Legal/Mediation Services

I offer an array of services to get you moving toward well-informed, sound and well-considered solutions.  I assist clients going through a divorce, getting married, or planning for/dealing with end of life.

Collaborative Family Law & Mediation
Divorce does not have to be conducted through an adversarial, win/lose legal system, where a third party may make decisions for you. Better to start and end with as much control over your case as possible so that ultimately, these are your decisions.

However, even with the best, most gracious intentions, a separation of family ties, assets and possessions is difficult. The choice to wish a spouse well in their life after divorce does not automatically produce the skills to execute those intentions in practical, financial and legal terms. At a time when both individuals are likely to be navigating difficult emotional issues, discussing concerns of long-term well-being may create confusion and upset which was never intended. Or worse, in a rush to get this stage behind you, you may be inclined to make hasty decisions.

The best solutions for divorcing couples often come from a perspective that reaches mutually beneficial solutions from their individual best interests. I seek to collaborate with my clients to achieve lasting, practical, healthy resolutions through a combination of one-on-one discussion, precise documentation, and applying legally “smart” solutions. And I’m here to help you make solid, long term choices that meet your need for financial well-being, privacy, dignity, and a clear opportunity to move to the next chapter in your life.  We can work together in a number of ways:

  • Collaborative Law: This approach requires legal representation for both parties. There are three additional key qualities of collaborative law: The voluntary and free exchange of information between parties; the pledge not to litigate (go to court) and subsequent withdrawal of both attorneys and other team professionals if either party litigates; and a commitment to respect for both parties’ shared goals. Collaborative law is a team-oriented approach to helping parties resolve the necessary issues.
  • Cooperative Law: The fundamental principles include an agreement to negotiate in a civil, transparent manner, including full disclosure, shared experts for the purposes of evaluation input, being responsive to reasonable requests and ultimately seeking a fair and balanced solution based on what both parties agree is valid information.
  • Legal support:  Also called “legal coaching” or “pro se assistance,” I provide assistance with evaluating options, preparing paperwork or other limited, specific assistance in a case. This kind of help can complement the management of your own case and/or your choice to work with a mediator.
  • Mediation:  I offer facilitative-style mediation and mediation support. Mediation is a process where a neutral person (the mediator) facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute. This is best used when both parties seek amicable resolution. In mediation, both parties express their points of view, exchange ideas about how to meet their goals, and arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement. The process is generally informal and intended to arrive at a binding legal agreement within a mutually agreed upon timetable. Given the experience I bring to the table, I can offer support in creative practical and financial problem solving to arrive at a mutually supportive final agreement.

Property Agreements

“Pre-nup” doesn’t have to be a dirty word; it can be an excellent opportunity for engaged couples to understand their assets, how the law works, and to have important conversations about money before problems arise.  Pre- and post-nuptial agreements can help clarify the status of assets and debts whether you are living together, marrying, or already married.  There are important legal factors to be aware of in preparing these types of agreements.  Regardless of whether the agreement is basic or highly customized, legal counsel is critical.

Estate Planning & Probate

I help clients create an estate plan that works for them, and includes the following documents:

  • Last Will & Testament,
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care,
  • Durable Powers of Attorney for Finances, and
  • Advanced Health Care Directive.

I also assist personal representatives (also called executors) in carrying out their job of legally settling an estate.

When You’re Ready to Begin
I offer an 90-minute initial consultation for $300. If you would like to learn whether collaborative law, cooperative law, legal support or mediation services are the right fit for you and your legal needs, please contact me by e-mail or by phone at (206) 523-3047.