Services 2017-01-10T17:26:01+00:00

MEDIATION SERVICES

FAMILY SERVICES

Divorce

“I’m getting divorced.”

Ouch–I’m sorry to hear that, because nobody goes into marriage with the idea that it won’t last.

Here is something you should know: the traditional litigated divorce, where you and your spouse each hire an attorney, file in court immediately blaming the other, and engage in full-blown discovery with opposing experts and all, can be lengthy, frustrating, and terribly expensive. Ever see the movie “War of the Roses“?

Even worse, it can do more damage to each of you, and more importantly, the children, than the end of the marriage.

I can help with your divorce. Here are some alternatives to litigation:

As a mediator, I can help you and your spouse work through the emotions and difficult conversations needed to help you work out, together, the decisions you need to make in a divorce. That includes re-structuring property and finances, and if children are in the picture, sharing parenting in a way that works for their best interests. When we need expert help, you jointly hire neutral experts, such as financial professionals, to assist.

In a mediated divorce, I do not represent either of you; I work even-handedly with both of you to help you reach agreements that move you through the process. Mediation can occur at any time in the divorce process, but it works best before filing in court. And if you are represented by attorneys now, but want to try mediation as a way to work out issues in your divorce, talk to your attorney about that.

In collaborative divorce, the couple recognizes that maintaining control, and working out all of the aspects of a divorce in a way that meets the needs of their restructured family, is far more important than “winning” in a protracted court fight.

In a collaborative divorce, the spouses and their collaboratively trained attorneys sign an agreement that they will work out all of the decisions in their divorce before filing in court. They agree that if the process breaks down permanently, or that if one spouse files in court, the collaborative process ends, the attorneys must withdraw, and the parties start over in court.

A collaborative divorce isn’t touchy-feely. There are plenty of instances where the issues are difficult, and the emotions and conflict are high. It does take a recognition that working things out together is more likely to meet the family’s needs over the long term, and result in a more lasting agreement than one which is decided by a judge at the end of a litigated process.

I am a founding member of the West Virginia Collaborative Practice Group, which is group pf collaboratively trained attorneys who have agreed to work in a collaborative process, when their clients see that as the best way forward.

Some couples choose to do their divorces themselves, without attorneys. In many cases, that is a viable, reasonable course of action. I provide a la carte (the legal term is “limited scope representation”) assistance to people who are doing their own divorces. Some of the a la carte services I can provide are:

  • Pleadings;
  • Review your mediated divorce agreement, and pleading before you file them with the court;
  • Help you plan for an upcoming mediation;
  • Drafting documents;
  • Guidance about procedural information, filing, service of documents, etc.;
  • Legal research on specific issues;
  • Review of and advice about court documents;
  • Advice about the law and strategy relevant to issues you identify;
  • Advice about preparing for hearings;
  • Advice about property rights and property division;
  • Advice about shared parenting law and agreements.

This list has examples of services I can provide, and isn’t exhaustive. The advantage to you in a limited scope representation is that you ask for only the help you need, and only pay for the help you asked for.

A reminder–If I provide advice or assistance to one spouse in a divorce, that establishes an attorney-client relationship, and I cannot provide advice or assistance to the other spouse.

Parents who have never been married often have informal agreements about co-parenting, and sharing time with their children that work just fine. Sometimes though, conflict enters in. And sometimes, the informal agreements never worked.

As a mediator, I can help you both work out a plan for sharing time with your child, and plan for making future decisions about your child, as well as ways to work out any future disagreements that may come up. I recognize that those agreements need to meet the needs of the child, as well as both parents. I work with you even-handedly, without taking sides, to help each of you express your needs, and your hopes for your child’s future, in crafting parenting agreements.

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BUSINESS SERVICES

Passing down the family business to the next generation, whether it is a farm or other business, can be a process that brings a family together, or causes conflict and division. This can be particularly difficult when there are some children who are involved with the business, and others who are not.

As a mediator, I can work with you and your family, as well as your legal and financial advisors to lead the problem-solving discussions that will allow everyone to be heard, and will help you craft a solution that honors those voices and concerns, while preserving the business you built so that it can continue into the future.

When the people who started a business years ago decide to part ways, that can be as difficult, emotional and wrenching as a divorce. When a lawsuit is the tool to divide the business it can devastate the business you all worked hard to build.

You can do it differently, and better. Mediation, or collaborative lawyering, can help you sort out what is most important, and preserve time, money, the business and the relationships you value.

As an employer, you know that one of the biggest issues you face is workplace conflict. Sometimes it is between a supervisor and an employee. Other times, the conflict is between employees. Either way, it hurts productivity, and can turn a business from a great place to work into something quite different.

Many employers are familiar with using mediation to resolve lawsuits filed by employees. I want to help much earlier in the process–long before a lawsuit is part of the picture, and before people choose up sides. If you bring in a mediator early on, you can generally head off bigger problems down the road. And if mediation is part of your employee grievance process, if can help protect you from lawsuits in the future.

Going into business with a friend, or several, can be a huge adventure.

You may not have thought of it before, but as a mediator, I can help you and you new business partner make the initial decisions about the structure of your business, and the way it operates. I do this by using skills from mediation, such as exploring interests, needs, and strengths and weaknesses, to help you, your new partner(s) and your families, as well as your financial and legal advisors, make the decisions that will help your business get started on its best foot. As we do that, we can also plan for inevitable changes, and help you design a process for conflict resolution that will help you take your business into the future.

Your organization does amazing, important work. And now, because of differing views on some aspects of how to do the work, or fund it, the Board has divided itself in ways that threaten your organization’s ability to do that important work.

I’ve been there. I have served on the boards of several local, state-wide and regional organizations that did great work. Some of those entered into just that kind of boiling conflict, where board members pick teams, and try to pit staff against each other, and the rest of the Board.

As a mediator, I can work with your Board and your staff, to go backs to the roots of the organization, to re-visit its mission, and re-discover how best to get that important work done. In the process, we will work to build a more resilient organization, that can better deal with conflict n the future.

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COMMUNITY & PUBLIC CONFLICTS

Community and public conflicts range from arguments between neighbors, to technical negotiations over variances from zoning schemes, to difficult and emotional community-wide struggles over such issues as policing, and dealing with drugs and the location of drug treatment programs.

My role is to assist communities, diverse community groups and other stakeholders to reach agreements which can be acted upon, and which are likely to be both widely accepted, and durable. Whether the dispute is between neighbors, or community-wide, the common thread is that the people involved have lived and worked together for a period of time, and will continue to need to live and work together after the conflict is dealt with.

In these types of conflicts, it is important to do an initial assessment of the problem, and then to bring all of the groups necessary to a complete understanding of the problem into the process. With the necessary groups involved, I can then work with those groups and individuals to construct a process that takes the needs and interests of all involved into account as we move forward to a resolution.

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Let me help move you forward.

Call me at (855) 475-0101 or contact me with my online form.

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