FamilyFirst Law-- Center for Collaborative Family Law

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 divorce, legal separation, non-marital child custody negotiations, 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 and creates a transformative process that put you in complete control of the process and the outcome.

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).

Fast -- FamilyFirst Law resolves divorces in a matter of months, rather than years. Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative Divorce process as the fastest and most effective way to resolve a family divorce in California.

Cost Effective-- The FamilyFirst Law Collaborative Law process eliminates the most expensive parts of a traditional legal process and focuses all efforts on constructive solutions. There are no hidden fees, and you will never visit the Courthouse. It is far less expensive than the traditional adversarial approach and litigation.

Protects the Children-- A Collaborative Divorce process protects your children from the harm associated with conventional litigation and adversarial divorce between parents. No one wins in family court, especially the children.

Comprehensive-- The Collaborative Process includes more than just the law. In addition to your Collaborative Attorney, the team of trained Collaborative professionals may also include: parenting coaches (licensed marriage and family therapists), Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, estate planning counselors, career advisers, child specialists, or mediators and arbitrators. It offers a COMPLETE solution which seeks to educate and foster active participation.

Protecting Your Legal Rights-- Collaborative law is a complete legal process which results in a court ordered stipulated judgment. Unlike classic facilitative mediation, we focus on education and guidance. You WILL get legal advice, and you WILL know the law as it applies to your case, your legal rights and obligations.

Avoids Conflict-- FamilyFirst Law resolves real family issues and finds real family solutions. Not manufactured legal disputes which always arise from traditional litigation. The collaborative process converts a would be destructive emotional battle into a constructive win-win problem solving opportunity that finds creative solutions often unavailable in court.

Transformative-- Collaborative Law is a transformative process. You have total control over the outcome. All your personal information will remain private and never published in the Court file. You will be actively involved in the entire settlement process with all professionals, and you and your attorney will together select the team of professionals. Your input will help structure a customized mutually agreeable settlement solution which meets your needs.

You Are In Control-- Judgments from a Court of law decide your future, your fate, and the fate of your children, often resulting in 'rough justice'. Few are ever pleased with a Court ruling. Decisions are made in Court with only a fraction of the true facts and life changing decisions are often determined in under 15 minutes by a judge who barely knows you and your family. Court hearings on even a single issue are routinely delayed months and months, cases will often last many years. A Coll
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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.

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

Why Choose Collaborative Divorce with FamilyFirst Law?

If you and your spouse are considering divorce, a new alternative to the usual adversarial approach is Collaborative Divorce Family Law. Under this modern approach, the process structures an out-of-court solution which foresees beyond the legal issues. A team of trained collaborative divorce professionals come together to work with your family to find mutually agreeable solutions in a respectful, positive environment. It is an effective, new way to end a marriage without the acrimony, anger and resentment often created by conventional divorces methods. Its fast, cost-effective, and it protects you and your children from the harm associated with conventional litigation and adversarial divorce.

"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

Fast -- FamilyFirst resolves divorces in a matter of months, rather than years. Since 2007, The California Courts have officially recognized the Collaborative Divorce process as the fastest and most effective way to resolve a family divorce in California.

Cost Effective-- The FamilyFirst Collaborative Divorce process is one flat-rate, no hidden fees, no hourly billing. It is far less expensive than the traditional adversarial approach and litigation.

Protects the Children-- A Collaborative Divorce process protects your children from the harm associated with conventional litigation and adversarial divorce between parents. No one wins in family court, especially the children.

Comprehensive-- The Collaborative Process includes more than just the law. The team of trained professionals include: Attorneys, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, Career Advisers, and Settlement Counselors. It offers a COMPLETE solution which seeks to educate and foster active participation.

Protecting Your Legal Rights-- Collaborative law is a complete legal process which results in a court-approved stipulated judgment. Unlike mediation, we WILL give you unbiased legal advice, and we WILL insure that both parties know the law and their rights.

Avoids the Legal Mud-- FamilyFirst Law resolves real family issues and finds real family solutions. Not manufactured legal disputes which always arise from traditional litigation. The collaborative process converts a would be destructive emotional battle into a constructive win-win problem solving opportunity that finds creative solutions often unavailable in court.

You Are In Control-- You have total control over the outcome. You are actively involved in the settlement process with all professionals. Your input will help structure a customized mutually agreeable settlement solution which meets your needs. Court judgments decide your future for you often resulting in 'rough justice', and rarely is anyone ever happy with that result. But everyone wins under collaborative settlements.

info@familyfirstlaw.org

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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