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MEDIATION Is the Sane Alternative - But Only If You Value Your FAMILY And Your Money!

DFMS Is Now (Almost) 18 Months Old!

I want to compliment and honor those of you who have seen the terrible destruction and waste that is characteristic of family court litigation, and who have been inspired by this insight to inquire about and undertake mediation with DFMS - or who have been encouraged within your locale to find peacemakers, rather than legal warriors to battle senselessly over unresolved issues relating to your marriages and domestic partnerships. Whether you retain DFMS or any other mediation firm to help you through these traumatic relational times, by opening yourself to mediated outcomes in divorce and family law conflict you become pioneers in entertaining the possibility that there is an alternative to the tone of warfare and acting-out that seems to distract and entertain a large part of our popular culture - personified by the talking heads on so much television and by our national politicians. 

I have been practising law now since 1982. I have met and worked with so many unhappy individuals and couples over these long years, and owe to them some humble financial success - but I am here to suggest to you that it is possible to "STOP" and not to line the pockets of aggressive attorneys at the expense of yourself and your families. Truth be told, I bill large numbers in my litigated cases - especially those involving high conflict or significant property and support matters - but I would trade it all for helping you in designing your own destiny. I have written so much about this subject that I don't mean to bore you with repetition, yet I want to congratulate and reinforce those of you who are dissatisfied with the default adversarial system and whom are willing to investigate beyond the obvious, simplistic reactivity of thinking that tearing your former partner's heart out will somehow serve your own interests. It just isn't true.

I write this Blog tonight to honor a couple who successfully completed a complicated mediation today after about two months of mediated sessions (less than 12 hours overall). They showed such great dignity and fairness, while necessarily needing to contain and respond to their respective fears and concerns about finances and how they could move forward in this new world of single and not dual incomes, that I was almost stunned at how easy mediation can be for some. One member of this former couple had interviewed a storm trooper of a local attorney, and she recognized immediately (as she told me) that that attorney's agenda sounded hollow and self-serving and that the red flags had flared. This person chose differently, but most importantly she made a choice. Few do.

I will tell you a secret. By far the majority of divorce and family law attorneys depend upon your trance and hurt in order to earn their living. A disappointing many of them will lie, misrepresent, conceal, and vilify in order to serve their conflict agenda and to perpetuate this struggle. Certainly there are many parties to litigation who need this kind of ... "representation." The old ways won't die soon. It takes two willing parties to mediate relationship disputes. I will not make friends among by brothers and sisters in the law in making this bold statement - which is indeed an accusation (and an invitation) - and you already know it is true.

But this is the thing - lawyers can take some of your money, or they (we) can take all of it. I urge you to "wake up" instead. Save your famlies, save yourselves, and save your wallets and pocketbook and direct your own future rather than giving it over to strangers.

DFMS is now almost 18 months' old, and was the brain child of retired Riverside County Commissioner Gretchen W. Taylor and attorney-mediator Thurman W. Arnold, III, CFLS. DFMS is based in Palm Springs, but serves parties located within a 100 mile radius of the desert cities. In June, 2011, we launched Los Angeles Family Mediation Services with a tony team of seriously experienced and dedicated legal, mental health, and accounting professionals.

There is no other mediation team in the desert that has undertaken any training whatever in assisting family law litigants to avoid a government sponsored solution to relationship conflict. Our family law judges are overworked, underpaid, and pissed off. If you think that justice will be served by squaring off, you are likely going to be unpleasantly surprised. With the burdens imposed by the Elkins changes in the law, corners are being cut to the point that court divorce is a crapshoot. Good judges want you to mediate your disputes elsewhere.

But, sadly, I know that this crapshoot will not go away any time soon. I admit that anger, resentment, punishment and conflict are a disease that DFMS cannot cure. And for those folks I will ethically protect their interests to the best of my ability as a litigating attorney. But DFMS is resonating in our Coachella Valley, and a steady flow of awakened individuals are heading our way - we receive more emails and calls each and every week than before.

We offer free Orientations to outline for you and your spouse or domestic partner the landscape that you are entering. We offer premiere legal wisdom and an experience borne of many years' experience and of dealing with thousands of couples, as an antidote to the frustration and expense of lawyers and judges and the courts.

Why not consider a mediated outcome? You may not enrich the family law attorneys, but you will enrich your own lives. And, at DFMS, that is all that matters.

Thurman W. Arnold, III, Certified Family Law Specialist and Family Law Mediator


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