Welcome to the family and elder law and mediation practice of Alexandria Skinner, J.D. This is a boutique practice devoted to “helping people tackle problems instead of each other”.
This is a practice only for people who want to be fair to themselves and to each other in planning for or implementing personal and family transitions. Whether parties need help finding what is fair or whether they want to implement an agreement they already think is fair, most clients coming to this practice are seeking help with:
- ESTATE PLANNING AND ELDER CARE PLANNING (WILLS, TRUSTS, POWERS OF ATTORNEY, HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES),
- ELDER LAW or ELDER CARE FOR VULNERABLE ADULTS, usually addressed through
---elder mediation or
---adult guardianship or conservatorship legal proceedings,
- NON-ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE including:
--- mediated divorce,
--- uncontested divorce,
--- collaborative divorce,
- ADOPTION (usually by a grandparent, step-parent, or other person who has been caring for the child),
- PARENTING PLANS (e.g. establishing or making a change in legal custody, guardianship, schedules, residence, etc),
- NAME CHANGE (for both adults and children),
- PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS.
It is said that if the only tool in your tool kit is a hammer, then the whole world looks like a nail. Often, when parties are in conflict consult with an attorney, that attorney’s first response is to suggest the filing of legal papers. Certainly, filing of cases in court (also called “litigation”) is an important and valuable tool for addressing conflict. However, litigation is not the only tool utilized in this practice. There are many tools available for resolution of conflict, some of which may be objectively better than a lawsuit, in a given case. Parties are wise to consider all of the tools in the toolbox before deciding which approach to use.
Sometimes parties file papers only to find that this action compounded their troubles (and cost) instead of making their situation better. Each individual case is unique and deserves an approach tailored to the needs of the parties, not just a one-size-fits-all, knee-jerk response. The first step is always a consultation to discuss your needs, goals, and unique circumstances. If your needs are straightforward, that’s great. If they are not, more sophisticated or less obvious options will be explored.
In this integrative style practice, options explored may include conflict coaching, negotiation, multiple forms of mediation (mediation is a term that refers to many different forms of conflict resolution and in this practice includes transformative, narrative, facilitative, and evaluative styles of mediation), preventive legal planning, and also including lawsuits in appropriate cases. Subject matter experts may be consulted, on a case by case basis, to ensure that all client needs have been considered and that negative consequences can be avoided to the extent possible. The goal in every case is to utilize the entire toolbox in such a way as to meet the unique goals, needs, and values of the parties themselves. An equally important goal is for remedies to be long term, sustainable, and cost effective.