Family Law Service

Walter Family Law offers both traditional settlement facilitation and Interest based settlement facilitation.

Interest Based Settlement Facilitation is an innovative approach to dispute resolution that can achieve transformative change. At its core is the idea that understanding is more powerful than coercion in successfully resolving conflict. This is a philosophy and a way of interacting with others that Walther Family Law PC fully supports and wholeheartedly practices. It is why WFL was pivotal in introducing Collaborative Divorce techniques to New Mexico and it is why we are now offering Interest Based Settlement Facilitation Services (IBSFS).


Developed by Friedman and Himmelstein (and extending on previous work by Fisher and Ury), IBSFS is a meditation model that has been adopted by top negotiators in both international affairs and business, not because it is more humane (which it is), but because it results in more durable, enforceable settlements which do not damage (and can even enhance) the on‐going relationship between the involved parties. In short: it works and works well.

IBSFS differs from traditional mediation in many key aspects, including:

Techniques Employed Traditional Mediation IBSFS
Responsibility for the process and ultimate resolution Mediator/ Lawyers Parties to the dispute
Process Caucusing Joint meetings
Role of Mediator To ‘broker a deal’ or to act as an outside and empowered 3rd party “judge” with the moral authority to decide the merits of the various view points To explore the psychological, emotional and value-laden issues of the conflict and those that may lie beneath the stated conflict.

A key tenet of IBSFS is that the parties to the conflict are actually the best informed as to possible solutions and are in the best position to weigh the alternative options that are often uncovered as the value‐laden issues of the conflict are plumbed. As a consequence, the parties to the dispute are center stage. Meetings are held jointly and there is no use of sequential caucusing.

In the IBSFS approach the role of the mediator is challenging, professionally, since it requires a wider range of competencies and skills, and personally, because the mediator forgoes a disinterested position of power in favor of actually demonstrably understanding every viewpoint in the room. (This understanding acts as a catalyst in the resolution process).

IBSFS is not a tool that can be wielded by the inexperienced. Walther Family Law PC’s IBSFS team is headed by Gretchen Walther.

Traditional Settlement Facilitation

In conventional settlement facilitation, a third party mediator facilitates a settlement between the parties, either directly, or in working with each party’s lawyer. Mediation may be sequential, with the mediator meeting separately with each party to the dispute. The mediator usually does not go into the deeper motivations underlying the conflict and takes an active role bringing to the conflict resolution process knowledge about what a court might decide in a similar case. An experienced mediator also knows what the cost and emotional expense might be in pursuing a case to conclusion through litigation. This information can be pivotal in reaching an out of court settlement.

Traditional Settlement Facilitation of difficult cases, including those cases in which the parties’ lawyers have been unable to settle, require an experienced, seasoned and knowledgeable mediator.

Walther Family Law PC Settlement Facilitation is available for all types of Family Law disputes including asset and debt division, custody, child support and spousal support.

If you require legal assistance in any of these areas and would like to schedule an appointment, please phone us at 505 889 8240 (Albuquerque) or 505 984 0097 (Santa Fe) or online through our contact form.