Founder of Garske Divorce Mediation, Mediator, Divorce Financial Analyst, Settlement Consultant
Q& A With Leslie
How did you begin working in Mediation?
I started out as a financial planner. As I was meeting people that I thought could be my clients, so many of them had been divorced and they either had horrible settlements because their emotions were driving the outcome, or they spent their settlement or basically didn’t have their “business hat” on when going through their divorce. I realized I needed to come alongside them before and during divorce. I met a woman who was doing divorce mediation through a tax and financial lens and I was immediately enthralled with her model and worked with her for several years before going out on my own.
What are your top responsibilities as a Mediator, Divorce Financial Analyst, and Settlement Consultant?
For Non-Attorney Mediator-PRO SE/DIY clients:
To provide a kinder, gentler way for amicable couples to untangle their assets and debts while creating family-friendly parenting plans using a unique process that enables couples to make decisions in a thoughtful manner
To assist couples to process and digest the permanent decisions they will make in their divorce by making sure they understand the tax, financial and also emotional consequences of each decision.
My goal is to make sure they understand what they are saying NO to and what they are saying YES to and why.
To ensure they are looking towards the future, not the past, to have financial success now, one year from now, 5 years from now and so on.
To assist parents to have the freedom and flexibility of co-parenting and removing the day-to-day grind of who pays for what and who drives who where and what time. My goal is for co-parents to be focused on their kids and not be tangled up with daily tasks and expenses.
To create an atmosphere where they speak to each other in a safe environment in order to process issues of the past and to come up with a settlement that they feel is fair in the context of their marriage, not solely through the eyes of legal doctrine.
To facilitate communication that can bring healing and keep contention as low as possible so the kids can have co-parents who can be there emotionally for them, and not be resentful.
Divorce Financial Analyst/Settlement Consultant-working with clients who have attorneys:
To wear the “business hat” for clients who do not feel comfortable with numbers, finances and investments. Many clients have attorneys who are fantastic at the legal part of divorce, but often don’t have the tax and financial expertise to assist high net worth clients. I work alongside those clients in order for them to prepare for settlement discussions or attorney mediation.
To run financial projections for the over 50 crowd in order to ensure their settlement is fair now and into retirement.
To assist the spouse of highly compensated employees to understand their spouse’s compensation plan, including pensions, non-qualified and qualified retirement benefits, restricted stock packages, and structured incentive bonuses.
To be a second set of eyes to make sure that all financial angles have been considered and all details discovered before figuring out what a fair settlement is.
Why do you love the work you do at Garske Divorce Mediation?
I believe that the way we do divorce here in the US is detrimental to families and children. There are cases with abuse, domestic violence, or trust issues that need legal oversight to ensure transparency and accountability, but most divorces can be handled collaboratively with the couple sitting down after processing their emotions in order to have meaningful, logical and forward-looking discussions about what they want their new future to look like. Success to me is when my clients have asked enough questions and have thought through all the decisions they are making with a clear mind. They are able to see what is best for everyone and why they are making the choices they are without pressure.
What are your hobbies?
I love to travel, plant my garden and tend to my flowers, hang out with my husband, play with my grandsons, and connect with family and friends.
Who do you love hanging out with the most?
My husband, my daughter and her family who live in Englewood, our adorable grandsons, our son who lives in NYC, my sisters and their families and my mom who lives across the street from us in an assisted living facility, and of course, my friends. I grew up in Denver so I have many friends that I have known for years. It’s a joy and a blessing to have the love and support of long-term friendships.