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Information Center California Divorce

Information Center California Divorce

Many California couples who are going through a divorce are now choosing the collaborative divorce process instead of fighting a battle in court. Giving you more control over the outcome of your case, the collaborative divorce process will keep you out of court and give you the chance to tailor a plan to the needs of your family, while saving you time and money. Contact us today to find out if the collaborative divorce process is right for you.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in California Dissolution Cases

At the law offices of Bratton & Bratton, we put children first in all divorce cases. From creating a child custody and visitation plan to working out a child support agreement, we want to help our clients keep their long-term goals in mind and do what is best for their children. As circumstances change, we will be here to help you get the appropriate modifications. Contact us today for more information.

In California, parties wishing to lessen conflict and work toward more win-win solutions to their disputes can take advantage of many modes of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including, conciliation court (in larger counties), mediation, and collaborative law.

Conciliation Courts

California was one of the first states to establish conciliation courts. The purpose of a conciliation court is to encourage families to attempt reconciliation and reduce litigation in family law cases. In California counties with conciliation courts, parties may petition the court for help in resolving disputed family law matters prior to, or even after, filing an action for dissolution. While the matter is under advisement by the conciliation court, neither party may file an action for dissolution without permission of the court.

Mediation

In situations where child custody and visitation are in dispute, California law requires the parties address disputed custody and visitation issues through mediation. Mediation is a process in which the disputing parties meet with a neutral third person, a mediator, who works with them to resolve the issues so that further litigation is unnecessary. Although not every case is resolved in mediation, many cases are. In nearly all cases, parties are able to resolve at least some of the disputed issues.

Collaborative Law

In the early 1990s, Stu Webb, a Minnesota family law attorney, became frustrated by the disastrous affects the adversarial model had on all parties, including the attorneys, involved in family law matters. He determined there had to be a better way, and decided to find a way to end the discord of the traditional method of dissolving a marriage. Together with a group of family law attorneys, Mr. Webb developed a process that depends on a commitment by the parties and their attorneys that they will not go to court.

The defining feature of collaborative law is that the parties and their attorneys enter into a stipulation at the outset of a case, including agreements for informal discovery, open exchange of ideas, a commitment to the process, and most importantly, an agreement that they will not go to court. The parties and attorneys agree that if not able to settle all of the issues in the case when a party decides to take the matter to court, both attorneys must withdraw from the case. The agreement also typically includes a stipulation that documents prepared during the process are inadmissible in court unless both parties agree. Thus, if the process does fail, the parties essentially start anew.

Proponents of a collaborative law process tout that the advantages of using it are substantial. First, most collaborative law cases are significantly less expensive than if pursued through traditional litigation. Second, collaborative cases often take less time than adversarial cases. Finally, an atmosphere of cooperation, rather than conflict, allows the parties involved to focus on the real issues rather than destroying each other, thus ending the process more amicably than they ordinarily might.

However, collaborative law is not foolproof. The biggest disadvantage is the extra cost involved if the process fails and the parties must hire new attorneys. The process may also be abused by a party feigning interest in collaboration, only to take advantage of open discovery.

A California lawyer with experience in alternative dispute resolution, including collaborative law, mediation, or conciliation court will discuss these options with you. Contact the experienced attorneys at Bratton & Bratton, Inc. in Riverside today.

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DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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At the Riverside, CA law offices of Bratton & Bratton, we represent clients in Riverside California, including Arlington, Corona, Corona Hills, Glen Avon, Highgrove, Home Gardens, La Sierra, Mira Loma, Moreno Valley, Pedley, Rubidoux, Temescal Canyon, and Riverside County.