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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in California Dissolution Cases

Lengthy child custody and visitation cases often drain your financial and emotional resources and have long-term affects on the children involved. Before tackling this very difficult issue, seek the advice and guidance of a California family law attorney well versed in child custody and visitation law.

A Skilled, Focused Divorce Lawyer in North Orange County

Attorney Brenda McCune is certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization as a family law specialist, and she has lived in the North Orange County community all of her life. When you need an experienced family law and divorce attorney with an exceptional understanding of family law issues and an excellent reputation among her peers, you can turn to Brenda McCune. To request a free consultation, contact our office in Brea by e-mail or phone at 714.660.2296 or 888.841.3203 (Toll Free) for a prompt response.

The information here is provided as a courtesy of The Law Office of Brenda Lynn McCune and constitutes a brief summary of some general issues in California divorce.

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The Law Office of Brenda Lynn McCune provides counsel and representation for people facing or considering divorce in Orange County, California, and nearby communities in Los Angeles County. Our family law practice encompasses divorce, child custody, child support, property division, paternity, domestic violence, and the need for modifications of orders after divorce.

California board-certified family law specialist Brenda McCune provides honest, determined counsel for men and women in communities such as Brea, Yorba Linda, Fullerton, Anaheim, La Habra, La Mirada, Placentia, Orange, Tustin, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Diamond Bar, Irvine and Long Beach.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in California Dissolution Cases

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 The Law Office of Brenda McCune in Brea today.

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