Author Archives Heidi Risser

40 Hour Mediation Class

Posted by Heidi Risser
on November 1, 2018

On October 26th, Mark Riopel, Ketan Soni and I finished up our first 40-hour Mediation Training class.  We had a terrific class of attendees. All of us worked very hard over a two-week period. The moral and enthusiasm of the attendees remained high, even after four ten-hour days!

Ketan, Mark and I pose after teaching our 40-hour mediation training.

Ketan, Mark and I pose after teaching our 40-hour mediation training.

We enjoyed getting to know the students and learning why they want to become mediators. Most of the students in the class were lawyers. We also had several non-lawyers in attendance. It was inspiring to see them hone their mediation skills and become better mediators over the course of the class.

Sarah Kemble lent her help to the class - thank you Sarah!

Sarah Kemble was an enthusiastic attendee of the class – thank you Sarah!

We covered several topics that are pertinent in mediation during the class. We learned bargaining techniques, basic family law topics, Myers Briggs issues, and High Conflict issues. Additionally, mock mediations gave everyone a chance to practice new mediation skills.

Ann Kreindler Seigal was a fabulous, enthusiastic student - thank you Ann!

Ann Kreindler Seigal was a fabulous, enthusiastic student – thank you Ann!

Mark, Ketan and I were so pleased that our local mediation community supported our class by serving as mock mediation observers and guest speakers. We could not have asked for a better beginning to our mediation training. I cannot wait to offer this class again in the Spring!

For more information on mediation training, please visit our website here.

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Ketan Soni’s Up and Coming Mediator Award Ceremony

Posted by Heidi Risser
on October 25, 2018
Ketan Soni poses at the NCDRC Up and Coming Mediator Award ceremony in Raleigh.

Ketan Soni poses at the NCDRC Up and Coming Mediator Award ceremony in Raleigh.

I am so proud of my fellow mediation trainer, Ketan Soni.  He has just won the first annual Up and Coming Mediator Award presented by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission (NCDRC).

Tara Kozlowski, Executive Director of the DRC, and I caught up at Ketan's award ceremony.

Tara Kozlowski, Executive Director of the DRC, and I caught up at Ketan’s award ceremony.

Ketan and I drove up to the Dispute Resolution Commission (DRC) in Raleigh, NC on Wednesday of last week for the first annual 2018 Up and Coming Mediator of the Year Award.  The DRC honored Ketan because of his outstanding work innovating and furthering the mission of mediation in North Carolina.

Chief Justice Mark Martin presents Ketan Soni with the Up and Coming Mediator of the Year award.

Chief Justice Mark Martin presents Ketan Soni with the Up and Coming Mediator of the Year award.

Ketan developed and taught Continuing Mediation Education courses in Charlotte, NC. He also developed and will teach an upcoming Mediator Training course.  Ketan also has made great strides developing his own mediation practice.  Ketan’s award was presented by Chief Justice Mark Martin, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina

Ketan poses with Chief Justice Mark Martin, Tara Kozlowski, and Maureen Robinson, Administrative Assistant of the DRC.

Ketan poses with Chief Justice Mark Martin, Tara Kozlowski, and Maureen Robinson, Administrative Assistant of the DRC.

In addition, Ketan found out that the NCDRC adopted a new Advisory Opinion (AO 38). This prevents lawyers or mediation participants from using the notes or statements made during mediation, with a few narrow exceptions, in furtherance of a claim for attorneys fees.  This will protect the mediator from having to testify in attorneys fees hearings and will protect the process of mediation in general.  Way to go, Ketan!

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Collaborative Method

Posted by Heidi Risser
on October 16, 2014

The Collaborative method of resolving family law matters is very different from litigation. First, the Collaborative method involves signing a Collaborative Agreement. In the Collaborative Agreement, both parties and their collaborative attorneys agree to share information openly, to negotiate in good faith, and not to litigate. If the matter does not settle, both parties must find new attorneys. This way, both the parties and the lawyers have “skin in the game.” Next, both parties and their lawyers begin to meet. We call these 4-way meetings. The issues are discussed, information and documents are exchanged, and possible solutions are presented. Along the way, other professionals may be called in to help the parties resolve any differences, such as: financial advisors, tax experts, child therapists, or mediators. Once the issues have been resolved, final settlement documents are prepared and signed by the parties. Risser Law offers the Collaborative method to every case in which it is appropriate and prefers this method of settling family differences.

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Children Don’t Get to Choose

Posted by Heidi Risser
on September 18, 2014

Many people believe there is a “magic age” at which children can choose which parent they live with or whether they visit a parent at all.  The perceived age ranges from twelve to fifteen.  People think, “By fifteen, certainly my child can choose not to see my ex, right?”  Wrong.  In North Carolina, children do not have that choice until they are eighteen, in other words, until they are legally adults.  Until that time, courts generally encourage children to spend time with both parents.  Sometimes, when one parent is extremely resistant to the child seeing the other parent, a court will insist the child spend time with the other parent.

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