An important step in filing for divorce without a lawyer, is working to reach the agreement before you file. An agreement can provide greater security and can expedite the process. Agreements can be reached between the parties informally, through mediation and through collaborative divorce.Read More
This post is part of a three part series addressing how divorcing parents might address higher education costs. Yesterday, we addressed the question: “How long is a parent required to pay support?” Today, we’ll consider whether divorcing parents should agree to share the costs of their children’s college. The laws in the states where I practice do not require parents to pay college costs, but parents can agree in their divorce agreement to share in the costs. Consider several questions before entering into an agreement to be sure your agreement is in the best interest of your child and your family.Read More
"What do we do about Christmas?" This is a question that comes up in most mediations involving child custody. In mediation or collaborative law, you can tailor your holiday celebrations with your children consistent with your own family traditions and celebrations. Whether I’m working in a collaborative law case or in mediation, we work to make all holidays, including Christmas, peaceful, unique and special for the children. As a lawyer and mediator with offices located in West Virginia and Washington, D.C., we can design the perfect holiday for the children, together.Read More
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the Virginia Mediation Network’s annual fall conference. As a member of the Board of Directors, I take great pride in being part of such a wonderful program. The presentations and workshops were varied, representing the wide variety of contexts when mediation may effectively resolve conflicts.Read More
Moving on after you have suffered an injury or loss can be difficult. Mediation is often the best way to to resolve a civil case and be able to move on. If selected early, mediation saves time and money for both parties in legal expenses. Our office encourages clients to participate in mediation at the earliest possible date, often BEFORE filing suit, to be sure to gain the most benefit possible from early resolution. In many states mediation is required in all civil cases before a trial is scheduled. Even when you don’t reach an agreement during the first session mediation can be helpful. About 98% of all civil cases settle before trial so it is likely that your case won’t go to trial. Sometimes the progress made in mediation sets the matter up so that it will be more likely to settle quickly and fairly following the mediation. Sometimes a further session is helpful. If your case is resolved in mediation, you can expect a few steps to finalize the resolution.Read More
Congratulations! You just finished your mediation session and reached an agreement. You may feel relieved that the pressure is over or excited that you have found a way to move forward in your life without the stress over litigation. You may feel regretful that you didn’t get exactly what you were looking for when you first met with your attorney or filed the petition. You may be wondering “ What if….”Read More
Many times parents believe that the child should have a chance to articulate their opinion in a divorce or child custody case. Many courts prefer that their opinions be addressed through the appointment of a specially trained lawyer, or a Guardian Ad LItem, who may interview the child outside of the courtroom. Another option is to include children in mediation. While this option should be employed sparingly, for some families it might serve to empower the children and bring the family closer. Only a specially trained mediator, often working with a child specialist, can assess the situation and determine whether or not the child's participation is beneficial. Our office accepts cases in West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia and can work with families to determine the best mediation structure for you.
Mediation requires a different physical space than a law office. Even collaborative law needs to be practiced in an environment that is more about talking and less about creating paper. Our office is in the middle of a transformation from an office that was something like a machine, creating calendars, pleadings and correspondence. Our new Charles Town office is going to be less machine-like and will allow for the type of patient communication that both mediation and collaborative law require.Read More