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The Collaborative Divorce process is designed to deal with the anxiety and stress of divorce.

Going through a divorce is considered by many psychologists to be one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. Feelings of guilt, anger, hurt, grief and the desire for revenge can make it difficult for you or your spouse to make the right decisions. The trust that your marriage was based on may be called into question. Your attempts to resolve the many issues confronting you and your spouse may be seen through a filter of fear and mistrust. Under these circumstances it is extremely difficult to deal with financial issues or the best interests of your children. Engaging in an adversarial legal process in addition to these already difficult circumstances can be emotionally and financially devastating. Traditional adversarial divorce litigation focuses on finding fault, misdeeds and incompetence. Collaborative divorce focuses on finding solutions.

Collaborative Divorce Provides A Better Way

The collaborative law approach provides a safe and healthy process to resolve even the most difficult and complex family issues. It is less expensive and more likely to result in an agreement that works for both of you. Most couples can benefit from this approach, although it is not suitable for some, (e.g. where there are problems of substance abuse, physical or mental abuse, or mental illness.)

  • In the collaborative divorce process each party is represented by a licensed California attorney trained in the collaborative process.
  • The couple, both attorneys and any neutral experts agree to and sign The Principles and Guidelines for Collaborative Practice, which provides among other things:
    • To commit themselves to the Collaborative Divorce process
    • To commit themselves to settling all divorce related issues without court intervention
    • To give complete, full, honest and open disclosure of all information having a bearing on the case, whether requested or not.
    • To participate with and to uphold a high standard of integrity.
    • To negotiate in good faith and not use threats of going to court as a way of forcing settlement.
    • A Collaborative Attorney is expected to immediately withdraw from or terminate a Collaborative Divorce case upon learning that her or his client is knowingly withholding or misrepresenting information having a material bearing on the case.
    • The attorneys are barred from representing their client in litigation if the couple fails to reach an agreement outside of court. (This is an incentive to stay with the process until a fair and equitable resolution of the issues is reached.)
  • The couple can share neutral experts where needed to determine financial, valuation and child related issues. (In traditional litigation each side hires their own experts, and then end up arguing over the results – which is often more than twice as costly.)
  • Professional coaching is available from licensed mental health professionals.
    • The coaches can help the couple deal with emotional issues that are causing difficulty in the process itself.
    • The coaches can help the couple develop a parenting plan.
  • When parents work together collaboratively, with integrity and dignity to resolve the issues in their divorce it helps protect their children from the trauma of divorce.
  • The Collaborative Divorce process protects the privacy of the couple because the case is not conducted in a public forum and sensitive documents and information do not become part of the pubic record.

Barton Pokras is a member of the Coalition for Collaborative Divorce, the Collaborative Family Law Professionals (of Ventura), the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association, and the International Association of Collaborative Professionals. He serves as the current (2009) president of the Coalition for Collaborative Divorce, a non-profit organization consisting of professionals in the legal, mental health, financial and vocational fields, and operating in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties since 1999. Barton is also a member of the American Bar Association subpanels of Family Law Alternative Dispute Resolution, and Family Law Taxation. He belongs to the Ventura County Family Law Bar Association, where he serves as a member of the Board of Directors.

Testimonials

“What I liked most was he listened to me”

After my ex-spouse made a custody change without discussing with me, I contacted Mr. Pokras. He immediately understood the urgency of my case, had paperwork complete the same night…

Chuck, Ventura County

“With his sincere compassion for me as a person, he shattered the perceived mold of a typical lawyer”

He was highly professional, remarkably proficient in the law and all its nuances, and persistently resolved in achieving what was equitable with incredibly creativeness, especially in the courtroom…

Sandy, Ventura County

“He was an engaged advocate committed to protecting my position throughout”

My experience with Barton Pokras started out great and just got better! At the outset, he was able to put me at ease during a very difficult divorce process. His expertise was evident immediately. His measured, consistent, calm approach finally won the day...

Peter, Ventura County

“Barton is a wonderful human being to have in your corner through a tumultuous and emotional divorce proceeding”

Before hiring Barton I asked him to keep the focus on my daughter's future interests, and not get distracted by the emotional roller coaster. He did just that!

D.C., Ventura County

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Location The Law Offices of Barton Pokras

Serving clients throughout Ventura County and Southern California, including Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Ventura, Oxnard,
Camarillo, Newbury Park, Ojai, Fillmore, Santa Paula, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Woodland Hills, Encino and Malibu

Ventura Office

1198 Navigator Drive #20
Ventura, CA 93001
Phone: 805-477-0505

Fax: 805-676-1481
Email: Barton@PokrasLaw.com

Westlake Village Office

3075 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd.
Westlake Village, CA 91362
Phone: 805-477-0505

Fax: 805-676-1481
Email: Barton@PokrasLaw.com