Family law attorney
Serving Fresno Since 1979
A party does not have to be represented by an attorney in a court proceeding. A party may proceed in their own action as a self-represented litigant. Regardless of whether a party is self-represented however, they are bound by the same rules and procedures and process of law governing the action.
An attorney cannot represent both parties. If one party is represented, and the other party is self-represented, the attorney must communicate with the self-represented party to negotiate and proceed in the case as is appropriate.
An attorney can act as a mediator in a case, to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. In this instance, the attorney does not represent either party, simply acts and in impartial mediating attorney, explaining the law and process to the parties and assisting them through the process of an uncontested dissolution whereby the parties are able to reach agreements with the assistance of the mediating attorney. The mediating attorney would prepare the necessary documents for the parties to effect the filing of orders throughout the mediation process, and the filing and entry of a Judgment once all issues are resolved. In the event mediation is unsuccessful as the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the issues in their case, the mediating attorney would not be able to represent either party in the action at any time in the future.
Collaborative representation is another manner in which a case can proceed through the Court. In this instance both parties are represented by counsel. The intent of the collaborative process is to avoid litigation and reach agreements on all issues through a series of meeting with specific agendas geared toward resolution of the matter. In cases which involve child custody and visitation, each party may have a coach who is a licensed psychologist or therapist. In the event there is a business involved, or significant assets, each party may have a financial coach, or there may be an agreement for one financial professional to prepare the necessary disclosure documents, cash flow analysis, and business valuation. Throughout the series of meeting at which the parties, their collaborative attorneys, and coaches when indicated, are present it is the spirit of the process to amicably work through the issues in a peaceful manner to reach agreement. In the event the collaborative process does not work, the parties must seek alternate representation, or be self-representation as the collaborative attorneys may not continue representation in the case. Further, the professional coaches who are involved with the case are also excluded from participation further in the matter. In the event only one impartial financial expert was used in the collaborative, on agreement by both parties, the financial expert may continue to provide assistance in the matter.