Resolve Your Divorce Peacefully and With Less Expense With Mediation

As one of the top family law litigators in the country, I know the downside of the traditional litigation process. For many years as a top divorce attorney, I watched thousands of clients spend huge sums of money and time fighting through the adversarial process only to end up with even more fractured lives.

I am happy to say that the days when most couples spent a small fortune litigating their divorce with attorneys in court are over. New options make the process simpler, faster, and infinitely less expensive while still providing the guidance and assistance you need to reach those necessary agreements and finalize your divorce.

Divorce mediation is highly recommended

Couples are turning to divorce mediation in droves to work through their issues rather than lawyering up and following the traditional litigation route.

To take the mediation experience to the next level, my mediation process is conducted entirely online so clients can work through the issues of their divorce in the comfort of their homes or offices. In addition, for those clients seeking help with the difficult emotional component of the divorce, I offer a separate mindfulness track with mediation services.

With mindful mediation, clients are given tools that help them to calm the anger, fear, and other negative emotions that so often arise during the process so they can think clearly and make reasoned decisions. After all, the decisions made and agreements reached during divorce often have significant and long-lasting impacts on both of your lives. It makes sense to arrive at those decisions with a clear head and calm emotions.

What exactly is divorce mediation?

Mediation is an informal and voluntary process where couples work with a neutral mediator or mediators to determine how to best restructure their lives and family. The key here is that the mediator, who is often an attorney, acts as a supportive neutral professional to assist you both equally as you work through the process. Unlike in a courtroom where a judge decides who gets what, who pays what, and how you will co-parent, the couple gets to make those decisions in mediation.

So if the mediator doesn't make decisions like a judge, what do they do? The mediator is there to guide you and support you through every step of the process. There are three main phases that your mediator will guide you through.


3 phases of mediation

Phase one

The mediator helps you to identify the issues you need to resolve to finalize your divorce. Generally, this includes how you will divide your property and debt, how you will co-parent your children going forward, and issues of support, which include both alimony and child support if there are minor children. These are broad strokes, and there can be many sub-issues that fall under these broad categories. But again, that is one of the things that your mediator is there to help you with.

Phase two

Once the issues have been identified, your mediator will give you a general understanding of the laws surrounding those issues and any information you need to consider. They will be presenting that understanding from a neutral viewpoint, but it's important to get this from your mediator because you want the decisions you make to be informed decisions.

Phase three

With this foundation laid, your mediator will help you explore your issues and facilitate discussions about these topics. The goal of mediation is not to find a win for one and a loss for the other. Rather, it's to find the solution that best suits both you and your family.

Ultimately, as you work with your mediator, you will each identify what you both can and cannot live with and the best way to achieve fairness as the two of you define it.

Benefits of mediation

Besides being cheaper, faster, and less stressful than litigation, what are some of the other benefits of mediation?

Privacy and confidentiality

Because mediation takes place entirely out of court, it allows you to keep the sensitive and personal details of your life out of the public forum. You will be discussing the intimate details of your finances, your children, and your personal life as you work to resolve your issues with your spouse, so the ability to keep things out of a courtroom, where anyone can be listening, is a big plus.

In addition, because the courts are hoping you can resolve things without involving a judge, most states, including California, have strict laws making anything communicated during the mediation process confidential. This means you can have open and candid conversations with your spouse during mediation without fear of what you say being used against you in a court proceeding.

Autonomy and self-determination

Another major benefit of mediation is that you and your spouse are the only ones making decisions about what works best for your family.

In a litigated matter, the ultimate decision-maker is a stranger wearing a black robe. Judges do their best, but they do not know you, nor do they know your family. In mediation, you and your spouse decide what you can and cannot live with and what works for your family going forward.

In the end, study after study has shown that agreements that result from both spouses' participation are the ones that are successful and long-lasting. A mediated agreement gives you the best chance of success as you move past the divorce.

Online convenience

It is possible to do mediation online, which some couples find a huge benefit. Online mediation sessions allow a couple to conveniently schedule their sessions and participate from their home or office. Regardless of your geographical location, you and your spouse can discuss your divorce and come to agreements face to face. In so many ways, the online platform allows for a more seamless, less stressful process for you both.

Mindfulness tools

When mindfulness tools are integrated into the mediation process, clients receive real assistance with one of the most difficult aspects of divorce.

At a  time in your life when you are at your lowest and feeling all kinds of difficult emotions – fear, anger, and sadness, to name a few – you are called upon to make some of the most important decisions you will ever make for yourself and your family. To compound this, when you are emotional and upset, it's hard to think clearly and rationally. Often, these strong emotions cause people to take unreasonable positions that do not serve them well.

With the mindfulness track, Divorce in a Better Way incorporates tools and methods for calming those emotions and creating a clear mental and emotional path to your future. The emotions won't go away, but you will be provided with ways to create the space that you need to think clearly and make important decisions.

Mediation provides a preferable alternative method to the traditional methods of handling a divorce. It allows couples to work through their issues with less expense and stress, and the time frame is preferable in many ways to the adversarial and expensive litigation process.

At Divorce in a Better Way, not only do we provide you with the ultimate in convenience by offering online mediation services, but we also offer our mindfulness track to help you manage your emotions to allow you to make reasoned and clear choices and agreements to resolve your issues and reach peace.

Watch: How Divorce Mediation Can Help, Even in High Conflict


Podcast Host & Mediator
Susan Guthrie, nationally recognized as one of the Top Family Law and Mediation Attorneys in the United States, helped individuals and families navigate separation and divorce for 32 years. No longer in active practice, Susan recently partnered with mediation legend, Forrest “Woody” Mosten, to create the Mosten Guthrie Academy to provide cutting edge gold-standard trainings for attorneys, mediators and other professionals.

As a leading dispute resolution professional, Susan is honored to serve as the Chair Elect Vice Chair of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution and looks forward to chairing the Section in the coming year.