Professional training and experience is important, but there are other important considerations.

Begin with Research

You might want to begin with some research about the divorce process itself. A good place to start is a virtual Divorce Options Workshop. Click here to find an online workshop offered by a group near you. If you are interested in a non-adversarial divorce there are several websites that are helpful including Collaborative Divorce California and Collaborative Practice East Bay. Look at the profiles on these sites but be sure to go to the professional’s website as well to learn more. Then reach out for a personal conversation.

Whether you are selecting an attorney or a mediator it is important to speak to several before making your choice. Think about what is most important to you and keep that in mind. Have a list of questions prepared to make the most of the time you spend talking. Try to cover the same questions with each, so that you can compare the responses.


You should feel comfortable talking with your professional. Pay attention to how much they listen to you, not just talk to you. Are they asking you questions? Do you feel a connection? Would you feel comfortable sharing your concerns and worries? Are they focused on you? You two will be having some important conversations and you need to feel that they are a good listener.

Approach and Philosophy

When you review their website or talk with them, what are you leaning about their approach to dissolution of marriage? Ask about their approach and philosophy. Why did they become a collaborative professional or mediator? Do they sound aggressive, or thoughtful and compassionate? Do they focus on the children, on lowering the stress of the divorce? Do they talk about settlement, or focus primarily on what they can do for you in court? Remember, you are looking for someone who is compatible with the way you want to go through the divorce process, and who will support you on the path you have chosen.

Next Steps

Emily De Falla has decades of experience working with divorcing families. As a skilled mediator and collaboratively trained attorney, she helps families stay out of court and have an amicable divorce. Our office is always available to talk with you about moving towards a respectful divorce process. If you would like to take advantage of our free consultation, please contact us or call Emily at De Falla Law & Mediation at 925-309-4550.