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SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF VENTURA

 

In re the Marriage of:

Petitioner:

and

Respondent:

 

STIPULATION AND ORDER FOR COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW PROCEEDING

 

Petitioner,________ , appearing in person, and Respondent, _______, appearing in person, each stipulate to the entry of the following orders which shall remain in effect subject to modification by a written agreement signed by both parties, termination or further court order as provided below. This stipulation shall be binding on the parties as soon as they executed it. Promptly, thereafter it shall be presented to the court for entry and filing in the above entitled action.

 

THIS IS A COLLABORATIVE FAMILY LAW MATTER

This is a Collaborative Family Law matter and shall be conducted pursuant to the rules and procedures set out in this order (and in Attachment A) the terms of which shall prevail over any conflicting provision of law otherwise applicable to the family law proceedings. The court finds that each party identified above has read and understands the document attached hereto as Attachment A entitled Principles and Guidelines for the Practice of Collaborative Family Law each is ordered to act in good faith and to comply with the letter and the spirit of that document.

 

While this order is in effect, the parties shall devote all of their efforts in this matter to reaching a negotiated settlement in an efficient, cooperative manner; neither party shall file any document requesting intervention by the court, including, but not limited to, a Request to Enter Default, Notice of Motion, Order to Show Cause or At Issue Memorandum, except as otherwise specifically authorized by this order. The parties do not waive their rights to seek the assistance of the court, however, any unilateral initiation of litigation by a party shall result in the automatic termination of the collaborative family law process, on the date that any such application is made.

 

STANDARD TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS

During the term of this order and thereafter as a matter of law each party is bound by the standard family law restraining orders contained in the summons issued in this case. A copy of the text of those orders is Attachment B to this order.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY OF PROCEEDINGS

Except as otherwise provided below, no evidence of anything said or any admission made for the purpose of, in the course of, or pursuant to any activities in this collaborative family law proceeding is admissible or subject to discovery; disclosure of such evidence shall not be compelled in any arbitration, administrative adjudication, civil action or other noncriminal proceeding in which, pursuant to law, testimony can be compelled to be given. However, this subdivision does not limit the admissibility of evidence, if all parties participating in this proceeding consent to its disclosure.

 

Except as otherwise provided below, no writing, as defined in Section 250 of the Evidence Code nor, any other document or record of any kind, that is prepared for the purpose of, in the course of, or pursuant to, any activities in this Collaborative Family Law Proceeding, is admissible or subject to discovery; disclosure of the writing shall not be compelled in any arbitration, administrative adjudication, civil action, or other noncriminal proceeding in which, pursuant to law, testimony can be compelled to be given.

 

Except as otherwise provided below, all communications, disclosures, negotiations or settlement discussions by and/or between participants in the course of any activities in this Collaborative Family Law proceeding shall remain confidential and shall not be admissible or subject to discovery; disclosure of the writing shall not be compelled in any arbitration, administrative adjudication, civil action, or other noncriminal proceeding in which, pursuant to law, testimony can be compelled to be given.

 

COLLABORATIVE COUNSEL

has been retained by Petitioner to advise Petitioner during the course of this collaborative proceeding; has been retained by Respondent to advise Respondent during the course of this Collaborative Family Law proceeding. Neither attorney is and neither shall under any circumstances become an attorney of record at any time in this proceeding. Each is ordered to comply with the terms of this stipulation and order including without limitation the provisions relating to confidentiality.

 

Except as otherwise provided below, each attorney named above and any attorney in association with such attorney is permanently disqualified from appearing as attorney of record for either party named above in this proceeding or in any other family law matter involving both parties including but not limited to proceedings or actions for dissolution, parentage, modification, enforcement, writs and/or appeals. Except as otherwise provided in this stipulation and order or in Attachment A, neither counsel shall participate directly or indirectly or otherwise provide aid, information or assistance of any kind in or in any way related to any litigation of any family law matter involving the parties to this stipulation and order.

 

Notwithstanding any termination of the Collaborative Family Law proceeding under this stipulation and order, the foregoing disqualification shall survive and be effective at all times. An attorney shall be deemed "associated" with collaborative counsel if, at any time during the pendency of these proceedings or during the pendency of any future family law proceedings between these parties, such attorney is the partner, associate, employer or employee of, or co employee with, or shares a relationship of independent contractor status with either attorney named above.

 

EXPERT WITNESS

Except as otherwise provided below, unless otherwise agreed by the parties in a written agreement executed by both and filed in this case, all individuals and all firms retained by or whose work product is used by either party or attorney during the term of this order, are permanently disqualified from participating directly or indirectly or otherwise providing aid, information or assistance of any kind in or in any way related to any litigation of any family law matter involving the parties to this stipulation and order and from appearing as expert witnesses for either party or for the court, as to any matter in this proceeding including but not limited to the individual? or the firm? work product related in any way to this Collaborative Family Law proceeding.

 

Except as otherwise provided below, all notes, work papers, summaries and reports and other work product shall be inadmissible as evidence or as any part of the basis for any evidence in this or in any other family law matter involving these parties unless the parties agree otherwise in a writing executed by both and filed in this case. The foregoing prohibition notwithstanding, all such work product shall be furnished to any successor counsel.

 

The individuals and firms referred to above include, but are not limited to, accountants, attorneys, physicians, mediators, mental health professionals, personal or real property valuation experts, private investigators, vocational consultants or any other experts retained or employed by either party or by either counsel during the course this Collaborative Family Law process.

 

DISCLOSURE AND DISCOVERY

Each party shall serve the other party with a Preliminary Declaration of Disclosure; the parties shall jointly execute a Final Declaration of Disclosure within the time periods provided by the Family Code and each shall provide the other with any written authorizations requested to facilitate obtaining information or documentation, or to prepare Qualified Domestic Relations Orders or other orders facilitating agreements reached during the course of this Collaborative Family Law process. The court finds that the parties understand that honesty and the full disclosure of all relevant information is an integral factor in the success of a Collaborative Family Law case.

 

Discovery requests shall be made informally but in writing. Responses to discovery requests shall be made within 30 days; they shall be made in writing and under penalty of perjury. No motion to compel or motion for sanctions is available for any discovery request made during the term of this order, however, if this Collaborative Family Law proceeding is terminated prior to the entry of a stipulated judgment or a marital settlement agreement which includes a resolution of all issues in this matter and without regard to the prohibitions set out above, the parties may present evidence regarding disclosure and discovery related conduct which takes place during the term of this order. Such conduct may be subject to the imposition of sanctions as specified below.

 

CUSTODY MEDIATION

If the parties agree to refer any issues to a private mediator during the term of this order that mediation shall not be subject to any of the provisions of statute or state or local rule of court otherwise applicable in family law matters and no action beyond the mediation shall occur, except as expressly agreed in a writing by the parties. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties in a writing executed by both, the mediation process, the mediator and the work product of the mediator shall be deemed to fall within the definition of expert individuals and firms as set out in the section regarding expert witnesses, above and all communications between the mediator and the parties shall be confidential and not subject to waiver by the parents.

 

SANCTIONS

Following the termination of this order and without regard to the provisions set out above regarding confidentiality, collaborative counsel, experts and work product, the Court may impose sanctions under any applicable statute, including but not limited to Family Code Section 271 and Sections 124, et seq. of the Code of Civil Procedure, or any applicable state or local rule of court, if it finds that any party or any attorney (i) has used the Collaborative Law process in bad faith or for the purpose of unilateral delay, or (ii) has engaged in any concealment, misrepresentation, or perpetuation of the same in any way that materially and adversely affects the rights of the other party as established in this order or under any otherwise applicable provision of law. The provisions of the disclosure and discovery section of this order notwithstanding, sanctions may in the discretion of the Court be imposed with regard to conduct related to disclosure and discovery matters.

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TERMINATION OF COLLABORATIVE STATUS AND

WITHDRAWAL OF COUNSEL

Either party may unilaterally and without cause terminate the operation of this Stipulation and Order by giving written notice of such election (hereafter, "Termination Election") to the other party and to the attorneys and by filing with the court in this proceeding an original executed Termination Election with a proof of service of a copy of such Termination Election to the other party and to the attorneys in this proceeding.

 

Either attorney may withdraw from this matter unilaterally and without cause by giving fifteen (15) days written notice of such election (hereafter, ?otice of Withdrawal? to the parties and to the other attorney. Notice of Withdrawal does not terminate the Collaborative Family Law process nor, the operation of this order. If the party whose attorney has withdrawn wishes to continue in this Collaborative Family Law process, he or she shall retain a new attorney who shall agree in writing to be bound by this Stipulation and Order and by the above referenced Guidelines and Principles.

 

Upon either the termination of the Collaborative Family Law process or the withdrawal of counsel for either party, the attorney who is withdrawing or who represents the party who has terminated the Collaborative Family Law proceeding will promptly co-operate to facilitate the transfer of the client's matter to successor counsel for further Collaborative Family Law proceedings under this order or for litigation as may be appropriate.

 

Dated:______________ Petitioner:________________________

 

Dated:______________ Respondent:_______________________

 

Dated:______________ Attorney for Petitioner:_______________

 

Dated:______________ Attorney for Respondent:______________

 

 

ORDER

Good cause appearing from the foregoing stipulation of the parties,

IT IS ORDERED THAT:

This proceeding is recognized by the court as a Collaborative Family Law Proceeding,

The foregoing stipulation is entered as an order of this Court and,

While the Collaborative Family Law proceeding is in effect and, to the extent the foregoing terms are applicable after a termination of the Collaborative Family Law proceeding, thereafter, the parties, their counsel and all other individuals and entities identified above shall comply with the terms of this order.

 

Dated:______________

 

 

_______________________________________

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT