Unwavering Commitment to Generate Solutions –
Where there is a will, there is a way.

About Family Law Attorney & Divorce Mediator Mara Berke

mara-picBerke Family Mediation provides consensual dispute resolution, including divorce mediation, collaborative law, consultation, and parent coordination. Mara Berke has practiced family law for more than fifteen years, which includes many years of practice with prominent Westside boutique family law firms. Based on her experience as both a Santa Monica family law attorney and social worker, deep commitment to the reduction of conflict for families and children with special needs, she now offers these alternatives to traditional litigation.

Her depth of experience in family and children issues includes leadership training at Children’s Hospital, Center for Child Development and Developmental Disabilities, non-public school assessments, advocacy in Individualized Education Plans, appointment as minor’s counsel, and appointment as a Court Assisted Special Advocate (CASA)/Guardian Ad Litem in Dependency Court. Mara presented at the March 2008 Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) conference on Practical Tips for Divorced/Separated Parents and Attorneys in the Individualized Education Process.

Mara’s unique background as a clinical social worker provided her with specific training in working with families with children with developmental disabilities and understanding the intricacies of school placements. With her training and experience, she addresses clients’ needs from an interdisciplinary perspective with compassion and thoughtfulness which assists clients in managing the complexities of child custody and financial issues.

Mara has authored and published in professional journals and magazines the following articles:

  • Planned Parenthood, Los Angeles Lawyer, March 2009
  • Non-Litigation Dispute Resolution Options for Parents, Los Angeles Daily Journal, January 2011
  • Co-Author, Executive Functions: Helping your child organize, plan and follow through for a better school year, Los Angeles Parent Magazine, September 2014.
  • Co-author, Educational Decision Makers: What to do when their identity is not clear? Children’s Rights Newsletter, American Bar Association, Spring 2008
  • Note, In re Marriage of Birnbaum: Modifying Child Custody Arrangements by Ignoring the Rules of the Game (1991) 24 Loyola L.A. L.Rev. 467

Mara has specialized training from the Los Angeles Superior Court, Family Court Services as a child custody mediator. Mara completed Collaborative Family Interdisciplinary Training with the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. In addition to her prior mediation training, Mara has Divorce Mediation Training with Mosten Mediation. She also has Minor’s Counsel training and Parenting Plan Coordination training provided by the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Mara is a member of the State Bar of California, Southern California Mediation Association, and the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She has performed pro bono work for Public Counsel, The Alliance for Children’s Rights and The Child Advocates Office. Mara was appointed as a California State Commissioner on the San Fernando Valley Community Advisory Commission for former Assembly Speaker Robert M. Hertzberg as well as Chair of the Children and Family Subcommittee.

Mara is native to West Los Angeles and graduated from Brentwood High School. Mara majored in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1987 (top 20% of the College of Letters and Science). She received her law degree from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, in 1991, and was admitted to the State Bar that same year. During law school, Mara was Note and Comment Editor and Staff Writer of the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review and received the American Jurisprudence Award in Trial Advocacy. Mara obtained her Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California School of Social Work in 1998 and earned Social Work Merit Scholarships.

Contact Berke Family Mediation today to schedule an appointment with our experienced Santa Monica family law attorney and child custody mediator.