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West Coast Law & Mediation, APC

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15338 Central Ave Chino, CA 91710

Phone: (909) 548-2171

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Collaborative Law

Collaborative Law is a team approach to problem solving.  Through this confidential process, your attorneys, neutral financial expert, divorce coaches, child specialist, and/or other necessary professionals guide and/or advise you towards a comprehensive and fully enforceable agreement that makes sense for you.

Confidential: no public hearings, no court appearances; certain exceptions do apply.

Voluntary: both parties participate by their own choice, not court order; either party may terminate at any time – you do not lose the right to return to court.

Problem-Solving Process: the iPhone was created with a goal and a focus on achieving that goal.  They anticipated the challenges, brought in the right professionals for each part of the project, brainstormed options for success, and stayed focused on their ultimate goal.  With any conflict, it can be viewed as “win/lose” or it can be viewed as “win/win”.  We have found that when parties attack a problem together (like the goal of creating the iPhone), the results are more of a “win/win”; when parties attack each other, litigators win and the parties lose.

Out-of-court session(s): We work around your schedules.  To get a court date, there is an approximate delay of 45-90 days (varies by court).  Litigators are at the mercy of the court calendar and are often called in on emergency (“ex-parte”) 24 hours notice.  In Collaborative Divorce, you are not one of 30+ cases on calendar that day.  Your sessions are scheduled by mutual convenience of the professionals’ schedules and your schedule, often within a matter of days, not months.

Fully enforceable agreements: all signed agreements are filed with the court, signed by the court, and are fully enforceable.

Why would I use Collaborative Law Instead of Mediation?

  • High level of conflict
  • Lack of trust in the honesty of the other party
  • Complex legal, child, or financial situations
  • Poor or no communication between the parties
  • Unequal knowledge and/or understanding of your financial situation

There are many factors to consider in deciding if mediation or collaboration would be your best process.  Schedule a free 45 minute orientation with us to discuss this further.

How does Collaborative Law work?

Step 1: Commit to a process; this includes identifying your professional team and your goal (what does success mean to you).
Step 2: Gather information – all information that will be needed for the financial disclosures required by the California Family Code, as well as any other information that you will need to resolve ALL concerns in your case.
Step 3: Brainstorm possible solutions with the help of your professionals
Step 4: Sign and file your agreement with the court so that it is fully enforceable
Step 5: Follow up – your professionals will follow up with you periodically after your process is complete to make sure that it is still working for you both.

Can any attorney be my attorney in Collaboration?

The success of your collaboration depends on having the right team of professionals.  Many litigation attorneys are good at settling cases – through intimidation, “tough negotiating tactics”, or simply by exhausting the other side financially and/or emotionally, while doing the same to their own client.  In fact, 95% of all divorce cases settle before trial.  What is unique about a collaborative trained professional is their entire approach to resolution.  They focus on each parties’ needs and interests, rather than their position.  They are sources of peace rather than intimidation.  How the discussion is handled will determine the success of your collaborative process.  Asking “What child expenses need to be met” opens up more options than stating “guideline support is guideline support and we will accept nothing less”. Collaborative trained attorneys will be able to phrase statements in a productive way and will help explore creative options for resolution.

Is Collaborative a faster way to resolve conflict?

Your unique situation determines how quickly your process moves; In other words, your divorce, through Collaborative Divorce, takes however long it takes for you and your spouse to agree.  Collaborative Law is more direct and efficient.  By focusing on problem-solving, instead of blame and grievances, there is a greater likelihood of reaching an agreement more quickly.  By dealing with the emotional and financial issues, as well as the legal issues, in a safe, open, respectful environment, you will reach resolution faster than fighting each issue in court.  The only issues that will be addressed in court are those that are “legally relevant”.  Concerns such as “he doesn’t know how to take care of children” or “we can’t sell the house because we’re upside-down on it” are not the concern of the court and often result in multiple court hearings for restricted visitation or temporary control of property.  In collaborative there is no need to wait for court availability (you can typically have your first session within a few days) and each issue is addressed directly and with the right professional(s).

How does Collaborative Divorce focus on the future?

Conflict, whether divorce or business, can be both an ending and a beginning.  The Collaborative process gives you the tools to anticipate and include your need to move forward, and makes the future of your children, business, and/or reputation a top priority.  As a more respectful dignified process, Collaborative Law supports your goals for a smoother transition to the next chapter of your lives.  With the help of your collaborative team, you will also learn the skills techniques that will improve future communications between you and your former spouse or client and help you problem solve as future issues arise.

How much does the Collaborative process cost?

The cost of your Collaborative process depends on how quickly you and the other party are able to come to agreement, the number and complexity of the issues, and the level of conflict.  Each team member is paid their individual rate for professional services.  So the cost varies widely.  Studies have shown that Collaborative Divorce typically ranges in cost from 1/10th to 1/3rd the cost of contested court battles.  When comparing the costs of the Collaborative process and conventional litigation in court, remember to factor in not only the  attorneys’ and experts’ fees and court costs, but, also, time lost from work to attend court hearings, child care costs for the time you spend in court, the stress and sleepless nights you, your children, and your family and friends will experience.  You should also consider that all documents filed, including those nasty declarations that make each side look as bad as possible, are public record for all to see: your friends, co-workers, competitors, potential clients, family, employers, and your children.  These “soft costs” are often far greater than any money that you could actually spend in litigation.  Schedule your free 45 minute orientation today for more information.