Local Lawyer Educates Clients with “Our Family in Two Houses”
Alisa Peskin-Shepherd divides major divorce issues into three categories – emotional, financial and legal.
ALisa Peskin-Shepherd faced divorce issues within her own family, and they sparked a professional interest in helping others deal with marriage dissolution issues.
As a child, she was affected by divorce proceedings initiated by her mother, a remarried widow. As an adult, her career goals shifted from social work to family law.
Gradually, after about 25 years of practice, Peskin-Shepherd again faced issues and personal choices in divorce, this time ending her own quarter-century of marriage.
When Peskin-Shepherd, the mother of two adult daughters, entered family court nine years ago on her own behalf with representation from another lawyer, she felt confident that solutions were approaching. because of his personal and professional experiences.
Working on behalf of others, she remained alert to new ways to educate and counsel clients who lacked the ideas and resources she understood.
Two years ago, this attorney discovered an approach that matched her vision and intent, and she became Michigan’s first graduate for Our Family in Two Homes, a divorce education process. It combines workbook exercises completed individually by one or both spouses and three counseling sessions for each with an attorney.
“The idea that clients could learn about the law and about their preferences, issues and conflict styles before going deeper into negotiations really made sense to me,” said Peskin-Shepherd, whose private practice, Transitions Legal, is based in Bloomfield Hills while also serving as a pro bono consultant for those seeking help through the Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit.
“Clients are always looking to save money, and the workbook allows them to do work on their own. They can determine which issues they need me to work on with them and which issues need less attention. »
The program was developed under the direction of Jacinta Gallant, a Canadian collaborating lawyer and mediator specializing in conflict resolution. Licensees have monthly Zoom meetings with her to discuss their personal experiences using the process.
Peskin-Shepherd divides major divorce issues into three categories – emotional, financial and legal. Impressed that Our Family in Two Homes is for all three, she studied the method last year and interested two clients now immersed in it.
“I belong to the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and every year we have an educational forum,” Peskin-Shepherd explained of her introduction to the program. “One workshop focused on this set of resources.
“Because I often work with people who are deciding to divorce, I recommend this approach because it can structure their time by thinking about all that is involved. It gives them instructions that might suggest their issues might be resolved so they don’t have to go ahead with the divorce.
An example of an exercise concerns the recognition of values. Participants are given a series of cards that lead them to recognize what they value and how they apply those values while interacting with family members.
“It gives people a lot of information,” said the attorney, also a mediator trained in collaborative divorce techniques, part of a process outside of the courtroom, with each client represented by a collaboratively trained attorney. and supported by a team of specialists in the fields. mental health and finances.
In collaborative divorce, decisions are made around a conference room table with participants working together.
Peskin-Shepherd explained that the considerations and procedures for a religious divorce in Judaism are separate from the civil divorces she handles. The results of religious proceedings are decided by rabbis with some attention to matters covered by civil laws.
“Most of the problems in any divorce case, whether civil or religious, stem from some kind of emotional issues,” said Peskin-Shepherd, a member of the B’nai Moshe congregation who helps with the weekly study. of the Torah. “If customers can identify them and get help, they can save money in the long run.
“Part of my mission is to educate other colleagues on the set of resources to bring them on board. I can use the resource bundle with both clients when I act as a mediator. »
“Education helps people make decisions, and I think this manual can help identify goals and options while keeping their children front and center, which is most important.”