Family Mediation Services
Mediation is especially effective in situations in which there may be continuing relationships among the parties: divorce and related family matters, conflicts between adult siblings over issues related to their aging parents, their parents’ finances, or their estates. Mediation is often the perfect forum for resolution of competing claims among family members. Mediation has always been confidential and convenient. Please contact me for more information.
Family-Owned Business Conflicts
Mediation can be the best process for sorting out the different interests present when disputes arise in the context of a family-owned business. Please contact me with your questions.
It sometimes happens that hectic schedules or geographic distance makes it nearly impossible to get everyone together for multiple mediation sessions. A wide variety of claims between parties in different locations, or family members spread around the country, can be effectively resolved through technology-based mediation. Video conference, telephone conference, fax, email, and courier services or postal mail can support complete mediations. Please contact me for more details.
Premarital mediation consists of conversations intended to support your upcoming marriage. Premarital mediation conversations are particularly valuable for second or subsequent marriages. While it is certainly true that considering the consequences of divorce when you are planning your wedding is not romantic, there are many topics you may include in your conversations that will support your married life. Planning for the needs of children or grandchildren may be at the top of your list. Planning for the financial or entrepreneurial aspects of marriage is important. What joint enterprises (house, savings, travel, business, etc.) will you have as a married couple? Is there a significant difference in what each party brings to the marriage in terms of assets, liabilities, income, and debts? What about family businesses, gifts, or inheritances? Will everything be community property? Will some assets remain separate? What about expectations for retirement? What else is important to you? It is also true that not everyone needs a written premarital agreement. Sometimes just having the conversation is enough. Please call to inquire.
Mediation mediation provides a safe environment in which to mediate a specific issue that is troubling your marriage, with the intent to strengthen the marriage. Think of it as mediating with the goal of staying married. Flexibility and willingness to be open to new ways of looking at things is helpful. In some cases, even infidelity can be addressed and placed in a reframed context. You may learn new communication skills and practice them as you navigate through the current rough waters. Because supporting marriage through marital mediation resonates with my personal values, fees for marital mediation are less than for divorce mediation. Please call to inquire.
Conflict coaching is a good choice when you want to mediate issues, such as marital issues, but the other party doesn’t. There may be a divorce pending, or not. Conflict coaching focuses on developing your “conflict response” muscles. When you break an old pattern of communication in your relationship, you may be happily surprised with the result. Conflict coaching aims to help you grow in maturity and enjoyment of life as you learn strategies for managing conflict; it is not a substitute for legal advice. It accepts as “given” that there is conflict, and that you want to frame your own response to avoid unnecessary escalation. Your goal is to successfully manage your response to the conflict. Fees for one-party conflict coaching are less than for multi-party mediation. Please call to inquire.
Divorce mediation addresses all of the issues required to dissolve a marriage, including: parenting plans, child or spousal support, division of assets and payment of debts. Your Marital Settlement Agreement will reflect the priorities of you and your spouse, not assumptions made by others about what is best for you. Problems that seem almost insurmountable (crushing debt, houses worth less than the mortgage, differences in parenting styles) may turn out to be more manageable than you ever thought would be possible. Mediation is much more cost-effective than going the litigated route.
Mediation and Power
A phrase to live by is, “Mediate, Don’t Litigate.” Mediation and litigation are polar opposites when it comes to power – who has the power, and how it is exercised to make decisions. In court, a judge makes the decision. In a divorce, the parties or their lawyers can bring things to the court’s attention, but the court decides. Mediation is different. The mediator is neutral, a facilitator, not a decider. The mediator doesn’t determine who is right or wrong, and does not have the power to make clients do what the mediator thinks would be best. The mediator may give examples of options to consider, and facilitates conversations about possible solutions. The power to make decisions rests with the clients.
Generally, I prefer to meet with all parties together to discuss what to expect from mediation and to get a feel for whether we are a good fit to work together. It is important that all parties have confidence in the integrity and neutrality of the mediator. If, for any reason, the “fit” does not seem to be present, and a party does not wish to proceed, I would gladly refer you to other local mediators.
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday