A Lawyer and a Therapist
Laura Collins, J.D.
Attorney at Law
As an attorney, people rely on me to be logical, rational, knowledgeable about the law, and even a little bit wise. While Russell is monitoring the subjective processes at play in the mediation, I'm using my skills to guide the process from a different standpoint - the objective standpoint of legal rights and the legal ramifications - so that the outcome is one that each of you can be satisfied with, and which still holds up to the Cousin Betty test.
The Cousin Betty test? The inevitable call from a well-meaning relative insisting, "You should have used my attorney. He would have gotten you twice as much." As an attorney-mediator, I want you to be able to say to Cousin Betty: "I know very well what I could have gotten or could have lost, but we decided to make our own choices, based on what was right for us and our children, rather than trying to beat each other up, or leaving it to the judge to decide."
I'm also responsible for making sure that your agreements are documented and filed with the court.
Russell Collins, Psy.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
For many people, divorce is the most emotionally wrenching experience of their life. As a licensed marriage and family therapist, this is my domain.
During a mediation I'm working hard to provide a safe and controlled environment where the emotionally charged issues can be brought out and resolved.
I'm also bringing some communication tools—skills I teach that really work to keep the lines open and the process moving forward when big emotions are at play.
I'll tell you everything you need to know about the developmental process each of your children is going through—and help you plan your agreement accordingly.
Even more important, I think, I can help you hear and be heard when the hurt and frustration built up during the marriage threaten to drown out each of your clear commitment to a happy future for yourselves and your kids.
Finally, because the road of life is a curvy one, I consider it my job to offer some driver's ed for the years ahead. Beyond the written instructions - a parenting plan that gives explicit guidance for decision-making in most foreseeable circumstances—I offer communications "check-ups" and coaching to help you handle the changing circumstances of your lives and relationships.
Laura and Russell
It's our belief that two heads are better than one when it comes to guiding you through this important negotiation—a process that will put in place the template that will impact your family's lives and happiness for a long time to come.
To read more about the benefits of co-mediation please go to the Articles section.