Elissa DaCosta-Waldman

Mediation is a process whereby Clients arrive at their own solutions or settlement proposals in relation to children or financial issues via negotiation and discussions facilitated by an impartial Mediator.  The Mediator assists the Clients in identifying the issues they need to resolve and finding the most sensible and practical solutions for the family.

The Resolution Model involves the Clients in a number of short sessions (1½-2 hours) over a period of time in which they meet together with the mediator.  In financial matters, one of the Mediator’s tasks is to provide appropriate documentation to assist the Clients in providing disclosure.  The Mediator may also flag up where further financial disclosure or expert reports may assist in the decision making process.  Mediators often recommend when a Client may benefit from legal advice within the process, as the Mediator’s task is not to advise on legal matters but to gather information from the Clients and to give information where appropriate in order to assist them in reaching their solutions.   Where children are involved the Mediator can assist parents in focusing on their children’s needs and to create a tailor made joint parenting plan. 

At the end of the process the Mediator provides the Clients with a Memorandum of Understanding, which contains their acceptable proposals for settlement which are then taken to the Clients’ respective legal advisors for the legal formalities to be completed. 

Mediation has the following advantages-

  • Reduces tension and hostility
  • Solutions are tailor made to the Clients’ needs
  • Decisions are made on an informed basis
  • Clients are able to communicate and co-operate
  • Clients are able to explore and examine options in a safe environment
  • Clients are able to appreciate and consider the needs of their children
  • Savings in costs as disputes may be resolved more quickly and efficiently

My approach

I am passionate about finding solutions to Client's difficulties in a way which enables them to move on in their lives in a positive manner.   I adopt a practical approach to dealing with client concerns and searching for the appropriate ways to resolve my Client's relationship issues enabling them to continue to communictae with their former partner in a dignified nad principled way, important especially if they share children.

My work

Clients come to see me with a variety of problems from divorce and the financial matters arising out of that as wellas  the fall-out from splitting up from a partner having bought a home together and worrying about how to deal with realising a share in the jointly owned house.  I also deal with Inheritance Claims where a Client expected to receive a legacy in a former partner's will and did not or a surviving spouse who did not receive sufficient from their deceased spouse's estate.

About me

Elissa was called to the Bar in 1990 although she has worked in legal practices since 1973.  Using a creative and innovative approach to finding solutions to client’s financial matters on relationship breakdown, Elissa prides herself on having an ‘inclusive practice’ demonstrating approachability and sensitivity in dealing with alternative family structures.  Thus, in addition to her practice in Matrimonial Finance, Elissa is also an expert in cohabitation claims of both heterosexual and homosexual partners, including drafting cohabitation agreements at the beginning of the cohabitational relationship and dealing with matters by agreement at its end.

Where litigation is the appropriate means of bringing the dispute to conclusion Elissa is an assertive and effective advocate, being National Institute of Trial Advocacy trained.  However, although she has a wealth of advocacy experience, Elissa is a strong proponent of dispute resolution methods that avoid court believing that relationship breakdown requires a solutions based approach rather than an adversarial one.

Elissa is a principled negotiator following the ethos of the Harvard Business School, as well as an experienced Resolution trained mediator.  She became a Collaborative Lawyer in 2005 having collaborated herself in several cases as well as being instructed as an expert for both parties in other collaborative cases.

In May 2012, Elissa qualified as a Family Law Arbitrator and is now a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

What my clients say

'Elissa, you're a star', Liz Whittle, solicitor at KWW

'Thank you for your support and kindness'.  Your infectious joie de vivre and sense of humour made our medation painless.'

It was a pleasure to meet you. I only wish and I had met you a year and half ago and maybe our relationship problems could have been resolved


Professional & academic

Elissa is a Barrister, Mediator, Collaborative Lawyer and Family Law Arbitrator.

She is a published author of legal works and continues to write regularly for legal journals such as Family Law and Resolution Review

Elissa also lectures solicitors and barristers on Family Law related topics

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