Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are You Experiencing a Mid-Life Crisis?

It is not a "crisis" if you find yourself in your 40's or 50's reevaluating your career or life choices-- this is normal, and should be seen as an opportunity to make some improvements.  Here is a recent article that explains this phenomenon:

Here is the link to an interview with a life coach that explains the importance of working with a guide through this process:

There are many great books out there that are also helpful, including The Road Less Traveled by Dr. Peck, and Butterflies are Free to Fly by Stephen Davis.

It is good to question.  Enjoy the journey.  Just know that all the answers you need are already within you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Gottman Relationship Blog: Relationship Alphabet: V is for Violence

The Gottman Relationship Blog: Relationship Alphabet: V is for Violence: V is for Violence By Zach Brittle, LMHC In case you missed it, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m not really sure ho...

Friday, October 24, 2014

Should You Postpone Having a Family?

Many stories have been written about the challenges of parenting in the 21st century, and how expensive kids are to raise, but what people really need to hear is how much we can learn from our children, how much they help us grow, and how much they provide to us.  In teaching them, we learn a lot about ourselves, our values and what really matters in life.  In raising them, we too expand our understanding of the world and what it takes to build healthy, enduring relationships.  And in loving them, they expand our ability to love more than we ever thought humanly possible.

The choice of whether to delay parenthood is a very personal one, and I commend companies like Facebook and Apple willing to financially support this option, and we should all respect each person's right to make the decision best suited to his/her situation, but I will say this: (1) You will always worry about money (no matter how much you think you have or don't have) so don't get too hung up on this fact and (2) Parenting is hard work, and I mean literally-- it takes a physical toll on you that is just easier to bear in your late 20's or 30's than in your 40's.  Your energy level is not likely to increase with age, meanwhile there are greater health risks the longer you delay having a child. 

Personally, 31 was the perfect age for me to become a mother.  Physically, I was able to recover quickly, and professionally I was able to work out a flexible schedule that met my needs for work/life balance.  Now, I may not have hit it big financially over the past decade, but I was able to provide a decent life for us, and in the process I got to enjoy a whole second childhood full of rewards that far exceeded all my dreams.

Life is full of choices, and I love that-- just make sure you make an informed decision and don't delay too long one of the greatest joys that life has to offer.  If you still need a little more convincing, here's a list of my top 5 reasons kids make us better people, which was published today in KidzEdge:

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 4 Reasons Second Marriages Fail

After working with families in the DC Area for over 16 years and observing their dynamics, here are the 4 key reasons that explain why over 70% of second marriages don't last:

1. Not Enough Time to Reflect;
2. Rushing Into Things;
3. Money; and
4. Kids.

Here is a recent article explaining this further:

Here is a video that discusses the challenges parents face post-divorce:

For those contemplating a second marriage, I highly recommend you talk about your estate planning before the nuptials, and consider having a prenuptial agreement drafted by an attorney.  Also, look into attending a couple's counseling seminar,  or you can order the workbook "Focus of Forever" by AAML at

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.

Friday, October 17, 2014

What Legal Services Can You Afford?

For those about to embark in the divorce process, it is important to understand the four main types of services that we generally provide for clients with family law matters:

(1) initial consults;
(2) flat-fee services for preparing specific documents;
(3) alternate dispute resolution; or
(4) representation through retainers.

Initial consults are key because they provide clients with an overview of the law, including their rights and obligations, as well as a detailed explanation of the legal process.  It is important to obtain this information, together with an expert's advice on strategy, early on and usually a one-hour consult in the DC Area ranges from $300-$600, depending on the attorney's reputation and level of experience.

Flat-fee services are typically offered for drafting or reviewing Separation Agreements and/or uncontested divorce documents simply because the time involved with these services can easily be predicted.  Flat-fee arrangements are not available in contested situations.

Alternate dispute resolution is conducted outside of court and includes using an attorney as a mediator or working in a Collaborative Divorce Process.  In these arrangements, you may be able to pay as you go for these services, without the need for hefty retainers because you are agreeing to avoid litigation and instead focus on an amicable settlement.

Representation through retainers requires clients to pay a deposit towards the legal services requested. Essentially, it gives clients the ability to have a lawyer "on call."  When we are on retainer, we provide on-going advice and consultation, negotiate with the opposing counsel, draft all necessary documents, and attend court appearances as needed.  This full-level of service is not something that many can afford, which is why in a post-recession world we have seen a dramatic rise in limited engagement retainers that dramatically narrow the scope of an attorney's representation.

Limited engagement retainers are a bit controversial because there is a concern that people may not fully understand what this means, but I believe this a-la-carte style of purchasing can be easily explained to customers, who will then have greater control over their expenses.  These limited engagement retainers typically exclude representation in court, which is the most costly aspect of our legal services.  The point is that we get to coach our clients through the process, helping them file the appropriate legal documents and advising them on strategy, without any commitment to appear in court.  Of course if that client's case does not settle, s/he must be prepared to go to court on his/her own.

Ultimately, divorce clients have to be realistic with their own budgets and find ways to work within their limits.  Family law cases are civil matters, and the government does not have any responsibility to provide attorneys in these cases, except in very specific actions such as those involving child support or abuse and neglect claims.  It is also not the lawyer's problem to figure out how the client will finance a private action-- that is where friends, family, bank loans or credit cards come into play if a person lacks sufficient means to pay for legal representation.  Law firms are not intended to be financial institutions, and attorneys need to avoid conflicts of interest that can easily be created once they are put in the position of acting as lenders with their clients.

Hopefully this helps clarify the options available, and more will make an informed choice that is appropriate to that person's budget.  

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Lots of couples will ask themselves this question as the holidays approach: should I stay or should I go?  If you are really on the fence, you may want to check out Gottman's book, "What Makes Love Last?"  Personally, I feel that if you are asking this question, you probably already know the answer.  Below is the link to a short article that covers the legal points you should consider in a divorce:

Here's a Youtube video with one of my MD colleagues explaining the dark side of divorce:

If you want to set up a personal consult in MD or DC, please feel free to email me at

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Gottman Relationship Blog: The 6 Things That Predict Divorce

The Gottman Relationship Blog: The 6 Things That Predict Divorce: The 6 Things that Predict Divorce By Michael Fulwiler  The first step toward improving or enhancing your marriage is to understand w...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

VA, MD and DC Finally in Sync With Gay Marriages

Here's this weeks Love & Money column explaining the significance of having all 3 jurisdictions in sync re gay marriages:

Friday, October 3, 2014

9 Steps to Self-Awareness

The past few years, I have been on an interesting journey, which involved finding my father, questioning my career choice, and revamping several of my personal relationships.  Talk about pursuing the road less traveled-- let's be real I went well way off course from the cookie-cutter path I was expected to follow.   And yet, I know without a doubt that I did exactly what I needed to do to get to where I need to be today, and I am so glad I questioned everything and anything I was ever taught.  Now, I'm betting more GenXers will do the same as we become increasingly aware that life is actually full of options and alternate realities.

After I finished my television project for "Making It Last" this spring, I went on an equestrian retreat to learn more about connecting and leading from your core.  Then, I unplugged from the Matrix this summer and went to Iceland. When I came back, I decided to celebrate my birthday by going on a challenging obstacle course that involved climbing various ladders high up into trees and zip lining through Rock Creek Park. Why?  Because I have found that I really dig challenging my reality.  But before you start testing your outer limits, I suggest digging deep within first, and the best way to do this is to follow these simple tips from "The Soul of Leadership" by Deepak Chopra:

1. Stop struggling.
2. Keep listening to your inner voice.
3. Meditate to reach your core.
4. Test your boundaries.
5. Remain centered.
6. Look beyond your personal beliefs.
7. Gather information from every source.
8.  Learn to have clear intentions.
9. Value inner peace.

I have to admit, I was originally afraid of turning 40-- I thought that meant it would be all downhill from there. But instead I have discovered that life really becomes much more interesting after 40- it is totally what you make of it.  And going forward, I will remember this quote from Italo Magni, "if you talk with your head, you will speak to others' heads.  If you talk with your heart, you will reach others' hearts.  If you talk with your life, you are going to reach others' lives." It has been an amazing journey connecting with so many brilliant minds and caring hearts all these years, but now with whatever time remains, I want to focus on shaping lives.
For more information on Deepak Chopra you can visit:

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Do You Know What You Want?

If you are a GenXer questioning a lot these days, don't worry-- you are in good company.  As we all hit the "mid-life" point we are bound to question whether life has worked out the way we wanted it to, and if not, we are painfully aware that there is no time like the present to make a change.  For some that may mean re-evaluating work, for others it's a time to rethink our personal relationships, and it could even be we need to tweak a little bit in both areas.  Questioning is a good thing, but to do so properly you need to make an effort at doing these three things:

1. Unplug- you need to disconnect from the Matrix.  Seriously, you need to realize that the social media distractions are just a way to avoid time alone.  But time alone is good.  If you need to, try this in baby steps. First unplug for a few hours a day, then ramp up to a weekend, then maybe a whole week while on vacation. If you miss it, then you don't need to give it all up cold turkey, but who knows? You may discover, as I did this summer, that you really don't miss all the updates, and after reaching this conclusion you may even decide to delete the Facebook app from your phone, as I did recently-- and I have not missed it since.

2. Find Silence- go for a daily walk, try meditating a few minutes each day, or just enjoy sitting in silence without any electronics and let your mind wander.  It may not be easy at first, but if you stick with it, you will find that silence is golden.  It helps center you and allows you to re-engage in tasks with a greater, clearer purpose.

3. Listen to Your Heart- do something because you really want to do it, not because you think you have to or feel pressured to do so for another person's sake.  The truer you are to yourself, the more authentic you will feel, and others will notice and appreciate that you are being genuine.

These 3 simple steps helped me over the last few years confirm that I enjoy my work, but I also enjoy  volunteering so I made more time for that in my life; meanwhile there were various relationships that I needed to readjust, and once I was clear about what I really wanted, I was able to align myself more with those closer to my true values.

Many books out there can give you inspiration along the way, and some of my favorites are (1) The Road Less Traveled, (2) The Four Agreements; (3) The Way of the Peaceful Warrior; (4) Butterflies are Free to Fly; and (5) The Soul of Leadership.  There are also plenty of life coaches that can guide you through your journey.  Here is a link to an interview I did with one last year: