My approach to family law in Santa Rosa is to try to find an innovative, creative solution to a process that I think has been… Well, it could use evolution. Let’s just put it mildly. Family law, the business of family law. I have a friend that’s a family law attorney that just got out of a firm that she’d been working with quite a while, took her case load with her. And she’s really struggling. She wants to go back to getting into real estate like she was before because she says she cannot close these cases because the opposing counsel will just not be reasonable, and it’s really frustrating for her. She wants to do the right thing. She said, “I could settle these cases so quick, but the opposing counsel just won’t… They’ll pick it apart. They’ll have a problem to drag the process out to make more money essentially”.
Not all divorce attorneys do this. There are good family law attorneys, and I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with several that I refer out to. However, the process needs evolution. The other process that’s left is the collaborative process, which I think is lovely. Bill’s part of the collaborative counsel at Redwood Empire. It’s the same spirit with which I do things. We move into the process working together collaboratively, we agree not to go into a contested posture. The difference between the collaborative counsel and me is pretty much one of the amount of people assisting the process and the expense. The collaborative process has two attorneys present working in a collaborative way.
However, my clients can’t afford that. They just can’t afford to put retainers down for one or two attorneys. The people that come to me, that’s the demographic that I deal with. When they go to my website, they see that I do a much more comprehensive approach to it than just mediation. You don’t have to just be entrenched in a problem to come to me. You can be just wanting to settle your estate and move on, not necessarily have a problem to mediate. You just need clarity, you need direction, and you need guidance, So, when I talk to those spouses that are apprehensive, a lot of times they get onboard.
Spousal support is designed to address an inequity in a marriage that has been built in over time, due to roles that have been assigned explicitly or implicitly. You can read that, and I often do cover those elements in the Family Code 4320, for spousal support. We talk about that in my office, and we clear up and dispel all of the myths and confusions, and look at what really spousal support is about. And we can have a reasonable discussion about that as adults. We can look at what spousal support is designed to do. Not look at it as winning, not look at it as sticking it to the other person, not looking at it as winning or prevailing, or having some way to get back for all those years of pain that one or the other had to go through. That’s not what spousal support’s about.
A divorce attorney may make you want to feel that way, and may even want you to pay them to go into court and argue that way. The judge is going to look for the elements that I’m going to share with the people in my office, of spousal support that are written in the Family Code. I take the drama out of the spousal support issue. I take the lies and the misinformation and things that get whispered in people’s ears and the stories that they have, and talk about what it’s really designed to do. And in that way, we find what the choice is that ought to be made when people are being reasonable and equitable and fair.