Joanna T. Roth
 ATTORNEY AT LAW

Services

I provide family law services through co-mediation, mediation and Collaborative Law in Seattle, King County.

Family Law Services

  • Divorce
  • Child Support
  • Parenting Plans
  • Parentage

As a co-mediator, mediator or Collaborative attorney, Joanna helps couples wind down their relationships.  With thought and ample support, couples going through divorce can avoid bitter battles and transform divorce into a laboratory for learning. As part of a well-managed divorce, couples with children begin to co-create and sustain healthy, divorced families.

Co-mediation, mediation and Collaborative Law have much in common.  In each one, the clients:

  • Receive support to safely navigate conflict and power imbalances.
  • Make informed decisions.
  • Reach agreements which satisfy their interests and are tailored to their circumstances.
  • Finish the process with complete, binding agreements.
  • Complete the legal process as part of the negotiation.

All three have as a starting point that ex-spouses continue to be family to their children, and that building the co-parenting relationship is as important as dismantling the spousal relationship.  Children in families where the parents consistently resolve conflict fare better than those in families where the parents’ conflict is entrenched.

Co-mediation, mediation and Collaborative Law take the place of fighting in court.  Joanna works to make sure that couples understand the legal process, and that they fully understand their agreements.  All of this happens without turning over decision-making to the court.

In considering which method is best suited to your circumstances, think of how much support you need in order to reach a lasting, informed agreement.  How much difficulty do you and your spouse currently have communicating?  How much will you need to find out, perhaps about the values of assets, or how the children might adapt to changes in the family?  How much do you and your spouse already agree on finances and parenting?  Generally speaking, Collaborative Law offers a great depth of support, co-mediation is flexible in how much support is provided, and mediation is a lighter, highly flexible process.

To inquire into how co-mediation, mediation or Collaborative Law might fit your circumstances, contact Joanna at 206 283 9050, or Joanna@rothattorney.com.

Co-Mediation

Co-mediation works well for couples who want the assistance of a lawyer and related professionals, without escalating conflict. The couple meets regularly with a therapist-mediator and attorney-mediator to reach a complete settlement. A financial specialist and child specialist also work with the couple as needed. Settlements have to work on a number of different levels: financially, emotionally, legally, and as part of the overall family transition. The benefit of co-mediation is that the professionals work together as an efficient, thoughtful team. At the end, the couple has a complete set of informed, legally binding agreements that take into consideration the couples’ finances, emotional well-being, and family needs.

The attorney-mediator has experience as a family law attorney, and draws on that knowledge in the co-mediation. The attorney-mediator uses her knowledge and experience to guide the couple toward complete agreements, rather than to give legal advice.

Mediation

Mediation is similar to co-mediation in approach, but does not have an integrated team. The couple works primarily with the mediator, who is a family law attorney. While the couple may consult with other professionals such as a financial specialist, the other professionals do not work in concert with the mediator.

The focus is on reaching an agreement. Mediation is geared to people who have a limited interest in having input from financial and child specialists. Couple who are confident that they have a fairly complete knowledge of their finances, and who have fewer questions about how their children might handle the changes in their family are best suited for this type of mediation.

Collaborative Law

In Collaborative Law, there is an explicit agreement that the attorneys will not fight for their clients in court, other than to enter agreed orders. This creates a strong incentive to find a solution, and also provides a safe shelter in which to identify options for settlement. Collaborative Law works well for couples who want to negotiate while working closely with their respective lawyers. As in co-mediation, the lawyers are part of a professional team. The professional team typically includes a coach, who has a background in mental health; a financial specialist; and a child specialist. The lawyers take an active role in managing the divorce negotiations, and coordinate their efforts with those of the other team members. Collaborative Law goes into great depth in considering the family finances, the well-being of the children, and the transition to a two-household family.