As an experienced family law lawyer and mediator, Cynthia Todd, discusses mediation:  

What is mediation and a mediated divorce?
Mediation is a process in which I work with the parties to a dispute and help them reach an agreement.  The parties may be in any stage of a family law matter.  They may be trying to work out only one issue, or they may need help with many complex issues.    

When I am working as a mediator, I am neutral.  I am not acting as an advocate for either party.  As a mediator, both parties are my clients, and my role is to facilitate the clients as they reach a resolution of their issues. 

Unlike the traditional, litigated
court divorce, which is an adversarial fight until someone wins and someone loses, mediation is a voluntary problem-solving process.  I assist the process in whatever way best suits the particular clients, facilitating the clients to come up with their own ideas until they reach a mutually agreeable settlement.  Some clients may need assistance with generating settlement options.  Other clients may benefit from a more “evaluative” approach—hearing an assessment of their position and the likely outcome if they are unable reach resolution and end up in court. 

The mediation process is flexible and driven by the clients and their needs.  As a mediator, I work with other professionals, as needed, in the mediation process.  Financial professionals can assist with budgeting, financial planning, cash flow analysis, and determining the value and character of a closely held business.  Mental health practitioners can assist as coaches or child specialists.    

Mediation is a confidential process.  Unlike the traditional
court divorce, the statements made during mediation will remain confidential.  Confidentiality encourages disclosure and promotes free discussion of potential solutions.  

I believe it is important for every divorce mediation client to have access to accurate information regarding family law and family law procedure.  When interviewing potential mediators, a client should ask about the mediator’s background and experience in family law.  My qualification as a Certified Family Law Specialist, with extensive experience in Los Angeles County and Ventura County Courts, assists my work as a family law mediator. 

For further information regarding the process of family mediation, I suggest the American Bar Association’s guide, “Preparing for Family Mediation,”

Is mediation right for me?

Research shows there are many benefits to a mediated divorce when compared to a traditional court divorce:
  • Higher satisfaction and compliance rate:  Studies show that people are more satisfied with and more likely to follow a mediated settlement than an outcome that is ordered by the court in a traditional, litigated court divorce.  

  • Less expensive and less time consuming:  The financial cost and duration of a mediated divorce are less than a typical court divorce. 

  • Mediation is confidential:  Unlike court proceedings, which are open to the public, mediation is private.

  • You and your spouse want to decide the terms of your divorce:  In a traditional court divorce, state law, as interpreted by a judge, will determine the outcome of your case.  This outcome is not always “fair.”  In a mediated divorce, you and your spouse determine the outcome.  If you and your spouse have already agreed to a settlement on your own, you may only need a mediator to fill in any gaps and facilitate to ensure that your agreement is accepted by the court.

Mediated Divorce:

Family Law & Mediation

Clarus Law