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Completing an Uncontested Divorce in California

An uncontested divorce is a lawsuit.  And this lawsuit must be filed, even if the divorcing couple is not in conflict regarding parenting plans, financial support, and asset and debt distribution. Even if a divorcing couple can set aside the raw emotion of the break-up, most have difficulty with the lawsuit itself. Lawsuit issues include complex and counter-intuitive procedures, technical language, and a lack of trustworthy information regarding the rules as they apply to the couple’s children, finances, and property.

While a skilled, experienced family law attorney could assist a couple in overcoming these challenges, it is not required. The family law practitioner must be willing and able to help the spouses reach an agreement through negotiation and compromise.  Most are not, often for good reason.

Proper Representation

First, all attorneys are mandated to zealously represent the interests of their clients against the interests of the other party.  As a result, many practitioners have become accustomed to playing the role of “warrior” as opposed to “facilitator.”  While such an adversarial dynamic promotes numerous professional and economic benefits for the practitioner, the opposite is true for the parties who incur exorbitant legal fees. These parties can suffer significant delays in completing the process often for no demonstrable benefit regarding the final outcome.

Any family law practitioner who attempts to facilitate global resolution by working with both spouses assumes significant risks.  For example, an attorney can meet with both parties at the same time to discuss an impending divorce matter. Such an instance would ethically prohibit the attorney from representing either party if the matter becomes contested. If an attorney finds themselves in this position, they could lose a potential client. Even if the attorney is able to facilitate an agreement, they can quickly become the target of dissatisfaction and possibly an ethical complaint with the State Bar. Typically, this can only happen if one of the spouses changes his or her mind regarding the terms of the agreement.

Cooperation Isn’t Enough?

California has enacted collaborative procedures that allow divorce counsel to mediate and negotiate conflicts between spouses. These collaborative procedures help divorce parties to reach a global settlement, avoid ethical issues, and receive fair compensation. The collaborative process requires each spouse to retain their own collaborative counsel, the cost of which is conditional for most Californians.

Finding a Solution

The attorneys at Modern Family Law are able and willing to tailor our legal services to accommodate the objectives of our clients. Whether those services are related to an uncontested divorce, mediation, document preparation, or full representation; we can help. If you have questions about your current situation, please contact us and schedule a free same-day case assessment.

Posted July 18, 2018
by: MFL Team

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