While the new documentary Divorce Corp. shown in cinemas throughout the country depicts a very grim and sad picture of what divorcing couples are facing at the hands of lawyers and judges in the family courts, some wonderful endeavors have emerged to support and help families who are choosing a different path to get through their divorce.
One such organization is FamilyKind, a non-profit organization created in New York City by Lesley Friedland, Esq.
Lesley, a former referee of the New York City Family Court, has seen the devastating effects that divorce can have on children and families first-hand, and has created a safe place for these families to get help.
I interviewed Lesley so we could hear what she has to say in her own words:
What prompted you to create FamilyKind?
I served in the Family Court system for over 25 years, and I worked with many dedicated judges and lawyers. While I was a Referee, I was lucky enough to oversee the Parent Education and Custody and Visitation Mediation Programs in the Kings County Family Court. Parents getting separated or divorced could participate in a 3-hour program which focused on helping them give their children emotional support during this often difficult time. Many parents also had the opportunity to work together with the help of a trained mediator, to decide what was best for their family in transition. Unfortunately, when the financial crisis of 2008 hit, many wonderful programs including these, were cut from the Courts.
I went back into the courtroom to hear cases, but I felt frustrated that I had so few services to offer parents. I reached out to many of the volunteers who had previously helped me run the Parent Education Classes and Mediation Program in the Court and asked if they would assist me in creating a not-for-profit that would provide classes and other services to people in need. Everyone was agreeable and FamilyKind was born!
What is the mission of FamilyKind?
FamilyKind has a two-fold mission:
- To provide high quality services to families and couples in transition, who may not otherwise be able to afford them
- To change the current damaging process of separation and divorce, by instituting an affirmative recourse for families, designed especially to protect the children who are so often the innocent victims of ongoing parental conflict
- New York State Certified Parent Education Classes that are recognized across the United States, as well as workshops for children and teens
- Parent Coordination services
- Mediation services
All the programs of FamilyKind are provided on a sliding fee scale by highly trained professionals dedicated to bringing a positive outcome for the families and couples they serve.
Who makes up FamilyKind?
FamilyKind runs thanks to the dedication of almost 40 volunteers. These talented individuals all deeply believe in the mission of the organization. They also believe that people without financial resources deserve the same high-quality services that wealthy people can afford. We work as a team to try to improve the lives of children, parents and couples affected by familial transition. It is truly gratifying to be on this fulfilling journey with such an accomplished and altruistic group of professionals.
How can people reach you and get information about the programs?
Please visit: www.familykind.org
You can also call 646 580 4735 or email info@FamilyKind.org
FamilyKind is a 501C3 charity, and part of our task is to raise funds through private donations, foundations and government sources to support these important programs.
Comments & Replies from Social Media
Hi Jennifer, I totally agree! Mediation helped me to focus on my new life and plan for my children’s future. At times, it was a challenge to move beyond the pain and to hash out the details of a memorandum of agreement. However, for a decade afterwards it was there to refer to and to keep me and my ex on track. In a nutshell, mediation was a solace and helped heal my wounds because it’s about problem solving and conflict management. Regards, Terry
By Terry Gaspard (via LinkedIn)
jennifer safian. divorce and family mediator divorce and family mediation upper east side of manhattan (nyc) new york, ny (212) 472-8626 firstname.lastname@example.org connect on