Ellen F. Driscoll, founding partner of the Law Office of Ellen F. Driscoll, has provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the firm:
The consultation costs $100 and lasts about one hour. This consultation provides you with an opportunity to meet with me and discuss the specific issues in your case. Hiring a family law attorney is a very difficult and important decision and the consultation gives us an opportunity to get to know each other and determine if the Law Office of Ellen F. Driscoll is the right firm for you.
Yes. I have practiced solely family law for the last 30 years, and I have been a Certified Family Law Specialist since 1996. To be certified by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California, an attorney must:
1. Be an active member in good standing of the State Bar of California;
2. Pass a written examination covering California family law;
3. Have substantial experience in the field of family law;
4. Complete specific approved legal education requirements applicable to the family law field; and
5. Be favorably evaluated by judge and other attorneys concerning his or her knowledge, ability and experience in the practice of family law.
Yes. We regularly appear at Court in Downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena. We know the local judicial officers because we have had the privilege of appearing in front of most of them several times. This is an important question because the more experience we have in front of a Judge, the easier it is for us to predict how s/he might rule on a given issue.
There is a lot of confusion about the meaning of arbitration, mediation, collaborative law, and settlement.
Essentially, a lawyer can only represent one party in a divorce case. However, your spouse can choose not to have a lawyer. You and I can determine together what your goals are and create a settlement proposal that you are satisfied with. Then, with your permission, I can present the offer to your spouse. If your spouse is in agreement with the offer, we can reach a settlement. This does not mean that I represent both of you. I am your advocate and in the event that a problem arises with your spouse during settlement, I would still be able to litigate your case for you.
I sit as a Judge Pro Tem on the Mediation Panel in the Pasadena Branch of the Los Angeles Superior Court on a quarterly basis. I enjoy this experience because I get to see the cases from a different perspective.
We are very capable of settling your case, but we like to settle from a position of strength, and only after we have all of the information to accomplish your goals.
The answer to both these questions is the same: “it depends.” I know that it is a frustrating answer, but it is true. I will provide an estimate of the cost and time based on your particular case. Some factors that affect the time and expense required for your case include you, your spouse or the other parent, their attorney, the Judge assigned to your case, and the complexity of the issues presented.