Not all divorces have to be adversarial or litigation intensive. There is a way to handle your divorce in a calm and constructive manner. It is called Collaborative Divorce.

Collaborative Divorce is a family law sub-specialty that gives people like you an effective way to resolve your divorce – and other family law issues – in a respectful, dignified manner. This means neither you nor your lawyer will go to court. It also means that you and your spouse will not be treated as opposing parties in a hostile litigation process. Instead, the two of you will be able to retain full control of your divorce case.

As your Collaborative attorney, Donna Santo will guide you through all the issues that need to be addressed and will work diligently with your spouse’s Collaborative lawyer to settle your case. We will sift through the parties’ differing perspectives and help you develop reasonable alternatives. You and your spouse will make all the decisions. The resulting agreement will truly be yours – not one that has been imposed upon you.

The Collaborative Experience

Through the collaborative process, we will work with you each step of the way to search for a fair settlement for both parties and the entire family. We do this through a series of meetings between the two parties and their lawyers, and sometimes other neutral experts on an as need basis.

The primary focus of our four-way meetings is to identify the parties’ priorities, goals, needs, and interests, and to help you and your spouse progress toward and create a settlement that is consistent with your priorities, goals, needs, and interests. The parties make their own decisions based on their own standards, and we – the Collaborative attorneys – provide the professional expertise based on our many years of experience and training.

Contact us today regarding Collaborative Divorce, litigated divorce, or any other family law issue you might have, at 805.644-2883, or e-mail us here, and let us know how we can serve you.

If it’s litigation your case requires, we can do that too...


Although the Collaborative process can be effective for a husband and wife who want to work toward a fair and equitable settlement, it is not right for every case. In some, a respectful, dignified resolution to the issues is not possible. Litigated dispute resolution becomes the only real alternative, and the invasive, hostile experience can be overwhelming for any family.

This is when it becomes critical to retain a strong and experienced attorney with a knowledgeable and compassionate staff who can keep the other side from taking advantage of you. An attorney with enough savvy to make every reasonable effort to settle the case, but one who can litigate successfully when the client’s best interests call for it. This double-edged sword can help you avoid an unfair or disproportionate resolution to your family law issues.

Our attorneys have represented clients in divorces – known as dissolutions of marriage in California – and legal separations for many years. In a divorce, you need someone with experience to forge reasonable agreements to your family law issues involving child custody and visitation, child and spousal support, and property division.

Community Property and Support

California is a community property state. This means all property (earnings included) acquired by the spouses during marriage is presumed to be community property. The division of community properties, along with any child support and/or spousal support awarded through a divorce, can profoundly impact your future financial situation. We can help you understand the financial consequences of any agreement reached with your spouse.

Our attorneys have years of experience in dealing with complicated financial issues in dissolutions. Whether they involve complex investments, professional practices, or business partnerships, our full-service law firm can help get your property valued properly. When necessary, the appropriate expert to help with appraisals or in valuing assets will be engaged.

Ventura Family Law Center

Law Offices of Donna Santo can handle all aspects of a divorce, whether collaborative or adversarial in nature. We can litigate with aggression, or negotiate with compassion, employing whatever method is in your best interest.

Contact us today regarding your family law issues at 805.644-2883, or e-mail us here, and let us know how we can serve you.

Protect your children. Protect your family, now.