Not all family disputes should result in lengthy and litigious experiences with parties fighting it out in court over the kids and marital property. More and more partners are going for collaborative practice to come up with agreements on virtually anything involving a marriage.

In this process, both spouses retain their own legal representatives. A four-way meeting is arranged where negotiations will happen. You’ll need to work with a Fresno, California Law Firm with specially trained California family law attorneys with the experience to handle collaborative law cases.

What Is Collaborative Law in California?

Collaborative law is a type of resolution mechanism for certain family disputes like divorce and domestic partnerships. Collaborative law, collaborative process, collaborative divorce, and collaborative practice are similar terms that are sometimes used interchangeably.

The collaborative practice was developed as an alternative to the traditional litigious divorce. It is an excellent option for Fresno families who wish to resolve family disputes without going to court. It is a more respectful and humane solution-based approach that considers the interests of both spouses as well as their children.

It often involves a series of meetings with the parties having control over the process. Rather than leaving the decisions in the hands of a judge, the spouses agree on crucial decisions that will determine their lives post-divorce.

Principles of Collaborative Practice

The goal of collaborative law is to make the process less adversarial and more open. The entire process is based on these key principles:

1. A written agreement signed by the Fresno collaborative law attorneys and clients pledging that none will go to court
2. An honest engagement by the parties that will allow an open exchange of information
3. Solutions tailored to consider each party’s priorities and other related persons like the kids

In addition, neither lawyer is allowed to participate in any litigation against the other party after agreeing to be the California collaborative lawyer. The collaborative lawyers are expected to participate actively during all negotiations among the parties. And if the parties decide to choose litigation over collaborative law, the lawyers are considered fired

What Is Needed to Make Collaborative Divorce Work?

For everyone in California considering this approach, it’s important to keep a few points in mind. For collaborative practice to work in California, consider these:

No Court

One of the initial points all parties have to agree to is that no one will pursue litigation or threaten to go to court. This is the first crucial step which both parties have to agree with. Once one of the spouses decides that collaborative law is the best choice for them, then the party should go ahead and inform the other partner and get their agreement.

Getting A Collaborative Law Attorney in Fresno, CA

The two individuals should each choose a Fresno divorce attorney who’s got experience in collaborative law. It is critical to get an attorney specifically skilled and trained in collaborative law for the best outcomes.

The job of the Fresno collaborative law attorney will be to hire other specialists who will help in the process, discuss the most important things for you, and discuss what you can accept and what you can concede.

Involving Experts/Specialists

Each party in the collaborative law process gets a team of qualified experts to help them. These could include a psychologist, accountant, financial analyst, child life specialist, etc. The parties will then cost-share the costs and expenses attached to these services.

Considering Children’s Bests Interests

This process strives to keep children out of the process. The parties will decide what’s best for their children without involving the kids in the divorce.

Full Disclosure

Both parties are expected to act in good faith and exercise full disclosure. Honesty is an essential pillar in this process. Therefore, nothing should be hidden during the process.

Filing of Settlement Papers

Once you and your spouse have agreed on the issues, your Fresno collaborative law attorneys will help you prepare a written settlement agreement. Once signed, your lawyer will file them at the Fresno Family Court Services.

What’s The Relationship Between Collaborative Practice and Mediation?

Mediation is another example of Alternative Dispute Resolution where an impartial third party facilitates the process without taking sides or giving any legal advice. One may or may not have their attorney during the negotiation sessions. In collaborative law, each party must have their lawyer during the negotiation while ensuring the commitment to reach a settlement is maintained

However, both mediation and collaborative law rely on the honest and free exchange of information. But if mediation fails, you can still continue with your legal team to court if need be, unlike collaborative law.

How Can Collaborative Law Benefit My Family?

Collaborative practice has several benefits.

  • It is better for your kids
  • It keeps things confidential. Your problems, assets, kids are kept away from public litigation.
  • Solutions take care of both parties
  • You remain in control of the process
  • It focuses more on the future

Are There Disadvantages of Collaborative Divorce in Fresno, CA?

The only challenge one may face is having both parties compromise and agree to collaborative law. Again, if the collaborative divorce fails, you will be forced to start your divorce process afresh with new attorneys.

How Long Will a Collaborative Divorce Take?

Divorce can be finalized in California not less than six months after filing. By then, you could have a ready settlement with you through the collaborative process. Most collaborative divorces rarely take more than a year.

Learn Your Options Today to Protect Your Family

You can avoid the court fights and exposure of your family, which is often the case when a divorce goes to court. It is a great way to rationally make futuristic decisions that protect your rights and those of your kids.

If you are considering this approach, get a trained collaborative law attorney who can advise you on what makes the most sense. At Tomassian, Pimentel, & Shapazian, we have qualified collaborative law professionals in Fresno. Get in touch with us today to speak with a local attorney for sound advice.