Family mediation is a problem-solving process that gives individuals and family members the opportunity to reach amicable legal settlements. I am Darcia Tudor, and at Eastside Mediation & Arbitration in Kirkland, Washington, I have helped families throughout King County mediate a wide range of domestic issues, including child access, parental relocation, parental alienation, contested modifications, guardianships and custody and visitation disputes. I bring more than 30 years of legal experience, 20 years as a mediator and 10 years as a licensed mental health counselor to finding ways to focus on common ground and to avoid costly, lengthy litigation.
Divorce battles can have a devastating effect on the lives of the entire family, and especially for the children caught in the middle of these disputes, whose wildly varying reactions can range from anger to withdrawal. At Eastside Mediation & Arbitration, I take an approach that is sensitive to your child’s emotional needs during this difficult time. Child-focused mediation encourages parents to focus on their responsibilities for and relationships with their children. Among the other benefits is versatility in court appearances (including through FaceTime appointments), which can help a child feel more comfortable. My firm’s mediation services facilitate communication and promote an atmosphere of cooperation.
I serve as both a court-appointed guardian ad litem and a parent evaluator in western Washington. In these roles, I step in when parents can’t reach an agreement about how to best parent their children after divorce or legal separation. A guardian ad litem represents the child in court, making recommendations based on interviews and investigation and communicating a child’s preferences to the court. Each county keeps a registry of qualified guardians ad litem who have completed the requisite training. A parenting evaluator is a mental health professional, often with specific training, experience and education relating to adult and child psychopathology, family systems, and child and adolescent development.
As both a guardian ad litem and a parent evaluator, I investigate children’s situations and circumstances and interview parents, teachers, care providers and others with personal knowledge of the family’s dynamics. I also evaluate the parents’ capacity and emotional deficits. I then prepare a report with fact findings and recommendations for treatment to improve parental capacity and protect the children.
I can arrange a collaborative divorce in cases where a divorcing couple has the ability to work together to determine what is fair. This involves the help of a professional team consisting of attorneys for each spouse and, when appropriate, a financial planner, child specialist and/or therapeutic coaches. The team’s focus is minimizing conflict in order to facilitate constructive discussions that lead to responsible financial and parenting decisions. The lawyers are retained solely for the settlement negotiations and cannot represent the parties in court if the negotiations do not produce a resolution.
To find out whether family law mediation may be the right option for your situation, call Eastside Mediation & Arbitration at 206-547-3166 or contact me online to schedule your free consultation at my Kirkland office.