Los Angeles Family Mediation Services
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L.A. Based Integrative Family Mediation

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Mediation is an efficient and economic alternative to traditional Collaborative Law processes. LAFMS offers a form of "integrative mediation" through our LAFMS Team, in the greater Los Angeles area.

In the traditional collaborative divorce or collaborative family law case a full team of collaboratively trained professionals is used. This consists of two lawyers (one for each party), two divorce coaches (one for each party), and one neutral financial expert (and sometimes others experts where for instance businesses need to be valued, or there are move-away or special needs issues relating to children). This can be very appropriate depending upon a particular family's history and the issues involved, as when people wish to avoid traditional adversarial divorce litigation but nonetheless one or both party needs a devoted legal advocate to help oversee and protect their interests to be in the room with them at all times. In traditional collaborative processes the lawyers are not neutral, but they have been trained to help the parties to find their best mutual solutions. In high conflict, large asset cases it may be the perfect match to your circumstances.

For other couples it is more than is needed, and so there exists an alternate approach that some call "Collaborative Mediation," but possibly a better term for it is "integrative mediation" because it integrates a cross-disciplinary approach to relationship disputes. Because "collaborative law" has taken a specific identity of its own, it makes sense to not confuse the two models.

In comparison to collaborative law processes, integrative mediation is truncated in terms of the number of professionals used. Instead of two collaboratively trained lawyers (one for each party) we use one collaboratively trained mediator who does not act as a lawyer or advocate for either person. This saves considerable money for both parties over traditional CL processes. Nothing precludes either from seeking outside legal advice as their needs and comfort requires, but those outside lawyers do not participate in the process itself. In comparison, with straight mediation lawyers sometimes do attend the mediation sessions and often they do not. Borrowing from the collaborative model, in Integrative Mediation we also use one or two divorce coaches and - when economically justified - a neutral financial expert.

At LAFMS Attorney Thurman Arnold and M.F.T. Karen Horwitz have been trained in the collaborative model, in addition to their substantial mediation training.

Integrative Mediation looks a lot like Co-Mediation. The difference is that Co-Mediation involves two neutral professionals who are trained mediators who work with both parties simultaneously and only during the mediation sessions, while in Integrative Mediation typically there is one legal expert acting as Mediator, but each side is also assisted by a same gendered divorce coach who participates in the sessions but is available outside the sessions as well. The job of divorce coaches is to support their individual client through the process whenever issues or conflicts pop up. This can be a very effective tool for dialing down crises that erupt from day to day to week to week, and works well when parenting conflicts keep arising or there are non-child high conflict aspects to the end of the parties' relationship. Of course, where one legal professional and one mental health professional (or even a collaboratively trained financial neutral) meets the needs of the parties, it may make better financial sense to utilize a two team member co-mediation approach.

The beauty of Mediation and Collaborative Processes is that they are flexible and can be specifically adapted to each couple: We help you to fashion a conflict resolution strategy that best addresses your needs, and those of your family members. We don't want to box you into a model that doesn't fit your situation, and so at LAFMS we offer you a menu of choices. We explain these options further at our Orientation Meeting.



Consider a Collaborative Mediation With LAFMS!

LAFMS - 9400 Brighton Way, Suite 407, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
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