Mediation is an approach that allows you — as parents — to decide together what is right for your children and for yourself. Mediation requires negotiation, but the negotiation is not done through individual, client-advocating lawyers. Instead, it is done by the parents with a third-party neutral guiding the parents through the process of resolving the myriad of issues of divorce.
As a parent, you alone make decisions that affect yourselves and your children; and as a neutral mediator, we can collaboratively help you take your journey to divorce resolution. Instead of being part of a process by which we all strategize to win, mediation is a process that has both parents sitting on the same side of the table figuring out what is best for your children and your family. Because this is a facilitated process, the facilitator makes no decisions about how the issues of divorce will be resolved. Only you can make these decisions. We are simply there to navigate a family-based road to divorce resolution without the involvement of lawyers and judges.
Imagine sitting together with a neutral mediator and — over time — resolving issues of divorce. Imagine that you continue to act as stable, dependable, responsible parents to your children and decide together for them what is right rather than having lawyers or judges do the job for you. Imagine how resolving the divorce yourselves with the help of a mediator bears on the future of your family and the future of your children. Imagine that rather than being subjected to an order of a court or a negotiated settlement with which you are unhappy, you are the creator of the solutions to your divorce — and you truly own the resolution.
This is what mediation can give you that litigation cannot.
Whether you need counsel or direction about marriage, child custody, divorce, or a myriad of other areas, Marlene Shiner can help you with all things regarding Family Law. From reproductive rights and adoption to paternity and domestic violence and other relevant topics, you can turn to Marlene Shiner for legal insights, advisory, and resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.
Marlene’s practice includes consultation on any family law issue including guardianship, adoption, paternity, custody, visitation (including grandparent visitation), the family home, family pets, and family owned businesses. Marlene has consulted with hundreds of divorce attorneys on the financial issues related to family law including division of family property (including the family home), child support, alimony, and pension valuation. She is an expert in the use of the leading divorce financial planning software in the United States and can create scenarios with the software that give spouses various options to decide how they want their financial lives to look after divorce.
As a result of her work as policy adviser to the Canadian Government with respect to family law issues, Marlene can answer any questions regarding the policy reasons behind family law legislation. In addition, Marlene is licensed to practice family law in Canada and the United States and, as such, is well prepared to answer questions regarding jurisdiction or, in other words, what state or country has legal control over deciding a case. She has worked on cases under The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and can answer questions about removal of children from one country to another. She can also answer questions related to whether a spouse can move with their child of children to another state be it for reasons of work, a new relationship, being with family or otherwise. Marlene consults on any issue dealing with families and children whether those families and children are a product of marriage, divorce, same-sex marriage or otherwise (including single-parent households).
During the process of divorce litigation, parents negotiate through lawyers to come to a settlement about how the divorce will play out and how issues about the divorce will be resolved. From the determination of child support, alimony (support for a spouse) or how assets and liabilities will be divided, who will get the family home or if it will be sold and, most importantly, who will make decisions for the children and with whom the children will live...
Together with their lawyers, each parent decides what they want for themselves and their children and negotiates to get what they want through their lawyer. If the negotiation falls apart (i.e. the parents can not reach an agreement about how all the issues above are to be resolved) the case goes to court and, after hearing each parent’s side of the story, a judge decides how the case will be resolved. At that point, it is out of the parents’ hands and they are required by law to abide by the judge’s decision.
This means that a judge, without knowing or meeting your children, will decide what is best for them and that one the parents will win and one the parents will lose with respect to how the issues of divorce are resolved. Litigation can often be very attractive to each parent because each parent believes that what they want for themselves and their children is “right”. What they find, however, is that litigation requires them to negotiate for their own perceived best resolution and that negotiation always means giving something up. It also means that if the parents are not willing to negotiate or give something up, a judge will decide for them what is “right” and order the parents to do what the court says is the “right” thing to do.