FamilyFirst Law-- Center for Collaborative Family Law & Mediation

Advancing the New, Modern Approach to Family Law, Respectfully.
Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative approach as the fastest, and most effective way to resolve a family divorce. Flat rate fee avail.*

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Firm Overview

Collaborative Divorce Family Law as featured on KTLA Channel 5, and The Today Show.

Attorneys at Law
IACP Certified Family Law Collaborative Professionals
IDFA Certified Divorce Financial Analysts
Cal. DRPA Certified Mediators
Graduates of the Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation

Why Choose Collaborative Divorce with FamilyFirst Law?

If you and your spouse are considering divorce or in need of resolving a marital conflict, a new alternative to the traditional litigation approach is called a Collaborative Law process for Family Law, and can be applied to any family law matter, divorce, legal separation, pre and post marital agreements or any other marital conflict. Now favored by State Courts and codified in the law, this new modern approach provides a way for all parties and professionals to agree to an out-of-court solution which removes the threat of litigation but still retains the benefit of legal representation for the purpose of developing fair and durable settlement agreements.

Trained collaborative attorneys, parenting coaches, financial specialists, and other professionals come together as a team to work with your family to educate, advise, and guide your family towards mutually agreeable solutions in a respectful, but structured transformative environment in which the parties maintain complete control. It is an effective and new way to end a marriage or resolve a martial conflict without the acrimony, anger and resentment which often results from protracted conventional legal and adversarial litigation. Collaborative Law is fast, cost-effective, and protects you and your children from the harm associated with litigation and adversarial divorce.

FamilyFirst Law has over a 95% success rate when parties commit to the Collaborative process. FamilyFirst Law adheres to the principles defined under Cal Family Code Section 2013, as well as the Model Standards of Conduct adopted by the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution, and the Association for Conflict Resolution. Furthermore, all FamilyFirst Law attorneys are certified under the standards and guidelines defined by the California Dispute Resolution Act (DRPA), and certified under the IACP guidelines for Collaborative Professionals, and adhere to the standards of practice for Mediators and Practitioners set forth by the California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC).

COLLABORATIVE PRACTICE BENEFITS AT A GLANCE

Encourages mutual respect
Emphasizes the needs of children
Avoids expensive litigation
Fosters open communication
Educates the parties
Maintains complete privacy and confidentiality
Fosters active participation
Utilizes a team problem-solving approach
Develops durable settlement agreements
Plans for the future as well as resolving the past

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FamilyFirst Law conveniently serves the following communities:
Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, North Hills, Granada Hills, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, Valencia, Santa Clarita, Canyon Country, Lancaster, Palmdale
Main Office

Westlake Park Place
Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
2945 Townsgate Road, Suite 200
Westlake Village  CA  91361

Phone
  • (800) 419-4171
Fax
  • (310) 882-6512

Other Offices

  • Encino Corporate Center
    Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
    16501 Ventura Blvd. Suite 400
    Encino,  CA  91436
  • Pasadena Center Square
    Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
    155 N. Lake Ave. Ste 800
    Pasadena,  CA  91101
  • Brentwood Center
    Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
    12100 Wilshire Blvd. 8th Floor
    Los Angeles,  CA  90025
  • Downtown LA / City National Plaza
    Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
    515 S. Flower Street, 36th Floor
    Los Angeles,  CA  90071
  • Gateway Plaza
    Offices in Westlake Village, Encino, Brentwood, Pasadena, Downtown LA, Santa Clarita
    25350 Magic Mountain Pkwy Ste 300
    Valencia,  CA  91355
Collaborative Divorce
Advancing the New, Modern Approach to Family Law, Respectfully. Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative approach as the fastest, and most effective way to resolve a family divorce in California.
Description of Practice
Advancing the New, Modern Approach to Family Law, Respectfully. FamilyFirst Law has over a 95% success rate when parties commit to the Collaborative process. All FamilyFirst Law attorneys are certified under the standards and guidelines of DRPA, IACP, and IDFA. Offices located throughout So. Cal.
Flat rate fee available.*

Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative approach as the fastest, and most effective way to resolve a family divorce.

Professional Background
Attorneys at Law
IACP Certified Family Law Collaborative Professionals
IDFA Certified Divorce Financial Analysts
Cal. DRPA Certified Mediators
Graduates of the Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation

Experience
FamilyFirst Law focuses exclusively on the principles of Collaborative Family Law, Collaborative Mediation, facilitative mediation, and evaluative mediation. FamilyFirst Law has over a 95% success rate when parties commit to the Collaborative process.

FamilyFirst Law adheres to the principles defined under Cal Family Code Section 2013, as well as the Model Standards of Conduct adopted by the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution, and the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Furthermore, all FamilyFirst Law attorneys are certified under the standards and guidelines defined by the California Dispute Resolution Act (DRPA), and certified under the IACP guidelines for Collaborative Professionals, and adhere to the standards of practice for Mediators and Practitioners set forth by the California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC).

Approach
FamilyFirst Law professionals strongly advocate the Collaborative approach over all other methods especially for families with children which includes legal counseling and legal advice throughout the process, but without any in-court litigation. "The Collaborative Approach helps guide the parties to mutually acceptable resolutions, and can provide parties with complementary resources and dispute resolution methods that are simply unavailable in court." (Ronald M. George, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California.)

We believe in creating a transformative process that is framework oriented, and which guides the parties towards the creation of comprehensive and durable settlement agreements which go far beyond what a court can order, and what is traditionally negotiated in the shadow of a trial. Our process focuses on interest-based negotiations and guidance rather than positional bargaining. We believe in educating all Parties throughout the process and we incorporate all forms of dispute resolution to insure a successful outcome, including the possibility of limited and single issue arbitration if necessary. Most importantly, we believe parties should save their money for the future of their family and not waste it all on manufactured legal disputes. And we believe in creating a process which can resolve in a matter of months, not years.
Divorce Mediation
Advancing the New, Modern Approach to Family Law, Respectfully. Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative approach as the fastest, and most effective way to resolve a family divorce in California.
Description of Practice
Advancing the New, Modern Approach to Family Law, Respectfully. FamilyFirst Law has over a 95% success rate when parties commit to the Collaborative process. All FamilyFirst Law attorneys are certified under the standards and guidelines of DRPA, IACP, and IDFA. Offices located throughout So. Cal.
Flat rate fee available.*

Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative approach as the fastest, and most effective way to resolve a family divorce.

Professional Background
Attorneys at Law
IACP Certified Family Law Collaborative Professionals
IDFA Certified Divorce Financial Analysts
Cal. DRPA Certified Mediators
Graduates of the Harvard Law School, Program on Negotiation

Experience
FamilyFirst Law focuses exclusively on the principles of Collaborative Family Law, Collaborative Mediation, facilitative mediation, and evaluative mediation. FamilyFirst Law has over a 95% success rate when parties commit to the Collaborative process.

FamilyFirst Law adheres to the principles defined under Cal Family Code Section 2013, as well as the Model Standards of Conduct adopted by the American Bar Association's Section of Dispute Resolution, and the Association for Conflict Resolution.

Furthermore, all FamilyFirst Law attorneys are certified under the standards and guidelines defined by the California Dispute Resolution Act (DRPA), and certified under the IACP guidelines for Collaborative Professionals, and adhere to the standards of practice for Mediators and Practitioners set forth by the California Dispute Resolution Council (CDRC).

Approach
FamilyFirst Law professionals strongly advocate the Collaborative approach over all other methods especially for families with children which includes legal counseling and legal advice throughout the process, but without any in-court litigation. "The Collaborative Approach helps guide the parties to mutually acceptable resolutions, and can provide parties with complementary resources and dispute resolution methods that are simply unavailable in court." (Ronald M. George, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of California.)

We believe in creating a transformative process that is framework oriented, and which guides the parties towards the creation of comprehensive and durable settlement agreements which go far beyond what a court can order, and what is traditionally negotiated in the shadow of a trial. Our process focuses on interest-based negotiations and guidance rather than positional bargaining. We believe in educating all Parties throughout the process and we incorporate all forms of dispute resolution to insure a successful outcome, including the possibility of limited and single issue arbitration if necessary. Most importantly, we believe parties should save their money for the future of their family and not waste it all on manufactured legal disputes. And we believe in creating a process which can resolve in a matter of months, not years.

How did your firm decide on the primary area of practice(s)?

OUR VISION

FamilyFirst Law was created as a specialized law firm with the vision to transform how families resolve conflict and to provide a safe-haven when they need guidance resolving disputes before and after the marriage. Litigation can last for years. And the process is usually emotionally destructive and often leaves couples financially bankrupt. Furthermore, there is a misconception that a final judgment on legal issues ends all the problems. This is never the case. California courts retain jurisdiction over a host of issues such as: child custody, visitation, child support, and spousal support. Unless and until couples learn to cooperate and work together, they will almost always end up back in court at some point and often several times.

We believe strongly that negotiation and open dialogue need to start right at the beginning. The litigation process raises the partys emotional levels and taints the ability of individuals to think clearly about whats most important for their future. Litigation creates conflict, and is the complete opposite of problem-solving which is what families need most.

Our vision is to structure a process that opens the channels of communication in a way that supports creative thinking, and promotes education and active participation in the development of a long term solution. Our firm is committed to a methodology that: (1) eliminates all the drawbacks of complex, lengthy and expensive litigation, (2) significantly reduces the out of pocket costs, (3) accelerates the process of settlement, (4) preserves the integrity of the family unit, (5) fosters respectful communication, (6) preserve emotional capital, and (7) moves the parties towards a successful outcome.

FamilyFirst Law approaches every family™s legal, social, financial, and emotional issues with a complete and balanced professional teamwork methodology. The team of trained professionals include: Attorneys, Marriage and Family Therapists, Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, Career Advisers, and Settlement Counselors who all work together with you in a collaborative model. Under this unique approach, parties are more likely to find mutually acceptable solutions and reach agreement. In addition, we believe it is important to remove the fear associated with separation and divorce by educating the parties on how the law affects their case and their issues, and how financial decisions may affect their present and future. The goal is to restructure the family into new model--a model that focuses on the needs of the children while also balancing the priorities of both parents. Remember, you are not ending your relationship with each other, you are merely changing it.

What experience or education distinguishes your lawyers from others

NegotiationFIRST Collaborative Methodology

At FamilyFirst Law, we have spent years developing and designing a system which simply works. Our system leads not only to successful settlement agreement within months, it fosters a healthier relationship long term, and helps facilitate good co-parenting communication. Our lawyers are trained and Certified in Alternative Dispute Resolution and have incorporated some the foremost leading strategies for successful martial dispute resolution. Our modern methodology and approach has been used to successfully resolved hundreds of complex marital issues out-of-court.

Collaborative lawyers have a completely different state of mind about what their job is than conventional lawyers generally bring to their work. We call it a "paradigm shift." Instead of being dedicated to getting the largest possible piece of the pie for their own client, no matter the human or financial cost, collaborative lawyers are dedicated to helping their clients achieve their highest intentions for themselves in their post-divorce restructured families.

WHY IS COLLABORATIVE LAW SUCH AN EFFECTIVE SETTLEMENT PROCESS?

Collaborative lawyers do not act as a hired guns. Nor do they take advantage of mistakes inadvertently made by the other side. Nor do they threaten, or insult, or focus on the negative either in their own clients or on the other side. They expect and encourage the highest good-faith problem-solving behavior from their own clients and themselves, and they stake their own professional integrity on delivering that, in any collaborative representation they participate in. Collaborative lawyers are incentivized to provide unbiased legal advice because they are not swayed by the desire to retain their clients hourly billing.

Collaborative Law offers a greater potential for creative problem-solving than does either mediation or litigation, in that only Collaborative Law puts all parties in the same room pulling in the same direction to solve the same list of problems. Lawyers excel at solving problems, but in conventional litigation they pull in opposite directions. As legal professionals, we cannot succeed as a Collaborative Legal Process unless we can find solutions to both party's problems and issues that everyone finds satisfactory. This is the special characteristic of Collaborative Law that is found in no other dispute resolution process.

What distinguishes your law firm from others?

EXCLUSIVELY COMMITTED TO COLLABORATIVE SOLUTIONS

At FamilyFirst Law, our center, and all our professionals are exclusively committed to collaborative solutions. This means that we only advocate out-of-court settlement solutions, and we do NOT represent individuals in an adversarial or conventional divorce process. We do not believe in the old conventional divorce methods because the legal system was never truly designed to meet the needs of families who are going through such emotionally difficult times in their lives. While we understand that differences and disagreements can seem overwhelming at times, we know that most issues can be resolved more effectively through a collaborative team approach with trained professionals helping guide the parties through the promotion of education and active participation.

We are not distracted by the prospect of being able to still represent a party if negotiations break down. We are also not distracted by the traditional and often time-consuming litigation process. Our only incentive is to identify the issues and structure a settlement--one that is embraced by both sides, out-of-court.

GUARANTEEING RESULTS THROUGH
€˜ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)


One of the unique advantages of the NegotiationFIRST Collaborative Methodology is the ability of the parties to avail themselves of ADR. Occasionally one issue may become difficult for the parties to find common ground despite the fact that they may have successfully compromised on dozens of other issues related to their divorce. When this happens, FamilyFirst Law is in a unique position to allow the parties to arbitrate this isolated issue in our private forum. Rather than waste all the goodwill and successful negotiation which the parties have achieved up to this point, the ADR process allow the parties to effectively litigate just that one issue, and not their entire case. It also allows the parties to keep their matter private instead of moving their case back into the public forum, the California Courts, where the conventional adversarial process could get out of hand, and the parties could find themselves in pitched battle for years.

Private ADR arbitration is offered as a flat rate service, and while it takes place in front of a private judge, or judicial panel, it is not like a formal courtroom proceeding. The parties are free to negotiate the scope of the hearing. The parties are not required to follow the formal rules of evidence, or even the rules of civil procedure which makes the hearing much easier for parties to conduct on their own without legal representation while still getting a fair chance to make their case. Nonetheless, the parties are certainly free to obtain independent legal counsel to prepare and argue on their behalf. Once a decision is reached, the judgment is binding, and it then becomes incorporated into the final martial settlement agreement.

At FamilyFirst Law, we are advancing the new, modern approach to family law, respectfully.

FamilyFirst Law

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