Sheila Gardner

1455 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20004
United States
Office Phone: 202-780-9693
Member since 2015
Membership Type: IACP



Sheila Adams Gardner, founder of Cooperative Strategies Family Law, is an attorney and mediator who began her legal career practicing personal injury and medical malpractice law in Texas and Washington, DC. She was inspired to create CSFL after several years working with parents through her company, Gardener Parenting Consultants. In that work, Sheila coached parents struggling to coparent --to create peaceful, two home families that supported their children. Having grown up in a cooperative two home family, Sheila became passionate about helping parents make conscious decisions to protect and provide for their children into adulthood. Trained in Mediation and Collaborative Practice, Sheila guides clients toward mutually acceptable resolutions that reflect their highest priorities.

Area(s) of Practice: Family Law
License(s): State Bar of Texas District of Columbia Bar

Professional Activities

Professional Associations/Memberships: •District of Columbia Bar •State Bar of Texas •International Academy of Collaborative Professionals •District of Columbia Academy of Collaborative Professionals •Association of Family and Conciliation Courts •Academy of Professional Family Mediators •District of Columbia Bar Family Law Section Sheila regularly volunteers her services to the District of Columbia Family Court Self Help Center and The Collaborative Project of DC.

Undergraduate Education

Howard University, BA 1990

Professional Education

Texas Southern University, JD 1993


Why I do this work... On a sunny spring day in 1975, while watching cartoons, I noticed my father walking back and forth across the living room, taking his things out to an old brown truck. My three sisters and I were told that day, that our Daddy would be living somewhere else. Only 6 years old, my single question was, "Can he stay?" He could not. We sat in the front window for hours after he left wondering when, and where we would see our father again. Would we ever again sneak out of bed when he came home late from work to have a cup of warmed milk and watch Johnny Carson? It was a scary, confusing and sometimes painful time for us all. Our family was the only divorced family we knew at the time. Yet, without models, books or coaches, our parents heroically managed to coparent with the utmost respect for each other and us, fiercely committed to maintaining our strong family bond. Our parents' romantic relationship ended; but our family relationship did not. Of course there were bumps along the way. Through it all, our parents remained laser focused on raising healthy women. The techniques my parents used: never arguing or speaking ill of each other in front of us; never withholding visitation; being flexible with schedules and supportive of each other when necessary, were exactly what 20 years of research on raising children after divorce recommends today. I know what it takes to raise healthy children after divorce; Not because of the years I've spent researching and teaching it as a parent educator, but because I experienced it. It is my experience that makes me so passionate about helping parents make their 'new normal'-a two home family, a healthy and nurturing one for their children. ~Sheila~