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Kern Collaborative Family Law

Info@kerncollaborative.com

Phone: (661) 663-4448

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What is Collaborative Family Law?

A positive alternative to divorce litigation that combines professionals with you and your spouse cooperating together towards a common solution to your divorce without stepping into court! In a Collaborative Law case each party is represented by his or her own Collaborative Lawyer working together to help solve your family law issues.  In addition to your own Collaborative Lawyer your team may contain a neutral financial specialist and/or a neutral mediator.


What is a Collaborative Divorce team?

Depending on the needs of the family, the Collaborative Team generally consists of professionals from three separate disciplines: Legal, mental health and financial.  Of course, each spouse retains his or her own attorney while the neutrals are shared by both spouses throughout the process.

  

How do I choose a Collaborative Professional?

This website offers information about our collaborative professionals in Bakersfield's KCFLS.  Each spouse will be required to have their own attorney, however, you have the freedom to use additional professionals if you want.  We recommend reviewing our members bio's to choose from and perhaps have a conversation with those you like.  Our members have different personalities, backgrounds and  retainer fees to fit your needs.  We do use other professionals that may not fall into our three primary groups (Attorneys, Financial and Mediators) and may not be listed on our website at this time.  If you choose one of our financial professionals they will identify your current and future issues and then design a plan to either eliminate or manage those issues.  This may include additional professionals covering other professional disciplines.  Your entry point into KCFLS is your decision to decide which professional you feel comfortable with to begin your KCFLS experience.    


Can my therapist act as my mediator, or my child's therapist act as the child specialist?

Although your therapist will certainly be helpful to you as you sort through your legal case, your collaborative mediator coach plays a different role in the process.  In addition to being able to communicate directly with other team members about critical issues, your collaborative mediator's goals differ from those of your therapist.


What happens if a settlement can't be reached?

Then you and your spouse can explore other options, such as mediation, which may allow you to continue with the collaborative process.  If either of you decide to take it back to court and "fight it out" or litigation, then the collaborative lawyers must withdraw and each spouse must retain a new lawyer.  


Why should I have to lose my lawyer if the other side decides to go to court?

There is a written agreement signed by you, your spouse and both lawyers stating that all have agreed to the collaborative process thus staying out of court.  Because of the collaborative commitment, both lawyers have an incentive to stay focused on assisting their clients to reach an agreement to settle family law disputes.  Lawyers advise, advocate and assist in negotiations differently when the threat of litigation no longer exists.


I want to use the Collaborative Process, but how do I get my spouse to do it?

Talk to your spouse about KCFLS and the principles behind collaborative law.  Guide your spouse to our website and we encourage calling us and make an appointment in person or over the phone, as needed, to address any questions or concerns.


What if my spouse chooses a lawyer that is not a member of the Kern Collaborative Family Law Solutions?

In order to use the collaborative process, both spouses must use a specially trained collaborative lawyer.  Every lawyer at KCFLS has specialized training that is mandatory for achieving their membership.  This training covers negotiating non-combative techniques and also cross training to understand the advantages our other professional team members bring to each case.


Is a Collaborative Dissolution less expensive than a traditional divorce through court?

Traditionally yes!  The collaborative process eliminates multiple court appearances.  Court often encounters waiting in the hallways before seeing a judge, delays and trailing.  Collaborative law is designed to make the process more efficient.  Staying out of court takes you and your spouse out of the hallways, trailing your case several months therefore eliminating the billable hours by the lawyers to review their cases each time before walking into court.   


My spouse already has filed papers with the court.  Can we still choose Collaborative Family Law?

Yes!  Even though the filing may be in Pro Per or set for litigation, you and your spouse may begin the collaborative process by signing the Stipulation and Order for Collaborative Family Law.  Contact a collaborative professional to discuss your options.


How does Collaborative Dissolution differ from Mediation?

In mediation, one neutral professional works closely with both spouses to resolve issues.  The mediator assists the spouses in understanding each other's points of view and developing settlement options.  The mediator cannot give legal advice or side with one spouse over the other.


How much does it cost?

There is no set fee for collaborative divorce. Using KCFLS offers a menu of services with separate charges for each.  You will pay each professional separately.  The cost and services you receive, not to mention the experience, are decided by you and your spouse…not the judge.


Why is collaborative law such an effective settlement process?

You and your spouse are a part of the settlement process 100% of the time.  You both come out of the collaborative experience knowing the financial impact of the proposed settlements and finally the actual settlement agreement.  We highly recommend using our additional team of professionals, as needed, to assess the impact of each proposal.  This is very important to show you and your spouse the consequences to each suggested proposal and how it affects you now and going forward.  We will hold your hands during and after your divorce.  Our financial professionals will identify issues now and issues after the process and help design a plan to eliminate or manage them going forward.  Our mental health professionals can help you and or your family during and after to help with your mental wellness.  KCFLS encourages you to take advantage of our resources.  We are here to help!


What is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst TM (CDFA)?

A CDFA has earned the credential from the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts by completing course work and examinations to test competence in the subject matter specific to Financial Planning, Analysis, Accounting and Financial Advisory in Divorce Proceedings.  A CDFA has specialized software providing insight regarding the impact of proposed settlements for each spouse now and several years out.


Why should a Financial Specialist be a part of my team?

Our Financial Specialist (FS) will identify the current and future financial impact for you and your spouse based on the proposed settlement and the final settlement agreement. The FS help interpret the proposal for you and the lawyers.  After the dissolution, the FS will help you both individually by forming a plan to achieving your wishes, wants and dreams.  The FS has the ability to identify your issues regarding retirement and estate planning.  Then will show you how to recapture some or all of what you lost during the settlement.  KCFLS recommends taking this opportunity for a complete financial and estate planning work up.  It's better to know your future than to THINK you know your future!


Is the Collaborative Process right for me?

Consider if some or all the following statements to be true for you:


  1. I want my personal and private issues to stay out of public court record.
  2. I want a lawyer with a collaborative mentality over a combative mentality.
  3. I recognize the importance of working through emotions in order to make comprehensive legal, financial and child-related agreements
  4. I want to minimize the cost and time frame involved by eliminating court delays.
  5. I want to minimize the harm associated with long drawn out court battles now and in the future for you and your family.
  6. I want to maintain a respectful dissolution for my family.
  7. I don't want to fight any more.
  8. I want to be a part of all the decisions regarding my dissolution.
  9. I want to see the financial impact of each proposed agreement and how it will affect my future.
  10. I realize that my spouse and I can make better decisions about our family and finances than anyone else.
  11. I value final resolution that avoids the pain and expense of having to return to court multiple times with the delays extending out several months at a time.
  12. I want to know what the future and current financial impact is for me, my spouse and my children when it comes to my vision of the dissolution.  I want know the same for my spouse.  
  13. I'm scared and I want the best for my family but at the same time I want to feel confident that I won't be taken advantage of as the same time.
  14. All we do is fight and want to feel safe throughout the entire process.