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
LAWRENCE ROTHBART (President, 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
KATHY SEIDEN, Esq. (Vice President and former Secretary) 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
CARMEN RODRIGUEZ (Secretary) is a Brown University and Columbia Law School graduate practiced law in the commercial and real estate fields for many years in private practice. She made the decision to pursue a more compassionate and caring practice in mediation where she could apply her
skills to everyone’s benefit. She was trained at the New York City Bar Association by the renowned Carol Liebman and has taken advanced divorce mediation training from Robert Collins, in addition to several other trainings. Furthermore, Carmen has trained under Antoinette Delruelle a trailblazer in the profession. She has served as a panelist, a coach and a judge for various Alternative Dispute Resolution organizations. Carmen serves as the co-chair of the Mentorship Sub-committee of the DR Section of the New York State Bar Association. Previously, she served as the Secretary of the New York City Bar Association ADR Committee. Contact Carmen Rodriguez
ROSALIA LABATE CPA, CDFA, CVA, MAFF (Treasurer, Finance Committee) specializes in financial forensics and has been trained as a mediator and collaborative professional. Her practice is largely focused on divorce matters, serving the greater tri – state area with offices in Garden City and Manhattan. Rosalia is a court appointed neutral financial expert and has been engaged as a financial neutral and consultant as well as engaged for litigation support. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (Tax Committee) (AICPA), the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants (Business Valuation, Litigation and Tax Committees) (NYSSCPA), the
National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts (NACVA), the Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP), the Institute for Divorce Financial Planners (IDFA) and the Family & Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York (FDMC). Contact Rosalia Labate
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 (Special Events Committee Co-Chair) 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
JESSICA L. TOELSTEDT, Esq. (Nominations Committee Chair and Special Events Committee Co-Chair) 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
MICHELLE EXLINE MINOVI (Mentorship Committee) is a highly skilled divorce and family lawyer and mediator with over twelve years family law experience. Michelle brings a deep understanding of trauma, family conflict and child development to family law mediation, having acted as Managing Director of the Domestic Violence and Family Law Unit at the legal services non-profit Ayuda in Washington, D.C. for 6 years, representing immigrant survivors of domestic violence. Michelle is a licensed New York State attorney in good standing since 1998 with a J.D. from the University of Iowa. Michelle is on the Board of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, a member of the New York State Council on Divorce Mediation. Michelle is an active member in the Statewide Domestic Violence Mediation Capacity & Screening Guide Working Group. Michelle is a member of the presumptive mediation panels of the New York Supreme Court matrimonial mediators for New York, Queens, Richmond and Bronx counties as well as the New York City Family Court, Custody and Visitation borough-wide panel. Michelle is a volunteer attorney mediator with New York Legal Assistance Group and with Bronx Legal Services of New York. Contact Michelle Exline Minovi.