Ms. Azizi has been practicing law for nearly two decades, starting first in civil litigation and now focusing exclusively on family law. Azizi was born in Iran to an Iranian mother and a Russian migrant father, and she remained in the country for the first 18 years of her life. She and her family fled to Europe and eventually to the United States because of religious persecution under the Iranian government.
“I am now an American citizen, and I love the freedom here,” Azizi said in the interview. “I try to give back to the community as a way of thanksgiving for all the blessings I have received throughout my life, especially in this country.”
Azizi has served as a mediator for the San Bernardino and Riverside civil and family courts, and she has personally mediated more than 1,000 family law cases. She attended Hofstra University and University of La Verne School of Law here in California after deciding to pursue law as a second career. She is now a recognized legal expert in the Inland Empire, a panelist for Inland Valley Arbitration and Mediation Services, a member of the Iranian American Lawyers Association, and a member of several bar associations.
“I became an attorney because I was intimidated by attorneys,” Azizi said. “When I decided I wanted to go to law school, which was a second career for me, I decided that I wanted to be a person who people could relate to. Someone who could listen. Someone who could offer solutions—a peacemaker, if you will.”
At the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C., we are experienced trial attorneys and advocates for your rights in the legal matters that pertain to your family and we are committed to delivering the best legal solutions to our clients’ problems. With experience and dedication on our side, our qualified family lawyers provide knowledgeable guidance and legal advice in all family law matters.
We understand that your best solution lies not only in our ability to provide you with intelligent and knowledgeable legal advice but also in our ability to protect your best interests at all times. We have the skills, dedication, and strategy to deliver your most advantageous results. We can provide a wide range of solutions from mediation to vigorous litigation and everything in between.
Areas of Practice:
- Family Law
- Child Custody, Child Visitation, Child Support
- Spousal Support
- Adjunct Professor, ULV College of Law
Professional Associations and Memberships:
- Consumer Attorney’s Association of Los Angeles
- LA County Bar Association
- San Bernardino Bar Association
- Inland Valley Arbitration and Mediation Services (IVAMS)
- Women on the Move Network – Founder and Board of Directors- Founder, Board of Directors
- Women On the Move Network- President
- San Bernardino County Superior Court and San Bernardino Small Claims Court- Judge Pro Tem
Past Employment Positions:
- San Bernardino County Superior Court, Judge Pro Tem
The Business Leader Spotlight Show Featuring Soheila Azizi
In a recent episode of the The Business Leader Spotlight Show, Head Counsel Soheila Azizi offered insight into divorce litigation, mediation, and family law in general.
Ms. Azizi, an expert in mediation and alternative dispute resolution, discussed in detail what California residents can expect when seeking a divorce. Each unique situation requires a unique solution, and the Law Offices of Soheila Azizi and Associates, P.C. prides itself on coming up with creative solutions.
“I feel that [family law] is an area of the law that needs the most amount of education for the public, and it gives me a special sense of satisfaction to see the parties being presented with options,” Azizi said in the interview. “An attorney’s job goes beyond knowing the law. It has to deal with knowing psychology, having people skills, and being able to listen, create, and draft a solution for that particular individual.”
How do you manage clients and their expectations?
Client expectations are one of the most difficult issues that an attorney will face, and family law attorneys should be equipped to handle these expectations.
“In a family law area, [client] expectations are much more difficult to handle because emotions are extremely high. You deal with people who come in with frustrations, the highest levels of anxiety, fear of the unknown, and often feelings of defeat and betrayal,” Azizi explains. “People are not given education on what to expect when they enter into a union, and most certainly many people are not given information about how to deal with children and raising children with differences of opinion between partners to a union. Those are the major causes of conflict, and when people come to an attorney’s office looking for answers, they often feel that they have the answers—they just want the attorney to deliver those results to them. That’s one of the most difficult expectations that an attorney must know how to deal with.”
Head counsel Soheila Azizi also explains how she works to treat clients and their expectations with respect in family law practice.
“Knowing ahead of time that people’s expectations should be handled gently and with a lot of care is what I have used as a tool in my practice,” she said. “I listen to them and I create a solution for them. And once they learn and they realize that there are solutions, it decreases their anxiety level, it decreases their anger and frustration level.”
What is the timeline like for a typical divorce?
Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to give a “standard timeline” for a California divorce.
“It’s almost like asking ‘How can I see Europe and how much will it cost me?’” Azizi said. “It is all dependent on the manner in which people wish to travel this journey of litigating a divorce.”
However, there are ways to speed up the litigation process while at the same time decreasing the stress and conflict involved. Mediation and arbitration are two alternatives to traditional divorce litigation that allow both parties to work together to come up with a solution. If two parties can come to an agreement about division of assets, child custody, and other issues of divorce, an attorney can write up a stipulation; once signed, this agreement becomes legally binding.
It is important to note that, in the state of California, there is a six-month buffer period in place. In other words, a divorce cannot be finalized until six months and one day after the initial paperwork is filed. This time period allows both parties to think through the situation completely and make sure they are satisfied with the final decision. For couples with a more “simple” divorce (i.e. no children, limited assets), the process may take only six months. For couples with children, many shared assets, shared business, or other issues, it could take considerably longer.
“[Clients] come in saying they learned about an affair, they learned about something that creates urgency in their life, and they want to file a divorce document that day. When I explain to them that this process, in California, can take as short as a few months or as long as several years, they are surprised and shocked,” Azizi said. “However, they are pleasantly surprised to learn that it is in their control to reduce the amount of tension so that this process does not take years and years.”
What can a client expect during the consultation?
It is important for clients to be wary of the “free consultations” offered by attorneys throughout the state. These consultations may have hidden fees, or they may not offer all the information that a client is looking for when he or she comes in seeking a divorce.
“My experience and understanding in this area is that the attorneys who offer free consultations are mostly to screen the individual, to get to know [the attorney], and for the attorney to get to know them. That’s where the initial consult ends,” Azizi explains. “A client might say ‘I went in, they told me it was a free consult. Next thing I knew, I got my retainer reduced by about $1,000 for that very first session.’ Again, talking about expectations. Do people know what they’re getting into?”
Before setting up a “free consultation,” ask the attorney the following questions:
- Is there a free consultation?
- How many minutes? (or what is the time frame for the consult)
- If I choose to retain after the free consultation, what are my obligations at that point?
- If I choose to have another hour with the attorney on a consultation basis, am I being charged for that?