Hello, my name is Helene L. Taylor.
For over twenty years I worked as a California family law trial attorney and mediator and in Hawaii as a family law, real estate and estate-planning attorney. During my practice I saw many divorce horror stories unfold, as many men and women endured a great deal of pain and animosity.
Divorce will always be part of our lives, yet the process is usually so archaic, toxic, and destructive.
Every day in San Francisco Bay area courtroom and law offices, I saw men and women do terrible things to each other in fits of rage and upset. Some spent millions in attempts to avoid giving anything to their spouses of ten, twenty or thirty years. Others falsified checks, depleted assets, and used estate-planning attorneys in an effort to evade support obligations.
How two people who once pledged undying love and devotion were hellbent and committed on making their spouse’s life as miserable as possible. It never ceased to amaze me.
I understood many of the reasons for divorce – betrayal, deceit – and the ire they could elicit. It was the reverberating effects of the battles I couldn’t stomach; the suffering and bad behavior.
And as a student of Buddhism and Taoism, I knew there was a better way.
So with my hard-earned wisdom and divorce expertise, in 2005 I left the divorce courtrooms behind (for the most part) and set out on my unique mission to help smart, successful men and women of integrity.
In 2005, I wrote The Soul Centered Divorce, How to Make Difficult Divorce Decisions with Confidence and Clarity to share this knowledge with as many people contemplating divorce as I could.
My knowledge of both family and divorce law, as well as my early days of practicing in the areas of bankruptcy, child protective services, estate planning, construction defect litigation, worker’s compensation appeals and real estate sales and development, proves helpful to my clients today.
Today I use everything I know about love, life, and the law to make the legal and practical divorce process easier, more efficient and much kinder. I share my work through my soul-centered coaching practice, my writing, and my teaching and workshops with men and women getting divorced in California.
As the American writer and theologian Frederick Buechner has said, “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.”
My deep gladness comes from helping those in need. It meets the world’s needs in the realm of divorce.
It may seem like a strange union, gladness and divorce, but I hope, not for long.
My professional history.
I attended Seabury Hall College Preparatory Academy in Makawao, Maui, Hawaii and four years after graduation and at just twenty one years old, I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Three years later I received my law degree and passed the first bar examination I took. (And they said I didn’t work up to my potential. I guess I was saving my energy till it mattered most.)
I opened my first law firm at 25 and, thanks to a talented marketing pro, I was a household name by the time I was 26. My practice areas initially included divorce, bankruptcy, child protective services, estate planning, construction defect litigation, worker’s compensation appeals and real estate sales and development. The variety of issues I handled gave me a diverse education that still proves helpful to my client’s today.
My early years as a solopreneur taught me much about business, life and law.
In 2002, I joined a renowned complex family law litigation firm in San Francisco and worked with some of the best family law trial attorneys, appellate attorneys, private judges, Commissioners, forensic experts, realtors and mediators in California – yes, some of the best in the state. Our specialty was taking complex family law issues to trial. This meant I spent my days at court, preparing for court, mediating issues to avoid going to court, settling out of court and you name it. We did this in San Francisco, Marin, and the surrounding counties (as far north as Napa, far South to Modesto and east to Contra Costa County).
I am a member of the State Bar of California and the Hawaii State Bar Association, but my legal services are limited while my coaching services are prioritized. I also am a mediator for the Sonoma Superior Court No-Fee Mediation panel, and an instructor for the San Francisco Community Boards’ mediators.
I served as a bar exam grader on the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners for a number of years, which was a great experience to learn what it takes and how to become a licensed attorney in California. I completed negotiation training under Roger Fisher, the director of The Harvard Negotiation Project and co-author of Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Getting Ready to Negotiate and Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate. My mediation training was done with Gary Friedman, author of Challenging Conflict: Mediation Through Understanding and A Guide to Divorce Mediation: How to Reach a Fair, Legal Settlement at a Fraction of the Cost.
In addition, I have litigated, negotiated, mediated, settled and coached men and women on these, and many other California family law issues.
- Joinder of Parties
- Valid Marriages
- Fraud (set asides)
- Attorney Fees and costs
- Date of legal separation trials
- Property rights during marriage
- Prenuptial Agreements (reviews, enforcement, challenges, interpretations)
- Postnuptial Agreements
- Child custody (establishing and/or modifying legal custody, physical custody visitation rights [including grandparent step-parent issues])
- Child support (establishing, modifying, enforcing; expedited [ex parte] orders, temporary [pendente lite] support, arrears; guideline challenges relating to high-income earners; waivers; life insurance; deferred sales of homes)
- Spousal support (establishing, modifying, terminating, expedited [ex parte] orders; temporary [pendente lite] support; long-term support; health insurance; earnings assignment orders; taxation; marital standard of living analysis; Gavron orders; life insurance)
- Property characterization (transmutations; tracings)
- Property valuation (personal property, businesses, real property)
- Division of Property (businesses [sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, LLCs]; stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc.; stock options; reimbursements; retirement plan benefits, pensions, IRAs, 401ks, etc.; real estate [commercial, residential])
- Debts and Liabilities (credit cards; secured and unsecured personal loans; mortgages, equity loans, lines of credit, foreclosure judgments, civil judgments, business loans, medical debts, student loans)
- Trusts including those with spendthrift, discretionary, and support provision
My clients describe me as compassionate, brilliant and a “rock star”. If you’re ready to make your divorce easier lets begin by determining if my one-on-one California divorce coaching, California divorce consulting or classes are a great fit based on your needs and budget.
I look forward to connecting with you and doing what I can to help you find your best divorce solutions and make your divorce easier, more affordable, efficient and kinder.