Family Law: It’s Not Always About Divorce

In addition to years of success as a mediator in divorce cases, I also have proven expertise in helping families solve other problems through mediation as an alternative to therapy or going through conflict using lawyers.

One example is when I have helped unmarried couples sort out their relationship break-up in a sane and fair way. Before same-sex marriages were lawful, I did this quite often for gay and lesbian couples.

Sometimes housemates or roommates have difficulty with a move out. As a neutral mediator, I can quickly and inexpensively help them as they terminate their legal obligations fairly and responsibly.

Another variation along these lines is when I am able to help a couple who decides they need some space from one another and to separate but want to avoid the cost and drama of filing for a legal separation. I have developed a process of helping couples (married or not) create a “stand still agreement” so that they can maintain the status quo of their relationship while working through difficult times knowing they have a certain level of security and continuity. These partnerships often have a desire to know that they have really tried to make a marriage work before ending it.

Shifting gears from legal matters to emotional ones, some people find family therapy or couples therapy too cumbersome to resolve a problem in their relationship. Since they cannot seem to resolve it themselves, they need outside help- like a mediator. I have been retained to help them use mediation to resolve specific difficult issues (usually, but not always, financial) in an expedited manner.

Another area where I can help families is in the probate arena. I have worked with families to navigate property divisions while the family matriarch or patriarch is still living. I bring everyone together for sharing and expressing needs and preferences in a relatively harmonious manner before the will and/or probate documents are finalized.

In conclusion, when there is a problem in a family setting, the choice to use a mediator can often save time and money and is often more effective than long term therapy.