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Collaborative Divorce: An Alternate Solution

Read the Benefits & Find Out If This Is Right for You

Collaborative Divorce Lawyers in San Bernardino

Trust Your Case to Our San Bernardino Divorce Attorneys

There is a relatively new method of dispute resolution in family law known as collaborative divorce. It can be thought of as a hybrid approach to old litigation techniques and alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation. Under a collaborative divorce process, the San Bernardino divorce attorneys for each party will work together in the best interests of both parties, using cooperative strategies instead of adversarial techniques and with a stated aim to avoid court. A collaborative divorce will succeed if both parties agree to no litigation during the negotiations and are committed to a negotiated outcome. The process cannot be used if either party disagrees to the collaborative divorce.

If you are considering a divorce, discuss your options with a knowledgeable lawyer.

At the Law Office of Michael R. Young, our team of divorce lawyers has over 70 years of experience and can handle whatever family law issue you are facing. As a result of our hard work and commitment to client satisfaction, our firm has been recognized by numerous organizations, including an AV® rating from the prestigious attorney rating firm, Martindale-Hubbell®. We offer consultations and work tirelessly to represent your best interests. You can reach us at (909) 315-4588.

Why Choose Collaborative Divorce?

Collaborative divorce is designed to channel the emotions of divorce into a positive process. The fundamental principle for this method is simple: the dissolution of marriage is an extremely emotional process and should be addressed as such, rather than a legal struggle. The goal is to approach divorce with a problem-solving mentality, preserve the emotions of the parties and their children, and reach a resolution that will have long-term benefits for the family by minimizing hostility.

  • How do you begin the collaborative divorce process?
  • Discuss: The first step is for both parties is to open a dialogue and discuss the idea of a collaborative divorce. Remember, that the couple must be in agreement in order to begin the process, otherwise a collaborative divorce will not be permitted.
  • Choose an attorney: Next, the parties will each choose a divorce attorney who has experience in facilitating collaborative divorces. An initial meeting will be held where the party will explain their concerns and goals to the attorney. The attorney will review their options and create a strategy and ensure that no barriers to the process exist, such as, abuse, safety, or mental health issues.
  • Participation agreement: Both parties and their attorneys will enter into a “Participation Agreement.” This agreement promises that the attorney will work to reach a settlement in the best interests of both clients, and if no settlement is reached, the attorneys will withdraw and not engage in litigation. As a result, the retainer fees to all attorneys are solely for the purpose of the collaborative divorce, removing any motivation to pursue litigation in the future.

Participation Agreement

The “Participation Agreement” will set forth the promises and conditions of the parties to the collaborative divorce. The provisions will generally contain the following:

  • The parties will entrust their attorneys to assist in reaching an amicable settlement
  • All outstanding issues will be negotiated and settled in a non-attacking manner
  • The best interests of any children will be promoted by both parties and both parties agree to reach a settlement that minimizes emotional trauma
  • Neutral professionals, such as counselors, may be retained to help direct the couple
  • At what point(s) that withdrawal or ending the process will be reached

The process develops into a collaborative arrangement, with a series of meetings with trained professionals and counselors who work to educate and resolve all of the issues surrounding the divorce. The issues will not be resolved at the outset, but by going in with the mentality of preserving the interests of each party and the children, an amicable resolution will result in a much less emotionally taxing outcome. Furthermore, by engaging in a collaborative process, the parties remove the power of the court to impose its own determinations as to how the divorce should be resolved.

The Difference Between Regular Divorce & Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce removes an adversarial approach as well as the court’s power to impose its opinions and judgment over the parties. Rather, the parties agree not to engage the court and to resolve the divorce in a respectful, mutual manner that promotes everyone’s best interest.

The California courts website outlines this process here.

The difference between a regular divorce and a collaborative divorce:

  • Non-adversarial approach:
    Unlike a conventional divorce where each party seeks to win an advantage over the other, in a collaborative divorce the parties work together towards reaching mutual resolution that meets the best interests of the parties and their children in a non-adversarial approach.
  • Removal of court power:
    In addition, collaborative divorce removes court involvement. When cases go to court, they naturally take on an adversarial approach. The longer the parties disagree, the more power the court will gain in its authority to make decisions, regardless of the objectives of the parties. Courts want to encourage cooperation, and when that breaks down, it will step in and make its own determinations.

Collaborative divorce ends with a settlement agreement that is reached without incurring the usual costs and stress that is involved in a traditional litigated case. The nature of the collaborative divorce is more respectful and reduces the conflicts found in traditional methods. The end result is a safe process that seeks to minimize emotional harm to the couple and family members involved.

Preserving Family Emotions & the Best Interests of Children

When the family involves children, collaborative divorce may be the more appropriate course of action. Remember that the process is designed to reaching fair results and resolving differences. The goal is to minimize the involvement of the children in the divorce process, while ensuring that their best interests are put forward. The parties work to achieve these goals rather than acting adversely against each other.

Counselor & Advisor Teams

In a collaborative divorce, each party will hire their own team to facilitate their objectives during the divorce process. In addition to an attorney, the party will have access to a counselor who will assist in helping to educate and understand the process and meet emotional needs. Additionally, a financial advisor will be involved in assisting with the financial issues surrounding the dissolution. In cases involving children, a child life specialist is retained as well to facilitate custody and visitation matters.


There must be complete disclosure by both sides. In doing so, the objectives and goals of each party is made known to the other side. This means that each party is aware of the other’s position, removing unknown tactics or strategies and showing good-faith through transparency.

Is Collaborative Divorce Different Than Mediation?

Yes. In mediation, a mediator acts as a neutral third-party who listens to both parties’ positions and offers a resolution. However, there are limitations.

  • Mediation has the following limitations:
  • A mediator does not have the ability to provide legal advice.
  • A mediator cannot make a decision for either party, as a judge would.
  • Mediation usually does not resolve all aspects of the divorce.

In a collaborative divorce, each party’s attorney provides legal advice based on the goals of their clients, then engages in negotiations with the opposing attorney to reach a settlement. When a settlement is reached, all issues will have been resolved and the agreement will be final and contractually binding.

When Is Collaborative Divorce Appropriate?

The goal of collaborative divorce is to protect and preserve the emotional and financial resources of the parties, obtain closure on the marriage and move forward with life. It is most appropriate when the objective of the parties is to minimize the harmful emotional impact that divorce will have on their children. Furthermore, collaborative divorce is a time and emotionally-effective process. By its nature, it avoids the escalation aspects of a litigated divorce, which can drive up costs and be quite lengthy.

When both parties desire to reorganize their lives with minimal cost, length, emotional pain and keep the children’s best interests in the forefront, they may be prime candidates for collaborative divorce.

When Is Collaborative Divorce Not Appropriate?

When trust has been irreparably disrupted between the couple, there is no desire to be amicable, or where either party seeks to “get back” at the other, collaborative divorce is not appropriate. Relationships involving abuse or safety issues, untreated drug or alcohol addictions, criminal or juvenile cases of child abuse or neglect will disqualify a couple from using the collaborative divorce process.

More Than 40 Collective Years Resolving Divorces in California

The goal of collaborative divorce is to work with parties who are willing to learn, understand, and take ownership for their actions and the choices they have made. The dissolution of marriage is a difficult task and both parties must agree to focus on reaching an amicable resolution and further the best interests of the children. The Law Office of Michael R. Young is well-versed in facilitating collaborative divorces and has a proven track record of negotiating and reaching beneficial outcomes. We engage a team of counselors, financial planners, and other professionals in order to ensure a mutual resolution. We can tactfully address your negotiations, ensuring your rights will be protected and your future considered.

Begin a consultation with a San Bernardino divorce lawyer by calling (909) 315-4588!

Are You...

  • Thinking about filing for divorce
  • Concerned about custody of your children
  • Worried about the division of your property

If any of these apply to you, take the first step by getting in touch with our family law firm today.


You are not alone. We have helped hundreds of families just like yours.

  • "I believe your default position of shrewd and aggressive representation has saved my life. So thank you. If successful, my ex-spouse would have ruined my life without your help. I hired you barely in time."

    - J. Clifford

  • "I am so glad that I was referred to the Law Office of Michael Young. They treated me with respect and have made my life much easier. They obtained great results for me and my family and it was well worth the price paid."

    - Nina O.

  • "I was very happy with the services provided. The office was always helpful and courteous. The advice I received from Attorney Hevia-Cockrell is invaluable."

    - Laura B.

  • "The Law Office of Michael Young had a clear understanding of my case and was very responsive to my need and inquiries. The quality of his work was unmatched. I wish that I had hired him to handle my initial divorce. If I had, then I would not have had to hired him to fix so many issues now."

    - Khanh T.

  • "I recommend the Law Office of Michael Young to everyone who wants a good resolution to the problems that they are having. They fully understood my case and simplified many things about my case. They were responsive to my concerns and did a great job. I am very happy with their services."

    - Astrid R.

  • "The Law Office of Michael Young did a great job for me. I lived out of state and my case was in San Bernardino. Michael understood my needs and what I wanted. He kept it real, got my desired results, he was easy to talk to, kept me in the loop and gave great advice. I also worked with Allyson, and ..."

    - Felix L.

  • "I would like to express my satisfaction and appreciation to you and your entire staff for the services provided over the last year in helping with my marriage dissolution. In particular, Attorney Mariana Hevia-Cockrell demonstrated an expert knowledge of the law, was sensitive to my interests, and ..."

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  • "I would absolutely recommend the Law Offices of Michael Young to my family, friends or colleagues. I received a fantastic outcome for the prices that they change! They worked hard on my case and got a great result. This was the best professional legal service I have ever been associated with! A very ..."

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  • "Results matter to me, and your office delivered. The office was very professional and diligently worked on my case – I recommend the Law Office of Michael R. Young to my family and friends."

    - Jamie G.

  • "I considered several other law firms to modify my spousal obligation. I chose the Law Office of Michael R. Young, APC for his reputation for being aggressive. His office pursued my case diligently and we were victorious at trial. I highly recommend this firm."

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Get Your
Questions Answered

  • What is a contested divorce

    When spouses don’t agree on an issue, whether it involves child custody or spousal support, a divorce is considered contested. It is the most complicated type of divorce, as a couple will need to go through numerous steps to finalize their divorce. Since contested divorces often go to divorce court with a judge, having legal representation during the trial is crucial.

  • How is spousal support or alimony calculated

    There are numerous factors considered when a judge is determining how much and how long alimony should be paid. Some of those factors include the earning capacity of each spouse, how long the marriage lasted, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouse’s health and age, marital debts and property, and the sacrifices each spouse made during the marriage (such as staying at home with the children so the other spouse could work).

  • Who pays child support and how is child support determined

    The noncustodial parent will be responsible for child support if the court determines it is necessary or parents come to an agreement to be approved by the court. The factors used to determined child support include the income / earning capacity of each parent, the number of children shared, each parent’s expenses, child care expenses, and other related issues.

  • How is property divided

    California is a community property state. That means each spouse is given 50% ownership of the property accumulated during the marriage. This can include homes, vehicles, art, checking accounts, retirement / pension funds, small businesses, and other valuables. Items, accounts, or valuables that were kept separate throughout the entire marriage may be considered separate property and are therefore not subject to property division laws.

  • How long does it take for a divorce to be final

    This can depend on a number of factors, such as whether it is a contested or uncontested divorce. Even if a divorce is uncontested, there is a six-month waiting period in California for the judge to grant a divorce. Likewise, those seeking contested divorces must wait six months for a trial to be ordered. How quickly a divorce is finalized will also depend heavily on how easily spouses agree on matters such as child support, property division, alimony, child custody, and other important matters.

  • Why should I hire a family law and divorce attorney

    Going through a divorce or family law dispute can be complicated, confusing, and emotional. Regardless of whether spouses or family members think they are on the same page, having an attorney who is looking out for the best interests of the client can be invaluable. When you hire an attorney, you can have peace of mind knowing your rights and interests will be protected throughout the process. It can also take a great burden off your shoulders during a volatile or emotionally challenging time.

How You Benefit from
Working with Our Law Firm

With more than 70 years of combined experience, our divorce and family lawyers are compassionate, caring professionals.


e understand how challenging family law disputes can be, whether involving a heated child custody battle or a complex divorce. As a firm with an AV Preeminent® rating and a 10.0 Superb Avvo rating, we are committed to maintaining a standard of excellence in our representation. Why? Because we know that your family and your future is on the line. When you retain us, you are getting understanding, knowledgeable advocates on your side.

With over seventy years of collective insight, we are well-versed on handling even the most complex family law issues in California, from grandparents’ rights to domestic violence and restraining orders. When you need a compassionate family law attorney that you can trust to have your best interests in mind every step of the way, turn to our firm.

Our legal team strives to secure a favorable resolution as quickly as possible—whether in or out of court. Call us now at (909) 315-4588 to schedule your consult.

  • You can speak with an attorney today.

  • You will get personalized attention.

  • We are there for you every step of the way.

  • We've helped 100s of families just like yours.

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Michael R. Young

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