FamilyFirst Law conveniently serves the following communities:
Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Camarillo, Oxnard, Ventura, Simi Valley, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, West Hills, Tarzana, Encino, Canoga Park, Chatsworth, Northridge, Reseda, North Hills, Granada Hills, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Studio City, Glendale, Burbank, Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, Valencia, Santa Clarita, Canyon Country, Lancaster, Palmdale
We believe strongly that negotiation and open dialogue need to start right at the beginning. The litigation process raises the party’s emotional levels and taints the ability of individuals to think clearly about what’s 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’s 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 a 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.
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.
About FamilyFirst Law
Attorneys at Law
IACP Certified Family Law Collaborative Professionals
Cal. DRPA Certified Mediators
IDFA Certified Divorce Financial Analysts
NegotiationFIRST Collaborative Methodology
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.
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.
ADVANCING THE LAW IN CALIFORNIA
FamilyFirst Law is committed to advancing the law in California; law which started
in 2007 with the official recognition of the Collaborative Divorce Process. But
much more needs to be done. We are committed to ensuring that the rights of
individuals who wish to embrace the collaborative process in family law are
protected over the parties who would otherwise litigate at all costs.
All too often, dilatory tactics are employed by adversarial attorneys, and their
clients alike, who feel money is no object and that it’s possible to “win” in family
court. They believe that being litigious is the best way to gain the upper hand and
that the “spouse” is the enemy. The reasonable party is left with no choice but to
also hirean attorney, and in the end, no one knows who will get stuck paying both
parties legal bills. In these long protracted legal battles the only winners are usually the attorney’s themselves. And the biggest losers are the children. Future families across California will become better protected from the dangers of this archaic process when the law continues to change in favor of the collaborative process.
EDUCATE AND INVOLVE
Studies show that active participation in the divorce process is the single most important factor in getting a “good divorce.” "Good divorce" means such things as: happier, healthier children, better compliance with agreements, less post-divorce conflict, less post-divorce litigation, more good will, and better long term co-parenting. We strive to consistently advise both parties as to their legal rights and options available. Since we are unbiased and neutral, you will know the law as it applies to your case. People who take an active role generally do much better emotionally and even legally than those who take a passive approach. While we guide parties through the process, we work to help parties become
informed about the rules and to empower individuals to make their own decisions.
Through the work of all our professionals collaboratively, we put you in charge of your case, your life, and your solution.
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. It is ideal for facilitating negotiations
including: (1) divorce, (2) structured pre-martial agreements, and is even useful for
(3) resolving minor post martial settlement agreement modifications.
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.
At FamilyFirst Law, we recognize that the legal system does not provide an effective counseling system for families. Traditional lawyers are combatants and trained to advocate only the legal issues on your behalf. We recognize that a divorce is a complex process involving a cross-section of: legal, financial, social, and emotional issues which take time and patience to work through. We also recognize that basic mediation is limited in many ways and ineffective at providing a complete solution alone. Couples end up negotiating from a position where they are uninformed and often have no legal representation present to aid them in the negotiation process. Typically mediators lack the tools and knowledge from all the required disciplines to consider all the factors which need to be addressed for families during negotiation. Also, mediators are often only required to ‘recommend’ solutions to either the lawyers who hired them, or to the court which appointed the case to them. Mediators are not driven nor equipped to develop complete legally enforceable settlements nor are they given the incentives to do so.
Therefore, we have created a unique methodology which is based on a structured, phased approach for this type of complex problem solving. In addition, the framework includes assigning clearly defined roles to each of collaboratively trained professionals (legal, social, financial, etc.) who share information with each other as the process moves forward. Parties meet with each professional successively in each phase of the negotiation model. This framework keeps the process on track, productive, and the parties focused on the most important issues. It helps prevent emotional detours, and insures that the right issues are being covered at the right times with the right professionals. The professionals also collaborate together on your case in a unique manner that creates an evolving process of learning, information sharing, and problem solving. At the parties work through the various phases, progress is tracked and everyone is able to view both the agreed upon terms, and any unresolved remaining issues using online collaborative tools. Parties know that each meeting is focused in purpose, whether that is legal, parental, financial or emotional. This helps insure that certain clearly defined goals are achieved, and that the parties are effectively educated on each issue as the process moves forward. When the process is complete, all divorce paperwork will be filed with the proper court of jurisdiction, including a stipulated judgment with an attached legally enforceable marital settlement agreement. The NegotiationFIRST Collaborative Methodology is comprehensive, all-inclusive, and always one flat rate.