reliance on lawyers, or both. Many of my clients go through a simple 2-step process: First, the couple has a conversation in which they figure out their plan for…

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How Do I Calculate Child Support in Minnesota?

July 22nd, 2011

It’s really up to you and your co-parent.  Yes, really.  This is different from how divorce lawyers see it, but the truth is, as long as you and your co-parent are happy with your agreement, it is completely up to the two of you (unless the person receiving child support is on public assistance, in which case the county will likely seek reimbursement from…

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But I’ve Heard the Judge Has the Final Say? Isn’t that True?

July 21st, 2011

Not really. Judges love it if you and your co-parent figure out what works for you, since judges understand that if you’re not both satisfied, there are likely to be problems in the future. If you and your co-parent don’t agree and you ask a judge to make a ruling, the judge will do so, but you and your co-parent still have a lot…

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Are Minnesota Divorce Lawyers Nothing But Scam Artists?

July 20th, 2011

Good question. I’ve certainly seen situations where divorce lawyers seem to do much more harm than good. But I don’t think it’s intentional on their part. Having been trained in the law myself, I understand how lawyers assume that it’s helpful to advise clients about what they’re “entitled to.” And it’s natural for lawyers to disregard the unintended consequences of that advice. I recently…

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