Thank you for visiting my website to learn more about me and my practice. I am a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family and Civil Mediator. I am also a Board Certified Family Lawyer. In order to become Board Certified, I had to undergo a rigorous peer review, have represented a large number of clients in litigated family law cases and pass a strenuous test on the specific aspects of family law. I am very proud of my Board Certification status because of the level of understanding and professionalism that it represents. However, in the many years that I represented clients in contested divorces, paternity actions and other disputes involving the family, I came to realize that our court system is often ill-equipped to meet the needs of families in transition.
I know first-hand how destructive a litigated divorce can be on the entire family structure, particularly the children. Many studies have shown that children suffer severe psychological damage from long, highly contested divorces. It is almost impossible to shield a child from the strains that are affecting the parents in these situations. Even when there are no young children involved in a divorce, litigation results in anxiety, financial hardship and depression in many who find themselves in this situation. After many years of zealously representing clients in the turmoil of divorce litigation I decided to close my practice and focus on finding better solutions for my clients.
Around this same time, my own family was going through a very difficult transition. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and my father was working tirelessly to provide for her ever increasing needs. My two siblings and I were working with my father but we were all faced with an overwhelming lack of knowledge of how to help my parents through this painful transition. I knew again that our court system was not the place to make the critical decisions that had to be made on an almost daily basis about how to provide care for my mother and assure that my father remained healthy and strong.
In 2006 I became Supreme Court Certified in Family Mediation and in 2011 I became a qualified Parenting Coordinator. Then, the following year I added Elder Mediation and then Civil Mediation to my professional qualifications. These special trainings allow me to work with families as they go through transitions such as divorce, paternity disputes, or planning for aging parents, in a dignified, self-directed way. I have also undergone special training to represent clients in Collaborative Divorces and to assist parents as a Parenting Coordinator. The common thread of all of my professional responsibilities is to help clients resolve conflict without litigation.
I encourage you to visit other areas of this site to learn more about Family Mediation, Elder Mediation, Parenting Coordination and Conflict Coaching. My passion is to help individuals and families find resolution to conflict and develop new ways of working together to raise strong, healthy children, provide for their parents as they age or just move on to new visions of their lives. I work with couples to obtain an amicable divorce. I work with estranged families to develop a care plan for aging parents. I work with families that find their family business facing dissolution or transition and I work with parents struggling to develop a new way to co-parent after divorce or separation.
If you are interested in a little more about my background, I was raised in beautiful Ellicott City, Maryland. I went to the University of Maryland for my undergraduate education and then attended George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. After completing law school and being admitted to the Maryland Bar, I worked on several projects with refugees and day laborers.
In 1992 I joined the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as a Protection Officer. In this capacity I worked in South East Asia, the former Yugoslavia and Africa. I worked with government officials and aid organizations to ensure the rights of the refugees were protected as they awaited a chance to return to their homes or were evaluated for resettlement.
I now live in beautiful Sarasota, Florida and work throughout Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and the greater Tampa Bay area. In addition to my individual work with families in transition I enjoy coaching individuals on the art of negotiation and conflict resolution. I also enjoy speaking to audiences large and small about developing negotiation skills and effective mediation.
Please click here for a copy of my full resume.
If you would like to reach me please call Sharon O’Day, (941) 228-8571 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org