Are your attorney services confidential?
Yes. Practicing law in California requires attorneys to protect client information (called attorney-client privilege and confidentiality) as an utmost ethical priority, and we at Torrance Family Law, APC take that obligation very seriously. Be assured that we take proactive steps to protect our client’s confidential information and privacy.
Do you provide attorney services outside of Torrance?
Yes. Although our office is located in Torrance, we work with clients throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties for their family law and estate planning needs. At Torrance Family Law, we take pride in offering modern technological systems to clients, which can allow for remote client meetings or even remote Court appearances.
Do you work with families who want to create a legally enforceable Court orders while staying out of Court? What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
Absolutely. Our office is experienced in keeping families out of Court by using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes of mediation and collaborative divorce. Using an alternative dispute process is voluntary, meaning both parties must want to pursue an out-of-Court agreement.
Preparing for public Court hearings are often expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Over 90% of all family law cases eventually settle without a Court trial. After years of seeing the pitfalls families face in litigation, Ms. Stednitz has devoted a large section of her practice to keeping families out of Court by advising families about California’s legal framework in family law cases so the parties can create a legally enforceable agreement (called a judgment) that is tailored to their unique family dynamics.
Plus, many families return to Court a few years after their family law case is brought to judgment because circumstances have changed and one party want to modify existing orders. The most expensive and stressful cases often involve a “rotating door” of pre-trial or post-judgment modification hearings in Court. By failing to address and work through the root cause of the conflict, families are often set up for a rotating door of litigation. Using an ADR process from the outset gives families the best framework for staying out of Court both after the initial separation occurs and years after the case has been brought to judgment. Again, an ADR process requires both parties to voluntarily participate in good faith; otherwise, setting a Court hearing is generally the only other route to obtaining enforceable Court orders.
What is your Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) experience?
Ms. Stednitz studied ADR in law school, holds a Mediation Training Certificate, is a member of “A Better Divorce” Collaborative divorce group in the South Bay and the California-wide collaborative group “CP Cal,” and serves as a volunteer at the Loyola Law School’s Center for Conflict Resolution to help pro bono clients stay out of family Court. Ms. Stednitz brings her ample litigation experience to ADR settings. Litigation attorneys understand the legal framework governing family law issues and advise clients about how a Court would resolve the dispute, which often guides the parties toward voluntarily crafting their own agreement.
What is mediation?
In mediation cases, the parties may both choose to hire Ms. Stednitz to mediate between the parties, or each party might hire their own mediating attorney. In complex cases, the family might choose for each party to have their own attorney and they hire a third party – a mediating attorney or retired judge – to hold the settlement conferences.
I’ve heard about using the Collaborative Divorce process instead of preparing for a Court hearing before a family law judge. What is it?
In collaborative cases, the parties assemble an inter-disciplinary team of professionals in the legal, mental health and co-parenting, and financial industries, to help parties design their own agreement that addresses each party’s concerns. The professionals bring their industry-specific expertise to the table outside of Court; the result is usually the most-optimal, tailored, and creative agreements for the family’s legal issues – parenting plan, holiday/vacation schedule for the children, child support, spousal support, property division, etc.