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Welcome to the Successful Entrepreneurs Blog Series. In this monthly blog series, Harvard Business Services, Inc. will interview a variety of successful entrepreneurs whose companies’ range from small to large and local to international.
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Entrepreneur Catherine MacWillie Talks to Harvard Business Services, Inc. about Custody Calculations, her Delaware Public Benefit Corporation.
|Incorporation Date||August 28, 2015|
|Products/Services Offered:||Custody Calculations provides unique, innovative, proactive solutions that allow parents to get through the divorce and custody process in less time, with less difficulty and for less money. We offer coaching, seminars, conference calls and we can also be available for speaking engagements and media interviews.|
|Incorporation Type:||Public Benefit Corporation|
What inspired you to start Custody Calculations?
I am a retired law enforcement agent. I was a police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years. Over the course of my career, crimes and calls related to family law increased significantly.
As a young officer, there were a few calls related to custody and divorce. Fast forward to several years later, and there were hours and hours of radio calls concerning family law.
My research shows that 25 percent of all crimes in the United States—homicides, suicides, abductions, violations of restraining orders, stalking—are related to family law. This could actually be a conservative number, since we don’t yet track causative factors related to crime.
What is the mission of your company?
Through my company, I continue to act upon the decisions I made when I went into law enforcement— to protect children, families, my community and even my country.
We provide unique, innovative and proactive solutions that allow parents to get through the divorce and custody process in less time, with less difficulty, financially and emotionally, so they can go on with their lives and take care of their children.
Tell us more about the services your company offers.
As a divorce coach and a child custody coach, I hold my clients’ hands and help them make better decisions outside of the courtroom. We advise our clients not to call the police when they shouldn’t and not to spend $20,000 fighting for an $8,000 dollar couch. The system encourages escalation. It’s a divorce, not World War III, but families feel they are entrenched in warfare.
We work with our clients so they can keep their sanity and be a better parent to their child; in turn, the attorney gets a better client, one who makes fewer mistakes outside of the courtroom.
The attorney is there to protect the client’s legal rights, but not to give advice about all the other things that come up—fights about clothes, about diapers, about school records. My clients say to me, “I can’t get tickets to graduation” or “I can’t get copies of report cards.” I help them to resolve these problems.
Custody Calculations has clients all over the United States and even receives calls internationally. The company does everything by phone, text, email and fax. So I never meet my clients. The company runs a nearly 24/7 operation. Although we don’t guarantee this service, we are usually the first resource a person can reach on a weekend or late at night.
Why did you choose to incorporate as a Public Benefit Corporation?
I consider myself a philanthropic entrepreneur. Ben Franklin once said, “Doing good is good business,” and I believe this is true.
I think capitalism can solve many of the problems we are experiencing in this country, and it can solve those problems better than the government.
With a Public Benefit Corporation, I can focus my decisions on what is ethical and moral over what is profitable.
I also want to send a strong message that Custody Calculations is different from other Family Law providers. Not just because I have a law enforcement background, but also because of our mission. Registering as a Public Benefit Corporation did that for us.
You are a resident of California; why did you choose to incorporate in Delaware?
I originally incorporated in Nevada, because it is a pro-business state. I made the decision to change the company’s registration to Delaware because it is a pro-business state and it offers the Public Benefit Corporation. Being a Delaware corporation means my company is more likely to be protected in the event of a lawsuit. Being a Public Benefit Corporation means I can make ethical and morally-correct decisions for my community rather than decisions that are profit-driven only, regardless of board positions or stockholders, if the company were to go in that direction.
Do you have any advice for those who want to become a successful entrepreneur?
It will take a lot longer and cost more than you expect. You have to constantly adjust from what you think you know. Offer something unique, and offer it better than your competition, for a darn good price.
If you do all those things and you have adjusted for costs that you might not have expected, you will be rewarded for your ideas and your commitment.
What is next for Custody Calculations?
We are expanding our services and products to include e-books and monthly memberships. Our new website will be launching in the next six to eight weeks. As well, we are excited about starting to offer a groundbreaking service, a kind of ‘TurboTax’ for divorce in the coming months. I am looking towards the future and I have big goals.
*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.