Photo by Sara Pinnell
Attorney Lana Shearer understands the value of a long term marriage and the hard work and dedication that is required to preserve that bond. Her parents have been married for over 56 years. When her own marriage of 17 years came to an end in 2018, she had to confront the overwhelming sense of failure, helplessness and fear that inevitably appear at the end of a marriage. She and her former husband have two teenage boys which added the heart wrenching task of talking to the kids about divorce and figuring out a parenting plan that would result in the least amount of disruption in their boys’ lives. These are the very issues that Ms. Shearer helps her clients process and resolve on a daily basis. “Time to practice what I preach,” she said. Together, they found a mediator to help them with their divorce. Throughout the process, which took about 10 months total, the couple endeavored to keep the best interest of their children at the forefront of all of their discussions and negotiations. This dedication to their children motivated the couple to reduce the emotional and financial costs of their divorce and be willing to negotiate fairly and reach agreements regarding the issues presented: division of assets and debts; support; child custody and a parenting schedule.
For over 20 years, Lana M. Shearer has been passionate about serving her clients with compassion, empathy and competence. When she opened her Family Law and Mediation practice in Elk Grove, California in August of 2014, she had years of litigation experience in many different areas of law under her belt. During her years of litigation practice, she discovered that highly charged litigation generally brings out the worst in people. A common thread in most litigated cases is the fundamental need to be truly heard. The litigation process is not designed to meet that need. Instead, it results in polarizing the parties and increased anxiety and animosity.
Family law is one of the most emotionally charged areas of law involving highly personal issues fraught with fear and anxiety. The fallout from a litigated divorce is deeply felt by the parties, their children, their friends and other family members. One of the most difficult subjects in family law are highly contentious child custody disputes. Long after the litigated case is over, the parties will need to cooperate and co-parent with each other well into their children’s adult years. There are options to handle your divorce and custody issues without increasing anxiety and animosity. Ms. Shearer focuses her practice on family law mediation to assist parties to resolve their disputes in a manner that can reduce the emotional and financial impact.
Mediation is an alternative to a litigated case. Its focus is on meeting the needs of each party, as well as the entire family, through discussions and negotiations rather than the adversarial process. Ms. Shearer is a certified Family Law specialist and mediator who facilitates and supports the discussions between the parties so they can reach their own agreements. The negotiations occur in a series of meetings with both parties and the mediator, in a relaxed, confidential environment where each person is encouraged to listen to the other party’s perspective, without an obligation to agree, and to have an opportunity to express or offer an alternative perspective. The mediator may provide information about the relevant law, assist the parties in brainstorming and developing creative settlement options, and guide the parties through the process of cooperation and compromise, so they can resolve the problems themselves. Once agreements are reached, the office completes all necessary paperwork and submits documents to the Court.
One of the primary lessons Ms. Shearer learned through her own divorce journey was the importance of self-care. Ms. Shearer uses yoga and meditation to stay balanced. “Self-care is not selfish. Self-care is critical during this process – to learn to breathe and self-regulate, so that you are able to focus on your children, on your career, on whatever tasks you must accomplish while you are in the middle of your own divorce.” She clearly has personal insight into what her clients are experiencing.
In addition to family law mediation, Ms. Shearer added Estate Planning to her practice in 2019. Ms. Shearer has always been drawn to Estate Planning from her early years practicing law and helping friends and family draft estate plans. Estate Planning is a natural addition to family law due to the significant change in circumstances from divorce which result in the need to revise your estate plan, retirement and insurance strategies. Having an Estate plan in place is an important prong to overall financial stability. Properly planning for the disposition of your assets and debts upon your death can keep your estate out of probate court, reduce taxes, and also save your family the agony of having to deal with these items on their own without clear written direction from you.
Ms. Shearer and her boys have lived in East Elk Grove, CA, since 2003. “I love the small town feel and the friendliness of everyone I have the pleasure of meeting in my office, at the grocery store, and around town.” She looks forward to serving the needs of the residents of Elk Grove with their family law and estate planning needs for many years to come.
For more information regarding the office and services provided, as well as helpful links to resources and articles, please visit our website at www.shearerlawandmediation.com.
On May 1, 2019, Ms. Shearer hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber of Commerce Elk Grove. The ceremony celebrated the formation of Shearer Law and Mediation, APC in January 2019, the new office space location at the Liberty Two Building, and the addition of Estate Planning to the practice areas. The event was catered by Fiesta Market in Elk Grove, the best street tacos! Sheldon Wine was on hand to pour delicious wines for the guests; Nothing Bundt Cakes provided the yummy desserts, and Goldeen Smith of Board and Harvest Charcuterie Boards, prepared lovely fruit and veggie boards. Many local businesses were generous in their contribution to the raffle prizes, including: Uplift Yoga Studio; Destinations Aesthetics; Breathing Space; Sole’ Salon and Spa; Musical Mayhem Productions; and School of Rock.
This story first appeared in Ardent
for Life Summer 2019 issue.