New Leaf Family Blog


“Now I get TWO birthdays!”: The Upsides of Divorce for Kids

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Jan 08, 2021 | 0 Comments

When we imagine the effects of Divorce on our children, parents often project their own fears, worries and concerns on their children. Instead, there is an opportunity to listen to what is important to our children, and that they may see benefits as well as loss, in the change in your family. Let them tell you in their words … in their way.

What’s A “Family”?

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Oct 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

What does “family” mean to you? If somebody is about to show you a photo of their “family,” what do you expect to see? Is that what you expect of your family too? While it is not required that your definition of “family” conform to the family you were raised in, or to anyone else’s, it is absolutely essential for your future happiness that you decide upon your definition, based upon your own values. “Anything goes” can be a prescription for losing the sense of family altogether.

Trading Something That’s “Fine” For Something Better

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Oct 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sometimes your life is “fine.” That usually is an indication that they could be better. You just may not be sure how … and not willing or able to explore that question. Better doesn’t necessarily mean changing your relationship(s). It does mean understanding what better means to you, and inviting your relationships to grow with you. Then that choice is theirs.

How To Look On The Bright Side When Everything Seems Dark During Divorce

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Oct 06, 2020 | 0 Comments

Significant life changes, including but not limited to divorce, activate our “fight or flight” responses and trigger a range of emotions, many of them very unpleasant. It’s important to address the understandable mental health aspects of this in the present. At the same time, it’s also important to start mapping out aspects of your future. It can seem daunting to think about where you’re headed when you’re in the midst of difficult times, but it is these times in particular that provide opportunities for growth like none other.

How Can I Afford to Get Divorced?

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Oct 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

At New Leaf Family, we have re-thought the family law process from beginning to end to align with our clients’ values. We help our clients make better decisions, reduce conflict, and improve outcomes, all with a billing plan that is reasonable, predictable, and structured in a way to incentivize our client, and the New Leaf Family team to work towards the best resolutions chosen by the client.

What is Mediation, Really? (And Do I Want It?) - Mediation Series: Mediation Part III: Preparation

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Sep 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

In this final installment of our series about Mediation we discuss the importance of Preparation. In this three-part series, we take you through what mediation is (and isn’t), why it can be useful, and some tips about how to maximize your chances of success. You may want to check out Part 1 – On Your Terms ( and Part 2 – The Process (, before reading this one.

What is Mediation, Really? (And Do I Want It?) - Part II: The Process

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Sep 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

This is a continuation of our series about Mediation. In this three-part series, we take you through what mediation is (and isn’t), why it can be useful, and some tips about how to maximize your chances of success. You may want to check out Part 1 – On Your Terms before reading this one. (

Your “Day In Court” – It’s Not What You Think

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Sep 08, 2020 | 0 Comments

“Having your day in court” may sound like a good idea … but in matters involving your family’s life, what it really means is turning over the most important decisions affecting you, to a total stranger. The result can take a long time, and is often not what you would have chosen had you been able. And you are able … you may just need a little support.

"I Just Want Out" – How to Take a Breath and Avoid Big Mistakes

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Sep 04, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sometimes you feel like you are “done” and just want out as quickly as possible. It is in these moments that many soon-to-be-divorced spouses make decisions that come back to haunt them for years and years to come. This is a process to deciding what you want, and moving purposefully and diligently … but not hastily … toward it.

Fighting Over "Stuff"

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Sep 01, 2020 | 0 Comments

In a divorce, fighting over “stuff” can often be a proxy for working out all the inequities that the soon-to-be-divorced couple perceive from their marriage. Emotions can run hot, and many resources: financial, emotional, and energetic, can be misspent on engaging in a battle, when winning won’t feel all that great. There is a better way.

How Much Does Divorce Cost?

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

A divorce has many costs, in money, time and personal angst. While money is a primary consideration, it is important to also focus on how divorce will affect you and your family. One way to ease the difficulty, is to make the cost lower, and more certain … and to make the process serve you, the client, better.

Dark Triad

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

Divorce and/or custody issues are hard enough. If your spouse exhibits psychological traits of the “Dark Triad,” not only will it be more difficult, but getting fair treatment from the system may become harder as well. Learning to recognize the “Dark Triad” is an important first step. Working with professionals who know how to protect your interests in light of it is essential.

Why Should I Hire A Lawyer For My Uncontested Divorce?

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

If you are one of the lucky ones who has decided to get a divorce in a relatively conflict-free way, congratulations. Count your lucky stars. You may be tempted to just try your best to figure out the paperwork and handle it all pro se (self-represented).  Do. Not. Do. This.  Your future self ...

Empowering Your Child To Get A Prenup

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

Pre-nups can seem hard. Most people not only avoid them, but avoid even mentioning them! As the parent of a child about to be married, however, you may very well be thinking about the legacy you have prepared, and the family wealth you'd like to protect. The truth is that, done right, this can end up being the best wedding present you can give to your child, and her spouse-to-be.

Splitting The Baby In Half: How To Handle Parental Alienation

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 12, 2020 | 0 Comments

Parental Alienation is real, and it is harmful to the children. You may wish for the Wisdom of Solomon in these situations. To get it, you must not hope for King Solomon himself to swoop in, but must instead take steps toward improving the situation for your children, and yourself. Working with an experienced team can help you get your children out of the middle, and to stop this bad behavior from their other parent (and others.)

How to Negotiate Parenting with Someone Who Is Not Rational

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Aug 07, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sometimes it feels like working on your parenting time is like negotiating with a crazy person. It can be exhausting, and leave you feeling worn out, so that you don’t show up to your parenting time as the best version of yourself. It doesn’t have to be that way. You can negotiate with your ex … and know when it is time to bring in the professionals.

If Your Spouse Has A Mental Health Issue

Posted by Penn A. Dodson | Jul 06, 2020 | 0 Comments

Sometimes one (or both) spouses in a marriage live with a mental health issue. When it comes to ending the partnership, these issues can make the process much more difficult. The "system" isn't designed for this. But a caring, careful law firm can help you stay on track, and make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

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