When it comes to divorce, Jami Fosgate has first-hand experience. She was fortunate that she and her ex-husband agreed not to fight in court. Instead, they sat down and worked it out and when all was done, she had essentially a “good” divorce experience. This inspired her to attend law school at age 40 to become an attorney who could help other couples going through the crises of divorce.
After completing law school and passing the State Bar exam, Jami worked as law clerk at Los Angeles Superior Court analyzing cases and drafting rulings for judges in civil law courtrooms. But her heart was focused on family law, so she began taking family law education courses and learned about the collaborative process. In 2011 she took the Los Angeles Collaborative Law Association (LACFLA) three-day training to learn how to guide people through the difficult legal and emotional processes of divorce using the collaborative team approach.
Through her membership in LACFLA, Jami met Michelle Daneshrad, another family law attorney, and when Michelle announced she was going to start a collaborative practice group, Jami offered to join in the effort, and she helped to found Family Divorce Solutions of San Fernando Valley.
“I think that a family in crisis does better with a team of professionals to resolve their problems rather than fighting and leaving important decisions about the future of their family up to a judge,” Jami explains. “I have seen this work in multiple cases.”
For example, in one case a couple had an adult special needs child and the collaborative process empowered these divorced parents to worth together to co-parent their adult special needs child. In another case, one spouse had been raised in the foster care system and had limited financial knowledge. The collaborative team helped educate this spouse about the family finances and the case was resolved to everyone’s satisfaction without going to court or hiring expensive forensic accountants to give expert testimony.
“Some situations are particularly sensitive,” notes Jami. “I recall a case with one spouse who was a sex addict.” The collaborative team helped the couple maintain their privacy and find a better way to co-parent their child – rather than airing their dirty laundry in court.
“I’m invested in the collaborative process because it works,” Jami attests. “And it works because the collaborative team of professionals focus their efforts on guiding the family through the fog and fear of divorce to make choices that work for their unique family situation.”