Mission Statement

I have been a practicing attorney for almost 50 years. As a young lawyer I had the wonderful opportunity to work as a Legal Services attorney and bring cases in Federal Court that empowered the powerless. I have served as an adjunct professor of law at the University of Texas Law School and Baylor University Law School. I have written and lectured extensively, practiced family law, and raised four children. I have seen the pain and devastation that comes with the inevitable conflicts in our society. I have seen the judicial system become overloaded, litigation costs soar, and children suffer. 

I want to spend the rest of my life helping people resolve conflicts in an honorable, kind way, with dignity and respect. I believe that the hope of a better future for our society is to resolve issues through Alternative Dispute Resolution, including Mediation and Settlement Facilitation.

Persons who have shared a good relationship should not rush to litigation. Often, relationship issues can end without undue pain through a thoughtful, even passionate, exchange of opinions, ideas, issues and conflicts during the mediation process. The mediator’s skill and presence keeps the process moving toward resolution while allowing time and space for some recognition of past pain. The mediator can help each party “hear” the other. Often, even if one person is talking directly and clearly, the other may not be “hearing” what is said. A major stumbling block to communication is misunderstanding. The mediator encourages the parties to listen actively and to acknowledge what is being said, and they are reminded that understanding is not agreeing. A person can understand perfectly and disagree completely with what the other person is saying. But if one side can state the other’s position better than they can, and then refute it, the chances of beginning a constructive dialogue is greatly improved.

Mediation helps the parties focus on their interests, not rigid positions. A person’s interests define the problem for them. For every interest there usually exist several possible positions which could satisfy it.  By leading the parties through possible alternatives while recognizing the underlying interests, solutions are readily attainable.

The mediation process helps in all relationship issues, spouses; parent-child; siblings; step-parents; step-siblings; and partnership issues. The entire family is affected when one member suffers from any type of addition, stress or anxiety, and simple problems become magnified. Mediation intervention at an early stage can help alleviate so much suffering and has the additional benefit of being the most cost-effective procedure to solve these types of issues.

It is also important to recognize the impact of litigation on children. Parents often forget that when they hurl accusations at each other in protracted litigation and pull the children in different directions, the impact on the child is devastating. A commitment by the parents to meet at the table with a skilled mediator and a child specialist will make a huge positive statement to the children and should result in the parents’ ability to co-parent in a healthy way, despite being divorced.

I encourage you to learn about the process of mediation and how it can help you or someone you know. I would be happy to meet with you and answer any questions you have about the process.

 Barbara Anne Kazen

Photo Credit: Dennis McKenzie