My experience

I mediate all kinds of domestic relations matters, including marital dissolution, legal separation, dissolution of domestic partnerships, custody issues for married and unmarried parents, and informal separation agreements between co-habitating couples, as well as post-divorce or post-separation modifications to previously ordered or agreed-to arrangements. I also mediate prenuptial and postmarital agreements.

photo of Family of four on bridgeMy approach

While some see divorce as a legal event, I see it as primarily a human event with legal ramifications. In mediating divorce cases I attend to the emotional and psychological issues while helping the parties to focus on the legal and financial matters that are necessary to reach resolution. I have found that the most effective and efficient way to work through a divorce mediation to successful completion is, where necessary, to help the parties to disentangle their emotional from their legal interests. This is particularly important where the mediating couple’s dynamics are creating an obstacle to settlement. By addressing rather than shying away from the parties’ emotional concerns, I help them stay on track, help them to mediate in accord with their highest ideals, and help them to understand how their emotions often hold the key to dissolving impasses and reaching agreement. At the same time I attend equally to the legal and financial aspects of the case, providing relevant legal information, helping the parties to understand their legal options, and assisting them to arrive at a legal settlement that is the best fit for their family.

Protecting children

Divorce can be traumatic not only to the spouses, but also to the children. I strive to protect children of divorcing families by helping the parents to understand the children’s interests and to put them first; to minimize acrimony and destructive parental combat that often ends up harming the children; and to help divorcing parents work together respectfully and constructively both during and after the restructuring of the family. I provide divorcing and separating parents with relevant developmental information and research that will help guide them in creating a parenting plan that is appropriate for their children. Where desired, and where the children are old enough, I can interview the children (usually at home) to help bring their voice into the mediation, and to help ensure that their interests and concerns are understood and considered.

Post-divorce mediation

Oftentimes agreements reached when the wounds of separation are still raw don’t withstand the test of time, or circumstances change that require renegotiation. Mediation is particularly effective for post-divorce issues, such as modifying the parenting plan, adjusting child or spousal support, or dealing with one parent’s desire to relocate. This is true regardless of whether the original agreement was reached via mediation, litigation, or some other way. I strive to help the parties reach a new agreement that will meet both of their needs and concerns in the light of all relevant considerations.

photo of Dad with Kids on the DockPost-divorce resolution

Mediation ends when a final agreement is reached. While that may end the legal aspect of the divorce, it may also leave the parties unresolved or even floundering when it comes to the other aspects of ending their marriage or relationship. Post-divorce resolution, while not mediation, is a counseling service I provide to help ex-spouses reach resolution, forgiveness and closure in their relationship with one another, so they can truly and meaningfully move on to a newer, healthier, and more constructive relationship post-divorce. See the tab on psychotherapy.

Advantages of divorce mediation

  • Saves money by avoiding the high cost of litigation
  • Reduces acrimony
  • Encourages understanding and mutual concern
  • Empowers the parties
  • Protects the children
  • Incorporates your values into the process and the result
  • Completely confidential
  • Minimizes uncertainty
  • Maximizes the odds of a constructive relationship post-divorce
  • Proceeds at your pace
  • You can consult with private attorneys, or bring them into the mediation
  • People tend to keep agreements they’ve voluntarily negotiated and agreed to

Advantages of mediating prenuptial or postmarital agreements

  • Creates certainty
  • Improves communication on potentially difficult issues such as finances and children
  • Both parties’ interests taken into account
  • Can strengthen your relationship
  • Avoids surprises and resentment later on
  • Completely confidential