Maryland Academy of Collaborative Professionals Board of Directors is composed of Collaboratively trained family law attorneys, mental health professionals, financial neutrals, and mortgage professionals, all of whom are familiar with both the traditional, litigious mechanisms for divorce as well as the more respectful and civil alternative that Collaborative Practice provides for families in transition. Board members are actively engaged in various Collaborative Practice groups, including the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council (MCPC), the Internatinal Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), the Collaborative Dispute Resolution Professionals (CDRP) and Collaborative Divorce Association (CDA) in Montgomery County, the Collaborative Professionals of Southern Maryland in Prince George’s and Calvert Counties, and other practice groups throughout Maryland. The Project Director was hired in August 2015 and came to the project with over 20 years of nonprofit and program management experience.
Nicole Harrison, CFP, Board President
Nicole Harrison joined Financial Advantage Associates in January of 2010 after graduating from the University of Maryland. In late 2011, Nicole partnered with Kris Kornemann, CFP, and now brings over eight years of fee-based financial planning, banking and communications experience to the firm.
Once a plan has been drafted and tailored to the client and advisor’s satisfaction, and if the client chooses to implement the plan, Nicole oversees the implementation of a client’s financial strategies, and plays a vital role in the asset management practice.* Working alongside the firm’s leading analyst has benefited her clients, who entrust Nicole and her team with personal, corporate and employer retirement plan assets.
Nicole is a founding member of the Prince George’s County Collaborative Professional Association, and The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals; two organizations which help facilitate positive outcomes to divorce and separation.
Nicole holds the following FINRA securities registrations: Series 7, 66, as well as the Life and Health insurance licenses. She is a resident of Silver Spring, and a native Marylander. Her favorite pastimes include spending time with her family and friends, and taking day trips on her neon green sport bike.
She is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc., A Securities Dealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Financial Advantage Associates is independently owned and operated.
*Separate from the financial plan and her role as financial planner, she may recommend the purchase of specific investments or insurance products. These product recommendations are not part of the financial plan and the client is under no obligation to follow them.
Connie Kratovil-Lavelle, Esq., President Elect
Sarah Novak Nesbitt, Esq., Past President
Sarah Novak Nesbitt is the Managing Attorney of the Family Legal Advocacy Group and has focused her professional life on working with children and families. She practices family law, education law, and child welfare.
After growing up in Montgomery County, Sarah attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. She graduated magna cum laude with dual degrees in psychology and sociology. While at Notre Dame, Sarah focused her course work and research on infant and child development and family dynamics. She returned to Maryland after college to work as a full time volunteer teacher at a scholarship school for low-income middle school boys in Baltimore City. Based on her volunteer experiences, Sarah became a lawyer to help children and families navigate the legal system.
Sarah graduated cum laude from the University of Maryland School of Law, where she was a Leadership Scholar. During her first summer, Sarah obtained a grant to intern for Project HEAL, a joint program from the Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, where she assisted primarily in family law and special education cases. The following year, Sarah won the Maryland Public Interest Law Project Pro Bono Student of the Year award for her work in starting an ongoing program for law students at University of Maryland to volunteer with Project HEAL. Sarah also volunteered throughout law school with the House of Ruth, providing services to victims of domestic violence. Her academic work included courses such as Domestic Violence and the Law, Children and the Law, Children and Divorce, Mediation in Family Law, and Families, Contracts, and Status (many of which were taught by fellow CPM Board Member, Jana Singer). Sarah focused on alternative dispute resolution options for families and interned for the Honorable Diane O. Leasure, then the Administrative Judge for the Circuit Court for Howard County. Sarah now teaches the Children and Divorce course at the University of Maryland School of Law. In addition to CPM, Sarah is a member of many professional organizations, including the Howard County Bar Association, the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council, the Howard County Collaborative Practice, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, the Divorce Roundtable of Montgomery County, the Maryland State Bar Association, and the Howard County Women’s Bar Association. She is also active with There Goes My Hero, a non-profit that provides bone marrow registration drives to support individuals with lymphoma and other medical conditions, and the parent associations at her children’s schools.
Geoffrey P. Burroughs, Board Treasurer
No one gets married with the expectation that they will get divorced, but it happens. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Geoffrey Burroughs guides you through the financial process and help you to start looking through the turmoil to your future. Prioritizing and focusing on what is most important to you post divorce is an important step to get back to a happy, healthy and productive life.
There are two phases to a divorce, the before and the after. Depending on where you are in the process you have different needs. Mr Burroughs’ practice is designed to help with both (see his website for more details):
Pre-Divorce: As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Mr. Burroughs works with you and your attorney during the divorce process to make sure you receive a equitable settlement. Some areas he helps with include: – Getting organized – Analyzing assets – Developing a budget – Bringing clarity – Avoiding pitfalls – Evaluating the proposed settlement – Projecting the long-term impact – Negotiating – Implementing – Financial Neutral
Post Divorce: Life post-divorce will be filled with a range of emotions, new responsibilities, and different resources. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Mr. Burroughs focuses on helping you understand your new reality and getting you on a path to meet your goals. Some areas he helps with include: – Getting organized – Getting educated – Making a plan – Implementing your plan – Continual reviewing, monitoring & making adjustment
Mr. Burroughs graduated from Loyola University of Maryland with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. His wealth management career began as a financial advisor for CITI Smith Barney. Shortly thereafter, he received the designation of Financial Planning Specialist and later earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. In 2013, he moved his practice to Harbor Investment Advisory. Harbor’s business model enhanced my ability to provide customized, independent, and objective advice. As a CFP® and CFDA™ , Mr. Burroughs combined his interest in finance with his desire to help people attain financial security and protect their legacy. He enjoys skiing, golf, and playing with his children. He lives with his wife Adrienne, son Henry, and daughter Vivienne in Rockville. They value spending time with friends and family in Connecticut, Florida and Maryland.
Miriam Sievers, Esq., Board Secretary
Ms. Sievers concentrates her practice in the areas of family, LGBT family, and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) law, with a dedication to collaborative practice. A former elementary teacher, Ms. Sievers’ practice is grounded in educating her clients, and understanding the impact that family stress has on children.
Ms. Sievers works in all areas of family law. She is trained in Collaborative Law and as a Best Interest Attorney. She represents individuals going through divorce, custody disputes, and separation, in both settlement negotiation and litigation. She also assists couples in creating prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.
LGBT Family Law and ART law
Ms. Sievers supports her firm’s dedication to representing LGBT individuals and their families. She works on family formation matters, including donor and surrogacy agreements, second-parent adoptions, step-parent adoptions, and traditional adoptions, as well as complex relationship dissolutions.
Prior to joining Amos & Muffoletto, LLC Miriam was employed with Silber, Perlman, Sigman & Tilev, P.A., as an Associate. Ms. Sievers has been a volunteer attorney with FreeState Justice (*formerly the FreeState Legal Project), where she assisted transgender clients in obtaining their identity documents. She was a law clerk at the National Center for Transgender Equality, and an intern at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Prior to attending law school, she taught elementary school as a Teach For America corps member in Charlotte, NC and served as a project assistant for a Washington-DC area consulting company. Ms. Sievers has been a guest lecturer for Hon. Mark F. Scurti’s Sexual Orientation and the Law course at the University of Baltimore. During law school, Ms. Sievers was President of the University of Maryland School of Law’s chapter of Law Students for Reproductive Justice.
Board Member Emeritus, FreeState Legal Project
Maryland State Bar Association
Family Law Institute, National Center for Lesbian Rights LGBT Bar Association
National LGBT Bar Association
State of Maryland
J.D., University of Maryland Carey School of Law (2013) cum laude
B.A., Brandeis University (2006)
Jan Brito, Board Member
Jan is a native Washingtonian, having grown up in the Maryland suburbs. She has called Montgomery County home for more than 20 years. She came to the real estate field in 2005 after spending 15 years in Information Technology – experience that serves her well in this fast-paced digital age – where most consumers begin their search for real estate online. Jan has been involved in the collaborative community in Montgomery County for the past several years. She is a past president of CDRP and is currently serving on the CDRP board as Meetings Chair. She is also a Director on the board of the Collaborative Project of Maryland. Jan holds the RCS-D designation (Real Estate Collaboration Specialist – Divorce) and is a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert. She has also been trained in the collaborative divorce process and in divorce mediation. Licensed in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia.
Emily Cook, PhD, LCMFT, Board Member
Dr. Emily Cook is the founder of Emily Cook Therapy, a thriving private practice in Bethesda, MD that specializes in helping people repair and enrich their relationships. Her staff of marriage counseling specialists, family and child therapists, and relationship experts are highly qualified to address challenges people face in their lives, partnerships, and families. She is certified in Discernment Counseling, a short-term counseling protocol focused on helping couples decide the path forward in a marriage. She specializes in premarital counseling, marriage counseling, collaborative divorce mental health coaching, and post-divorce individual therapy for people at all stages of the marriage relationship continuum. Her first book, The Marriage Counseling Workbook: 8 Steps to a Strong and Lasting Relationship, is available for sale on Amazon. Dr. Cook is the Founding President of MetroMFT, a nonprofit organization that promotes and protects the practice of marriage and family therapy in Maryland, DC, Virginia, and Delaware.
Mallory Finn, Esq., Board Member
Mallory Finn is a staff attorney at Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), a community-based program of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Project HEAL is Maryland’s only comprehensive medical-legal partnership, which provides advocacy and legal services for low- and moderate-income children with disabilities who receive clinical services at Kennedy Krieger.
Mallory earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Delaware and a Juris Doctor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. She interned at Project HEAL during her second and third years of law school, and started as a staff attorney in August 2014. In April 2015, Mallory received an award for dedication to her law school’s public interest organization, the Maryland Public Interest Law Project. Mallory is on the board of the Collaborative Project of Maryland. Mallory is on the development committee and is a co-chair of the membership committee for the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates. Mallory received The Daily Record’s Leading Women Award in December 2017 and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Young Professional Award in November 2017.
Gregory E. Gann, Esq., Board Member
Greg embraces the three-prong holistic approach to divorce which serves as the foundation of collaborative law. This approach recognizes that the most effective way of achieving a healthy divorce is to work as a team with a mental health professional, a divorce financial analyst, and a lawyer to incorporate the unique skill set of each. Greg established his financial and estate planning firm in 1989. Along with this background and experience, Greg integrates into his work as a certified divorce financial analyst an array of unique and complementary education and experience that includes being himself an attorney, a mediator, and a collaboratively trained professional. Because, other than custody, every element of a divorce involves finances, Greg advocates that no one should divorce without benefitting from the prowess of a divorce financial analyst regardless of the amount of assets involved.
Because he believes in strong schools and equal educational opportunities for everyone irrespective of his or her zip code, Greg proudly serves on the Board of an inner city public school as well as treasurer of an organization that provides training and apprenticeships in the technology arena which are appropriate for 21st century jobs.
Samantha Granderson, Esq., Board Member
Cary Jacobson, Esq., Board Member
Cary Jacobson, Esquire is the founder and managing partner of Jacobson Family Law. Cary has been practicing law for nearly a decade, having successfully represented clients in all facets of family law proceedings including separation, divorce, custody, child support, post-divorce enforcement, and other family law related matters.
Cary grew up in North Carolina and attended University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA) with a degree in sociology. During her time at UNCA, she volunteered with Helpmate, a local domestic violence center, where she worked with both survivors and their children. Upon graduating from UNCA, Cary relocated to Maryland with her sights set on attending law school. Cary graduated magna cum laude from the University of Baltimore Law School, where she participated in the Family Mediation Clinic as a Rule 16 Student Attorney and mediator through the Circuit Court for Baltimore City.
Through her experience litigating family law matters, Cary has found that the conflict associated with litigation often tears a family apart making it toxic for children and their parents. However, as a certified mediator and collaborative divorce attorney, Cary has also seen how these forms of alternative dispute resolution can lead to and foster successful co-parenting arrangements.
Cary has chosen to dedicate her practice to working with clients who wish to resolve their family disputes without court intervention. She assists clients in choosing between mediation, collaborative divorce or separation agreements in order to keep drama out of their divorce.
Cary is also a leader in the legal community. She is actively involved member in the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, Maryland State Bar Association Family Law and Young Lawyer Sections, Howard County Bar Association, and the Maryland Program for Mediator Excellence. Cary is also a current board member of the Howard County Collaborative Professionals and the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland of Howard County. Since 2016, Cary has been recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star in Family Law; each year no more than 2.5% of the lawyers in Maryland are selected.
Amy S. Mazer, LCSW-C, Board Member
Amy Mazer is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families. Amy is a psychotherapist, a Collaborative Divorce Coach, a Co-Parenting Mediator and a Parent Coordinator.
Amy works with couples who are contemplating separation and/or divorce to help them discern a path forward, whether to work to repair the marriage or to pursue separation and divorce in the most respectful way possible. For families in the midst of a separation or divorce Amy’s work centers on helping them to navigate through this life transition, address co-parenting issues, develop a parenting plan and build a cooperative co-parenting relationship. In her role as a Mediator or Collaborative Divorce Coach she will assist parents in the development of a customized and comprehensive parenting plan designed with their children and family in mind while facilitating respectful communications. In her role as a Parent Coordinator she is committed to protecting children from parental conflict and safeguarding the parent-child relationship by facilitating child centered decisions.
Amy has been a leader in Maryland’s Collaborative community; she has been a past President of the Howard County Collaborative Professionals, Past President and Co-Founder of the Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore, past President of the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council and a current Board member of the Collaborative Project of Maryland. She has co-led workshops on Collaborative Practice for NASW and for University of Maryland’s School of Social Work’s Continuing Education program. She was featured in an article in NASW News September, 2014 entitled Peaceful Solutions: Collaborative Divorce Promotes Civility.
Jana Singer, Esq., Board Member
Ms. Singer joined the University of Maryland faculty in 1985 after serving as Revson fellow in women’s law and public policy and adjunct clinical professor at the Georgetown University Law Center’s Sex Discrimination Clinic. Following her graduation from law school, where she was articles editor of the Yale Journal of World Public Order, she served for a year as clerk to the Honorable Richard D. Cudahy of the U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit, and then for two years as a litigation associate at the law firm of Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering.
Ms. Singer is the co-author of Family Law: Cases Materials and Problems (1998) and she has written widely on constitutional law, family law and children’s issues. She is a member of the American Law Institute and a liaison member of the American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession. She is a past Chair of the Family and Juvenile Law Section of the American Association of Law Schools and a current member of the Editorial Board of the Family Court Review.
Stuart K. Skok, Esq., Board Member
Stuart Skok is owner and principal of Stuart Skok Law, LLC, with offices in Montgomery and Frederick Counties. She is licensed to practice law in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Stuart has practiced matrimonial and family law for over 20 years, handling cases both in and out of litigation. She is certified in Collaborative Divorce and divorce mediation. She frequently lectures on family law and recently published her Handbook on Separation & Divorce, Fourth Edition, available on her website. Stuart has a particular interest in cases involving children with special needs, having a special needs child herself, and was featured by SuperLawyers Magazine in 2017 for her work in this area.
Stuart has been actively involved in Bar leadership throughout her career. She was President of Collaborative Divorce Association, Inc. (CDA), President of the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association, she twice served as Co-Chair of the Family Law Section for Montgomery County Bar Association and named Co-Chair of the year for each term. She testified before the House Judiciary Committee on family law legislation and was a Pupil and Barrister with the Montgomery Inn of Court. She currently serves on the Peer Review Panel for the Attorney Grievance Commission of Maryland, and on the Board of the Collaborative Project of Maryland (CPM).
Stuart is a member of the Maryland State and Federal Courts, District of Columbia and United States Supreme Court. She is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbel and was awarded the Gold Client Champion Award in 2017 based on client reviews. SuperLawyers named her Top 25 Family Law Attorneys in Maryland and Top 50 Family Law Attorneys in Washington, D.C. Bethesda Magazine named her Top Family Law Attorney. Baltimore Magazine named her Top 50 Women Attorneys in Maryland and Top 100 Attorneys in Maryland. Washington Lawyer named her Top 50 Women Attorneys in Washington, D.C. BestLawyers named her Best Family Law Lawyers, Best Lawyers in America and Top 100 Lawyers in Maryland. Ten Leaders Cooperative named her Top Ten Leaders in Collaborative Divorce. The National Advocate Top 100 Lawyers named her Top 100 Matrimonial and Family Law Attorneys in Maryland.
In January 2018, she was named “Attorney Of The Month” by Attorney at Law Magazine for the D.C. Metropolitan area. Marquis Whose Who awarded her the Albert Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and listed her among their Top Professionals. Stuart was recently invited to become a Fellow in the Trial Lawyer Honorary Society by the Litigation Counsel of America, a selective organization composed of less than one-half of one percent of American Lawyers.
Stuart grew up in Montgomery County, attended the University of Denver for her undergraduate degree and West Virginia University College of Law for her law degree. Her inspiration for the law comes from her late grandfather, Judge Gus Muntzing from West Virginia and her late father, L. Manning Muntzing, former international nuclear energy lawyer in Washington D.C.
Kathleen Wobber, Esq., Board Member
Kathleen Wobber has practiced law in Baltimore for 24 years in the areas of family law and civil litigation. As an advocate, she has appeared before the D.C. and Maryland Federal and State Courts representing divorce litigants in bench trials and defending civil business litigants in jury trials. For the past fifteen years, Kathleen has successfully been using alternative dispute methods to resolve family and business disputes, which clients feel provide distinct advantages over litigation. While she still represents select clients in litigated matters, Kathleen focuses her practice on Collaborative Law and divorce mediation.
Kathleen is committed to meeting the specific needs of both parties and their children for more predictable outcomes and less acrimony, while being more cost efficient for involved parties. She has received advanced training in Collaborative Practice and has helped hundreds of couples resolve their disputes respectfully through the Collaborative Process. In addition to being well versed in all nuances of family law, Kathleen is dedicated to incorporating other professionals into the divorce process, so that clients may avoid the uncertain outcome of litigation.
Kathleen is the past President of the Collaborative Professionals of Baltimore, is the current President of the Maryland Collaborative Practice Council and a board member for the Collaborative Project of Maryland. She mentors lawyers who are interested in learning and incorporating mediation and Collaborative Law into their practices.
Kathleen is a partner with the law firm of Parler & Wobber in Towson, Maryland. She graduated cum laude from George Washington University and worked for the Secret Service before attending William & Mary Law School. Kathleen has published numerous articles on alternative dispute resolution, has presented seminars on Collaborative Law and mediation to attorneys and mental health providers around the State of Maryland and has lectured on Collaborative Law, both at the University of Baltimore and the University of Maryland Law Schools.