The Bledsoe Firm - February 2020

The Bledsoe Firm JustFamilyLaw.com | 949.363.5551 FEBRUARY | 2020

Lessons From My Father THE 3-FOOT RULE

L ast month, I talked about losing my father, Charles R. Bledsoe, who passed on to the next life on Nov. 9, 2019. He was 85 years old. As parents do, he had a profound effect on my life, the way I view things, and even the way I act. The memories that keep coming to mind are those of accompanying him on the various errands he would run around town. I had seven brothers and one sister, and I’m sure my mom was anxious to get some time for herself. I can remember riding around with my dad and several brothers, usually on Saturdays, on normal errands, such as going to the market, the hardware store, or the auto parts store. There was always work to do, and my dad did not have the money to pay to get our cars fixed. So in addition to working two jobs, my dad would fix our cars. After going to various stores and doing whatever work needed to be done at home, most of the Saturday would be over. I was always anxious to complete my work so I could spend time with my friends. As I remember it, whenever my dad found himself standing within 3 feet of somebody else, he would say something to that person. It seemed like he felt uncomfortable standing too close to a person and not talking to them. We’d be at the grocery store, and he would inevitably start a friendly conversation with the person standing ahead or behind in the checkout line, or he might start up a conversation with another shopper in the grocery aisle. I don’t think these conversations lasted very long, and they were generally quite pleasant. As an adolescent and young teenager, I got frustrated at times or embarrassed, thinking, “Can’t we just get out of here?” In retrospect, my dad was just an outgoing person who enjoyed talking to people.

Several years later, I learned about the “3-foot rule.” If you Google the 3-foot rule, you will find various versions of it. The rule basically says that if you’re within 3 feet of somebody, you want to say something to them. Part of this is based upon the fact that once you’re within 3 feet of somebody, you are close to their personal space. The idea is to make the other person comfortable by saying something to recognize the fact that you are sharing space with them. If you are standing within 3 feet of somebody, it’s usually a good idea to say something, even just a simple “Hello” or “Good morning.” Done right, the 3-foot rule makes for a more pleasant encounter with someone you are near. I go to a group exercise class (Orangetheory) as often as I can, which is usually several days a week. I often find myself next to people who are within 3 feet of me on each side. So, as I sit down on a rowing machine or get the treadmill going, I make a habit of " My dad understood and taught me that it is important to make people feel comfortable wherever you are. "

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than make kids feel ashamed of these early romantic feelings, let them know you’re there to talk to them about it.

VALENTINE’S LESSONS Talking to Your Adolescent About Relationships

Respecting Others Dr. David Anderson, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, believes it’s especially important to talk to adolescents about respecting boundaries. “One of the big lessons we want to be sending to kids at any age is that there are two people to consider,” he writes, explaining that adolescents tend to only focus on their own feelings and need to learn to consider how their crush may feel about them. This awareness might prevent them from overstepping someone else’s comfort zone. Respecting Themselves At the same time, kids and teens should know the importance of respecting their own feelings. Setting boundaries can be especially important when your child is confronted with an unwanted Valentine’s Day card or request for a date and feels pressured to reciprocate. “Boundary setting is imperative to learn during adolescence because it is a time of identity formation,” writes Dr. Marilyn Price-Mitchell in Psychology Today. “Healthy boundaries allow teens to feel respected, valued, and empowered to build positive relationships in their lives.” It also helps them handle uncomfortable social situations with grace and maturity. Crushes and first dates are a part of growing up, as is learning how to contribute to healthy relationships. Much like a first step or learning to drive, patient, loving parental support makes all the difference.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, stores are filled with chocolates, stuffed animals, and cards for significant others. Love is in the air! Even though you may not realize it, your kids may also be feeling the pressure. Crushes, dates, and broken hearts are part of their lives, too, but they may struggle to talk with you about it. Thankfully, developmental experts have weighed in on how to approach these important and delicate conversations. No Laughing Matter Judith Myers-Walls, professor emeritus of child development at Purdue, urges parents not to treat their kids’ crushes as silly. We may know these early expressions of love aren’t that serious in the long run, but to an adolescent, the emotions are very powerful. "They are very easily embarrassed about those feelings,” Myers-Walls observes, “so parents and other adults should be respectful and not tease about those issues.” Rather

If you think of your dog or cat as a member of the family, you’re not alone. A recent survey from The Harris Poll revealed that nationwide, 95% of pet owners have similar feelings. While we know a dog isn’t the same as a child, we also know that a dog isn’t the same as the furniture, so it’s little wonder that the matter can be confusing. In the past, the legal system treated pets like furniture. At times, judges would even order the sale of the pet so the spouses could split the proceeds. Luckily, grim situations like that are less likely to happen here in California. In 2018, California passed a law that allowed judges to consider the best interests of the pet when awarding custody. Judges can create “co-pet parenting” arrangements similar to child custody arrangements, such as joint or sole ownership with visitation time. In addition, they can issue temporary pet custody orders while the divorce is pending. There are no guarantees your family law judge would choose to handle the issue this way. The language specifically says the judge “may” enter an order, not that the judge has to. They are free to continue to treat pets as property, just as before. Some judges believe it’s impossible to know what is best for an animal. WHO GETS THE PETS IN A DIVORCE?

There is still reason for hope, though: Less than 10% of

divorce cases go to trial here in California because

most settle out of court. This means that 90% of the time, you and your former partner can look

at the pet’s needs and determine for yourselves what will work for both you and your family.

Before going into the negotiations, search your heart to determine whether you think the pet would be in worse straits while living with the other party. If you can both acknowledge that you want your pet to be happy, it will be easier to come up with equitable, creative solutions. If you want sole access to the pet, you might have to give up on something else you really want. You might have to agree to take less spousal support, for example, or agree to a smaller share of your former partner's retirement fund.

For more informative articles like this one, be sure to visit our blog at JustFamilyLaw.com/family-law-expert-blog!

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... continued from Cover saying “Good morning” or asking “How’s it going?” to the person on either side of me. They usually reply in a friendly way. Engaging with people has made going to these classes a much more enjoyable time, and naturally, with the passage of time, these little greetings have resulted in my having several people who I greet and talk to regularly. These same people now often greet me, too. It makes for a much more rewarding community experience. People enjoy being recognized and greeted, even with a mere fist pump when you’re both catching your breath. My dad understood and taught me that it is important to make people feel comfortable wherever you are. Even if you have to step out of your own natural comfort zone, say hello to them. Thanks, Dad, for this life lesson. —John Bledsoe

LAW ON THE SCREEN

F antasy V s . R eality

Inspired by Delish

Many people who hire an attorney are doing so for the first time. Whether they’re experiencing a divorce or another matter, they may not have a lot of experience with the legal system, which is a good thing because it means they haven’t had a reason to consult with an attorney. At the same time, though, it’s not uncommon for people to “learn” everything they know about attorneys and the courtroom from TV shows and movies. Shows and movies like “Law & Order,” “Suits,” “Matlock,” “Liar Liar,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Disclosure,” and more are a big part of our popular culture. They’re intriguing and entertaining, but they’re also dramatic — sometimes, overly so. The reality is that cases aren’t going to be over and done in an hour or two. In fact, it’s often the complete opposite. Cases take serious time, especially family law cases. Believe it or not, this is a common concern among people hiring an attorney. They hope for immediate gratification, but that doesn’t happen. In real cases, there is almost never immediate gratification. Things don’t go quickly, and they shouldn’t. Attorneys need time to gather all the relevant information and to understand the situation to the best of their ability. Time is allowed for formal motions, depositions, subpoenas, negotiation preparation, the negotiation itself, and more. Even attorneys don’t want a case to drag on. We would all love to live in the idealized TV and movie world where things happen quickly, but we have to work with the slow reality of the legal system. Real life isn’t a TV drama, and your case deserves time and attention. You don’t want to miss anything, and we don’t want to miss anything. These shows and movies also make the courtroom a primary setting. In truth, your case is unlikely to make it to the courtroom. A lot of TV shows and movies love to portray the courtroom as a high-stakes, high-tension, high-drama location. It makes for great storytelling. However, most family law cases are resolved outside of the courtroom in boardrooms or offices. We can all agree that boardrooms are not the most interesting of places.

Homemade Paleo Bread

There’s nothing more comforting than a slice of homemade bread. Settle in with this paleo-friendly version of the ultimate comfort food.

INGREDIENTS

• 1 2/3 cups almond flour • 2 tbsp flaxseed meal • 2 tbsp coconut flour

• 5 eggs • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil • 1 tbsp agave syrup • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

• 2 tsp baking soda • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350 F, and line an 8x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. 2. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, flaxseed meal, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt. 3. Add eggs, olive oil, agave syrup, and vinegar and whisk until smooth. 4. Pour mixture into prepared 8x5-inch pan and smooth top with a spatula. 5. Bake for 35 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from pan and slice when cooled.

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Inside

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Lessons From My Father

Crushes, Valentine’s Day, and Parenting

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Who Gets the Pets in a Divorce?

The Stark Reality of Law in TV and Movies

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Homemade Paleo Bread

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Your Epic Adventure Awaits

Create Your Own Odyssey M ythical A dventures A wait in the M editerranean

Gozo, Malta

One of the oldest stories in Western

literature is Homer’s “The Odyssey.” This epic poem tells the story of Odysseus and his long journey home after the Trojan War. While Odysseus’ travels were

While Odysseus’ journey was perilous, he did enjoy one peaceful stop. Odysseus spent seven years on the mythical island of Ogygia, home of the nymph Calypso. Historians suspect that Ogygia was Gaudos, now modern- day Gozo, Malta. Gozo is home to the Ggantija temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids. In addition to exploring its archaeological marvels, Gozo’s visitors can also enjoy snorkeling, horseback riding, and other memorable adventures.

fraught with mythical monsters and magic, many of the places he visited are said to be inspired by real islands in the Mediterranean. Even today, travelers flock to these islands looking for peace, adventure, and epic stories of their own.

Ithaca, Greece

If you want to chart your own odyssey, make your final stop Odysseus’ home, the island of Ithaca. Covered in lush greenery and quaint villages, Ithaca is a wonderful place to relax at the end of your trip. Visitors can enjoy their morning coffee by a seaside cafe before lounging on a secluded beach for the rest of the day. It’s no wonder why Odysseus fought so hard to get back to Ithaca!

Sicily, Italy

One of the most popular stories in “The Odyssey” is the tale of Odysseus rescuing his crew from Polyphemus, a man-eating Cyclops. It’s said that Polyphemus made his home on what is now modern-day Sicily. Fortunately, there are no Cyclopes in Sicily today; there are only cultural festivals, world-class golf courses, and delicious food.

With dozens of other islands to explore, the Mediterranean is the perfect place to plan your own odyssey — minus the mythical monsters, of course.

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