Deborah Sandler has been practicing family law since 1985. Her practice has included divorce, custody and visitation, parentage actions, Court-appointed representation of Minors, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, same-sex relationships, and support. She has served as a Judge Pro Tem in the Family Law Division in Contra Costa County, and as Court-appointed Minor’s Counsel. She has presented at Court-sponsored Minor’s Counsel trainings and at the Contra Costa County Family Law Section’s Custody Issues Committee on Minor’s Counsel issues, as well as mentoring newly trained Minor’s Counsel attorneys. Deborah was recognized by STAND for Pro Bono representation of a domestic violence victim, and by the Contra Costa County Family Law Division for her work on behalf of Minors. She has also provided Pro Bono mediation at Court.
After extensive litigation experience, Deborah began seeking different options outside of Court, to better help families resolve disputes with mutual respect, and to protect children from conflict. This search led her to focus on mediation, integrative mediation, and collaborative law. Deborah finds mediation and collaboration to be the most rewarding and creative work she has done in family law, and she is committed to increasing the use of these processes to help resolve disputes peacefully. Deborah is a member of Collaborative Practice East Bay, chairing the Divorce Options Committee and serving on the Steering Committee. She helps plan and implement the monthly Divorce Options seminars, providing an overview of process options for divorce, including mediation and collaborative divorce. She helped plan and implement the first series of Pro Bono Collaborative Clinics in Contra Costa County. Deborah is also a member of Collaborative Practice California, where she serves on the statewide Divorce Options Committee. Her other professional memberships include the State Bar of California, the State Bar’s Family Law and Solo Practice Sections, the Contra Costa County Bar Association, The Contra Costa County Bar Association’s Family Law and Solo Practice Sections, and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.