We are honored to share these testimonials for the Mediation Office of John Spiegel, JD & Donna Duquette, JD.

We appreciate these testimonials from our professional colleagues and our former clients. Please keep in mind that the success of any mediation depends on its unique circumstances. We cannot guarantee particular results for future clients based on successes we have achieved in past mediations.

Testimonials from Professional Colleagues

“The Mediation Office of John Spiegel and Donna Duquette is the place our practice refers couples who need help navigating the conflicts and details of a separation in ways that leave everyone respected, heard and able to move forward in the healthiest way. Experienced mediators, John and Donna each listen like therapists and ask questions that direct conversations towards substance, encouraging reflection and effective decisions. Ethical and fair, their work helps families adapt and change through the divorce process, not shatter.”

Kathleen Landers, LCSW-C, therapist and director of Sequence Counseling and Consulting Services

“John Spiegel and Donna Duquette are mediators of exceptional skill, applying decades of experience in helping couples to find solutions that address the concerns of both parties and meet anticipated needs moving forward. Donna and John’s deep knowledge of the law, patience, insight, and skill in dealing with even the strongest of personalities in stressful circumstances, enable them to help clients articulate underlying interests and reach creative, mutually-agreeable settlement agreements.”

Elizabeth J. Weisberg, attorney

“As a family therapist, I have referred couples to Donna Duquette for divorce mediation over the years. I know my clients will receive thoughtful and expert guidance. Donna provides a safe and calm space for couples and helps them turn to hopeful solutions.”

Rebecca Dalton, LICSW

“[John Spiegel and Donna Duquette] are two people I know who make peace every day. They help separating and divorcing couples talk to each other. Out of the talk, understanding emerges. And out of the understanding, lives heal. … Progress happens when clients are thinking for themselves well. Thinking is not the first word that comes to mind when you consider conflict. Thinking usually, in fact, makes a quick exit when the battles begin. Anger stays in the room. Resentment stays. Old pain and mistrust take the big chairs. But the thinking is long gone. And it is thinking that is needed most. But mediators don’t always know how to produce it. In that way, John and Donna are pioneers in this field.”

Nancy Kline, excerpted from her book More Time to Think (Fisher King Publishing 2009)

Testimonials from Former Clients

“I was looking for a mediator who would exhibit neutral respect and fairness. My husband and I chose your [John’s] services because of a referral from [a] psychotherapist and my telephone conversation with Carolyn who was warm … when I was in a deep, dark, and cold time in my life. … Speaking to you helped me to develop my own voice and gave me ample opportunities to think and make decisions that were suitable for me and the children. … It is through your service that both my ex-husband and I have put aside our differences and chosen to do what is best for our children. … I am most proud of my ability to become an empowered single parent who has regained my voice. … I sincerely thank both you and Carolyn for helping us to work through our decisions and come to a quick resolution.”

Gaithersburg, MD client

“We didn’t want to leave decisions about custody and terms of separation in the hands of the court, so we sought out Donna’s help in reaching decisions. … Going into the mediation, there were still lots of negative emotions between my husband and me. Communicating was a challenge and agreeing to a decision an even bigger one. … Throughout the process Donna kept us focused on finding solutions to our issues. She provided us with additional resources so we could make educated decisions. She also pointed out things that we never considered and that needed to be addressed. Donna was extremely patient and flexible as the process extended due to medical issues. I could feel she really cared about helping us. … I do believe that going through the court process would have antagonized us further. Instead, the mediation allowed us to learn to compromise and meet in the middle, and also showed us we can still make decisions together when it comes to our son.”

North Bethesda, MD client

“We were looking for someone who would handle our personal situation in a non-contentious, fair, and professional way. We also wanted to limit our expenses associated with the divorce. … We got much more with John. He understood the law well and was able to discuss legal matters with my then-husband, who was a lawyer. But he also made sure I understood the issues. He is an excellent communicator and this is an important quality when you are going through a divorce. … John approaches his work with professionalism and kindness, a combination that is not easy to find in divorce circles. I have been divorced over 8 years and I still look back at mediation with John as one of the best decisions we made during that process.”

Chevy Chase, MD client

“Donna treated my ex-wife and me just like she would any heterosexual couple, with respect and kindness. I would highly recommend her as a mediator for LGBTQ couples going through a separation/divorce. Our mediation sessions with Donna were especially helpful in sorting out how my ex-wife would buy me out from the house we had bought together prior to getting married. … I would recommend mediation to anyone going through a separation and/or divorce. I would especially recommend Donna as a mediator because she was prompt to respond/complete work on her end, very professional, and showed us sincere compassion every step of the process.”

Washington, DC client

“When I first chose John, it was because he came highly recommended. I used him for my divorce and I was so happy with the results, that when I later remarried, I used him again for the prenuptial agreement. I found John to be calm, focused, and diligent in keeping us on course. … Mediation helped my ex-husband and me to maintain calm and communicate throughout a difficult time our lives. Because we learned some healthy communication tools in mediation, a new way of communicating with one another if you will, we were able to carry those skills into co-parenting with our two children. … For the pre-nup, mediation was so helpful in getting my fiancé and me to talk about very important issues in a structured environment. If we hadn’t discussed some of these more difficult topics, I do not believe we would have set the groundwork that we needed to embark upon a healthy marriage.”

Bethesda MD client

“We were looking for a mediator to help mediate our divorce following 13 years of marriage and five months of family therapy. I was concerned that mediation could go on for a long time. Donna set a clear schedule for us, which seemed quite reasonable, given all the things we had to work through. We also came out of our sessions with clear actions/homework and a schedule, which was very helpful. … Both my wife and I were very keen that we be mindful of our children and the impact our separation and divorce would have on them. Donna helped us stay true to this aspiration and brought us back to it in moments of emotionally-charged discussion. … Donna asked that we bring photos of our children and that we keep them at the center of our thoughts as we worked through all the details of our separation and divorce. … The thing that I’m most proud of, and that I get the most positive comments about from friends and family, is that my children have adapted and are doing well in their relationships and at school. Donna was a big part of helping us succeed.”

Silver Spring, MD client

“I was not expecting my spouse to end our marriage, and I had not begun to overcome the initial shock by the time [my spouse] already had an adversarial settlement proposed prepared. … It was clear from my phone consultation with Carolyn Finney that the office of John Spiegel offered something completely different. If a conventional attorney’s goal is to shift power and entitlement as far as possible to their own client, a mediator’s goal is to balance it as equitably as possible between both clients. In my mediation, my family was the client; not myself alone. … The most valuable outcome of my mediation with Carolyn Finney and John Spiegel is the certainty that my ex and I have to be able to co-parent our child without resentment or animosity towards each other. … In my mediation, my ex and I were able to work with John and Carolyn together. John and Carolyn brought a combination of legal expertise, personal experience with divorce, sensitivity to the needs of a family, and focus on our long term happiness that must be extremely rare. Thank you, John and Carolyn, for steering my family in the right direction.”

Rockville MD client

“Throughout my entire separation and divorce process, other lawyers and professionals I encountered made me feel like my divorce was trivial, but Donna was the only one who understood how difficult the situation was for us and made me feel valued. Mediation allowed us to resolve our issues in a respectful way, and bring a sense of closure to our complicated story. Donna helped steer us through the emotions and come up with a fair agreement that we were both very happy with.”

Baltimore, MD client

“John Spiegel made a difficult and painful experience easier. His counsel was part therapy session and part concrete financial and legal resolutions. …The emotional journey was as important as the legal divorce documents. I don’t think we would have achieved a successful result without John’s expertise and guidance. I really can’t say enough about him. Thank you John.”

Rockville, MD client

“I was concerned that my spouse’s more aggressive communication style would completely drown me out in mediation. I expected to be at a disadvantage when it came to resolving differences. But Donna made sure that both sides were heard. … The biggest help was drawing my voice into the discussion. I really had a defeated attitude after many years of being verbally overpowered, so it was hard for me to put my thoughts into words. … Her calm and practical problem-solving approach kept discussions moving forward in a positive way. Donna has an amazing ability to build bridges between people who have very different needs and communication styles. I think we came out of the process with more goodwill than we had when we started.”

Gaithersburg, MD client

“Divorce is painful. John and his team made it bearable. Instead of a scorched-earth fight, John focused on finding common ground and equitable solutions. I wouldn’t want to relive our divorce, but if I did, I’d ask John Spiegel to help guide the way. John always placed a photo of our child front and center at every mediation, reminding us that despite being divorced, we’d always be connected. That helped diffuse a lot of anger and frustration and find a solution that avoided a litigious court.”

Rockville, MD client

“Donna came highly recommended by our long-time financial planner. When we met her, we found her soothing manner and knowledge of the necessary legal steps to be a perfect fit for our needs. Anyone entering a divorce knows that things have the potential to turn highly negative – that was my initial concern. But throughout the process, Donna diffused tension and kept us moving ahead. We were able to resolve some complicated financial issues and form an agreement that was acceptable to both of us. [With regards to the mediation] I’m most proud of the fact that my ex and I worked together, and continue to have a positive relationship some months after completing mediation.”

Chevy Chase, MD client

“At a time when I didn’t want to make any more decisions, the choice of John Spiegel as our mediator was an easy one. It quickly became apparent why he had been so highly recommended by a friend. John took his time in explaining the process, answering our questions, and set an amicable tone for the duration of our mediation process. Through his guidance we were able to lessen both the cost and the stress of our divorce. John’s genuine care for us as individuals, his concern for the well-being of our children, and his attention to detail put us at ease throughout the process.”

Silver Spring, MD client

“In our situation, mediation seemed to be just the right approach. We were separated and divorcing under generally mutual agreement, with the same ultimate priorities and goals, but did need advice on some things we had not thought of. We also needed the perspectives of what to expect with the process, timing and legalities of an uncontested divorce. Donna and her team at the mediation office helped us through all of these issues, with professionalism, great patience and grace. We would highly recommend her services and the mediation approach and solution whenever feasible, over what might become a costly argumentative and damaging approach using individual divorce attorneys.”

Rockville, MD client

“In a mediator, what I sought and found in John were characteristics that would allow two stories to be heard, impartially analyzed, and compassionately overseen to an equitable end. … Mediation created a deeper sense of civility, transparency, and forgiveness. It made safe the acknowledgement and acceptance of human dysfunction, natural and comprehensible raw emotion. … John’s experience, character, and knowledge allowed both my ex-wife’s and my voice to be heard and connected to our feelings and our wishes, while fairly being captured on paper in the context of the law.
If this is what you seek, John Spiegel delivers.”

Gaithersburg, MD client

“I called several offices looking for a mediator. I talked with Carolyn and she was great! She listened, gave great guidance, and I could hear her empathy and caring over the phone. We met with Donna as our mediator. Donna was great in handling the hard stuff…. This of course was painful, but my ex and I handled it amicably and Donna’s team helped guide us on this journey. Thanks Donna and Carolyn!”

Germantown, MD client

Germantown, MD client