Charlotte H. Huggins
Charlotte Hideko Huggins heads up our Marin County office in San Rafael. Charlotte was born and raised in San Francisco, and worked her way through college and law school as a legal secretary and office manager for local law firms. She obtained her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from San Francisco State University in 1977 and her law degree from University of San Francisco 1988. Charlotte practice is solely devoted to all aspects of Family Law.
Charlotte has been a Certified Family Law Specialist through the California Board of Legal Specialization since 1994, and is also a member of the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists. Charlotte was voted Best Attorney in Marin by the readers of the alternative newspaper, "The Bohemian," in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Charlotte was a founding board member of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals and has had extensive training in both collaborative law and mediation.
Charlotte lives in Sonoma with her wonder dog "Suki", and her passions include travel, Mexican folk art, Blues music and cooking.
Most of us go through life never setting foot in a courtroom, or being sued. A divorce is a lawsuit which can require you to go to court if you are unable or unwilling to settle outside of court. My personal belief is that every divorce case can be settled, even though every dissolution is individual and has different issues. I will educate you as to the law and what may happen if you choose to litigate versus collaborate or mediate your divorce. The law tends to treat divorcing couples in a very perfunctory manner, with the attitude of "you married them so they can't be that bad". I believe every divorcing couple possesses the skills to settle their case without incurring substantial attorney's fees.
My best clients are those who are realistic about their future and the goals they wish to achieve in the divorce. They are not looking to punish their partner or obtain an unfair advantage, but to resolve their divorces with dignity and respect. I am known as being a tough lawyer, but a fair one. I am a strong advocate and advisor. I will not promise you results that can not be achieved. I will educate you about the law and its processes, but you will make the ultimate decision about how you wish your case to be handled. With your cooperation we can get you through the process with the least amount of emotional and financial strain possible.
If you have children, they are your greatest asset and you owe it to them to resolve your divorce amicably. Child custody disputes are the most expensive and most unsatisfying part of a divorce if you litigate. As a general rule, unless there is a real case to be made for abuse, the California statutes governing child custody favor joint custody and an equal timeshare arrangement. Differences in parenting styles are not a basis for granting sole custody.
Whether mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, I strongly urge my clients to consider a "coach" or counselor during the divorce, rather than discussing and comparing with friends and family. Everyone has relationships and everyone has an opinion as to how people should conduct themselves when they split up. Family and friends take sides, making the process much more painful for the parties. In my experience, when people compare what they are "getting" with others it is much harder to accept the limits of their own situation. Once you gain knowledge it will lead to acceptance and resolution. Divorce does not have to be a failure. It can be a positive change and a way to a new life.