Amicable Divorce

Amicable Divorce Amicable Divorce Services is a family law firm mediating divorces and collaborating rather than the using the old school court process. Leslie Howell is a family law attorney, mediator, collaborative lawyer, consulting lawyer and limited scope attorney.

Leslie Howell is a peacemaker who mediates, co-mediates and practices collaborative law. Visit their website to learn more: and
Robert Howell practices dependency law. That means he represents parents whose children have been removed from them by DCFS. Parents retain him to get their children back.

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Leslie Howell of Amicable Divorce Solutions is the president of Family Divorce Solutions for 2021. Family Divorce Soluti...
About Family Divorce Solutions | San Fernando Valley, CA

Leslie Howell of Amicable Divorce Solutions is the president of Family Divorce Solutions for 2021. Family Divorce Solutions is the place to go for collaborative divorce and mediation services in the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valleys. In fact, with video conferencing, it doesn't matter where spouses and their professionals are located.

Family Divorce Solutions is made up of experienced divorce attorneys, financial experts, and mental health professionals in the San Fernando Valley.


The courts are open now, but the backlog is significant. In addition, couples are not wanting to take such a high risk going to court so more families are choosing to submit all of their paperwork for their divorce or child custody matter without court. This can be done through private mediation, collaborative divorce, or limited scope (unbundled) services. These choices are affordable, less stressful and lower risk of COVID-19 infection.


Due to Coronavirus, the courts are closed for the most part, with a few exceptions. So this may be the right time for couples with on-going court cases to settle their divorces out of court. Mediating lawyers are continuing to help couples resolve their issues surrounding divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support and property division.

Mediators are helping with the paperwork needed to complete divorces and they're conducting mediation sessions through video conferencing. There's no need to wait for courts to re-open or to file more declarations, Requests for Orders and motions. Couples can decide what happens to their kids and money instead of the judge. And they can do this without leaving home.


We're still here to help couples get their divorces completed during the Coronavirus Shelter at Home order. Since there are no court appearances needed for an uncontested divorce, we can still process your paperwork and get your case started and finished.


If you want to try to get in under the wire to make your alimony payments tax deductible, time is running out. Your written agreement for spousal support must be signed and submitted to the court prior to December 31, 3018. It’s best if the court processes your agreement and the judge signs it prior to January 1, 2019 when the new tax reform kicks in. We’ll make your case a priority if you want to get this done right away.


If you’re looking for a mediator, make sure to ask potential mediators what approach they use. Some are evaluative only, which means they tell you what you should do or “have to” do. This approach ignores what really matters to you and your future.

Your mediator shouldn’t be telling you what you have to agree to. We are not judges and the process is completely voluntary. You have lots of creative options and are not required to agree to cookie cutter law, such as guideline child support unless you are using the court system.

The facilitative approach helps you reach agreements that you come up with yourselves and takes into consideration your interests, goals and values.

At Amicable Divorce services, we combine different approaches so you can choose from a wider range of options and reach an agreement based on your specific situation.


If divorce is inevitable, remember that court is the last resort. When you go to court, you're asking a stranger to decide what to do with your kids, your money and your property. You and your spouse may not see eye to eye right now, but the two of you making a decision together is better than a stranger making the decision for you. There are several ways to help you reach an agreement, such as mediation, collaborative or you can each have peacemaking lawyers settle your case without ever going to court.


Lots of parents who owe child support have their passports revoked due to owing back child support.

This is directly from the US Dept. of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs:

"Child Support Payments

"If you owe $2,500 or more in child support, you are not eligible to receive a U.S. passport.

"Pay your child support arrears to the appropriate state child support enforcement agency before applying for your passport.

1. Make arrangements to pay your child support arrears with the appropriate state child support enforcement agency.

2. The state agency reports to HHS that you've made acceptable payment arrangements.

3. HHS removes your name from their list and reports this to us. This may take 2-3 weeks.

4. We verify that HHS removed your name.

5. We process your application normally.

"Please Note: Direct all questions about your child support arrears to the appropriate state child support enforcement agency. We have no information about your child support obligations, just if you have arrears greater than $2,500."


Amicable Divorce Services sees clients evenings and weekends so clients don't have to take off work.


Many couples choose to mediate the terms of their prenup. Whether you mediate or not, remember the requirement that you must each have your own separate consulting attorneys.


Don't wait until the last minute to have your Premarital Agreement drafted or it may be deemed invalid. Best if you can get it done a year before your wedding or at least several months before.


The new tax reform affects the way spousal support (alimony) will be negotiated and drafted into an agreement. The tax reform treats spousal support the way it treats child support. That means it won't be taxable to the spouse receiving support nor will it be tax deductible for the payor, effective in 2019.

While this may look like a win for the receiving spouse, sometimes it will be a significant loss. That is, often the paying spouse is willing to agree to pay a higher amount of spousal support because of the tax deduction. Without the tax deduction, payor spouses may seek a lower monthly spousal support amount and the lower income spouse may no longer be able to negotiate the higher amount. The lower income spouse had not suffered because her/his tax bracket was usually relatively low. Now, the spouse receiving the spousal support may receive a much lower monthly payment from her/his ex so less money in her/his bank account each month.


No more Head-Of-Household for tax payers?

According to some divorce accountants, the proposed tax bill might do away with head-of-household status. If this tax bill passes, it could be a huge hit to single parents who may have to start claiming “single” instead of being able to use the tax-saving “head-of-household” status. Many single parents could be paying significantly more taxes.

Although there is an increase in the amount of earned income credit proposed in the bill, that may not necessarily offset the tax burden for single parents who may have less of their paychecks in the bank each month.

We'll keep you posted when there is more information. Meanwhile, read up on it for yourselves and see what you think.


Divorcing spouses used to consider legal separation instead of divorce. That means you resolve spousal support, property division, and child support and child custody when there are kids involved. The only thing that doesn't happen is the actual divorce.

Once a divorce finalized, spouses are no longer eligible to be covered on the other spouse's health insurance. As a result, couples primarily chose legal separation back in the difficult days when insurance companies refused to make it affordable for an ex-spouse to be covered for pre-existing conditions.

With legal separation, you could stay on your ex-spouse's health insurance rather than getting divorced and losing your health insurance altogether. Couples would go and live their lives separately but both spouses could maintain their health insurance.

Now that there is reasonable coverage for pre-existing conditions, we've noticed more couples are opting for divorce rather than legal separation. This makes it possible to have a clean break.


Breaking up is difficult even when it's amicable. People handle it differently. Some want to have their day in court and get anger out of their system and that's a very expensive path which hurts kids if there are any.

If it's possible to part ways amicably, you can avoid the stress and expense of court appearances, keep your information private, AND save your kids from a damaging custody battle.


Amicable Divorce Services is here when you are contemplating divorce. We'll educate you so that you'll know about the divorce process, options, and range of timelines and costs. However, we do not encourage divorce, but rather help you move through your divorce once you or your spouse decide that it is inevitable. We hope that you try to salvage your marriage if it's possible and only choose divorce as a last resort.


Some couples choose collaborative law over mediation when emotions run high and the couple either has a child or children that they want to protect from the damage that high-conflict divorce can inflict, and/or they have complex financial issues.

The collaborative process involves a team approach that uses specialists who look out for concerns a family has, such as communication, co-parenting, and budgeting.

The team consists of the couple, 2 collaboratively trained lawyers, 2 communications specialists (who happen to be licensed therapists), a neutral financial specialist (licensed CPA or other licensed accountant) and a child specialist to speak on behalf of the child(ren).

The professional team works together for the family as a whole while the family restructures itself.


There are several ways that you can get a divorce without going to court. You can choose based on what is in the children's best interests (if there are any children from the marriage), and based on your budget, and based on the level of emotions.

For instance, some couples sit in the same room and mediate their concerns. Others want to settle their case without sitting in the same room and they each hire attorneys to talk to each other settle the case. Others want their children to come out of the divorce in one piece and they might choose the collaborative process to include divorce coaches and a child specialist to make sure that the kids are put first throughout the process.

Once a couple knows the various processes, they can choose what works best for their situation.


When choosing a mediator for your divorce, make sure to ask what years the mediator took her/his last 3 mediation trainings. Also, are they a member of SCMA (Southern California Mediation Association)?

And don't forget to ask what percentage of their cases are mediated and never go to court. Decide if you want a practicing lawyer to mediate for you or a non-lawyer. A practicing lawyer can give you legal advice during your mediation sessions.

Finally, both of you need to go in for an initial consultation in order for the mediator to maintain neutrality.


If you choose to take your divorce or child support case to court then your detailed financial information can be offered as evidence which will make it a public record forever.

However, if you settle your case outside of court, the details of your spending habits can be kept out of court and out of the public eye.

Either way, you still need to share your financial information with your ex, but at least you can avoid making it a public record by using an amicable process. We can explain the amicable options more at an initial consultation.


In divorce and child support cases, you have no right to privacy where finances are concerned. Your ex has a right to see your bank & credit card statements, employment records and tax returns going back for years. If your ex refuses to hand over requested information, the court can order her/him to hand it over AND pay for attorney's fees for forcing the issue.

If you're going to have a judge decide your case (we call that litigation) then each side will likely conduct discovery to demand documents and information. Discovery includes depositions, requests for documents, subpoenas, admissions & interrogatories.

Know that both parties are required to share this information so you may as well just cooperate and hand it over voluntarily.

In amicable cases transparency is expected. No discovery is needed because each party gives the other party their financial information, bank & credit card statements, etc. voluntarily.


Some people don't know they don't have to have a judge make all the decisions regarding their children, money and property. In so many cases, there are much better options than going to court. In fact, judges prefer if you stay out of court and make your own decisions about raising your kids and spending your money.


Come in for an initial consultation BEFORE you file your Petition (start your case in court) to make sure you know all of your options prior to taking the first steps.


Some attorneys are willing to ghostwrite your paperwork and consult with you so that you don't have to pay a $5,000 retainer fee to retain an attorney. That's what we mean by "limited scope."


Custody battles create a tremendous amount of stress and are damaging to children of all ages.

Help your kids out and split up amicably. Save your kids from emotional distress and save tens of thousands of dollars through mediation or collaborative law.

Call Amicable Divorce Services for an initial consultation whether you're married or not at 626-351-1200.


In most cases, mediation & limited scope (unbundled services) in divorce & child custody cases cost far less than an attorney of record (litigation attorney).


We can help you when your uncontested or default Judgment is rejected by the court. The complexity of the work needed to repair the problems is determined on a case-by-case basis.


Court appearances are unnecessary in divorces as long as both spouses commit to staying out of court.


Give your kids a break and stay out of court. They'd prefer that their parents work out a parenting agreement instead of fighting a custody battle.


It's important to keep in mind that the children are watching your example of how it should look when a relationship ends. The best cases are when parents behave in a way that makes the kids proud when they later grow up and look back at how their parents separated.


What's the Difference Between Legal and Physical Child Custody?

Legal custody has to do with decisions about education, health, religion, and other important decisions like issuing a passport, body piercings and tattoos, applying for a driver's license.

Physical custody has to do with parenting plans and how much time each parent spends with the child.


To save thousands of dollars on your divorce, learn about limited scope (unbundled) services, where you can pick and choose the tasks you want us do and you can do the rest without the typically high retainer fees.


Keep your private information confidential and stay out of court. When your information is submitted to the court, it becomes public record forever.


3820 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA

General information

Family law firm focused on: -Collaborative Divorces (amicable with no court) -Mediation (amicable with no court) -Family law litigation (such as custody, child support, spousal support and property division)

Opening Hours

Monday 09:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 09:00 - 17:00
Friday 09:00 - 17:00




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Our Story

Leslie Howell is a a divorce attorney, mediator and collaborative lawyer. Her areas of practice are family law, divorce, child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. In addition, Leslie helps her clients with limited scope divorce services. She is dedicated to helping families resolve their concerns amicably without going to court. Visit her website to learn more: . Free initial consultation via Zoom. Evening and weekend appointments available. Call 626-351-1200.

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