Going through a divorce can cause many emotions to surface: anger, hurt, fear, loss and confusion. Searching for the best way to defend your legal rights as well as manage your costs can be emotionally draining. You are not only in a time of transition, but you are also headed into a season of transformation.
The approach you and your spouse take toward this process and the professionals you choose to support you will make the difference between a stressful, financially and emotionally draining experience and one that brings you relief and resolution. No one can promise a painless process, but at least the challenges can be minimized.
At Settlement Works, our commitment is to assist the resolution of everything from simple disagreements to complex, emotionally charged, high asset disputes. In every case, we believe there is an opportunity to heal and complete the existing relationship and open the door for a new relationship – as effective co-parents and/or possibly respected friends.
Additionally, couples who are already divorced often have ongoing issues that need resolution. Changes in support, custody, visitation and lifestyle differences can create serious challenges which call for a resolution outside of the typical litigation setting.
With regard to civil litigation, mediation offers an effective and economical mechanism to resolve everything from a discovery dispute to the entire lawsuit. As with family law cases, many civil lawsuits have an emotional context that can be addressed and beneficially resolved for all concerned.
I have been practicing law in California since 1975. My primary focus has always been Family Law, but I’ve also spent considerable with civil litigation matters. Although I’ve always had a settlement approach to the practice of law, I began actively mediating in 1999.
I have been on the Los Angeles Superior Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Panel since 2000.
Although it seems like I’ve been mediating disputes since I was five years old, the inspiration for the Settlement Works mediation program came only after a 25 year career in civil litigation and family law, as well as many additional years of self-realization and transformational work.
In my work with the Center for Enforcement of Family Support, a law practice dedicated to helping custodial parents collect their past due support, I saw the anger many divorced couples still carried, even many years after their divorce was final. I saw that this anger pre-empted and frustrated the resolution of legal issues, resulting in exorbitant legal fees and leading to residual emotional damage, especially to children caught in the middle.
In 1999, I founded Settlement Works and began to explore a new approach to legal conflicts. Using traditional mediation as a cornerstone, this evolving approach offers an efficient resolution of legal disputes while addressing and healing the unresolved emotional issues of divorce and other types of family and civil conflicts.
Using this approach I have mediated hundreds of Family Law and Civil Litigation matters.
I look at mediation as an opportunity to engage in an informative exchange of ideas and opinions, while helping litigants resolve their differences with an economically and emotionally beneficial outcome.
While successful mediation often entails several styles of dispute resolution, the most important element is safety. My goal is to empower the clients to appropriately express their wants and needs, while they develop and practice listening with a reasonable level of receptivity. I believe clients should be given a basic understanding of the laws at issue, so they can make informed decisions. I usually share my analysis and viewpoint freely with both parties, helping them see the strengths and weaknesses of their case.
Although mediation can be very serious and have a significant impact on a party, I find it helpful to create a relaxed atmosphere with as much lightness as is appropriate and possible. At Settlement Works, we are fortunate to have our mediation on a classic Chris Craft motor yacht (“Concordance”) in Marina del Rey. Our clients tell us that the relaxing environment greatly reduces the stress of the meeting process. Personally, I find that communication flows more freely “on the water.” More often than not a client’s wistful comment on the beautiful life going on outside, is all it takes to get the parties thinking that it really is time to work things out.
I am a graduate of UCLA School of Law and hold a B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University. I received specialty training from Mosten Mediation Training Center, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Dispute Resolutions Services, and the Strauss institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine School of Law.
Whether your matter is simple or complex, a good rule of thumb is that mediation costs only about a third of what a litigated case will cost.
Our standard mediation fee for the services of an attorney/mediator is $400 per hour.
For two attorney/mediators in a session, the fee is $700 per hour.
If the services of a Marriage and Family Services are requested, the fee for that professional is $175 per hour. If combined with an attorney/mediator in joint session, the fee is $500 per hour.