Monday, April 8, 2013

So now you know what collaborative practice is. Now, here are five reasons why I believe the collaborative process is better than regular divorce litigation.

It protects your children: The collaborative divorce process is set up so that your children are protected from the trauma and drama of courtroom appearances and battles. You and your spouse will be working through a process of six-way meetings with collaboratively-trained attorneys, divorce coaches. You will handle all of your issues through a series of six-way meetings that are held with the expectation that everyone is respectful, honest, and forthright.

It preserves your relationship with your future ex-spouse: Instead of going through a nasty court battle where the name of the game is to make the opposing party look as horrible as possible and take as much as you can from them, the collaborative process revolves around what is fair and just. Mudslinging, nastiness, dishonesty and gamesmanship are not accepted. Avoiding the nasty horrific battles that we all know about in the divorce litigation process will help the two of you maintain a certain relationship so that you can respect each other after everything is done.



It is generally a lot faster than regular divorce litigation proceedings: With the collaborative process, you can get started right away. In fact, many cases are resolved far quicker than normal litigated divorce.

It is a better use of your money: When you go through the collaborative process, every minute that you pay for is a minute used productively by your attorney and your divorce coach. In the alternative, through the divorce litigation process, a lot of time and a lot of attorneys’ fees are incurred with the attorney simply waiting around in the courtroom to be heard for a few minutes.

It is private: When you go through the regular divorce litigation process, everything is a public record. Through the collaborative process you are able to keep things private, keep things from the public record, and settle your issues whether they be complex, simple, embarrassing or illegal. Everything is negotiated through private six-way meetings. Your privacy is protected, and the privacy of your children and family are protected.

Childs Law Office has been providing legal advice, counsel and representation in family law throughout the California Central Valley. Fresno divorce attorney, Erin Childs is a respected litigator and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization that practices in areas of divorce, collaborative law, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, guardianships, juvenile dependency, adoptions, grandparent's rights, and complex property division issues. Childs Law Office's mission is to educate, inform and enable you to make insightful decisions that protect your rights and interests. To see what Childs Law Office can do for you, visit childslawoffice.com.



Monday, March 18, 2013



Another Option for Divorcing Couples:  Collaborative Divorce

If you are considering divorce and want to avoid a nasty, expensive, and traumatic litigation process, there is an option for you.  It's called collaborative divorce or collaborative practice.  Collaborative Practice is a process to resolve your family law matters where both parties commit in writing to not take their case to court. It is sometimes referred to as “no-court divorce”.

Collaborative practice is a new way for you and your spouse to resolve disputes amicably and privately with the help of trained professionals so that you can avoid the nastiness of regular divorce litigation.

During this process, you and your spouse will each have a collaboratively-trained attorney and therapist, also known as a “divorce coach”. You may also use neutral financial advisors in the event there are businesses or large amounts of money to be handled as well as child specialists to be a voice for your children.  The professionals are there to help keep negotiations on track and prevent any negativity that may arise.

The process begins and ends with a series of office meetings consisting of you, your spouse, both collaborative attorneys and divorce coaches as well as any financial or child specialists. The process is completed when you and your spouse reach a mutually-acceptable agreement that you both have created.  You and your spouse drive the process and decide when you are both satisfied with the results.

In order for collaborative practice to work, you and your spouse must commit to being honest, respectful, and fair. You must disclose all information pertinent to the matter at hand. You must be willing to negotiate with your spouse and come to a mutually acceptable settlement. Communication is the key to collaborative practice.   


Collaborative practice benefits all parties involved, especially your children. You will gain the skills to better communicate with your spouse once the process is complete, ideally preserving your relationship with him or her. Your children are shielded from the toxicity and destructive nature of traditional divorce litigation.  Collaborative practice also protects your privacy. Everything is kept confidential and not made public record like regular divorce litigation.

This alternative offers you and your spouse or partner the support, protection, and guidance of your own lawyers without going to court. Additionally, collaborative divorce allows you the benefit of child and financial specialists, divorce coaches and other professionals all working together to help you solve your problems – not drag you through years of court battles.

Collaborative practice isn’t only for married couples going through divorce.  It can work with domestic partners, divorced couples dealing with post judgment issues, guardianships, as well as many civil issues.


Childs Law Office has been providing legal advice, counsel and representation in family law throughout the California Central Valley. Fresno divorce attorney, Erin Childs is a respected litigator and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization that practices in areas of divorce,collaborative law, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, guardianships, juvenile dependency, adoptions,grandparent's rights, and complex property division issues. Childs Law Office's mission is to educate, inform and enable you to make insightful decisions that protect your rights and interests. To see what Childs Law Office can do for you, visit childslawoffice.com.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Father’s Rights In Divorce
First of all I should start off that there really is no area of the law called father’s rights. However, it is important for you to hire an attorney that if you are a father and you would like to assert your rights to your children, you really should interview an experienced family law attorney and find that attorney that is a good fit for you and that shares the same principles that you have when it comes to your children.

 
Divorce and custody proceedings are scary and difficult for anyone involved but especially if you are a man who wants to be a substantial part of his child or children's life. Historically, the courts have awarded children to the mother and have relegated fathers to weekend parenting two or three times per month. In these modern times, more and more often fathers want to be more significantly involved in their child or children's life and to be more than just the Disneyland dad.
Even though it is the 21st century, and more often, the courts are giving men more custody and visitation with their children, the playing field still is not totally level. That requires extra preparation and attention to details of your actions before, during and after you commence a legal proceeding involving your child or children.
Our office understands and appreciates the struggles and needs of our male clients. We strongly believe that children are happier and healthier with involved fathers who are there for all of life's milestones. We will prepare you for your litigation or collaborative experience while focusing on the particular requirements of a man trying to navigate through a divorce or custody proceedings.
Childs Law Office has been providing legal advice, counsel and representation in family law throughout the California Central Valley. Fresno divorce attorney, Erin Childs is a respected litigator and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization that practices in areas of divorce, collaborative law, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, guardianships, juvenile dependency, adoptions,grandparent's rights, and complex property division issues. Childs Law Office's mission is to educate, inform and enable you to make insightful decisions that protect your rights and interests. To see what Childs Law Office can do for you, visit childslawoffice.com.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Child Support Information



Child Support

Issues of child and spousal support, commonly known as alimony, can be difficult and complex. An order for support can stem from separation, divorce, or from a paternity action when a child is born outside of marriage. 
A pregnant woman can establish an order for support before the child is born and either party may seek an order for child support once the child is born. Child support is payable until the child is 18 years old or 19 and enrolled in high school.  There is also adult dependent child support for adult children who are incapable of supporting themselves due to a handicap.  


Child support, modifiable throughout a child’s minority and in California, is based on a guideline formula.  The formula is based on each party’s gross income and the percentage of time the child has with each parent.  There are also other factors taken into consideration such as expenses for medical insurance, union dues, mandatory retirement, and certain taxation factors for both parties.  
In California, if you are unable to afford an attorney to represent you for issues of child support, you can do it yourself or seek the services of the Department of Child Support Services.  They offer free services to parents seeking to obtain a child support order or enforce existing ones.
The first place for you to start is to call an experienced family law attorney and have a consultation.  There you can explore all of your options.

Childs Law Office has been providing legal advice, counsel and representation in family law throughout the California Central Valley.  Fresno divorce attorney, Erin Childs is a respected litigator and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization that practices in areas of divorce, collaborative law, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, guardianship's, juvenile dependency, adoptions, grandparent's rights, and complex property division issues.  Childs Law Office's mission is to educate, inform and enable you to make insightful decisions that protect your rights and interests.  To see what Childs Law Office can do for you, visit www.childslawoffice.com. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

What to do if you are faced with child custody and visitation issues.


Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody and visitation laws are intended to keep the best interests of the child as their foremost concern, whether it is regarding results of a DNA paternity test, or to determine physical custody and visitation of a child during and after a divorce. 

When you come to Childs Law Office to address these issues, we must learn about you and your family structure, your children, their ages, their development, their personalities, their temperaments, etc., and if there are any special needs for your children.

We will discuss with you your wishes and your hopes for your children, as well as focus on any conflicts that you may have with the other parent.

We would like to know the reasons why or why not the other party should or should not have custody and visitation of the child or children.  We really need to learn about you so that we can assess your situation as every case is different and for us to better serve you, we need to assess your special needs and devise a plan that is specific to you and your family.

First, we will try to see if we can resolve the issues out of court, which is quicker and less expensive.

If that is not an option, we will file a motion with the court and you and the other parent, and any of your children who are over the age of 5 will attend mediation with a recommending counselor.  A recommending counselor is like a social worker who is trained to work with my families going through mediation disputes.

This recommending counselor will try to achieve an agreement between you and the other parent but if that does not happen, then they will make a recommendation to the court as to what he or she believes is in the best interests of your child or children.

That recommendation will go to the Judge and the Judge will most likely accept that recommendation as the order of the court.  In other words, the recommending counselor will tell you how and when each of you will see your children.

From there, if either party objects to the counselor’s report, you may go through a series of court appearances and ultimately a trial over custody and visitation where you will show the court what you believe is in the best interests of the child or children and argue a parenting plan that you think is best.

Hopefully, your issues of custody and visitation will not take you to a full-fledged family law trial.

There are many options for you and it is wise to speak to an experienced family law attorney who is very experienced in the county in which you will be appearing because every county is different.

Childs Law Office has been providing legal advice, counsel and representation in family law throughout the California Central Valley.  Fresno divorce attorney, Erin Childs is a respected litigator and a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization that practices in areas of divorce, collaborative law, child custody, child visitation, spousal support, guardianships, juvenile dependency, adoptions, grandparent's rights, and complex property division issues.  Childs Law Office's mission is to educate, inform and enable you to make insightful decisions that protect your rights and interests.  To see what Childs Law Office can do for you, visit childslawoffice.com.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How Divorce Mediation Can Help You


Divorce Mediation

If you are faced with the possibility of divorcing and don't want to go through the expensive, traumatic and toxic divorce process, there is an option for you; mediation.  With mediation, each party can agree to retain me to mediate their family law issues out of court, and in the privacy of my office.

This is often a good alternative for low-conflict couples who may already have an agreement in mind or are able to arrive at one without court intervention.  The process is where you and your future ex-spouse will meet with me over a series of three-way meetings where we address all of the issues pertinent to your divorce such as property, finances, child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, and even attorney’s fees.

This is often a quicker, less-expensive alternative to divorce litigation or collaborative divorce because you are only paying for one attorney to help both of you and because you avoid court appearances, court filings, trials, etc., you save a lot of time.  You get right down to the issues that are important and you can work together with the assistance of a neutral person who understands the law to help you and your future ex-spouse arrive at an agreement that is just as enforceable as if you had gotten it from a Judge.

Attorney, Erin M. Childs, is the founder of Childs Law Office and is a Certified Family Law Specialist with the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Childs Law Office serves the Fresno, Madera, Kern and Kings Counties in California specializing in collaborative divorce, mediation, child custody, child visitation, divorce litigation, spousal support, property division, guardianships, juvenile dependency and adoptions. To learn more, visit www.childslawoffice.com