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Divorce and Family Law Mediator, Thurman W. Arnold III CFLS, AAML

attorney thurman w. arnold, iii

Riverside County Certified Family Law Specialist
State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization

225 S. Civic Drive, Suite 1-2
Palm Springs, CA 92262


Law has been the Arnold family tradition for five generations. I was raised believing that lawyers answer a high calling in protecting the under-empowered. I began practicing family law in 1982. My practice consists exclusively of divorce and family legal issues. I've accumulated significant court experience over years working in high-asset and high-conflict cases, for moderate income families, and for less economically privileged people. I have been a "family law litigator" all of my adult life.

I became disillusioned with the adversarial family court system. This "dispute resolution" model tends to be a "zero sum" game where for every dollar won, the other party loses. If dad got less custodial time, mom might get more money. If the wife got the house, there was no place for the husband to live. In too many cases I watched families become polarized and children be damaged by parental warfare. I saw that same-sex couples were excluded from the legal system, and had to script their own set of rules. This was not satisfying. I decided that I do some things differently.

Mediation offers possibilities that extend far beyond the choices we grew up with. Our life experiences and security are vastly improved when we seek together to overcome the narrow options that conflict seems to impose upon us. There are always solutions which seem invisible while we are stuck. Ironically, it is exactly when parties decide to engage in combat to get their needs met, out of a fear they will otherwise be deprived, that it becomes most likely that their interests will be damaged. At the same time, the tension that conflict creates sometimes offers a big opportunity to express and protect the interests that are most deeply important for us, and so maybe to chart a way out.

These crossroads lend great transformative power to mediation. You only need to take as much transformation as you want. But however you slice it, mediation solves problems more efficiently, in more lasting ways, and with better outcomes than the alternatives are likely to achieve.

My mediation style aspires to incorporate mindfulness and understanding techniques, and to provide a legal education to my mediation participants, in order to have a conversation that can be respectful, informed, and forward-thinking. I frequently see:

  • Cases involving complex and simple legal issues
  • Cases involving complex and simple financial and support issues
  • Cases involving strong emotional components
  • Cases where one or both parties is fearful
  • Cases involving both opposite and same-sex couples
  • Cases where there have been historical power imbalances during the relationship
  • Cases where one party is an avoider, and another an accommodator, in their styles of interaction
  • Cases where the parties are or become open to using mediation to help end a cycles that often began in their families of origin

Whoever you choose to aid you as you navigate the way through these difficult times, I urge that you consider a "mindful divorce." You and your former partner are the best persons in the world to know what each of you need and how your lives should unfold.

~ T.W. Arnold~

Education, Licenses, Certifications and Honors

  • Certificate of Excellence, Reed College, Portland, OR (1974-1975)
  • B.A. (with Honors), University of California, Santa Barbara (1976-1979)
  • J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School (1979-1982)
  • Editorial Staff, Lewis & Clark Environmental Law Journal
  • Admitted, State Bar of California (1982)
  • Admitted, Central District Court of the United States (1983)
  • Loma Linda University Masters Program, Family Sciences (2009/2010)
  • Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Martindale AV Rated
  • Avvo Rated "Superb" Lawyer
  • Palm Springs Life Magazine Top Lawyers 2010 to Present
  • 2014 Desert Bar Association Special Recognition for "Excellent, Devoted and Innovative Assistance" to the Bar
  • Featured Author in Thomson-Reuters 2012 Aspatore "Inside the Minds" Series for Strategies for Famly Law in California
  • California SuperLawyer 2015-2017
  • Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

Mediation and Collaborative Training

  • Two Day Collaborative Training, LACFLA (2009)
  • Five Day Basic Divorce Mediation Training, Forrest S. Mosten (2010)
  • Four Day AFCC Conference, Denver, CO (2010)
  • Five Day Mediation Intensive Training, Gary F. Friedman/Catherine Conner (2010)
  • Two Day Advanced Conflict Resolution Training, American Institute of Mediation (2010)
  • Six Day Self-Reflection in Action for Conflict Professionals, Gary Friedman/Jack Himmelstein/Norman Fischer (2011)
  • Five Day Mediation Intensive Refresher, Center for Understanding in Conflict (2011)
  • Four Day Riverside County Family Law Panel Intensive, Gary Friedman (2012)
  • Six Day Intensive, Tasajara Zen Center, Gary Friedman (2015)

Mediation Affiliations/Memberships and Public Service

  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC)
  • Academy of Family Mediators
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP)
  • Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR)
  • American Inns of Court, Warren Slaughter Division
  • Los Angeles Collaborative Law Association (LACFLA)
  • 2012/2013 Chair Family Law Section, Desert Bar Association (DBA)
  • Founding Member, Panel of Riverside County Family Court Mediators
  • Co-Founder of the Indio Family Court Voluntary Settlement Program (2012)
  • Member, American Bar Association, Mediation Section
  • Member, Association of California Family Law Specialists
  • Founder/Author of the Enlightened Divorce Blog™

mediator thurman arnold

"I am available to assist you as a mediator,
co-mediator, or collaborative law professional at ethical and affordable rates"
Contact Thurman Arnold @ DFMS!
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