I was born in October, sign of the Libra and raised in Paris, France. In French, the word for Libra is Balance (which is, of course, a scale). But Balance also means balance as in equilibrium, as in leveling the plane, as in creating a sense of peace around oneself. I always cherished being a Libra and as a Libra seemed to be the one in my family from a very young age, who most wanted peace around everyone, peace with understanding, peace with compromise, peace with respect for and from the other. Wasn’t this mediation?
After graduating from the University of the Sorbonne in Paris where I received a Masters in Fine Arts, I started working in the arts, mounting exhibitions, and acting as a dealer between buyers and sellers. Understanding the needs of the parties, finding the work of art that would fill the emotional needs of the buyer, while being affordable for him or her; working with a seller who would be thrilled to dispose of his or her work of art at the right price, and know that it would be cherished in its new home. Wasn’t this mediation?
I moved to New York in 1984 with my husband and 3 young children, and a few years later went through a divorce following a 17 year marriage. After struggling through adversarial lawyers for too long, my spouse and I ended up working with an acquaintance whom we both trusted, and who happened to be a lawyer, though he lived and practiced overseas. He sat with both of us, and over the course of a long holiday weekend, helped us craft an agreement which could never have been made through the lawyers. One of the issues at stake as in many divorces was setting up separate residences for the parties and their children. This agreement was extremely creative, particularly in the way the family’s expenses were being dealt with, to provide for all parties involved. No lawyers would have come up with such a plan had we continued in that route. Though I did not realize it at the time – wasn’t this mediation?
When I started thinking about a second career, what came to mind was helping people struggling through their own family crises as well as divorce. I Googled “conflict resolution” on the Internet and found a wealth of information on the subject of mediation. After further research, I signed up for my first training. From the first exercise on the first day, I knew I had found my calling: helping people on this roller coaster take control of their lives and allow them to make an agreement with the person they are fighting to get away from, or being rejected by. Fear, anxiety, guilt, worry about how the children will go through this, how the expenses will be met, how they will manage some holidays without their children, how they will divide their house, their belongings, their debts – – a multitude of questions needing answers run through their heads in those times, questions that can be resolved through mediation.
Since that first course in mediation, I have trained extensively and in addition to my private practice, I work in many family courts, and with multi cultural families. Having travelled and lived abroad, I am fluent in both French and Spanish and have experience with, and an understanding of, people from many different countries and cultures. My ability to adapt to many cultures, has also given me an ease working with people who may think differently and are not always in the same emotional place at the same time.
It is my privilege to do the job that I do, and bring some calm and reassurance to the couples going through this traumatic time in their lives. I do enjoy being that Libra.
For a list of Jennifer’s training and affiliations, click here.
“I was very happy to have chosen Jennifer Safian to be the mediator for our separation. Her empathetic approach enabled us to keep in mind always that the best interests served in the process were those of our child. Jennifer facilitated this by being patient with our differences with each other, and often found a way to make the most tenacious of disagreements become something constructive. Jennifer kept the process going by consistently pointing out the progress we had made, and by assuring us that our concerns merited as much scrutiny as we wished to give them. In an often extremely emotionally confusing landscape that leads to a scary place, Jennifer made certain that we were always being honest.”
If you have any questions or concerns about Mediation,
or would like to schedule a no fee mediation consultation,
please don’t hesitate to contact me today!
divorce and family mediator
phone: (212) 472-8626
divorce & family mediation,
upper east side of manhattan, nyc,
new york, ny