There may not be a more beautiful place on earth to live than California, but find yourself on the other end of a family law dispute and this state, with its endless network of family court affiliates, can be utterly devastating. I know, because I experienced 25 years in “the system” before being set free due to the talents and efforts of Michelle Daneshrad, Esq.
Like most other states, California’s Family Court system is set up as an adversarial showdown, pitting ex’s against each other in a fight to the finish. Typically each party hires an attorney to attack the other, and it’s to the attorney’s advantage to keep this dance going because most get paid by the hour. It’s not until both parties are too far into the battle that they come to the realization that they’ve lost the war, all of the money and assets that they were fighting over have been spent on court costs and attorney’s fees. There’s nothing left to fight for, they’ve wasted months or years engaging in this battle, and they’re physically and emotionally spent.
For twenty-five years I fought the good fight, pressed forward against all odds because I was doing what I thought was the right thing to do. WRONG! What I was really doing was playing into the system. That point was never so clear as when Michelle and I went in front of the LA Superior Court’s mandated mediator, who asked me what I expecting to get out of this pending hearing, which was going to be held later on that day. I said “Equity!” “All I wanted is fairness!” “If I could just set forth the facts and tell the truth, the judge had to rule in my favor!” She paused for a second and then laughed right in my face, saying: “Are you serious! There’s no such thing as equity in Family Law Courts!”
I may be a bit slow, but the light bulb finally went on!
Enter Michelle Daneshrad and her smart divorce options, truly a vision beyond the dispute. Michelle may be small in stature and prefer mediation to litigation, but never underestimate her toughness or ability to fight if all else fails. She advised me that if I wanted to take this to trial I could, and she thought that we had the facts and law on our side, but she also said that there is another way that could GUARANTEE my freedom. I chose the later, and Michelle mediated a settlement for me that was financially tolerable but gave me my freedom. Did I think I should have paid, No. Did I still want to fight for what I thought was right, Yes. But by mediating the amount down it gave me an opportunity for the first time in years to put this all behind me and start really living again. Michelle gave me my life back, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Michelle Daneshrad is truly an angel in a sea of legal piranha. She is my friend, my hero, and someone that I cannot recommend highly enough.