I am a divorce mediator and coach, who after thirty years of practice is more convinced than ever that most divorcing people are getting screwed by their lawyers and the legal system. AMA!
I am Sam Margulies and was one of the early pioneers in divorce mediation in the United States. I shifted from representing divorce clients in adversary proceedings to mediation because I was appalled by the unnecessary carnage and waste of resources I observed in the court system. Although most states were shifting to no-fault divorce, lawyers did not get the message and continued to fan the flames and encourage their clients to fight. But typically by the end, after clients spent years in limbo and tens of thousands on legal fees to prepare for trial, the lawyers would negotiate a settlement and the case would be over. Yet this was often the same settlement that could have been negotiated in the first few months at a fraction of the cost and in a fraction of the time. Two things became evident to me:
- The system serves the welfare of lawyers; not clients.
- Clients accept the system because they are fed a bunch of myths and come to believe that their “tough” lawyers will fight for them and win more of the money and all of the kids.
It was then, and still is, bullshit. The popular culture continues to distort the realities of divorce. So people continue to believe that it’s all about fighting in court when in reality, it’s all about negotiating a settlement that lets all family members thrive. The average legal fee for divorce in the US is now between $15,000 and $20,000 per person. The average mediation fee in my experience is less than $2,000 and when we’re done the parents can still talk to each other and cooperate for the benefit of the kids. My mission is to convince people contemplating divorce to investigate this humane, common sense alternative to fighting through lawyers and ruining their lives.
I just launched my new Youtube Channel called "Divorce For Grown Ups", so let me know what you think of my first video (in the proofs)!