In 1985 I began working in the family law field at one of the most 'litigious' law firms in our county. The attorneys treated family matters such as custody, child support, alimony and primary residency as a 'dual to the death' contest, while I would spend hours on the phone listening to these clients talk about the emotional strain and stress of going through the litigation process. The inability to resolve such painful issues for these clients often led to personal frustration.
In an effort to escape this discontent, I soon left the family law practice and moved into an area of law I perceived would be less poignant...insurance defense.
From 1987 to 1990, I worked with an insurance defense firm overseeing case management, reviewing settlement demands and serving as lead in all trial preparation. However, I once again experienced the frustration of clients struggling with the litigation process and witnessed the personal cost of sustaining an injury, suffering the wrongful death of a family member, or living with a sudden disability. During this time, I had the privilege to work side-by-side with one of Polk County's most respected mediators, quickly sparking my interest in conflict resolution as a solution for many litigants and their counsel.
For the next eight years, I worked as a personal injury and wrongful death case manager, a personal injury and accident reconstruction investigator, as well as serving in law enforcement through the Department of Corrections Felony Division, all while pursuing my graduate studies in the field of mental health.
As the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution grew, the concept of helping people through the emotional minefield of divorce was a much needed service. All too often when people find themselves in a divorce, their emotions begin to dictate their decisions and they often make unwise choices about their financial future and the future of their children. Attorneys are not trained to handle the emotional component of family cases.
As a mental health professional, working as a neutral third party is part of our professional training. As a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil, Family and Dependency Mediator, the ability to skillfully mediate and assist parties in negotiations during this time of crisis, requires extensive knowledge in family dynamics only afforded by a clinical professional.
I have mediated over 800 court-ordered cases and pro se divorces in the State of Florida and look forward serving the legal community for years to come.
In addition to family mediation, I have successfully mediated civil cases which involve:
Whether mired in a family, dependency or civil case, clients experience such diverse emotions when a party to litigation - sadness, anger, frustration and confusion. Being trained in psychology and human behavior has provided an added benefit to resolving difficult disputes.
Assisting all parties through mediation is my most rewarding experience. It is a privilege to help people work through this process. The importance their case holds for them personally is never taken lightly.
For more about your Mediator’s qualifications and training: