The Law & Mediation Center

Mediation

What is mediation?

Why choose mediation?

When is mediation appropriate?

Family Law

How can you address issues of separation and divorce?

How can you address issues of custody, visitation and support at the end of a relationship?

How can you address concerns about protecting assets when you are preparing to marry or have already married?

Estate Planning

What do you need to do to plan for the future with regard to your assets, your finances, and your personal well-being?

Why do you need a Durable Financial Power of Attorney or a Health Care Advance Directive?

How do you decide how simple or complex your estate planning needs to be?

Guardianship

Why would you need to file for guardianship?

What is the role of a Guardian of the Person?

What is the role of a Guardian of the Property?


Mediation

What is mediation?

Mediation is a cooperative process that allows individuals to seek fair and productive solutions outside of the adversarial forum of the courtroom. It is less costly and less time-consuming than litigation. As a mediator (that is, a trained professional and neutral third party), Patricia P. McDonald assists the parties in a process that allows both sides to be heard, encourages exploration of alternatives, and promotes a settlement that reflects the parties’ own solutions to the dispute.

Why choose mediation?

Mediation promotes compliance because the parties have customized their agreement to meet their own personal and family needs in a private and confidential setting.

When is mediation appropriate?

When there are conflicts that arise before a marriage begins, during a marriage, and when a marriage is ending mediation can resolve disputes in the following situations: child custody and visitation/parenting plans, child support, division of marital property, spousal support, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and post-divorce modifications to separation agreements.

When there are conflicts that arise in a business setting, between partners, between management and employees, between employees, and between landlords and tenants.

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Family Law

How can you address issues of separation and divorce?

If you are married, Patricia P. McDonald can assist you in negotiating a Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement Agreement that addresses all issues of custody, visitation, child support, alimony, property, and related matters.

How can you address issues of custody, visitation and support at the end of a relationship?

If you have been in a relationship and have children, Ms. McDonald can assist you in negotiating a Custody Agreement that addresses all issues of custody, visitation, child support, health insurance, dependents for income tax purposes, and related matters.

How can you address concerns about protecting assets when you are preparing to marry or have already married?

If you have significant assets and are preparing to marry or if you have been married before and wish to protect your estate for your children from a previous marriage, you may want to consider a Prenuptial Agreement. If you have already married and now wish to protect some of your assets for your children from a previous marriage, you may want to consider a Postnuptial Agreement.

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Estate Planning

What do you need to do to plan for the future with regard to your assets, your finances, and your personal well-being?

Patricia P. McDonald can assist you in determining and achieving your goals and objectives for estate planning through the use of a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Advance Directive, and/or a Trust.

Why do you need a Durable Financial Power of Attorney or a Health Care Advance Directive?

Should you become incompetent or otherwise unable to handle your finances and make your own health care decisions, appointing an attorney-in-fact in a Durable Financial Power of Attorney and a health care agent in a Health Care Advance Directive can assure your financial and personal well-being as well as avoid the costly and time-consuming legal process of guardianship.

How do you decide how simple or complex your estate planning needs to be?

Ms. McDonald can provide information to help you decide if your needs may be met through simple estate planning or if more complex estate planning is required, such as a minor’s trust, a special needs trust, a revocable trust or a disclaimer trust.

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Guardianship

Why would you need to file for guardianship?

If an adult member of your family becomes incompetent and cannot make decisions about his or her person or property, you may need to file for guardianship. Patricia P. McDonald can assist you in the process of filing and the hearing that will be required to appoint a guardian. She can also assist you should it be necessary to have a guardian appointed for minor children.

What is the role of a Guardian of the Person?

A Guardian of the Person is appointed by the Court to make decisions about a person’s medical care and treatment and, perhaps, placement in a nursing home or other facility should that person be unable to make appropriate decisions due to incompetency or minority.

What is the role of a Guardian of the Property?

A Guardian of the Property is appointed by the Court to make decisions about a person’s assets and finances should that person be unable to make appropriate decisions due to incompetency or minority.

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