Divorce Mediation is different from Collaborative Law. In Divorce Mediation both parties work with one neutral (the “mediator”) who assists the parties in coming to an agreement. The mediator does not represent either of the parties, and cannot provide legal advice. However, the mediator can provide legal information, and can inform the clients on how other couples solve various issues in their divorce. Read more about Divorce Mediation on Mediate.com In Collaborative Divorce, each of the parties is represented by a collaborative attorney, and a series of face-to-face meetings ensue to work out the terms of the divorce.
Divorce entails a complex array of rights and responsibilities that the parties may not be aware of. Therefore it is strongly recommended that each party see a separate attorney at some time or times during the mediation process. See Laurie’s article, Ten Secrets of Reviewing Counsel for Clients in Mediation
Laurie Israel and Karen Van Kooy frequently serve as mediators in divorce cases, and also serve as reviewing attorneys to others’ mediations. As mediators, Laurie Israel and Karen Van Kooy work to prevent power imbalances and elicit the parties voices and intentions during the process. The parties feel “heard” and the flow of communication between the spouses assist their future lives as co-parents, if children are involved.
Laurie Israel and Karen Van Kooy strive to make sure the parties are aware of all their options prior to making decisions and agreements between them. Laurie has a strong background in tax law, real estate law, trusts and probate law, and bankruptcy, and Karen‘s strength in divorce litigation can be very helpful in the divorce planning process. Both Laurie and Karen have excellent “people skills” with keen insight into underlying concerns, as well as legal skills, which help in the work.
Laurie and Karen also serve as reviewing counsel for mediations. See Laurie’s artices on mediation. Laurie and Karen are members of the Massachusetts Counsel on Family Mediation (MCFM). Laurie is a former board member of MCFM, and is also a former board member of the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council. Karen and Laurie are members of The Divorce Center, and Karen is a current board member of The Divorce Center.
Laurie Israel also works as Settlement Counsel in divorce and civil mediations and litigation. See Laurie’s article “Using Settlement Counsel in Divorce Litigation”.