Married couple cooperating to sign a document in a collaborative divorce

Divorce in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties can be lengthy, expensive, and sometimes contentious. An alternative for those seeking to avoid a protracted legal battle and who can put aside their differences is collaborative divorce. This process is designed to be a more amicable way to end a marriage. Working with an attorney specifically trained and experienced in the collaborative divorce process is the best way to protect your rights and interests.

At Off the Record Mediation Services, we have extensive experience handling collaborative divorce and a proven history of helping families resolve their most challenging issues. Our founder, Dorit (Dori) Goikhman, has the knowledge, training, and skills to guide you through the process and help you achieve your objectives. Contact us today for a free consultation by calling 866-223-4153 or book a session, so we can start working on your collaborative divorce. 

About Collaborative Divorce 

Collaborative divorce is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method to minimize the tension a marital breakup can bring and help the parties find an amicable solution. 

To initiate a collaborative divorce in Santa Clara or San Mateo County, both spouses and their attorneys must agree in writing to negotiate and not seek court intervention on any matter. Unlike a litigated divorce, there is no formal discovery process; however, both parties must:

  • Engage in a good-faith exchange of relevant information
  • Not conceal assets
  • Not make other misrepresentations

Ultimately, collaborative divorce requires both spouses to communicate in a way that advances their mutual objectives and work collaboratively with their attorneys to reach an agreement. Although court intervention is not in play, key issues must be resolved, such as:

  • Property division
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Child custody
  • Visitation
  • Child support

Agreeing not to seek court intervention does not mean the parties waive any of their legal rights. If negotiations break down or either party fails to negotiate in good faith, they can take their divorce to court – but they must hire new attorneys. In a similar vein, if either party withholds information, conceals assets, or engages in other misconduct, the attorneys can withdraw from the proceedings. 

How Is Collaborative Divorce Different From Mediation?

While collaborative divorce is a form of ADR, it differs from divorce mediation in several ways. In mediation, the parties work with a neutral third party, specifically trained in divorce mediation, to resolve the issues in the divorce.

Collaborative divorce is a larger process that may or may not involve a mediator. The goal of collaborative divorce in California is for two attorneys to work in a collaborative spirit in discussions and negotiations, emphasizing issues such as child custody, parental responsibilities, and parenting time. The attorneys involved understand that the parties want to avoid litigation unless absolutely necessary, and the attorneys are incentivized to settle the issues related to the California divorce in a manner that is most efficient for the parties. 

This is an interdisciplinary approach in which the parties and their attorneys collaborate with a team of experts, including trained mental health professionals, accountants, and financial advisors, to resolve issues such as:

  • Income and asset valuations (including family businesses and retirement plans)
  • Marital property division 
  • Child support 
  • Spousal maintenance

The attorneys and experts have no decision-making role; the spouses must resolve issues of the divorce if they wish to avoid litigation.

What Are the Benefits of Collaborative Divorce in the Bay Area?

Collaborative divorce offers several benefits. First, it avoids a contentious legal battle. By collaborating, the parties can resolve their issues fairly and create a safe environment for children typically at risk of emotional harm during difficult family transitions.

Because there are no required court appearances, collaborative divorce is less expensive and time-consuming than a litigated divorce. Collaborative divorce is ideal for couples who plan on co-parenting and prefer to maintain amicable relations for the benefit of all. Collaborative Divorce is a particularly attractive option for parties wishing to divorce in the Bay Area, as it can save the parties from expensive and protracted litigation. 

Notably, collaborative divorce may not be possible in cases involving domestic abuse, child abuse, or similar misconduct. But if you believe a collaborative divorce is a suitable option for you, contact our office to discuss your case in confidence. 

Why Choose Off the Record Mediation?

Our collaborative divorce professionals regularly help couples resolve their most personal and pressing issues privately and efficiently. Working with our network of respected counselors and financial specialists, we will help you navigate this difficult family transition with dignity and compassion.

When you meet with us, we will listen to your concerns, learn about your unique family dynamics and explain what to expect from the collaborative divorce process. Dorit L Goikhman has a well-earned reputation as a skilled and compassionate advocate who helps clients preserve family unity. You can trust her to help find amicable solutions to all your challenges so you can move on to your new lifestyle.

Contact Our Experienced California Collaborative Divorce Counselor

If you are seeking a more amicable way to end your marriage, a collaborative divorce could be the way to go. Contact Off The Record Mediation Services today by filling out a form or calling our office at 866-223-4153. We offer free consultations, cost-effective services, and innovative solutions to complex family law issues.

Off The Record Mediation Services has assisted clients in collaborative divorce proceedings throughout San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, and other cities within California. Contact us today to walk you through this stage of your life.