Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw
Phone: 415-968-5909
Fax: 415-874-1989


1108 Fifth Avenue, Suite 200
San Rafael, CA 94901




Call for a free 30 minute consultation

Philosophy And Practice

The break-up of long term relationships, divorce and custody/parenting issues trigger unique emotional, legal and financial concerns for every individual, every family. The adversarial legal system - where process drives communication and former partners in love and life are pitted against each other in a contest to be decided by a stranger in a public courtroom - draws out and preys on negative feelings of fear, anger, sadness and shame and is woefully inadequate to address these complexities, often exacerbating conflict and causing unnecessary harm to everyone concerned.

But what if we could create affordable processes that give families the flexibility and support to resolve issues themselves and restructure their lives in a way that acknowledges and honors complexity, as well as providing opportunity to make positive changes?

At the Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw we recognize that many people facing divorce feel like they are going through one of the most difficult experiences of their lives. This can be true for both parties, regardless of who initiated the changes. However, it can also be an opportunity to reassess your circumstances, get your life back on track or choose an entirely new direction. Seen this way divorce can be a catalyst for positive change for you and for your children. For this reason, our work with you focuses beyond merely surviving the process toward a future where you and your children can thrive.

Whether you are seeking a mediator for a divorce or for custody/parenting issues or consulting attorney/coach to keep you informed, help you stay focused and advocate for you as you mediate, or a collaborative practice attorney, Julia will be an advocate and ally for your success.

Mediation: Julia acts as a neutral, balanced, confidential mediator and practices understanding-based mediation which is guided by the following four interrelated principles:

  • understanding rather then coercion or persuasion should drive the process;
  • you and your spouse should decide whether and how the situation is resolved;
  • you and your spouse are best served by working together and making decisions together; and,
  • conflicts are best resolved by uncovering what lies underneath them.

Her goal is to empower families to fully participate in reaching their own agreements about their finances and their children through: cooperative information gathering; addressing emotional blockages to understanding and agreement; supporting and encouraging creative, informed solution-based discussion; and, decision-making based on mutual consent. Mediation can be used to resolve your entire case or for just parenting issues, as well as for pre/post-marital agreements. Julia's background as a family law attorney and her education and experience gained through her M.A. in Counseling Psychology, uniquely position her to help her clients succeed in this process.

Individual Consulting Attorney/Coaching. If you are contemplating mediation or a collaborative process and are looking for a consulting attorney/coach, Julia is uniquely positioned to provide the integrated support you need. Julia will be your advocate, working with you to:

  • ensure you understand your legal and financial circumstances by educating you about the law and the impact of divorce on your financial situation, bringing in experts where appropriate;
  • formulate a strategic plan including differentiating between immediate desires, short term goals and long term goals so that you can set new positive goals for yourself that you can communicate clearly;
  • develop your autonomy by providing the support and advice you need to make decisions that work best for you;
  • help with the mechanics and paperwork, working with you to efficiently and cost-effectively gather, provide and respond to requests for information and documents as required as well as to review documents provided by your spouse; and,
  • review settlement agreements you have negotiated in mediation to ensure you understand the full ramifications and options you may have.

It's about your life and your decisions, and Julia will work with you to give you the resources and support you need to make them and achieve a positive outcome for you. In the event you find yourself with no choice other than to litigate, Julia will work with you to find appropriate counsel, as well as to provide a seamless transfer of information and can continue to work with you as a coach should you so choose.

Whether you have already started down the path of litigation and have realized that you want to take back as much control over your life and the future of your family as you can, or whether you are just starting this process and are looking for an alternative solution, the Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw is here to work with you to re-invent and re-vision your family.

Find out more about our services.

The Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw offers family law services to clients located throughout the Bay Area, including in Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco and Alameda counties. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.