Family Disputes: Money Matters

Of all the issues that come up with co-parenting “families of divorce” none are as insidious or downright ugly as “matters of money”. Having attained status as a C.F.P. over the years, I witnessed some of the acrimony the author describes and she is, unfortunately, not exaggerating.

The end of the year will often be an important “plumb line” for decisions about finances and investment assets, in particular. So with the changes to Alimony Payments along with some other adjustments in the Tax Code there might be a few unpleasant surprises that warrant discussion and, as the author points out, a lawyer’s office may not facilitate thebest overall result. If you, or anyone you know, comes into a situation like this and help might be needed please contact me with your questions.

Here is the link to an article by Carolyn Rosenblatt in which she advises F.A.’s to consider a mediator if and when they come up against a real struggle.

What Can Advisors Do When Family Disputes Threaten Client Wealth?

Mediation can be an effective way to reach agreements.

Carolyn Rosenblatt | Aug 20, 2018 | Wealth Management

Sometimes it’s fighting between parents and the next generation. Sometimes it’s sibling conflictsthat have existed for many years. Unresolved family disputes can destroy successful intergenerational wealth transfer with or without a family business at stake. When you’re managing the money, it can feel like torture seeing your clients behave so destructively. Expensive lawsuits or standoffs that damage businesses the family is arguing aboutcan threaten the very work you’ve done over time. You’ve tried to preserve wealth and keep families on track. They can ruin your best efforts.

Mediation is one underutilized way to resolve conflicts. You may be able to help your clients by suggesting mediation and finding a good mediator.

It starts with the help of a trained and qualified mediator who understands conflict resolution principles as a professional. The purpose isn’t to change any individual’s personal traits; rather, it’s to see if the family can come to some rules of engagement on the path to reaching agreements on specific issues. Focus isn’t on who’s right or wrong. It’s on the tasks at hand. Reaching an agreement about division of authority can be a major step forward.

Based on my own experience over many years of being an advocate at mediation in lawsuits, I saw that most of the time, matters get settled by the mediation process.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of a family mediation is that the underlying emotions that typically drive the conflict can come to the surface in a neutral setting. The mediator guides the discussion and helps each party identify and clarify what they want, guiding them to their own solutions.  Generally, this isn’t something they can do on their own. They’re too caught up in resentment, anger, fear or other feelings.

Read the full article here

Helping Reunite Border Families

by Stephanie Maloney

Helping Reunite Border Families - Reunite Families - Los AngelesWe were at a local demonstration piling our donation of blankets in with the flood of relief materials from supporters as frustration ran deep throughout the crowd. Our pics are on Facebook but I wanted to pass along some other ways for us to actually “do” something about this nightmarish situation.

This is from my friend Jonathan Verk cofounder of coParenter describe the trip:

75 neighbors, friends and community activists are on our way home from San Diego. And what an absolutely powerful trip it was!

We did it! We delivered 200 toys, blankets, necessities and other items to their children currently being held at Casa San Diego detention center!  By the Time we arrived at the detention center, we had basically no confidence that we would be let in. After all we’ve seen on the news- and everything we’d been told, we didn’t even think they’d let us near the gate. Politicians, authorities—  even clergy haven’t been let near the gate!  we were told by everyone not to bother.

But honestly… I’m not that great at listening.

We parked across the street, about 40 yards down the block. We were explicitly told that any sign of protesters would force the facility to put the kids in ‘lock down’, which- as it sounds, probably sucks. So, One of my fellow protesters and I walked two huge boxes and an envelope full of letters of hope, written by kids- to the kids on the inside.

We walked up to a very industrial looking, tarp-covered fence and very calmly rang the buzzer. Nothing. We rang again… nothing. We rang it 7 more times— and then started strategizing how we could lift the boxes over the fence and gently lower it down the other side.

And then they answered.

A soft voice with a Spanish accent asked “Hello? How can I help you”.  We told them that we’re just some kids from LA who came to drop off some toys, would they let us leave them for the kids….

Silence. A staticky click. And then the voice came back… “we’ll be right out”.

The lady (wouldn’t give us her name) looked friendly but exhausted. Clearly, It’s been an emotional, hard week for them (YES- the kids have it worse, but this poor woman didn’t sign up for this insanity either).

We explained what we were doing and why we were there… and after a minute, she allowed us to brings the toys in. We weren’t allowed to cross the property line (they were afraid they’d get ‘caught’ on their surveillance cameras letting us in) and we certainly didn’t meet he kids. But we did share the letters and the toys and the blankets and the absolutely wonderful items that the LA community donated.

It was an amazingly joyous and spectacularly cathartic experience for everyone on the buses.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this ‘Rally to the Border’ so incredible. There’s lots more to share, but right now I wanna get some shuteye.

Because tomorrow is another day…. we’ve got to get some rest… and fight on!

1500 people. 10k toys, books and other items. 75 people down to San Diego on 2 buses.

200 toys delivered to the kids of Casa San Diego!

Below is a link to a great article (Melanie Gleason) about sources of help that you can contribute to that also provide legal help “on the ground” along the border. This, especially as Gleason points out, President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday trades family separation for indefinite detention of children.”

You can call your members of Congress through the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

What You Can Do To Help Families Separated At The Border

Rallies For The Right Thing

Here is some info about the national day of rallies taking place for people that want to be seen and heard about the families being separated at the border.

Let them know that this is no way to run our country.

Thanks to powerful public pressure, the Trump administration has been forced to shift its outrageous treatment of immigrant children. We have momentum—but we’re far from done.

The executive order that Donald Trump signed today is not the solution. It allows the indefinite incarceration of immigrant families in federal prisons, and there is still no plan to reunify the thousands of families that have been forcibly separated. Which is why we must continue to stand together at hundreds of events nationwide on Saturday, June 30, to say that families belong together—and freeClick here to join the June 30 event near you to Keep Families Together and free and reject Trump’s brutal policies.

Stop Separating Families

by Stephanie Maloney

As we get ready for Father’s Day we might take time to show some thanks by supporting an incredibly worthy family cause.

I’m not advocating for the organization other than this subject makes a lot of parents I talk with physically nauseous, especially the heart rending photographs.

It’s not possible for most of us to make an appearance for the deserving causes that we face but I wanted to pass this along for anyone that might want to be there.

For those that need another way to show support, here is an example of one link to sign a petition for Congress to take action.

MoveOn members across the country are joining Families Belong Together events on Thursday, June 14, to oppose the cruel, inhumane, and unjustified separation of children from their parents at U.S. borders. Communities are seeing the devastating and lasting effects this policy could have and are ready to speak out. Local activists planned this day of action across the country, not a national organization, because they know families can’t wait. Action is needed now.

Under this Trump administration policy pushed by Attorney General Sessions and defended by Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen, ICE and Border Patrol agents have torn more than 650 children from their families in just two weeks in May! Thousands of children have been taken from their parents and detained in cages since this policy was adopted in 2017.

With Father’s Day approaching, now is the time to protest these abuses and demand reform.


The Small Outdoors

by Stephanie Maloney

Here it is again that time to start getting out and planning out some “away from the house” time. It seems to get tougher each year so we have to get more creative.

Actual vacations involving travel are kind of a special event category and require detailed coordination never mind extraordinary cooperation.

It’s no small accomplishment to find ways on a daily and weekly basis to get some fresh air with the kids without wasting hours of time in traffic. So we’re seeing stories about people taking turns hosting “yard parties” that are geographically user-friendly and BYO “whatever” toys for the group.

I know of parents that are taking walks and bike rides in the neighborhood instead of driving to a park. In a real switch there are stories about some single parents renting a local Air B&B with a backyard just for a few hours on an afternoon for fun & games.

This is a reach but if you have teenagers-ask them about a baseball game-funny things can happen in the spring.

Unplugging To Connect

by Stephanie Maloney

Every family that I interact with has difficulty creating and managing their time together. By definition, Divorce creates two entities from one source. With our technology, it sounds crazy to admit that we have trouble connecting with each other but that is the reality for a lot of people. This is all about spending time together not time spent typing together.

There was a nice piece in the LA Times a few weeks ago by Catherine Price who writes about “Breaking Up With Your Phone” and avoiding screens not people.

It made me think about how easy it is to mistake texting with talking when someone asks about the kids and we say we just spoke and we mean text messages were exchanged.

Actual “Face Time” not the video application is sort of the Holy Grail of raising kids and excruciatingly so when divorced. It’s tough to compete with all the available options for kids out there but some people are getting creative in efforts to bring new spins on things to the table.

One family that caught my attention is using the bowling alley and the miniature golf course with their phones turned off until they are all finished. They all take turns keeping score and making reservations as well as handling the gear. Some people are applying that technique to the dinner hour or other shared activities in order to really connect with each other instead of their equipment.

Whatever it is I’d like to think that there’s something we can do together that doesn’t involve screens-unless it’s the screen on the back door of a cabin on a lake.

Divorce Continuum

Divorce Resolution Continuum

By Diana Mercer, Attorney-Mediator, copyright 2003

The decision to divorce is followed by a number of choices for how a case might be filed and later resolved. Some of the steps are a loop, and others may be mixed and matched, but the general continuum, from least confrontational to most confrontational, is:

Decision to Divorce

• No response: spouse ignores petition, or is missing = proceed by Default

• Kitchen Table discussion on how to resolve case, do-it-yourself papers

• See a lawyer, get an idea of rights, then resolve around the Kitchen Table and DIY

• Use a paralegal or one lawyer to draft the papers, no individual representation

• Individual representation with lawyer for one party only who helps parties settle informally, without court


• Mediation with lawyers involved, to a more or lesser degree

• Streamlined Collaborative Divorce

• Collaborative Divorce

• Start litigation

• Litigation at first but ultimately settle

• Litigation at first, but use Private Judge or Arbitrator for final decision

• Litigation and Trial

Know your choices. Litigation attorneys have a reputation for determining the total amount of your net assets, dividing by their hourly rate, and then that’s how long your case takes. Some cases cannot avoid litigation, but understand the toll and the cost.

8 Keys to Resolving Divorce Conflict


You never thought it would happen to you, yet here you are faced with divorce. Maybe you asked for the divorce. Maybe you’re the one who is being left.  Even if it is something you and your spouse both want equally, you are facing a crisis.  You may be wondering why we’re talking about resolving family conflict now, when you’re pretty sure you’re getting a divorce.

If divorce is your reality, why not make the best of it? This may seem impossible right now, given the state of your relationship. It is not. Even if you are not on speaking terms with your spouse today, you can end the conflict in your relationship and uncover peace.  We’ve seen this again and again with many, couple talkingmany couples in our divorce mediation practice.

You can learn how to bring peace into your marriage, even as it is dissolving. Peacemaking is a skill, just like any other, and it starts with understanding and using eight keys to resolving family conflict. Keep in mind that it is actually harder to remain at odds with someone than it is to make peace.  Once you learn these skills, you’re sure to reap the benefits in all the other parts of your life.       

The 8 Keys take only a minute to learn and a lifetime to master. Practice makes perfect.

The 8 Keys to Resolving Divorce Conflict

  1. Be hard on the problem, not the people
  2. Understand that acknowledging and listening are not the same as obeying
  3. Use I-statements
  4. Give the benefit of the doubt
  5. Have awkward conversations real time
  6. Keep the conversation going. Life is a dialogue
  7. Ask yourself “Would I rather be happy or right?”    
  8. Be easy to talk to

Using these eight simple keys will revolutionize your divorce experience as well as your home life — and even life at work.  They’re easy to practice and implement once you get started.  The more you use these techniques, the better you’ll get.  You don’t need to save them just for your divorce process.  There is life after divorce. 

When tensions arise, you’ll be operating from a more peaceful baseline and more apt to remember to use these keys to resolving conflict where ever it occurs in your life.

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Diana Mercer is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services, She is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin/Perigee 2010), Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001) and 8 Simple Keys to Building and Growing Your Mediation or Arbitration Practice (Peace Talks Press 2011). Diana also writes for the Huffington Post as well as her own blog Making Divorce Work.

Resolving Divorce Conflict – Be Hard on the Problem, Not the People

A Closer Look at Resolving Divorce Conflict

Key 1: Be hard on the problem, not the people.

We made this the first conflict resolution skill because it’s likely the first one you’ll put to use.  Right now, it may be hard not to see your spouse as the problem, as the reason for your divorce.  Or the other way around. That’s why we think it’s such an important skill to learn. 

Change the nature of the fight and you’ll change the dynamic. Stop throwing stones in arguments.  Using blame, shame, or guilt to get your spouse to do something will become less effective as your relationship ends, because each of you will stop making the little concessions you once made for one another in the relationship. Instead, address the problem rather than laying blame on your spouse.  For example, “Whether or not to sell our house is a tough decision.  We both have a lot of work to do. I would like to work together to figure this out”, works much better than, “If you’d only earned more money while we were married, we wouldn’t have to think about selling our house.”couple

If you don’t keep the problem separate from your relationship, you risk having the conflict overtake your life (especially after your divorce).When two people who are stakeholders in a relationship are at odds, they sometimes say and do all sorts of irrational things, project, deny and shift blame.

All this drama has nothing to do with solving your problem. But there are things you can do to focus hard on the problem, not the person. The goal is to work with your spouse, rather than being adversarial.

  • Bite your tongue. Think before you respond. Those few seconds of tongue biting can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

  • Remember that your problem is mutual. You need your spouse in order to solve this problem — and to reach an agreement. You will catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

  • It takes two to have an argument. If you refuse to take the bait for a fight, the fight can’t happen. 

  • Reframe your problem as a mutual problem and use “we” language.  “We need to decide what to do with the credit card debt” gets a different reception than “You need to deal with your credit card debt or we’ll never have an agreement.”

  • Think about the situation from your spouse’s point of view, even if you think he or she is wrong. Remember, you need this person to sign your agreement.  By only thinking of your own perspective, you’ll never get resolution.

  • Don’t interpret what is going on based only on your fears. Resist the urge to turn everything into a catastrophe.  You will get through this.

  • Don’t blame.  Blame doesn’t get you anywhere, especially not now.

  • Let your spouse blow off steam and don’t take it personally.  Not everything is an invitation to fight, and even if it is, you’re not coming to that party.

  • Listen. Acknowledge your spouse’s feelings without being patronizing.

  • Be direct; don’t play games.  Have your own priorities straight.

Though many of these points are common sense, when the relationship gets tangled up in the problem, things can get volatile fast

Resolving Divorce Conflict – Listening Is Not Obeying

A Closer Look at Resolving Divorce Conflict 

Key 2: Understand that Acknowledging and Listening are NOT the same as Obeying


You may be tempted to issue decrees as you deal with your spouse over your divorce.  It might seem a whole lot easier to lay down the law and have those around you adhere to it.  You may feel you’ve heard enough and all you want is to be heard.  You may really want things to go your way.  The chances of that happening however, go way down if the only way you and your spouse communication is through an argument.

It may have been a long time since you’ve really listened to one another.  The people who successfully navigate a divorce mediation are those people who’ve learned how to listen.  Even with that seems like the hardest thing to do. When people argue, generally they’re just waiting for their turn to talk

Resolving Divorce Conflict – Key 3: Use I-Statements

A Closer Look at Resolving Divorce Conflict

Key 3: Use I-Statements

When you’ve spent the better part of your working life mediating and finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts, you begin to see patterns of both conflict and resolution.  In our divorce mediation practice, we’re big fans of  “I” statements.  “I” statements are conflict resolution magic. The best part is that they’re simple to incorporate into your habits.  And, for the recipient, the I-statement request is easier to honor.  “I feel sentimental about keeping my grandmother’s pots and pans” makes a much more peaceful case for kecouple talkingeping them than “You can’t take all our kitchen stuff.”

I-statements create collaboration and build on personal responsibility rather than blame.

The opposite of the I-statement is the You-statement. You-statements are inherently judgmental. They feel like an accusation (and usually are). A You-statement is your opinion of the other person.

Imagine your spouse saying any of the following things to you:

  • You are crazy.
  • You can’t do that.
  • You are so lazy.
  • You are loud.
  • You are wrong.

An I-statement gives your spouse information about you. It doesn’t put your spouse on the defensive because you are the vulnerable one. Imagine your former spouse saying any of the following to you:

  • I am feeling very insecure about having to support myself after so many years.
  • I am so resentful of how much money we are spending on this divorce.
  • I do not want to feel like I am not a part of my kids’ day to day life.
  • I am so angry that you introduced your girlfriend to the kids without letting me know first.

There is nothing to get defensive about when your spouse is merely telling you something about herself. You are not responsible for how she feels or to help her feel differently. This type of information sharing helps foster communication. It makes no judgments or demands.           

To create an I-statement, start your sentence with “I” and then use healthy personal disclosure to tell your spouse what is going on with you. Simply saying, “I’d feel so much more financially secure if you could pay off your student loan,” goes a lot further than, “You racked up that debt, not me.”

I-statements are an easy way to show your spouse you are comfortable expressing vulnerability as you divorce. Since they are clearly your opinion or your feelings, and not a command for the other person, they are much easier for the other person to hear.  They also verbalize a sense of yourself as separate from the “we” you once were and allow you to take personal responsibility for your thoughts and feelings. Practice using them in all your relationships, not just with your spouse, so you can get used to thinking in terms of I-statements all the time.  It’s a valuable lesson with an impact well beyond your divorce.

Diana Mercer is an Attorney-Mediator and the founder of Peace Talks Mediation Services, She is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin/Perigee 2010), Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001) and 8 Simple Keys to Building and Growing Your Mediation or Arbitration Practice (Peace Talks Press 2011). Diana also writes for the Huffington Post as well as her own blog Making Divorce Work.

Divorce & Holidays: Stay Focused On What Matters Most Holiday Season

Staying Focused On What Matters This Holiday Season

For most children, the holidays are an exciting time that they look forward to all year. However for some, especially those whose parents are separated, they can be dispiriting and difficult.

For tips on how to keep your child happy and upbeat during this season, read the below blog by Christina McGhee, a divorce coach and family therapist.

Also, contact us here at Peace Talks to help you resolve any parenting disputes with your holiday arrangements. Don’t wait until December 24th to figure out where your children will be spending Christmas morning.


Ten-year old Daniel had always loved the holidays.  At least he used to.  Since his parents split up, nothing seemed the same.  Before they always spent Christmas Day with Mom’s relatives. He had lots of cousins to play with, special time with his Uncle Charlie and a huge family celebration.

One afternoon, Daniechild sad christmasl overheard Mom talking to Dad on the phone. He could tell Mom had been crying. She said something about “Can’t he just spend part of the day with me?”  

A few minutes later Mom told Daniel this year he’ll be going to Grandma’s house for Christmas with Dad.  Daniel knows going to Grandma’s equals no cousins to play with and a lot of time driving in the car.  While he wants to be fair, Daniel wishes he could tell his Dad he doesn’t want to go.  He hates seeing Mom so upset.  

Daniel thinks back to past celebrations when Mom and Dad were still married.  They never had to go to Grandma’s before.  Why did everything have to change?

Instead of talking with Mom and Dad, Daniel just keeps quiet, no point in making things worse.

For kids like Daniel, the holidays can stir up lots of unspoken worries.  It’s those unspoken worries that inspired filmmaker, Ellen Bruno’s most recent endeavor, SPLIT a film for kids (and by kids) of divorce. Scheduled for release in the fall of 2013, SPLIT offers a candid and revealing look at how kids of divorce feel about family change. Reassuring children they’re not alone, Bruno’s film also offers lots of healing moments as kids from all walks of life open up about heartaches and lessons learned. 

To see a clip of Bruno’s work in progress or to make a contribution to this very special project, visit their Kickstarter page.

Until we can tap into the wisdom SPLIT has to offer, here are few tips to help you stay focused on what matters most to your kids this holiday season from divorce coach and Split supporter, Christina McGhee.

Keep your emotions in check

This holiday season your children will be taking their cues from you. Make sure you are paying attention to your feelings and needs this holiday season.  Think through where you might need a little extra support and create a plan for how you can meet those needs.

Talk about it

Be sure you talk with your children about what the holiday will look like for your family this year. While it may seem like an obvious thing to do, have a discussion about what will be different and what will stay the same.  It can also helpful to discuss with kids what’s most important to them this holiday season but also what will be the hardest parts.  Although you may think you know how your kids are feeling, take time to do a quick check in.  Not only does it give you a chance to learn a little more, it reassures your kids that it’s okay to talk.

Don’t focus on fair

When it comes to holiday schedules and special celebrations, dochildren happy christmas your best to stay focused on how it feels for your kids. Remember what may feel fair to you or your Ex may not feel so great for your kids. 

Whenever possible be flexible and let your kids’ needs guide your holiday planning.

Map it out

When the holidays hit, keeping kids informed about plans or last minute changes often get lost in the shuffle.

To keep things on track, make a color-coded holiday calendar so kids will know how and when they’re spending time with each parent. It also helps to include other significant seasonal events or special days with other important family members.

Give kids a heads up

Going back and forth between Mom’s house and Dad’s house can be a real challenge for kids.  Think ahead about how you can help your kids smoothly transition to the other parent’s home.  For example, instead of pulling kids away from a festive family celebration and shuffling out them door to Mom’s or Dad’s house without warning, give your kids a heads up about what the plan is before you arrive.

Keep it simple

When you’re sharing time between two households, avoid the temptation to “supersize” your holiday by overdoing or overindulging kids. Keep in mind; if you spend every single minute of your time together on the go, you’re likely to end up with fussy, overwhelmed and unhappy kids.

Give your holiday balance by creating pockets of down time with your kids. Think about sitting quietly and reading a book together, taking a walk in the park or enjoying a late morning family breakfast in your pajamas. Remember, less can be more.

Have fun

Whatever you do this holiday season, don’t forget to have fun and stay flexible. While traditions are important, consider the possibility of changing things up. Instead of re-shaping the whole holiday, think about one thing you could do different that you and your kids will enjoy. Along with strengthening your relationship, breaking away from the “usual” can also create special memories for years to come.


Christina McGhee is a divorce coach and family therapist. For more information on her and some of her work, including her book and iphone app, you can visit her website at

Low Cost Mediation Services

Low Cost  Mediation Services

Peace Talks Mediation Services offers a sliding scale for couples who earn less than $100,000 (total) and who have less than $200,000 in net assets.  There is also a “mediator in training” program with significantly reduced fees for couples who can’t afford the sliding scale and who don’t mind working with less experienced mediators.  (310) 301-2100 or

Couples can contact Family Court Services for a free mediation appointment by calling (213) 974-5524.  In most cases, they do not need to be involved in a court proceeding to make use of this service. 

Center for Civic Mediation (213) 896-6533. Offices available in Santa Monica as well as downtown.

Jewish Family Services: (877) 275

Choose How Confrontational Your Divorce Will Be

Divorce Resolution Continuum

By Diana Mercer, Attorney-Mediator, copyright 2013


The decision to divorce is followed by a number of choices for how a case might be filed and later resolved.  Some of the steps are a loop, and others may be mixed and matched, but the general continuum, from least confrontational to most confrontational, is:


  • Decision to Divorce
  • No response:  spouse ignores petition, or is missing = proceed by Default
  • Kitchen Table discussion on how to resolve case, do-it-yourself divorce paperwork
  • See a lawyer, get an idea of rights, then resolve around the Kitchen Table and DIY

choose how confrontational your divorce will be

  • Use a paralegal or one lawyer to draft the papers, no individual representation
  • Unbundled legal services:  one or both parties hire an attorney by the hour to do just the tasks the client needs done
  • Individual representation with lawyer for one party only who helps parties settle informally, without court
  • Mediation
  • Mediation with lawyers involved, to a more or lesser degree  *
  • Collaborative Divorce
  • Start litigation
  • Litigation at first but ultimately settle
  • Litigation at first, but use Private Judge or Arbitrator for final decision
  • Litigation and Trial


*  Referring to collaborative lawyers for independent consultations and representation for individual clients in mediated cases may be a bridge between mediation and collaborative law. There’s also less of a chance that a collaborative lawyer will derail the mediation process.  The collaborative lawyer acting as independent counsel in a mediation might also have a retainer agreement and independent counsel agreement that follows the collaborative law model in that the mediation won’t be derailed in favor of litigation, and that the client will be expected to remain in mediation until settlement is reached.