A Better Way for Families to Transition


About Interest-Based Divorce Negotiation


Deborah Throm

Richard Igou

Richard Daugherty

Karen Davidson

Laura Irwin

Adrian J. Davis


Lepage Associates Solution-Based Psychological & Psychiatric Services

Dr. Tina Lepage

Dr. Colette Segalla


Stearns Financial Services Group

Haleh Moddasser


Deborah ThromDeborah Throm

Deborah M. Throm is a collaborative attorney and mediator for the Rosen Law Firm.

She is a founding member and participating attorney of Solutions for Separating Better, an interdisciplinary collaborative practice group. Mrs. Throm was among the first attorneys in North Carolina to focus her practice entirely on collaborative divorce. Since 2003, she has continued to serve her clients by providing this out-of-court, creative resolution process. Her greatest satisfaction is helping families going through the transition of separation and divorce; to work together to reach mutually acceptable long-term resolutions that enable them to continue effectively co-parenting their children.

In addition to her work as a collaborative attorney, Mrs. Throm provides private divorce mediation services for those couples interested in working together to reach an out-of-court, facilitated resolution. She also currently serves as a private mediator for the North Carolina State Board of Education, Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health mediating disputes between school districts, service providers and parents of children with special needs.

She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, with Distinction, in Speech Communication from San Jose State University, where she began her studies in conflict resolution. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Golden Gate University School of Law in 1996 and is admitted to the North Carolina State Bar. Prior to her law career, Mrs. Throm interned with the U.S. Department of Labor in San Francisco and has a history of public service, which includes serving on non-profit boards of directors for child advocacy organizations. She has also participated in extensive training as a facilitator and formerly served as a private facilitator for the NC Department of Education, Department of Public Instruction. Mrs. Throm is trained as both a parenting coordinator and guardian ad litem.

Mrs. Throm has presented and provided training on the topics of conflict resolution and collaborative negotiation for several professional associations across the State of North Carolina. She has also presented at the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals annual forum; where she co-presented with a child psychologist on the topic of bridging the legal and psychological disciplines; as they work together to help families in transition.


Richard Igourichard igou

Rick is a collaborative attorney, mediator, and arbitrator in solo practice in Durham. His practice is focused on helping people craft their own, personal resolutions to disputes, disagreements and difficult mutual decisions without going to court. He learned the effectiveness of self-determination and needs-based negotiation while still a law student and, as a lawyer, observed that litigation frequently encourages the escalation rather than the resolution of conflict. Noting that this was particularly true in separation and divorce cases, and especially when children were involved, he completed collaborative divorce training in order to offer an alternative to the tooth-and-nail, all or nothing, adversarial positioning that has become symptomatic of separation and divorce. With over two decades of experience in interest-based negotiation, Rick helps his clients reach agreements that look toward their long-term needs and goals rather than a narrow estimation of courtroom results.

Rick attended the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina School of Law. He has completed several hundred hours of dispute resolution training, including the CPTI Collaborative Divorce Team Training for Collaborative Professionals. He holds certification from the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as a Family Financial, Superior Court and Clerk of Court mediator, and is also a Permanency Mediator with the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. He is a District Court arbitrator for the 14th Judicial District of North Carolina and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Board of Arbitrators. He served for three years as a member of the Council of the Dispute Resolution Section of the North Carolina State Bar Association, currently serves on the North Carolina Supreme Court Dispute Resolution Committee’s Custody and Visitation Mediation Program’s Advisory Subcommittee, and is 2012 President of the North Carolina Association of Professional Family Mediators. In addition to his practice, he has volunteered since 1990 as a mediator, facilitator and trainer with the Dispute Settlement Center of Orange County.


Richard Daughertyrichard dugherty

Richard (Rich) Daugherty, JD, MSW, MBA (Lawyer/Mediator) is an attorney and certified superior court mediator practicing collaborative family law. Actively involved in more peaceful divorce resolutions, he is a board member of the Center for Cooperating Parenting in Chapel Hill, a member of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and a member of the North Carolina Association of Professional Family Mediators. Rich also serves as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and Parenting Coordinator (PC) with regard to child custody cases. From his experience as an attorney, mediator, GAL and PC, Rich has breadth and depth in his understanding of divorce and can help clients navigate their way through this process in a dignified and peaceful way.

Rich has a unique educational blend beyond the typical law degree. In addition to a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he also holds a masters degree in social work from UNC, an undergraduate degree in business economics from the University of Richmond and an MBA degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. Being educated in business and social work makes Rich a better choice as an attorney because he is equipped to address the challenges of working with limited resources and has a deeper understanding of the emotions associated with divorce.

Rich is married and has three grown children. He loves the outdoors and enjoys backpacking, fly-fishing and gardening.


Karen DavidsonKaren Davidson

Karen Davidson was born in North Carolina and graduated from high school in Charlotte. She received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University. She has an MA and JD from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. She was admitted to the North Carolina Bar in 1981.

Karen’s law practice is holistic, offering a full range of legal services in civil and criminal court. She is committed to a focus on collaborative family law (CFL) as the optimal process for helping separating parties make a successful transition to two homes. Karen believes that eliminating any negative impact on children is paramount during and after divorce.

Karen is fully trained and experienced in the practice of collaborative family law as set out in North Carolina General Statute 50-70. She has participated in a number of CFL cases leading to positive outcomes for the families involved.

Karen has the skills to ensure the success of the collaborative process. She has been trained as a family financial mediator and is qualified as a Parent Coordinator pursuant to North Carolina law. She also serves as both a civil and juvenile Guardian ad Litem which provides her with a unique understanding of the needs of children whose parents are separating. Financial pressures often creates adversity in the separation process. If resources can be maximized in a way that meets each new family’s needs, initial stress can be relieved.

Ms. Davidson is able to assist clients in reaching solutions tailored to his/her specific parenting and property issues. She is able to support and assist parties in identifying individual needs and interests. Karen is aware of the stressors affecting individuals going through separation from a spouse. She is keenly aware of all the issues facing clients in separation and divorce and the dynamics between parties as they rearrange their lives. She knows that, in addition to emotional factors, time plays a significant role in separation. Karen offers solid support through the process seeking a smooth and safe transition.

Areas of Practice:

      • Adoption
      • Juvenile
      • Abuse and Neglect
      • Delinquency
      • Domestic
      • Uncontested and contested divorce
      • Collaborative divorce
      • Mediation
      • Civil Guardian ad Litem (Domestic and Competency)
      • Parent Coordination
      • Equitable distribution
      • Spousal support
      • Custody including Parenting Agreements
      • Same Sex Partnership and Custody Matters
      • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
      • Criminal misdemeanors
      • Alcohol and substance violations
      • Domestic Violence
      • DWI
      • Traffic
      • Expungement of qualifying offenses
      • Adult Competency
      • Emancipation


Laura Irwin

Laura Irwin has served families transitioning through divorce for over ten years. She started her own law firm in May, 2001. Irwin Law Firm, PLLC was created to help families approach divorce in a way that maximizes the potential for positive change, successfully manages the negative forces that led to divorce in the first place, and seeks to permanently resolve the financial and family issues that arise with separation and divorce.

Laura specializes in assisting her clients move on with their new lives through an array of techniques. She has developed strategies for meeting clients where they are, helping them to create the situation they want to be in, and supporting them throughout the transition. Laura and her staff have assisted clients throughout the Research Triangle area as they transform lives that weren’t working into new lives of their own creation-even when divorce was not their choice.

Before opening her own firm and beginning her mediation and collaborative practices, Laura successfully held associate positions in two of the most aggressive family law litigation firms in her area. Laura saw that seeking to win the battle at all costs often left a family depleted of financial resources, struggling with significant traumatic damage to the family relationships, and stuck in a court imposed one-size fits all arrangement. She observed that the “winner” was often as dissatisfied with the outcome as the “loser”. Over time, Laura began to implement techniques used in mediation and collaborative law in her litigated cases. Her clients have reaped the rewards of Laura’s training in these areas. Laura is convinced that her solution based approach results in cases-even litigated cases-costing less, taking less time, and yielding a better result because fewer issues end up being tendered to a judge.

Laura is a two time graduate of the University of Florida. She is a native of the Durham-Chapel Hill area and attended Durham Academy and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro public schools before attending high school in Florida after her parents’ divorce. Laura earned a degree in Psychology and a law degree before returning home to establish a legal practice in Orange, Durham, Chatham, Wake, Granville, and Person counties. Laura has been active in the past in the Junior League of Durham and Orange Counties and is a former board member of Girls on the Run of the Triangle, Inc. For over ten years she has been a committed volunteer for The Women’s Center of Chapel Hill, providing her time to Legal Information Service calls, fundraising support, serving as an ongoing legal resource and assisting in developing a family law lecture series. Other volunteer activities have included supporting Family Violence Prevention, Legal Aid, NCCASA, the Durham Crisis Response Center, and presentation of Pro Bono CLE at the North Carolina State Bar Association. Laura currently serves as a volunteer mediator at The Dispute Settlement Center in Carrboro and at Deep River Mediation in Chatham County. Laura and her husband are raising three children together in Chapel Hill.

Adrian J. Davisadrian davis

“Collaborative law equates to self-determination, which inevitably empowers the individual with control over his or her own life.”

Adrian J. Davis is an experienced family law attorney with a passion for peaceful conflict resolution. As a former child of divorce, she understands and has personally witnessed the long-term destruction of an acrimonious divorce. Adrian knows that the collaborative process provides all parties a fair and positive avenue for resolution without the harmful and generally irreparable consequences of the traditional separation and divorce model. Adrian’s desire is to provide families with a safe, protective legal avenue for peaceful conflict resolution through collaborative divorce.

Experience and Education
Adrian Davis is a family law attorney and mediator. She obtained her undergraduate degree in 1996 and her Juris Doctor in 1999 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to exclusively practicing family law, her practice included corporate law, juvenile law and real estate law.

Professional Affiliations:

Wake County Bar Association (WCBA)
North Carolina Bar Association (NCBA)
International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
North Carolina Victims Association (Volunteer)

Teaching & Speaking Engagements:

Ms. Davis is the Training Chair for the North Carolina Association of Collaborative Divorce Professionals and has spoken at a number of continuing legal education programs throughout the state. She has recently lectured on topics including “Collaborative Divorce – Creating the Container” and “How to Avoid Common Tax Mistakes.”
Adrian Davis

For anyone going through a separation Adrian suggests, “Whatever your personal circumstances are, make sure you chose the process right for your situation; do not let anyone dictate your path.”


Dr. Tina Lepagetina lepage

Dr. Tina Lepage was the first psychologist in the Triangle to become fully trained in collaborative divorce (CD), and she continues to be the most highly trained and experienced mental health professional working in CD in this geographic area. Since 2004 Dr. Lepage has engaged in hundreds of hours of training in CD and mediation, and works with numerous families each year going though this transition. From the very beginning of her career with a B.S. in Child Development & Family Relationships, Dr. Lepage has been focusing on families, and she has extensive experience working with individuals, couples, parents, and children going through divorce. Dr. Lepage completed both her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation in Clinical Psychology in the area of developing parenting plans, and is an expert in cooperative co-parenting and parallel parenting. Her combined experience in divorce transitions, child development, parenting plans, and conflict resolution make her highly sought out by people going through separation and divorce. A leader in CD in the Triangle, Dr. Lepage was the Case Manager and Child Specialist on the first Full Team CD in this area, is on the Executive Committee of the NC state CD association, and is a founding member of Separating Better. The psychologists at Lepage Associates all have training and experience in CD to include the Full Team and Referral Models. Each of the other clinicians at Lepage Associates is mentored by Dr. Lepage in CD, receives outside training, and are all skilled at divorce work in their own right. It is not surprising families experiencing the transition of divorce find the assistance at Lepage Associates invaluable. Please visit our website for in-depth information on Dr. Lepage and Lepage Associates.


Dr. Colette SegallaColette Segalla

Dr. Colette Segalla completed the first Collaborative Divorce training course offered in the Triangle area, and has a background with children, families and divorce that makes her well suited to acting as a Child Specialist or Divorce Coach in the Collaborative Divorce process. As a Child Specialist, Dr. Segalla makes use of her background in education, having taught at both the secondary and elementary levels for eleven years. During these years she worked closely with parents to understand and best meet the needs of their children. This partnership with parents continues in her current work in clinical psychology as she conducts psychoeducational evaluations and individual therapy with children and adolescents. Her extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and parents both in education and in clinical psychology has prepared her exceptionally well to work in the role of Child Specialist. As a therapist, Dr. Segalla also has experience doing couples therapy with couples who seek to improve their marriage as well as those who wish to peacefully separate and detach from one another when the marriage is ending. She focuses on helping these couples maintain a respectful partnership for the sake of the children and for their own emotional well-being even though they have chosen to end the marriage. As an adjunct to this experience, Dr. Segalla completed extensive Leadership Training where the emphasis was on helping people achieve their full potential. This leadership training that serves as the foundation for a coaching relationship, combined with her individual and couples work in psychology, have prepared her to be very helpful to individuals when serving as a Divorce Coach.


Haleh ModdasserHaleh Moddasser

Haleh Moddasser, CPA (pronounced “Holly”)

Haleh is Vice President at Stearns Financial Services Group where she leads the Triangle area’s “Solutions for Women” business unit. Using a holistic approach, Haleh advises her clients in the areas of investment management, financial planning and divorce. Haleh began her career with Price Waterhouse Coopers in Chicago where she worked extensively in individual taxation. Later, Haleh served as a financial officer of a Fortune 500 company, responsible for financing the company’s operations. Haleh’s extensive experience in the Collaborative field has given her a unique understanding of the emotional and financial complexities surrounding divorce. Her goal is to help divorcing clients define their broader life goals and achieve them by finding sustainable financial solutions.

Haleh Moddasser, CPA

Professional Affiliations:

        • NCACPA
        • NAPFA
        • IACP
        • NCACDP