Who Am I?
As an experienced Massachusetts attorney and mediator addressing separation, divorce, and co-parenting issues, I help individuals and couples reach sophisticated, detailed settlements in their divorces and other family law matters. I bring 35 years of mediating, negotiating, and trial experience to my mediation and collaborative practice. Whether the issue is child-related, financial, or interpersonal, I am skilled at helping my clients reach satisfactory and equitable results. At all times, I am committed to helping my clients prioritize their children’s emotional well being and best interests throughout the process.
I am a 1981 graduate of Oberlin College and a 1986 graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. After law school, I served as a law clerk to the Justices of the Massachusetts Superior Court and then joined a boutique Boston family law firm. In 1990, I moved to Western Massachusetts and opened my solo law and mediation practice shortly thereafter. In 1994, I co-founded Schmidt & Botter, a Northampton law firm. In 1995, I was admitted as a fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a national organization of highly experienced and successful domestic relations practitioners. In 2001, I returned to solo practice as an attorney and expanded my mediation and conciliation practice while continuing to offer traditional representation services.
I have been a member of the Hampshire County Bar Association for 32 years and am a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, the Massachusetts Collaborative Law Council, and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. In the early 1990s, I co-founded the Hampshire County Bar Association Conciliation Program, an Alternative Dispute Resolution Program for Hampshire Probate and Family Court that is approved by the Trial Court. I have also served as a steering committee member of the Family Resolutions Specialty Court (FRSC) at Hampshire Probate and Family Court since its inception. I have been named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer each year since 2010 and have a distinguished status with Martindale-Hubbell as a lawyer with a very high rating in both legal ability and ethical standards.
I am originally from the New York City metropolitan area. I was raised with an appreciation for justice, compassion, and community service. My father was a trial and appellate court judge who primarily sat in Hackensack, New Jersey. My mother was a social worker in New Jersey, Manhattan, and New Rochelle, New York. My mother’s family has a long history of philanthropic work including founding the Vera Institute of Justice currently in Brooklyn, New York, a non-profit organization focused on criminal justice and immigration reform.
Following my parents’ divorce when I was in second grade, I lived with my mother in Manhattan until the summer before tenth grade, when I moved in with my father, step-mother, and step-brothers in Bergen County, New Jersey. That process involved me speaking to a Judge about changing my residence. I have a deep understanding and appreciation of the complexity of extended family dynamics and the importance of shielding children from parental conflict during separation and beyond.
I have lived in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for over 40 years. My second husband and I have a blended family of five adult children and three young grandchildren, and we are friendly with our children’s other parents. I am passionate about relationships, design, skiing, horseback riding, and equal justice. An empty nester for the past 5 years, I now have a much loved puppy.