ONLINE MEDIATION AVAILABLE.I have conducted virtual mediations over the years as necessary when one spouse moved out of state or to a distant county. Given our current circumstances, I am thankful to have that experience. Online mediations allow face-to-face interactions that make you feel almost as if you are in the same room, and videoconferencing software has improved dramatically recently, allowing me to tailor the process as I would in person: for example, separating parties when it is helpful to do so, using “waiting rooms” and mute features.
More generally, I have been an attorney for over 25 years and a full-time mediator for more than 12 years. I have been very successful in helping couples amicably settle their divorces, avoiding the delays, excessive legal bills, and trauma that result from the traditional adversarial process. My clients protect their children from a court battle between their parents and protect themselves from years of lingering bitterness.So when people ask, “Why did you leave a successful litigation practice to begin a mediation firm?” the answer is simple: mediation is more fulfilling for me and for my clients. Instead of finding ways to weaken the other side, which was my job as a litigator, now I empower both sides so they can resolve disputes and move forward with their lives. A peaceful divorce is possible.
I became an attorney in 1988, graduating from the University of Michigan School of Law. In 1999, I experienced my own divorce and the emotional turmoil it created for my children and for me. That year, I took the training to become a civil mediator. However, I mediated only a few cases, because I became more heavily involved in litigation. Although I was successful, I did not feel fulfilled. Regardless of the number of “wins”, I realized that litigating is really “lose-lose” for everyone because of the costs in time, money, stress, and increased hostility. I stopped litigating to mediate full time. My clients usually leave each session smiling — a result I did not see when litigating!
Regarding my education, I received my bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan as well as my law degree. I trained as a mediator through the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) and the Oakland Mediation Center, and completed the ICLE’s family law Certificate program.
I have acted as a training coach for the Oakland Mediation Center’s mediator training program and provided volunteer mediation services there.
I am the Secretary of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Section of the State Bar of Michigan.
I sit down with you both so we may work together to resolve all issues. I act as a neutral party, guiding the discussions and helping you stay focused and rational, providing a safe setting in which you can create options and find solutions. I provide legal information, but not advice, and oversee the information exchange. With all information voluntarily provided, you are able to make informed decisions together without the animosity generated by the adversarial “discovery” process. No decision is made until it is acceptable to you both.
Once you reach agreement, I draft, with your input, a binding settlement agreement. If you desire, I will also help you understand the court process and the court documents. The judge will enter a Judgment of Divorce that incorporates the settlement agreement to finalize your divorce. The court proceeding is simplified, because all conflict has already been resolved.
I am also available to help with post-divorce conflicts regarding parenting time, child support, alimony or implementation of the property division.
I earned my Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan with a major in economics in 1983 and my J.D. degree from the University of Michigan law school in 1988.
I do not collect a retainer, I charge by the hour and you pay me as I earn my fees. Our initial phone consultations are free, including an in-depth phone screening with each of you so we may all determine if mediation is appropriate for your case.