Thursday, December 30, 2010

UK Promoting Divorce Mediation

The benefits of divorce mediation are clearly being realized not only in the San Francisco Bay Area but around the world as well. Some courts in England recognize that divorce mediation is not only a better solution for families ("quicker, cheaper, and less stressful") but also for taxpayers funding ongoing litigation and those courts are doing everything possible to encourage the use of mediation. Here is an article - short and to the point - from the Worcester News.

Mediation is benefit to divorce
LEGAL aid could be withdrawn for couples seeking advice about divorce as the Government promotes the alternative benefits of family mediation.

The coalition is committed to increasing the use of mediation as quicker, cheaper, and less stressful than contested court proceedings and believes the costs of routine divorce, including disputes about the arrangements for children, should no longer be met by the taxpayer.

Mediation gives people a sense of control while minimising the financial and emotional cost.

Stephanie Leibbrandt, of Family Mediation Worcestershire, said: “We are ready for this long overdue shift.

Anyone needing information to call us on 01905 610925 or go to

Monday, November 22, 2010

Peaceful Divorce Options

In my 11 years of practicing law, I have noticed that attitudes and approaches to litigation and divorce vary from county to county. I have seen couples who wish to have an amicable and peaceful divorce be thwarted in those efforts because many of the attorneys in their area are holding strong and fast to traditional methods of positional and combative litigation.

Although I am a full-time divorce mediator in San Francisco, many of my clients are not from San Francisco but choose to come here because they are unable to find good collaborative or mediating attorneys where they live (even though we're filing their cases in Contra Costa, Solano, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, etc.).

That's not to say there aren't mediating and collaborative attorneys in counties other than San Francisco; there are, but I am still pleased to learn about more attorneys who are using more peaceful approaches to divorces. Divorce mediation Attorney Michele McInaney is in Walnut Creek (Northern California) and seems to have the right attitude according to this article in the San Francisco Chronicle. We definitely need more collaborative attorneys - those who have been trained in problem solving without the threat of litigation - so I'll keep an eye out for more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Divorce Recovery Coaching

As a divorce mediator, my clients come to me to help guide them through a very difficult time of their lives. In addition to managing the court filings and financial disclosures and helping couples reach creative agreements together and putting all of that into writing, I am also able to share with my clients the wealth of resources I have gathered over my years in practice.

Individuals going through a divorce or separation often face challenges they have never had to deal with before. Sometimes this means dealing with and understanding their finances or investments for the first time in decades. Sometimes it's needing to find a good insurance broker to find an individual health insurance plan after the divorce, or a mortgage broker to help figure out re-finance options for the family home. Other times it's a financial advisor, a tax professional, a contractor, an estate planning or immigration attorney, a therapist, a co-parenting counselor, etc...

One of the resources I rely on is Divorce Recovery Coaching for Women. Laura and Judy have offices in the Flood Building on Market & Powell in the same building as my mediation offices. And, after learning more about their approach and philosophy directly, I have been recommending this coaching to any woman going through a difficult break up.

Here is information from their website. (

“If you’re feeling lost, alone & afraid from a painful divorce or break-up… We’ll show you how to feel better NOW and start rebuilding your life…”

Are you hurting? Is your heart breaking?
Are anger or guilt eating you up inside?
Are you scared about your financial future?
Do you feel insecure about which steps to take next?
Are you feeling the pain of divorce, even years later?
Do you want to decrease the negative effects of divorce on your children?

Our supportive programs are designed for women just like you. We guide you step-by-step to quickly relieve your emotional pain so you can move through this time with clarity and confidence.

Next post, I'll let you know about similar resources for men's divorce recovery!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When there's not enough time in the day...

....something needs to give. Having not posted an article since December, it's safe to assume that posting blog articles has been one of the things I had to put aside in order to meet all my other obligations.

I realize I am far from alone in this dilemma; we all have too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all done. And good luck trying to have a balanced life when children, added work responsibilities and other demands eat up what's left of our time!

I feel a huge sense of responsibility for the cases I work on with my clients. I like to think that is one of the things that sets me apart from some other attorneys or mediators since I take my work (but not myself!) very seriously and want to give 100% to each and every client I come into contact with. And I want to provide information to others (via this blog, for example) who are not sure where to start whether they are planning to be married and want guidance with a mediated premarital agreement or whether they are trying to find a neutral mediator to help get them through the difficulty of a divorce or custody matter.

And although I'd like to post articles more frequently, I have to weigh what needs to be done and how much time I have in which to accomplish it. I generally decide that with the limited time I have when I'm not in mediations (with two in one day, there's not much left of me!), I need to use that time to get thoughtful and comprehensive agreements out to clients and complete their cases as promised.
Since the purpose I have in working as a full-time mediator is to help as many people as I can with the highest level of quality and professionalism, I have to resign myself to the fact that I just can't post as much as I'd like. I'd better get back to work now, but I will continue to post when possible!