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Welcome to Desert Family Mediation Services!

Thank you for visiting our site to learn about family mediation and to explore the possibility of mediating your matters. As we explain in our Mission Statement, our goal is to improve your life during these difficult times.

Since either spouse or domestic partner may hear of us first, it is not uncommon for one person to try to contact DFMS to learn more about the potential benefits of mediation. It is our policy to avoid direct contact between mediators and mediation participants outside the mediation process, or before, except when both parties are actually in the communication loop. While we always strive to remain neutral, we have found that speaking or writing to one-half of a couple, especially during these difficult times, leads to concerns over bias. If we do talk to you upon your initial inquiry, we will not discuss your issues but will only briefly explain what to do to attempt to involve the other party and to arrange an Orientation meeting with us.

If you send us an email, please copy it to the other party and if we respond we will do likewise. If you use the Contact DFMS Email form on our site, we won't need to learn about the facts of your case at this time. Telephone contacts will usually be handled by our trained dispute resolution staff, who will follow the same rules as we do, unless we set up a three-way call with both of you participating.

We are often asked what might be the best way to introduce the other party to mediating their differences and so how to encourage and support them in investigating whether mediation is the best choice for them. We have several suggestions:

  • Send them a link to our website. It is a good source of information about mediation and how we recommend the process be managed. It introduces our mediators and co-mediators. It is our hope that this site provides a comfortable user experience while answering your questions and concerns.
  • It is possible for our offices to send a general letter of introduction, like emailing the contents of this page, to the other party as a sort of invitation to evaluate the process or to schedule an Orientation interview.
  • You and your partner can separately or together sit in on a busy Family Court calendar at the nearest court to get a sense for the traditional experience.
  • We urge that parties begin early on to model respectful communication to one another. Avoid topics that trigger argument and save them for the mediation. You can act in a way that gives the other confidence that mediation is do-able.
  • Many people come to us with one or both believing that they have their case settled. Unfortunately, rarely do both parties have sufficient information to reach an informed agreement and sometimes one mistakenly believes that the other is in agreement on one or all issues. We realize that dissolutions create the highest level of anxieties and so it is natural for you to want to discuss the case, but rather than creating expectations that may not actually lead to settlement we ask you to avoid dialogue about the substance of a settlement for now. This helps the other party to feel safe and so to be willing to engage the process.
  • Many lawyers and non-lawyers in southern California have been attracted to mediation, and hold themselves out as qualified to mediate your case. You can Google "Mediation" and "Mediators" and get some idea of the depth of commitment, training and expertise of these individuals.
  • If you wish, please take the time to read about our mediators to see whether a particular individual resonates for you, or whether co-mediation (using a team of two mediators) might make sense. We reduce our rates for two mediators from what either would charge individually to encourage the use of this option. Using opposite gendered mediators has important advantages including synergy, and support for the emotional gender differences that do exist particularly with heterosexual couples. If you think you have a preference for a particular mediator, please tell us before we schedule your first meeting.
  • Our complimentary Orientation is usually our first opportunity to meet with the parties. If both can agree to attend, the ground is laid for embarking on a mediation (and your first agreement in mediation has been achieved!)
  • If one partner seems stuck in conflict and refuses to think about mediation, mediation may not be appropriate for your situation. However, if they are willing to discuss mediation withus together with your spouse or partner, there is real hope for mediating your matter. We are prepared to handle high-conflict relationship breakups, so long as both parties have the willingness to share in a dialogue that we facilitate and their are no safety issues involving domestic violence and the like.

We hope this introduction is helpful. You have taken an important first step by simply arriving here. The next is for you and your partner to schedule the Orientation Meeting at no charge and then decide whether mediation or litigation best serves your needs, and those of families like yours!

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