Office Hours: Mon – Thu: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm | Fri: 8:30 am to 12:00 pm (PST)
Address

18 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 300, San Ramon, CA 94583

Call us for more details
(925) 718-8201
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Practice Areas

  • Divorce and Separation
  • Custody and Support
  • Division of Assets and Debts
  • Litigation
  • Negotiated Settlements
  • Modifications
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Mediation
  • Consensual Dispute Resolution

Divorce and Separation

Perhaps the most wrenching decision any couple or individual will have to make, divorce by definition leaves one alone and vulnerable. The problems which must be addressed and the decisions, large and small, which must be made are often difficult, complex, and emotional. In this situation, you need a trusted ally sensitive to your unique circumstances and skilled in understanding, explanation of, and, if necessary, advocating for your legal rights. Mr. Borst has the experience, understanding, and creativity to minimize further trauma and stress of the divorce process, while assisting you in making decisions and planning for the future. ​ Our philosophy is one that seeks a constructive means of dispute resolution for our clients at the very outset of the case. More often than realized, cooperation and negotiation lead to mutually acceptable agreements. For some clients, pursuing a divorce settlement through a consensualdispute resolution process such as Mediation or Collaborative Practice will be a preferred option. Tom Borst has the specialized training and family law experience to guide you through these procedures to a settlement. We also provide representation for clients choosing the more traditional adversarial model of divorce. If litigation in court is required, our extensive experience helps clients to a successful outcome.

Custody and Support

Where minor children are involved in a divorce, child support, child custody and visitation arrangements must be agreed upon by the parties or determined by the court. For parents who generally agree on custody and visitation issues, it nevertheless is often useful to work out details such as holiday schedules, vacations, transportation, etc. When parents are unable to agree on custody or visitation matters, custody mediation is required by the court before deciding on the matter. As limited mediation services are available through the court system, we often recommend that a private mediator or co-parenting counselor be involved to encourage an agreement or provide a detailed assessment of the situation in a recommendation to the court. In some cases, experts are employed to prepare an in-depth custody evaluation and recommendation for the court. This recommendation may become the basis for an agreement regarding custody. If the parents remain unable to agree, they are entitled to a trial on the issues of custody and visitation. At a trial, the court will consider the evidence, including the evaluator's recommendation, and will then make a final determination based on an assessment of what is truly in the best interests of the child or children. In determining what is in the best interests of the children, the courts tend to focus on the children's...

Division of Assets and Debts

When a couple ends their relationship, they will need to apportion their property and any obligations between themselves. For some, determining who gets what is a relatively straightforward matter. For a myriad of reasons, however, some parties to a divorce often find this a difficult task. At the other end of the spectrum, an apparently easy settlement agreement may be fraught with hidden problems, such as unexpected tax ramifications or misunderstood valuation of assets, which, once understood, may render the seemingly fair property division quite inequitable. While parties can freely make any fair settlement of their estate, under California law each party is entitled to receive an equal share (by value) of the community property accumulated during the marriage. "Community property" includes virtually anything of value acquired through earnings or accumulation of the spouses’: real estate, personal property, vehicles, bank accounts or other investments, retirement benefits, business interests, royalty payments, stock options, etc. Assets owned prior to marriage or acquired during the marriage by gift or inheritance are considered the separate property of the owner and not subject to equal division on divorce. If these assets are a combination of community property and separate property, for example, retirement benefits - they may have been acquired by a combination of community (during marriage) and separate (before marriage or after separation) efforts...

Litigation

While reasonable, negotiated settlements are always our preferred goal, this is not always possible. Circumstances may be complex, opinions or proposals may be too far apart, or emotions and personal antagonisms may run too high. Sometimes it is advisable for the court to decide. When these cases must go to hearing or trial, we advocate for our client professionally and aggressively with extensive litigation skill and trial experience. Relevant facts of the opposing party are carefully investigated. Additionally, consulting experts (CPAs, CFPs, investigators, mental health experts, and others) may be consulted to clarify issues and assist us in effectively representing the client's interest in court. Litigation is not inexpensive. Costs for most clients is a weighty concern, therefore we strive for the most efficient means to achieve our client's objectives. We work with our clients to analyze the cost vs. benefit of diverse litigation strategies. We believe that it is the client’s decision to determine the best way to proceed in his/her case. Our reputation for effectual advocacy has been thoughtfully determined by client referrals from prior clients, former opposing litigants and opposing counsel.

Negotiated Settlements

Mr. Borst’s twenty-nine years of experience with family law cases in and out of court has led to the guiding philosophy of our firm: where possible, clients are encouraged to resolve issues through negotiation. The emphasis on out-of-court settlement and negotiation can help avoid differences of opinion from becoming protracted legal battles, where neither party truly wins. Our primary responsibility is to provide clients with the most comprehensive legal counsel and representation. By proactively pursuing favorable settlements through negotiation, said settlements often result in faster case resolution, considerably less cost, and less stress for families. We have effectively negotiated successful out-of-court settlements for our clients in a clear majority of cases, with strengths on the table: arduous preparation, a keen understanding of the law, creative problem-solving, and a reputation for honesty, integrity and vigorous advocacy.

Modifications

In the areas of child custody, child visitation and child support, courts retain jurisdiction (i.e. power) to modify prior orders. In most cases, the court also retains jurisdiction to modify previous orders for spousal support, unless the prior order explicitly made the spousal support provisions "non-modifiable." Most other orders contained in a family law judgment, such as provisions for the division of property, are fixed, and courts are powerless to change them, unless the document specifically provides for future modification, or unless both parties agree to a change. In most situations, in order for a court to consider modifying a support order or a custody order, the moving party (the person seeking the change) must demonstrate that there has been a substantial change in the relevant circumstances now compared to the situation that existed when the last court order was made. For example, in seeking a modification of support one would have to show that the income of one of the parties or of both parties has changed in a significant way - up or down - or, in the case of child support, that the timeshare arrangement has been substantially altered in a way that would justify taking a new look at the support. With child support, one exception to this "change of circumstances" rule is where the parents...

Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative Divorce is a method of dispute resolution in which parties and their lawyers commit themselves to negotiating and resolving the issues of their case fairly, in a non-adversarial manner, without going to court.  The process is known by several names: Collaborative Law, Collaborative Divorce, or Collaborative Practice.  Throughout the process, each side is represented by legal counsel; and, importantly, the collaborative attorneys pledge at the outset that they will not institute or participate in contested court proceedings.  Thus, an important hallmark of the collaborative process is that agreement is reached through cooperation, discussion and negotiation, without the cost, aggravation and uncertainty of adversarial litigation in court. As with mediation, many parties choose Collaborative Divorce because they want to avoid adversarial proceedings in court and the complexity of formal litigation.  As with mediation, problems are solved through good faith negotiation, based on the identified needs and interests of each party.  Divorce mediation, however, is conducted by a neutral mediator, who may not give legal advice.  Although parties may engage “consulting attorneys” in mediation cases, those lawyers typically do not directly participate in the settlement negotiations.  By contrast, in a Collaborative case, each party is protected by having his or her own counsel directly involved in all settlement discussions/negotiations and in all phases of the process.  There is no mediator. Collaborative...

Mediation

Mediation is a process through which parties negotiate their own settlement of disputed issues with help from a "neutral" - the mediator. The advantages of mediation are several: the parties stay out of court; discussions are conducted in a safe, moderated, non-adversarial environment; the process emphasizes practical, interest-based solutions to problems; the parties themselves participate directly in the negotiation, rather than through counsel, and thus commonly develop a better understanding of their choices, and take responsibility for their decisions. Also, this dispute resolution process is usually substantially less expensive than litigation. The mediator assists parties in a variety of ways: through education, redirection, intervention and suggestion. As a true neutral, the mediator does not act as an advocate for or representative of either party. In other words, an attorney who is engaged as a mediator does not represent or favor either side, but instead acts as a negotiation facilitator for both parties, helping them work through the issues and decide for themselves how best to resolve them. We have helped countless couples develop workable settlements through mediation. Tom Borst have received extensive mediation training, which we use to help defuse conflict, focus clients on their fundamental goals, and encourage parties to develop unique solutions to their personal needs and their family's needs. The process is completely private and confidential, and,...

Consensual Dispute Resolution

Consensual Dispute Resolution refers to voluntary settlement processes, by which parties seek to resolve their differences through negotiation, avoiding the need to go to court and have a judicial officer make decisions for them. The two most common modes of consensual dispute resolution are the Collaborative process and the Mediation process. We encourage clients to explore these alternatives to the litigation process. We have found that parties often are better able to maintain control over their own lives and over their relationship with their children, by avoiding, to the extent possible, the potentially negative, corrosive byproducts of a contested, adversarial court proceeding. In more cases than might be suspected, cooperation and collaboration to reach a reasonable and mutual agreement is not merely desirable, but quite achievable. Through the Collaborative Process or through Mediation, husbands and wives are able to obtain professional assistance and support in negotiating sensible, workable, creative solutions to the many issues that arise in the context of a divorce, such as property division, support issues, co-parenting plans, etc. Consensual dispute resolution not only allows clients to achieve a good and acceptable result for themselves and their children, but it tends to be a less expensive process and, for many, a more satisfying process than contested litigation proceedings. By avoiding court proceedings, parties avoid having to pay their...

"Our representation runs the gamut from complex court litigation and/or negotiation settlements to consensual dispute resolution processes, such as mediation and collaborative law depending on the needs and personal circumstances of our clients."
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Experienced and Effective Family Law Representation

Law Offices of Thomas G. Borst, Inc is a client-oriented law firm specializing in helping individuals understand and resolve premarital, matrimonial and other family law issues. Areas addressed include divorce and separation; custody and parenting arrangements; child and spousal support; and valuation and division of community property assets and debts including real estate, business interests, professional practices, personal property, retirement benefits and other investments. We have considerable experience in handling complex estates and assets.

Mr. Borst has been selected as a Superlawyer by Northern California Super Lawyers® and San Francisco Magazine (2008-2010).

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Business Hours

Monday - Thursday 08:30 - 5:00pm Friday 08:30-12:00pm (PST)

Our Location

18 Crow Canyon Court, Suite 300, San Ramon, CA 94583