Process Choices

Sonoma County Family Lawyer

When you are going through a divorce, or dealing with a custody or support issue, you and the other party have choices of how to reach a resolution. The choices include mediation, collaborative law and traditional litigation.

Mediation

If you and the other party choose mediation, you will attend meetings with a mediator to discuss resolution of your case. You can attend these meetings with or without your attorneys. The mediator will work with you and your attorneys to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties.

The mediator's fees are often split between the parties, or if there is a disparity in the income of the parties, the higher earning party may pay more than the other party.

The decision of whether to have your attorney go with you to mediation is one that you can discuss with your attorney. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Carla has attended many mediation sessions with her clients, and most of them have resolved in agreements being reached. After an agreement is reached, Carla will assist you in putting the agreement into a writing that can be filed and become a court order.

Collaborative Practice

In collaborative practice, the parties agree to resolve their dispute with the involvement of a team and the agreement that the parties will not go to court. Each party has an attorney and a coach. Like mediation, agreements are reached through a series of meetings. First, the parties gather information needed to come to an informed agreement. Then the parties brainstorm various resolutions to the family law dispute. Ultimately, the goal is to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both parties and in the children's best interests.

In collaborative practice, the parties also can benefit from using other professionals who take a neutral role to help facilitate an agreement. Some of these other professionals can be financial advisers, real estate agents, child specialists and vocational evaluators.

Parties who complete the collaborative process find that they are able to move forward into their futures with integrity and as co-problem-solvers with the other party. If children are involved, this is especially important.

Carla has undergone extensive training in collaborative practice and has served on the board of directors of the local collaborative organization, CCRE. She has developed good working relationships with other collaborative professionals and is able to effectively represent you as your collaborative attorney.

Traditional Litigation

In high-conflict cases, sometimes mediation and collaborative practice is not an option. Other times, an uncontested separation or divorce may not need the resources that collaborative practice affords. Carla has represented numerous clients at Superior Court hearings and trial. She has also handled family law appeals in the California Court of Appeal.

Even in litigation, it is important to have an attorney who is able to cooperatively work with the other party and attorney so as to reduce attorney's fees and risk of appearing uncooperative to the court. Carla's personality, training and experience allow her to be known as an attorney who is cooperative and easy to get along with. Carla believes that this is the only way to behave to best serve her clients.

Carla served as the chairperson on the Family Law Committee of the Sonoma County Bar Association in 2009, where Sonoma County judges and commissioners, court officials and other attorneys meet monthly.

Contact Carla by email or by telephone to discuss which approach is best for your individual situation and needs.