Steven M. Garver
Director and Co-Founder
Steven M. Garver is an accomplished trial attorney and divorce mediator. He moved to Reston, Virginia in 1974 with his family, and has developed a diverse legal practice, with litigation experience in personal injury, medical malpractice, civil rights actions, domestic relations, and criminal cases. He also has significant experience in corporate, business and transactional work. Mr. Garver has tried to verdict personal injury cases, medical malpractice cases, felonies and business litigation. He has also tried numerous domestic relations matters.
In 1979, Mr. Garver became one of the first attorney mediators handling divorce cases. He was self-taught and driven to the field by what he saw as unnecessary expense – emotionally and financially – in the divorce process. He has more recently studied at the Harvard Mediation and Negotiation project to expand his skills as a mediator, and is now doing divorce mediation through Divorce Mediation Associates, Ltd. His diverse legal background gives him a special advantage in understanding many of the legal issues faced by families in this complex world.
A need for a better way
Mr. Garver recognizes that divorce is a very difficult process and believes that there must be ways that intelligent people can lessen the burden on themselves and their children and other family members by a sane approach to resolving conflict in divorce and family issues. The mediation process leaves the parties better able to communicate as they have communicated through the tough issues between them and together with the help of a mediator reached a resolution of their dispute and the rights and responsibilities arising as between them as a result of their marriage. Mr. Garver has seen that these parties appear better able to co-parent and to communicate after the divorce over issues that may arise.
Mr. Garver believes very strongly in the understanding model of mediation and the value-added model. This involves both parties being present throughout the mediation in the same room communicating with each other. Mr. Garver also has utilized other professionals in his early years doing mediation, and is happy to be involved in what would otherwise be perceived as a multi-disciplinary approach to mediation. In this approach, mental health professionals also trained in mediation will help with issues with the divorce, most particularly the issues regarding the parties’ children and parenting plans, and with the emotional toll of the divorce process. He also works with accountants and financial planners in the appropriate case, particularly to help find value added to the divorce process.
Putting the needs of the community first
Mr. Garver is an active member of multiple legal and community organizations. He also contributed significant efforts to assist 9/11 victims (and represented several families pro bono), for which he was recognized by Special Master Ken Feinberg, Justice Breyer and a special accommodation of the U.S. Congress.
Steven Garver has been married since 1971 and is father to two grown children and one son-in-law. He is an adjunct professor of law at George Mason University School of Law, where he has taught Virginia Practice and Virginia Remedies.
- University of Maryland, 1971
- J.D., George Mason University, 1975
- Virginia, 1975
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, 1975
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, 1976
- U.S. Supreme Court, 1979
- U.S. Tax Court, 1976
- Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 1977
- Court of Appeals of Virginia
- Supreme Court of Virginia, 1975
- Maryland, D.C. and Florida, pro hac vice
- Academy of Professional Family Mediators
- Association of Attorney Mediators
- Virginia Bar Association
- Boyd-Graves Conference, 1980 – present
- Fairfax Bar Association
- Former Director
- Virginia Trial Lawyers Association
- Board of Governors, 1979 – present
- American Association for Justice
- Chair of the House of Delegates, 2007-2008
- Board of Governors, 2007-2008
- Executive Committee, 2007-2008
- Member of a 2007 delegation which went to China and met with members of the bar, law students and judges of the Courts, where by special order from a Justice of China’s Supreme Court, he had the rare opportunity to view a Chinese trial.
Honors and Accolades
- AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell
- Qualified as an expert witness in federal courts, Virginia state courts and Maryland state courts
- Mackall, Mackall & Walker, Clerk, 1974- 1975
- Kaletah Carroll, 1975-76
- Garver and Moller, Partner, 1978 – 1996
- Commissioner in Chancery, 1988 – present
- George Mason University, adjunct faculty, 2014 – present
- Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce
- National Capital Area Scholastic Rowing Association, Board member
- Combined Cathedral Crews Rowing Club, Board member
- National Cathedral School, Board and Officer of the Parents Association
- Langley School, Committee member
- CLE lecturer in Domestic Relations, Evidence, Appellate Practice, Tort Law, Medical Malpractice, and Ethics