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Dedicate to Collaborate

Reflections from a peacemaking lawyer and mediator dedicated to collaborative problem-solving.
Sep
16

8 tips to make your first mediation meeting a success.

2020-09-16
Mediation, while usually far less stressful than a court case, can be a nerve-wracking process. You may have trouble controlling your emotions, you may be nervous about what the future holds, you may worry about being heard and understood. Frankly, you'll be glad once the whole thing is over. But, I promise you, it doesn't have to be a huge ordeal....
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Aug
26

The winner takes it all — why Abba has it all wrong (and why that’s great news for your divorce).

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Over the years, pop sensations Abba have given the world many gifts: guaranteed floor fillers at every wedding ever, the dulcet tones of Pierce Brosnan in Mamma Mia, and an excuse to wear the occasional jumpsuit (shiny Lycra completely optional). But there's one legacy I personally could have done without: The idea that, when it comes to divorce, t...
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Aug
17

How to control your emotions when going through a divorce.

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It's a cruel irony: the very time in your life when you're feeling most vulnerable is the very time you most need to keep a level head, an even temper, and a civil tongue. No, it's not going to be easy, but learning to control your emotions as you go through the divorce process is one of the very best things you can do to ensure that everything run...
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Apr
15

3 Tips for Parents Sharing Custody during the Corona Pandemic

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Sharing custody is tricky at the best of times — and we're definitely not in the best of times right now. We're dealing with so many unprecedented changes, it can feel like we're all having to learn new ways to move through our daily lives. And while this is inconvenient and frustrating when it comes to things like grocery shopping, it can feel abs...
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Jan
28

The two big mistakes people make in trying to get at the "truth" of a conflict

2020-01-13-2
Imagine that you're overseeing a mediation between a couple who's getting a divorce. One person tells a story of being abandoned, painting a picture where their spouse is never there for them, behaves irresponsibly, and has clearly demonstrated that they don't want to be in the marriage any more. The other spouse looks at them like they're crazy, a...
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Jan
15

Hanlon’s razor: the brain behavior that could be the answer to a peaceful divorce.

2020-01-14-2
Ever feel like absolutely everyone is out to get you? Your new colleague is a bit short with you during your morning meeting, so you assume they don't like you very much. The woman in the grocery store almost knocks you over in her hurry to get to the checkout. What is her problem? Your kid yells at you the minute they get home from school — you ju...
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Jan
06

The brain behavior that could be controlling your divorce: reactive devaluation.

2019-12-01-2
Would you support a drastic bilateral nuclear arms reduction program? That was the question posed to pedestrians in the US back in the 1980s. The results were fascinating — and go a long way towards explaining why achieving a peaceful divorce settlement can be so very difficult. A certain number of those surveyed were told the proposal for the prog...
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Nov
06

Returning the favor: why reciprocation bias is making your divorce harder than it needs to be.

2019-11-06-2
Think about a time when a friend invited you to dinner or offered you a ride you felt an intense desire to cook for them next time, or to return the favor in some way, didn't you? And sure, you assumed that was simply because you've been brought up that way, or because you think it's nice to be nice, but actually there's a really powerful psycholog...
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Oct
06

Cognitive Dissonance (or how Ben Franklin can help settle your divorce).

2019-10-06-3
Have you heard of the Ben Franklin effect? Benjamin Franklin, the scientist and politician, had a bitter rival. But when he discovered that his rival owned a rare book that Franklin needed, he swallowed his pride and asked to borrow the book. The rival obliged and Franklin returned the book the following week, along with a thank you note. To Frankl...
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Mikalea Bolds
Love this - really has me thinking...
Monday, 07 October 2019 14:33
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Sep
08

The brain behaviors controlling your divorce: confirmation bias.

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"He just said what?" When conflicts arise it feels like logic and rationality are the first things we toss aside. We end up saying and doing things that feel completely out of character and reacting in ways that even we can't understand. The inevitable outcome is, of course, heightened tension and petty arguments that become all-out war. But here's...
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Apr
01

The 5 biggest mistakes people make in custody cases

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Your children are incredible; there isn't a thing you wouldn't do for them. The thought of someone — a stranger — telling you when, where, and how often you can spend time with them is more than you can stand…which is why you're prepared to fight tooth and claw for them. When you're faced with a custody battle, fear, anger, and strong emotion take ...
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Mar
06

How to talk to your children about divorce

How to talk to your children about divorce
Whether they have the memory of an elephant or a fruit fly, there is one moment I guarantee your children are likely to remember for years to come: the divorce talk. That's a lot of pressure to handle, especially when you're going through your own emotional turmoil. So the first thing I want to do is reassure you that "the talk" absolutely doesn't ...
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Jan
23

7 Strategies for a Smoother Divorce

7 Strategies for a Smoother Divorce
Out with the old, in with the new?  This season is the perfect storm when it comes to divorce: holiday stress, financial strain, lots of time spent with the in-laws, all closely followed by the inevitable desire for New Year renewal. We're all looking for things to give up; not-so-great habits, not-so-great attitudes, and apparently, not-so-gr...
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Dec
12

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution

The Most Important (And Often-Overlooked) Tool for Conflict Resolution
Isn't it frustrating when someone just won't listen to you? You've begged, reasoned, pleaded and things still aren't getting done the way you want them. You're the only one pulling your weight and you've had enough. So you call on a mediator.  A quick fix?​​ The relief is immediate — finally you'll get things sorted. After months (or years!) o...
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Nov
28

The Most Important “Language” You Can Speak This Holiday Season

The Most Important “Language” You Can Speak This Holiday Season
There's nothing quite like the moment where a perfectly lovely family dinner takes a turn for the tense. Whether it's a political disagreement, old hurts resurfacing, or just the very logical result of a bunch of tired, stressed people getting up close and personal, it's never fun to have the conversation devolve. Depending on how your family deals...
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Nov
14

Why is everyone talking about mediation?

Why is everyone talking about mediation?
All hail the Internet! Thanks to the power of Google we all have instant access to the kind of legal information that was previously only dished out directly by our attorney. With a few clicks of a button you discover that an expensive lawsuit and a bitter court battle is not the only path to conflict resolution. You quickly learn it's not even the...
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Oct
31

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.

Why it’s so important to get mediation sooner rather than later.
Court battles: people yelling, reputations destroyed, astronomical fees, anger, and bitterness. And when a dispute ends up in the courtroom, no one really "wins". Not even the lawyers. After all, even when a client gets the result they want, it will have come at a huge cost — it's not exactly a process that encourages repeat business. There's no de...
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Oct
03

Power dynamics at play: how to resolve financial conflicts in a peaceful way.

Power dynamics at play: how to resolve financial conflicts in a peaceful way.
You know what it's like when you're newly in love: you feel like you would do absolutely anything for your partner. What does it matter if you're a high flyer and he's earning peanuts? Love means unconditional support, right? Right! At least for a while. Then life gets in the way; love can fade and responsibilities tend to grow. Suddenly that discr...
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Sep
18

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?

What Do You Really Get Out of Mediation?
If you've never been to mediation, you might not be totally sure what you actually get out of the whole process. For instance, is it just someone to scribe your agreements? Is it just a conversation? What do you actually get out of the whole process? There's so much more to mediation –– and many of the "end products" that mediators can provide actu...
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Guest — RIdley
It's good to know what actually happens at mediation. I like how you said that there are a lot of end products that mediation can ... Read More
Friday, 16 November 2018 13:17
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Sep
05

The one workshop that changed everything for me. (Plus I’m in a book!)

The one workshop that changed everything for me. (Plus I’m in a book!)
In 2015, I was at a crossroads. I had been practicing law for 23 years and for the last ten, I had been straddling the line between a traditional and a collaborative practice. The time I spent going to court, leading my clients into what I knew would be a devastating experience for them, was taking a toll on me as well as them.  I no longer ha...
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Recent Comments
Guest — Karen Olson
Congratulations Nancy! You are an inspiration!
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 21:04
Guest — Nancy Retsinas
Oh Karen, thank you! I am so inspired by this work and am motivated to spread the word. So many people can benefit from a differen... Read More
Tuesday, 18 September 2018 22:39
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