As a DIVORCE MEDIATOR, I have developed a niche practice over the years. Many of my clients have been professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and other Type A personalities who are in recovery from drug or alcohol dependence. Many of these individuals, their spouses or children also suffer from PTSD or C-PTSD issues.
Serving the recovery community as a mediator has been personally rewarding for me. I have seen how hard these couples will work together to ensure that their divorce does not impede their recovery and healing process, especially when children (including grown children) have been impacted by addiction.
The couples I work with are usually referred by their marriage counselor or individual therapist. Mental health professionals are a key to the success of a divorce for families in recovery.
How My Process Works
Recovery from any type of addiction, depression, or PTSD is based on an understanding of what triggers an individual to engage in unhealthy or destructive behavior. Although I am not a therapist, I have an insider’s understanding of the dynamics of recovery as a survivor of C-PTSD, as well as years of experience as a mediator for people in recovery. My mediation process is designed to provide a psychologically safe and ‘healthy’ place for divorcing people to relay their issues of concern.
One of the results of divorce is for the spouses to be legally separated from each other, which can be problematic when co-dependency, trauma or other recovery related behaviors are present. My clients typically continue to see their therapists or counselors during the divorce process. This is extremely critical to mediation success as each spouse has respect for their own, as well as their spouse’s continued mental health. While therapists are not involved in the mediation process, consulting attorneys are.
Consulting attorneys are needed because of the complex nature of California law. For HNW individuals, a consulting attorney is critical to helping an individual spouse understand the laws relating to their spousal support and property division issues. Having a consulting attorney speak on behalf of a spouse to the extent needed is a huge benefit to settling a case. Some issues in divorce law are somewhat straight forward, but for HNW cases, this is rare. Consulting attorneys are also useful when a spouse has difficulty in communicating due to disassociation or other reasons.
HNW cases, whether litigated or mediated should always have a financial expert present. I regularly use a CDFA as a neutral to prepare my clients’ financial disclose documents, as well as schedules showing their total assets, debt, income and expenses. Clients are comfortable and happy with the concept of meeting with the CDFA together or apart without the mediator’s presence. This is more relaxing for them and saves in mediation fees. It is not unusual for couples to have one or more ‘aha’ moments when working with the CDFA—as to how they want to divide their assets. Once they understand how their marital assets can be divided to help each of them with an ideal post-marital division, support and other issues will fall into place.
People have compared my approach to that of collaborative law. It is similar, with two main differences, which allow for flexibility and efficiency.
In collaborative law divorces, the lawyers work as coaches. If the couple does not reach an agreement, their lawyers cannot represent them in litigated proceedings.In my approach, the consulting attorneys help in a mediated settlement, but my clients are free to use their attorneys to litigate any issues we cannot resolve.
In collaborative law divorces, mental health professionals are assigned as coaches, advisors, or resources for the best interests of children.In my mediated cases, the spouses already have their own trusted therapists or counselors who can advise them outside the presence of the mediation team.
Process to Retain:
Download and complete the mediation questionnaire.
Once completed, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your questionnaire attached or call (858) 674-6903.
After receiving your questionnaire, we will contact you with ‘next steps.’
Mediation services are prepaid at the rate of $500/per hour. The initial retainer is $10,000.
Clients who are personally referred from their mental health provider or financial professional or a former client or attorney may receive a 15-minute complimentary phone call at attorney’s discretion.
Potential Client Questionnaire
or here as a .pdf file