Quiet Divorce: Karen
Hendrickson, collaborative attorney & mediator


About Karen

Collaborative Practice


About Divorce



iacp International
Association of
CCRE Collaborative
Council of the
Redwood Empire
CPC Collaborative
Practice Center

What is Family Law Mediation?

Family Law Mediation is a process by which people resolve their family disputes with the help of a neutral attorney experienced in mediation work who can help them reach a settlement of all the legal issues of a family law matter.

The ultimate goal is to reach agreements which meet the goals of each participant. My role as a mediator is to facilitate your discussions, give information to make sure all legal bases are covered and brainstorm solutions. You make all the decisions. I have been through this with hundreds of people, and I have a lot of ideas on how to carry out what you are working towards.

I will also give you my opinion as to how the court would rule on each of the issues to enable you to make informed decisions. I feel strongly that to reach decisions that are best for you and your family, it is helpful to know what results the judicial system is most likely to impose. Your agreements do not need to match this model.

After each meeting, I send out a letter outlining the tentative agreements reached, the issues still to be discussed and the paperwork still needed. This provides a running history for all of us. All of the decisions reached at our meetings are ultimately drafted by me into a written agreement.

Between meetings, you may wish to talk with your own advising attorney. In fact, once an agreement has been reached on the disputed issues, that agreement should be reviewed by an independent attorney for each of you.


Mediation saves money, time and emotional stress. Mediation avoids expensive court appearances and the bitterness and hostility that accompany them.

Your agreements will be honored because you are the ones who make them, not your attorneys or a judge.

Children are better served when their parents work out a custody-sharing plan for them rather than having a schedule imposed by the court system. You will produce an agreement that is tailored to your family's needs.


  • Separation and Divorce
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Spousal and Child Support
  • Division of Property
  • Domestic Partnership Dissolution
  • Non-Marital Relationship Break-up


How can Mediation work if we are arguing right now?
Often just having a neutral third person present can open up the lines of communication. Also, I am trained to help you communicate with each other in an effective manner.

Will Mediation be easy?
I never tell anyone that mediation is "easy." It is never easy to negotiate sometimes complex legal issues during what is, of course, an emotional time and with a person with whom your relationship is changing dramatically. Going through a breakup is like going through any process of loss; we all go through the stages of denial, anger, grieving and, ultimately, acceptance. People begin their legal negotiations at any one of these stages and are not necessarily experiencing the same one that their partner is in. Sometimes, when the feelings are too raw, we set ground rules that reduce the "button pushing" or possibly try to reach temporary agreements that will allow a break before meeting again.

What about all the court paperwork?
We will work together to prepare the needed court paperwork and my assistant will handle all the details of serving and filing this paperwork with the court.

Should our attorneys attend?
Mediation can be very effective with only the parties present and also very effective with attorneys present. Your attorneys will have ideas on which will work best for you, and I can also help you decide.

How many meetings will I need?
I have had cases which have been completed in 2 meetings and 2 months and cases needing 12 meetings and over 2 years. After the first meeting I will have a good estimate of how many meetings you might need. An average would be from 3 to 4 meetings.

What if I have questions?
If you have any questions about the mediation process, please bring them up at the first session or call and speak with me or my legal assistant.

©Karen M. Hendrickson, all rights reserved.

McLaughlin & Hendrickson
121 North Main Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Phone: (707) 823-2130 / Fax: (707) 823-8089
Email: karenhendrickson@juno.com

Alternative meeting location:
Collaborative Practice Center
829 Sonoma Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95404