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Gebhardt Emerson Moddie Bonanno

Alternative Dispute Resolution


At Gebhardt Emerson Moodie Bonanno, LLC, we believe that families are truly best served when they obtain comprehensive and practical resolutions to their family law disputes outside of court.  Through settlement, the parties have control over the final arrangement for their family, whereas, in court, a judge is making a decision for you based on limited interaction and evidence. While we recognize that it is not always possible to avoid appearing before a judge, as one side may not be willing to reach mutually agreeable resolution, we are experienced in alternative methods of resolving your case to give your family the best chance possible to maintain some control over the outcome.


Our dynamic family law attorneys are experienced in both attending mediation with our clients and as acting as mediators for parties who need neutral facilitation services. Generally, before any case moves to court, the judge will require attendance at mediation, which is an excellent opportunity to resolve the conflict in a creative way that may not be available to the judge.  Parties attend a session or more with a divorce mediator, who is a neutral working with them (and with their attorneys, if represented) to reach a full or partial agreement.  If a full agreement is reached, court becomes unnecessary.  In mediation, we work with you to problem solve in a more peaceful way to maintain control over the outcome of your case.


For those family law cases that may require more assistance and time than a single day of mediation may allow, but where parties are dedicated to resolving matters with dignity outside of court, collaborative law is another available method of alternative dispute resolution.  Through collaborative law, parties commit to resolving their case outside of court, and use collaboratively trained attorneys to assist them with the process.  A collaboratively trained divorce attorney is important, as collaborative law is premised on a change in focus from traditional litigation: the goal is what is best for the family as a whole, not necessarily how much each party can take from the other.  As such, traditional litigators and the mindset that goes with it may make the process impossible.  

At GEM Family Law, our collaboratively trained attorneys are skilled in working through cases to reduce conflict and see the bigger picture, which results in comprehensive resolutions that meet the client’s and family’s needs as a whole.


Most of the time, submitting your family law issues to the judge will not get you speedy resolution or results your matter requires, particularly as it relates to children.  In cases where there is a high likelihood of future conflict, our family law attorneys can help you by acting as a parenting coordinator and/or decision-maker for your family.  In the role of a parenting coordinator, our attorneys act as neutrals to help you and your co-parent identify potential resolution to your conflict.  As a decision-maker, our attorneys act as the neutral “tie breaker,” issuing decisions that are enforceable in court so that months of litigation and expense may be avoided.