Unwavering Commitment to Generate Solutions –
Where there is a will, there is a way.

Santa Monica Family Lawyer Practicing Collaborative Divorce

In the collaborative process, you and your spouse are represented by your own collaboratively trained attorneys who work as part of your team to settle your case in a non-adversarial and informal environment. As your collaborative attorney, Mara Berke facilitates interest-based negotiation and serves as an educator and guide through the California collaborative divorce process. Mara advocates for you, identifies questions and issues that need resolution, provides legal advice, generates and evaluates resolution options, manages conflict, and assists the clients in implementing agreements. The focus is on finding practical and workable solutions.

In this process, divorcing clients, their attorneys and any other professional involved, agree to make a good faith attempt to reach a mutually acceptable settlement without going to court. Working together, they strive to dissolve the marriage in a way that addresses everyone’s legal, financial, and emotional needs. By utilizing this resolution process, more of the financial resources of the marriage are preserved for both of you to divide between yourselves and for your children. Both clients and their attorneys pledge in writing to work toward an agreement without going to court. This written agreement enables clients to come to an agreement without attorneys using the threat of litigation as leverage. It creates a safe environment to raise, discuss and resolve intimate details that clients may not want aired in the public forum of a court or in public files. The confidential process is underscored by the understanding that if either client decides to litigate rather than reach a collaborative agreement, the attorneys must withdraw from the case and help their clients make an orderly transition to successor trial-oriented attorneys.

The California collaborative divorce process provides for face-to-face meetings with you, your spouse and your respective collaborative attorneys as well as other neutral collaborative professionals as needed. Although there are times when the collaborative divorce team is comprised of the two participants and their respective attorneys, Mara often recommends including other collaboratively trained professionals as part of the interdisciplinary team to provide specialized expertise or support. For example, mental health professionals who are trained in understanding the dynamics of relationships are often asked to join the collaborative team to assist in smoother communication to promote a more effective resolution of issues in the transition through divorce and beyond. Depending on the circumstances, financial professionals may be invited to be part of the collaborative team to address the financial or tax-related issues. Depending on your specific needs, Mara may recommend bringing in an additional expert for a limited assignment such as an appraiser, business valuator or child specialist. Where this is the case, Mara and collaboratively trained attorneys would utilize the services of one neutral expert to provide the analysis, unlike in litigation where each client hires his or her own separate expert. When the issues are discussed freely and openly as a team, problem solving can be direct and solution-oriented. Collaborative practice provides another approach to guide a family to finding the best solutions available.

Contact Mara Berke today to schedule an appointment with a Santa Monica family lawyer trained and experienced in California collaborative divorce.