The mission of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York is
- To promote professional excellence by providing education, development and support for family mediators; and
- To increase public awareness and use of family and divorce mediation.
Please click here to view our CE Calendar!
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FDMC Committee Descriptions
The Continuing Education Committee plans and organizes FDMC’s Continuing Education classes. They work together to suggest CE topics to the Board and obtain Board approval, set dates, arrange for speakers, the room and logistics, keep track of RSVPs, and make sure things go smoothly on the day of presentation.
The Events Committees coordinates and organizes the members’ appreciation cocktail party in the winter and the annual dinner in the spring, to help welcome members in relaxed, fun and well-run social gathering.
The Membership Committee recruits and welcomes new members. In addition, we coordinate the volunteer efforts of all members who wish to serve on FDMC committees. We are the touchstone for all inquiries made by current and prospective members of the organization.
The Nominations Committee is responsible for identifying and recommending members of the FDMC to serve on our Board. We also work to maintain staggered terms, Board balance, and keeping track of the long term goals of the Board by identifying members for Committees with an eye toward future Board membership.
The Pro Bono Committee works to promote and deliver pro bono mediation services by the FDMC members to low income New Yorkers, while giving members opportunities to mediate and provide consultation and review to parties in mediation and while increasing the use of mediation to resolve family conflicts.
The Public Relations Committee is responsible for spreading the word about FDMC’s dual missions. We will develop and implement a campaign to let the public know about the benefits of mediation in family disputes via workshops, articles and social media; and we will let mediators know about resources available to them through FDMC to support and develop excellence and success in their practices via outreach, written materials, and our website.
Board of Directors
AILIE L. SILBERT, Esq. (President, Immediate Past Vice-President, former PR Committee Chair; former CE Committee) is a family lawyer and mediator with a private practice in New York City. Ailie’s practice includes mediation, mediation support, prenuptial and postnuptial preparation, divorce consultation, divorce agreement preparation and review, and the negotiation, preparation and filing of divorce papers. Prior to launching her firm, Ailie helped litigate and settle high-conflict, high-net-worth divorce and custody matters alongside Manhattan’s preeminent divorce litigators. Ailie also serves on the New York City Bar Association’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee, the New York State Bar Association Family Law ADR Committee, the Queens County Matrimonial Mediation Panel and is a member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. Ailie is a New York Metro 2020 Super Lawyer. Contact Ailie Silbert
JO S. BRODY, Esq. (Vice President; Co-Chair Westchester CE Committee; Co-Chair Mentorship Committee) is a family and divorce mediator and collaborative attorney in Westchester and New York City, and the founder of Brody Law & Mediation, LLC. Jo mediates family disputes, including those relating to divorce, separation, parenting, and finances, as well prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. Jo also offers collaborative divorce, consulting and drafting legal services, and the preparation and processing of uncontested divorce papers. Jo has extensive mediation and collaborative divorce training and is proud to offer those services in private practice and as a volunteer or sliding scale with the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG), CLUSTER community mediation center, and FamilyKind, Jo also serves on the Board of the New York State Council of Divorce Mediation (NYSCDM), and is a member of the Family Law and ADR Sections of the NYS Bar Association (NYSBA), the Westchester Chapter of the National Association of Divorce Professionals (NADP), the Westchester Women’s Bar Association (WWBA), and the NY Association of Collaborative Professionals (NYACP). Prior to becoming a mediator/collaborative attorney, Jo was a commercial litigator in New York City. Contact Jo Brody
KATHY SEIDEN, Esq. (Secretary; Co-Chair Westchester CE Committee; PR Committee) is an attorney and mediator providing comprehensive divorce mediation from initial discussions through Judgment of Divorce. She also serves as consulting and review attorney for those who would like legal guidance and advice about agreements reached in mediation. Kathy serves as the Director of the White Plains chapter of the National Association of Divorce Professionals and is a member of the New York Council on Divorce Mediation and the New Rochelle Bar Association. Contact Kathy Seiden
JEFFREY ZIMMERMAN, Ph.D., ABPP (Treasurer, Finance Committee) is a psychologist and mediator with a private practice in New York City and Westchester. He provides mediation of parenting plans and helps parents co-parent effectively after divorce. He also co-mediates divorces working closely with attorney mediators. Jeff has co-authored 3 books on divorce and was the 2017 President of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy, Division 29, The American Psychological Association, after serving as its Treasurer. Jeff also specializes in the treatment of anxiety, depression and marital issues in his psychotherapy practice. Contact Jeff Zimmerman
LAWRENCE N. ROTHBART, Esq. (Website Committee) focuses his New York City solo practice on family law issues, including, divorce, child custody, child support, property division and maintenance. Early in his career, Larry was a law clerk for justices on the Appellate Division, 2nd Department of the New York State (NYS) Supreme Court and he spent two years in the NYS Attorney General’s Office. Thereafter, Larry was a law secretary for Justices in the Matrimonial Part of Kings County Supreme Court before switching to private matrimonial practice in 2003. Larry is on the Family Law and Alternative Dispute Resolution Sections of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and various committees of the Brooklyn Bar Association, including Family and ADR. Larry serves on the Legal Advisory Council of Sanctuary for Families, on the pro bono NY Courts’ Neutral Evaluation panel for Matrimonial matters, as a mediator for the Kings County Supreme Court Presumptive Divorce Mediation Program and on pro bono panels for the representation of individuals in Matrimonial matters in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Larry is a New York Metro 2020 Super Lawyer. Contact Larry Rothbart
HELENE BERNSTEIN, Esq. (CE Committee Chair) has been a practicing litigation attorney for over twenty-five years in New York City representing both adults and children in the Family, Supreme and Appellate Courts. After representing many children in high conflict custody and divorces cases, Helene become trained as a mediator and collaborative attorney in order to improve outcomes for families and provide options outside of the courtroom. Toward that goal, Helene and the founding members of FamilyKind, created a sliding scale fee mediation program for families going through separation and divorce. Helene currently serves on the advisory board and is a mediator consultant for the organization. In February 2019, Helene was appointed as a mediator for the Kings County Supreme Court Presumptive Divorce Mediation Program. Her professional affiliations include memberships with the ,the New York State Divorce Mediation Council, where she serves on the Membership Committee and is the moderator for the Brooklyn Mediator Peer Group, the National Association for Divorce Professionals, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, Interdisciplinary Forum on Mental Health ,and the NYS Woman’s Bar. Contact Helene Bernstein
SHARI BORNSTEIN, Esq. (PR Committee Chair) practiced in her own matrimonial and family law firm in Connecticut since the firm’s creation in 1989, prior to relocating to New York City. Shari focused her practice on family matters and used her skills as a litigator, mediator, and collaboratively trained attorney to resolve cases involving spouses dissolving their marriages, parents in custody actions, post-judgment matters, as well as serving as a Guardian ad Litem for minor children. She also participated in the Special Masters’ program for the Superior Court by providing recommendations to colleagues and self-represented parties to assist them in settling their cases. In addition, Shari sat as a member of the Statewide Grievance Committee, adjudicating ethical violations of lawyers appearing before the Committee. For a number of years, she volunteered as a co-parenting mediator at the Children’s Law Center in Hartford. Shari was Director of FamilyKind Parent Services. Shari joined The Law Firm of John Yacos, P.C. to continue offering high quality legal services to matrimonial and family clients in New York. Contact Shari Bornstein
IRA H. MANDEL, MBA, CDFA™, CRPC® (Membership Committee Chair) is a Mediator, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™), and Financial Advisor specializing in divorce advisory and financial advisory/wealth management. Ira works with individuals, couples and small businesses through offices in New York City and Westchester County. Ira has 30 years of experience analyzing, negotiating and solving financial problems including extensive experience with three major Wall Street firms and through earning a Harvard Business School MBA. Ira also completed extensive mediation training through the Center for Mediation and Training in NYC. Ira’s mediation work includes separation and divorce agreements, spousal support, child support, child custody and equitable property division; as well as, family and business disputes. Ira’s divorce work includes divorce mediation, divorce financial analysis and planning (for a spouse or couple), and collaborative divorce as a financial neutral. Ira’s divorce work also includes assisting divorce mediators and divorce attorneys analyze and resolve the financial issues in the advisor’s cases. Ira’s financial advisory work with Wealth Management Advisers LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor, includes financial analysis and planning, risk assessment, investment strategies, and retirement plans for individuals, couples and small businesses. In addition to his divorce credentials, Ira holds two securities licenses, a NY State real estate brokerage license, a NY State insurance agent license and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) designation. Ira is a Board member of Savvy Ladies Inc., a non-profit, whose mission is to educate women about their finances. Ira’s professional divorce affiliations include the NY State Council on Divorce Mediation, the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, the Association of Divorce Financial Planners, and the National Association of Divorce Professionals. Contact Ira Mandel
BARBARA ROTHBERG, DSW, LCSW (CE Committee) has been a family and couple therapist for 40 years, specializing in divorce work for much of her career. She wrote her dissertation on custody mediation in 1984 and has helped parents develop parenting plans since then. She taught couples therapy courses at both Hunter and NYU Graduate Schools of Social Work for 20 years. About 12 years ago, she was trained as a Mediator and added mediation to her services. Last year she trained in Child Inclusive Mediation and now regularly brings the child’s voice into her mediations. Barbara also works as a Parent Coordinator with high conflict divorced couples helping them co-parent. Barbara has been a member of FDMC for the past decade and has done several presentations for the organization. She is also a member of many professional organizations, NYACP, AFCC, and NYSCDM as well as several therapy organizations, where she has frequently presented. Barbara sits on the Advisory Boards of FamilyKind and the Gender Project at Ackerman Institute. Contact Barbara Rothberg
MICHELE KERN-RAPPY, Esq., the Senior Settlement Coordinator and Mediator for the Supreme Court, New York County, Civil Division, is a seasoned ADR professional for the Unified Court System with over 30 years’ experience. Ms. Kern-Rappy is responsible for creating the in-house Supreme Court full mediation program in New York County Supreme Court, Med-NJ, where she serves as the sole mediator with law interns from law schools throughout the state. She conducts ADR-related trainings with the Administrative Judge, and the Bar. Ms. Kern-Rappy presides over a wide variety of cases including Business and Commercial Law, Employment/Labor, Personal Injury, and Matrimonial Law, among others. Ms. Kern-Rappy is currently a member serving on the prestigious Chief Judge’s ADR Task Force, Co-Chair of the ADR Section of the New York Women’s Bar Association, and the ADR Committee & Diversity Subcommittee Member of the New York City Bar. She is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Forum on Mental Health. Contact Michele Kern-Rappy
JESSICA L. TOELSTEDT, Esq., is a partner at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein, LLP, a boutique matrimonial law firm providing services in New York City, Westchester and Long Island. Jessica has practiced almost exclusively in the areas of family and matrimonial law since 2005 and after having spent the first half of her legal career litigating matrimonial and family law matters, Jessica expanded her practice to include process choices that can address family matters outside of court. Jessica has been trained as a mediator by The Center for Understanding and Conflict and regularly mediates all matters related to marriage and family law, including prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, separations, divorces and post- divorce/separation issues. Jessica has also been trained in Collaborative Law by The New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. Jessica serves as a mediator on the New York County Supreme Court’s Roster of Matrimonial Mediators, is a founding member of the American Academy for Certified Financial Litigations, a member of the family law section for the New York State Bar Association, the New York State Women’s Bar Association and the New York Association of Collaborative Professionals. Jessica is a New York Metro 2020 Super Lawyer. Contact Jessica Toelstedt