Collaborative Practice News

NorthBay Biz Magazine Article About Collaborative Practice

NorthBay Biz Magazine

Northbay Biz magazine's October 2004 issue includes a cover story about collaborative practice. A number of Sonoma County collaborative professionals, including Margaret Anderson, participated in interviews for this article.
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Seeds of Change by Margaret Anderson, Legal Spcialization Digest

Legal Specialization Digest

Mediation seemed revolutionary as a process for resolving disputes, partly because it wasn't clear that mediation clients would have legal advice and information apart from what they learned from the mediator...
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Many current articles can be found at the IACP website: www.collaborativepractice.org


Sonoma County Superior Court Collaborative Law Rule 9.5:

The Sonoma County Superior Court recognizes the unique nature of family law disputes and the fact that family law issues are best resolved by the parties reaching agreement over such critical matters as child custody, support, and property, without engaging in the traditional adversarial litigation process. The Sonoma County Superior Court strongly supports the use of the collaborative law process as well as other alternative dispute resolution tools for the purpose of developing both short term and long-term workable agreements that meet the best interests of the entire family, particularly the children whose lives will be affected by the resolution.

A. Designation

No case will be entitled to a designation as a “collaborative law” case unless all of the following requirements are met:

1. The parties have signed a collaborative law stipulation and order that provides for a full and candid exchange of information, that advisory counsel shall not subsequently represent either party, and the prohibition for further work on this matter by all experts and other professionals retained for the process, if the use of the collaborative law procedures are terminated.

2. All documents filed in the case are to be submitted by the parties as self-represented parties. Notwithstanding this provision, the attorneys may appear by agreement as counsel of record for the sole purpose of filing a bifurcated judgment regarding status, the final judgment and/or other final documents reflecting the agreement of the parties, upon the entry of which they shall immediately withdraw.

3. No contested matters are presented by a Request for Order that require judicial resolution.

4. The term collaborative law case is included in the caption of any document filed with the court from and after the filing of the collaborative law stipulation and order.

B. The collaborative law process is by its very nature, a series of intense settlement negotiations, therefore:

1. Other than as may be agreed in the collaborative law stipulation and order, no evidence of anything said or any admission made for the purpose of, in the course of, or pursuant to the collaborative law proceeding is admissible or subject to discovery, and disclosure of the evidence must not be compelled in any noncriminal proceeding.

2. Other than as may be agreed in the collaborative law stipulation and order, no writing, as defined in Evidence Code section 250 that is prepared for the purpose of, in the course of, or pursuant to a collaborative law case is admissible or subject to discovery, and disclosure of the writing must not be compelled in any non-criminal

proceeding. This does not include documentary items such as account statements, bank statements, records of title, etc., that reflect on the existence and value of the assets or debts.

3. Other than as agreed in the collaborative law stipulation and order, all communications, negotiations or settlement discussions between participants in the course of a collaborative law proceeding must remain confidential.

C. As to any case designated as a collaborative law case, the court will:

1. Consider collaborative counsel to be advisory and not attorneys of record, except as provided in paragraph A.2. of this rule.

2. Refuse to set any hearings, impose discovery deadlines or enter scheduling orders.

3. Give priority in processing of stipulated orders.

4. Waive any requirement for payment of the respondent’s first appearance fee with the collaborative law stipulation and order.

5. Provide notice and an opportunity to be heard prior to any dismissal based upon a failure to prosecute or for delay.

D. The designation of a case as a collaborative law case is totally voluntary and requires the agreement of all parties. The collaborative law case designation will be removed upon stipulation or filing and service of a termination election as provided in the collaborative law stipulation and order. In the event collaborative law procedures are terminated, any party filing a Request for Order shall include a request for scheduling of a case management conference prior to the hearing.

E. Except as otherwise provided in this rule, collaborative law cases are governed by the Family Code and the California Rules of Court. (Eff. 1/1/2005; Rev. 7/1/2005, 7/1/2009, 7/1/2010, 1/1/2013)