The Dynamics of Non-Traditional Families-Episode 2

Disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional legal advice or a consultation with a lawyer.

1. The Inside Track

If custody/visitation is an issue in your Arizona Family Law Case, this week’s Inside Track tip will save you tons of money in attorney’s fees and costs.


In Maricopa County, Arizona, there are 2 types of mediation which may help you with your custody (legal decision-making) and visitation case.


The first type is actually called “mediation.” Whether you have a lawyer or not, you can ask your judge to send you to mediation for a reasonable fee of $100. (Note that during the live broadcast, I incorrectly indicated that this type of mediation is free. It is not. It costs $100, which in terms of family law costs and fees, is almost as good as free! Sorry about that.) At this type of mediation, there will not be lawyers present. You and the other party will work with a court-appointed neutral third party who will help you try and hammer out a settlement agreement. If you are able to reach an agreement, the custody (legal decision-making) and parenting time issues in your case will be resolved.


The second type of mediation is referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). If the court orders you to participate in ADR, you, the other party and your attorneys will appear in front of a Judge Pro Tem (another qualified, neutral third-party who will also try to help you resolve all the outstanding case issues). The difference between ADR and the other type of “mediation” is that your lawyer will have to appear with you at ADR which means you will have to pay your lawyer lots of moolah!


If you want to save yourself hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars, ask the judge to order you and the other party to “mediation” first. If that doesn’t work out, by all means, give ADR a try!

2. Special Guest – Dr. Felix Salomon, The Phoenix Institute for Psychotherapy-Mental Health Center

Dr. Felix Salomon (who gave me permission to call him Felix) is a Phoenix based psychologist and psychoanalyst at the Phoenix Institute for Psychotherapy-Mental Health Center. In this episode, Felix, who has been practicing for a total of 40 years in the mental health field, explains the difference between a psychologist and a psychoanalyst. The substance of the episode, however, centers on the dynamics of non-traditional families.


Non-traditional families are a relatively new concept. The traditional model involves a male father, a female mother and children. Today, there are many variations on that theme based on a person’s true self, personality, ability to love, ability to commit and ability to be dedicated to a relationship.


The Dynamics of a Family:


a. Older generation/Younger generation


b. Nurturance (giving of emotional supplies according to the needs of the dependent person)


c. Provision (money, putting food on the table, financial support, financial security, financial


d. Protection (protection from the darker side of human life and whatever might impact, impinge upon or cause harm or hurt to the family members)


e. Generativity (providing the younger generation with the tools to carry on in a way that not only equals the level of success that the older generation has achieved in life, but to go beyond that)


Any group of people where the above roles are being fulfilled, where there is a sense of commitment and dedication, is a family. It doesn’t have to be a male/female couple. It can be a female/female or male/male couple. It can even be a “youth group” on the street who functions as a family.


Dynamics between traditional and non-traditional families are not qualitatively different, but quantitatvely different. Felix explains this in the context of a “blended” family and jealousy (sibling rivalry) as a dynamic. According to him, the jealousy becomes more severe than in a traditional family.


Felix’s Nuggets of Wisdom:


  • Don’t do to others as you would not like to have done to you. (“The Platinum Rule.”)
  • Justice for one, and justice for all. When you intervene as a parent, you want to come up with a solution that is just not only for that situation, but also more generally for the future (for the greater good). <*Note-Felix says this nugget of wisdom is not his, but instead comes from the Old Testament. (Justice justice.)>
  • Recognize the “otherness” of the “other.”
  • Take at least 20-30 minutes per week of family time where you have a chance to be together, enjoy something together and talk together.
  • For the parents, take at least 20-30 minutes of time to be together as a couple without the needs of the child being immediate.
  • As parents, make your own mistakes.


You can find Felix at 602-870-0991 or online at

3. Thoughts From the Life Coach

In this episode, Hernandez Family Law’s in house life coach, James Hoffmaster, shares his thoughts on the topic of hope, followed by Wendy’s own take on the subject.

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