The Bledsoe Firm - March 2019

The Bledsoe Firm | 949.363.5551 MAR | 2019

F inding the I deal W ork - L ife B alance E veryone approaches a work-life balance differently. Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” pointed out how important it is to take time for yourself. Think of yourself as a saw blade. You can work and work, but without care, you’ll lose your edge. As Covey said, at times we “get so busy sawing that we do not take time to sharpen the saw.” Some people throw themselves in their work. It is important to be totally focused when working. However, after a certain amount of hours in a day or in a week, you cannot be as productive as you were at the start of the day or week. In a client-facing profession, such as my own, you need to take a break to recharge so you can give your full focus to your clients. For me, sharpening the saw is getting away from the demands of my work and spending time with family, working out, or reading good books. When you are mentally fatigued, it is good to do something physical or to just rest. In the Book of Mormon, for instance, there is a passage that reads, “For it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength.” This is certainly true. You can only do what you have the capacity to do. It’s a great quote in and of itself because it represents a challenge many of us face. It’s certainly something I don’t always live up to. Sometimes you have to take a step back and know your limit; you have to know when to say no. There’s a saying that says, “The most successful people have learned to say no.” Taking that a step further, Warren Buffett elaborated: “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to

almost everything.” Last month I gave an hour-long presentation to a local society of business professionals on the life of Warren Buffett. In researching him and his early years in business, I found that he was intensely focused on researching and evaluating businesses. He

spent many of his days working and reading, actually devouring incredible amounts of information. He was laser-focused. Even now, when most people would be relaxing, he spends time studying newspapers and other publications,

even while flying to vacation destinations on his private jet with his children and grandchildren. When his children were young, Buffett was reported to show up at their school events, but he would often bring his work with him. For me, that is over-the- top. I try to be more “in the moment” wherever I am. When I attended BYU in the late 1970s, Stephen Covey was a professor there. I actually took a couple of classes with him. He was a very successful organizational consultant, even at that time. He was just writing the “7 Habits” book that gave him global fame. He pointed out that “every time you say ‘yes’ to something, you say ‘no’ to something else,” and for me, this statement is profound. Sometimes you say yes to additional work and worry you are saying no to your own peace of mind or time with your family. All of us struggle to find the proper balance at times. There are certainly times when you must be focused on your work day and night. For me, these times arise when I am in a trial. Then, after court, I am in my office, working and preparing for the next day. In a trial, you must be prepared at the beginning. But during the trial, unforeseen things may come up that require additional research in order to be properly rebutted. Just like in a football game at halftime, adjustments to one’s game plan need to be made on the fly. It is always a relief when a trial ends because I can get back to a more balanced approach to my life and work. I used to share office space with Dyke Huish, a very successful criminal defense attorney. I always knew when he was in trial. He would be in the office all hours of the day and night for the days before and while he was in trial. But I also noticed that when his trial was over, he would take several days off to spend time with his family.

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Divorce involves questions related to assets, income, debt, and family dynamics. The more your attorney knows about your specific circumstances, the easier it is to come to an agreement with your spouse. Your lawyer needs a great deal of financial and personal information to successfully represent you. Here are three things your lawyer needs to know. Why are you seeking a divorce? Every couple has their own relationship dynamic. So, the decisions and circumstances that lead to divorce are unique to you and your spouse. Your lawyer needs to understand this story to best represent you. Telling this story can be difficult, but it is necessary. Any information you share is kept in strict confidence. It will only be used to pursue your interests and seek a better outcome from the divorce proceedings. Do you want to ask for alimony? California courts view divorce proceedings as an equitable process. A family law judge will do their best to equally divide any marital assets and distribute any debts. The same theories of equity apply to decisions around spousal support or alimony. In many divorces, one spouse is entitled to spousal support.

The purpose of spousal support is to allow both spouses to continue living the same lifestyle as before the divorce. You must negotiate the amount with your former spouse. To best jump into this situation, your lawyer must know how important spousal support is to you and set your expectations for the negotiation outcome. Do you want to keep your home? Division of marital assets is a substantial, and often confrontational, part of any divorce. You need to divide bank accounts, personal possessions, and vehicles. or many couples, the most substantial asset is residential property. If you want to keep the marital home, your attorney will prepare to fight for you to keep your home. To be successful, the residential property needs to be a priority in divorce negotiations. You may need to make other concessions in terms of assets. You should consider what property you can give up in exchange for the home. On the other hand, if you are ready to move out and move on, giving up the home can become a significant bargaining chip for other marital assets. For more articles like this one, be sure to visit our blog at for more insight!

FULL DISCLOSURE 3 Things You Need to Share with Your Divorce Lawyer

When Should Your Kids Start Working?

O ut of the G ame R oom and I nto the W orkplace

When the dolls and baseball cards get pushed to the wayside for cell phones and movie dates, it may be time to gently nudge your child out from under your wing and into the workplace. It doesn’t have to be pushing shopping carts or spinning signs on the corner; working in any capacity during formative years builds character and gives your child real-world experience. Summer jobs teach the value of a dollar and give kids lasting memories, and after-school gigs lead to more pocket change for the weekends and less worrying for Mom and Dad. The hard part isn’t asking yourself if they should work; it’s asking yourself when they should work.

In the U.S., most of us have about four decades of working to look forward to. Many start working in late adolescence and

continue until retirement age. Now, that’s a lot of work to be had. So why rush it? Well,

idle hands often spell disaster. Sitting around all day is a burden on both child and parent, whether they realize it or not. Those few years between hitting puberty and graduating high school are the sweet spot for your child to start their part-time career. There’s no shame in flipping burgers, stocking shelves, or mowing lawns. As of 2014, there were 16 million workers in the retail and food service industries, and the numbers have only gone up from there. But work ethic is changing among American teenagers. Just one-third of individuals aged 16–19 had a job lined up for last summer, compared to 51.2 percent for the same age range in 1997. While surviving on minimum wage as an adult is a topic of great debate, raking in around $10 an hour as a 14-year-old can seem like a king’s ransom. A few working hours here and there will do your grown baby a world of good and prepare them for the next chapter of their lives.

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I’ve learned when to say no and when it’s time to call it a day. I know when I’ve worked too long and need to recharge. On Sundays, for example, I make it a point not to work and to keep the Sabbath. I put work out of my mind as much as possible. Sunday is a family day — a day to keep the TV off as much as possible. For me, it is a day to worship, a day of reflection, and a day to make memories with my family. It is a day to be still and to read good books, including scripture. I notice that the better I keep the Sabbath, the more I am able to accomplish the following week at work. Sunday is truly a day to “stop sawing and sharpen the saw.” When I find that I am sawing with a dull blade, it’s because I am saying yes to too many low-priority things. Refocusing and sharpening my blade comes from stepping back and resting, meditating, exercising, and keeping the Sabbath.

The Prenuptial Agreement F amily law covers numerous topics beyond divorce, separation, and custody issues, just to name a few. Family attorneys can help in many relationship and marriage issues that couples deal with every day. This includes the prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is often treated as a “bad” word among couples. It carries a certain negative connotation and, for many couples, is viewed as a romance killer. It’s not a topic people like to bring up or talk about. However, it’s a type of agreement between couples that can prove to be a wise decision, especially helpful when a marriage deteriorates. In short, a prenup allows a third party, such as a family attorney, to establish which assets would be awarded to each spouse in the event of divorce, such as money, property, and investments. When not fully discussed between couples, unclear asset allocation may lead to problems when filing for divorce — especially when children are involved. It’s not uncommon for couples to develop irreconcilable differences through the course of their marriage. After all, one of the leading causes of divorce stems from financial stress, as well as miscommunication or emotional and physical incompatibility. Another option for couples is an antenuptial agreement, which is not as well- known as the prenup. The antenuptial agreement is similar to the prenup, but it’s drafted during the marriage. This type of agreement can serve as a source of accountability and peace of mind that ensures promises are kept and both parties continue to act in the family’s best interests. While there is still a social stigma surround the prenup, it may be worth considering. Of course, every couple’s situation is different, and it’s best to discuss options with a family attorney who can help sort through the pros and cons before anyone signs the prenuptial document. I s it W orth C onsidering ?

—John Bledsoe

Homemade Corned Beef Inspired by Food Network


• • • •

2 quarts water 1 cup kosher salt

• • • • •

12 whole juniper berries 2 bay leaves, crumbled 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1 5-pound beef brisket, trimmed 1 small onion, quartered 1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 2 pounds ice

1/2 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons saltpeter (potassium nitrate) 1 cinnamon stick, broken into large pieces 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

• •

• •

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

• •

8 cloves garlic

8 whole allspice berries


1. In a large stockpot, combine water, garlic, and all herbs and spices to make brine. Cook over high heat until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in ice. 2. Once water temp reaches 45 F, place brisket in a 2-gallon zip- close bag, pour in brine to cover, lay flat in a large container, and store in fridge. 3. Brine for 10 days, checking daily to make sure brisket is fully submerged and brine is stirred. 4. After 10 days, remove brisket from brine and rinse under cool water. In a large pot, cover brisket, onion, carrot, and celery with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 2 1/2–3 hours. 5. Remove, slice across the grain, and serve.

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23101 Lake Center Drive • Suite 310 Lake Forest, CA 92630


Finding the Ideal Work-Life Balance


3 Things You Need to Share with Your Attorney


Is It Time for Your Child’s First Part-Time Job?


The Usefulness of the Prenup

Homemade Corned Beef


Llamas, Pigs, and Horses … Oh, My!

Llamas, Pigs, and Horses … Oh, My!

3 U nique T herapy A nimals

Buttercup the Pot-Bellied Pig

Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals

Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before felt compelled to crawl out from beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward, the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady. Rocky the Miniature Horse At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”

help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them. Rojo the Llama Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him. He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books!

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