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The parties in a litigated divorce spend years—and tens-of-thousands of dollars—preparing for a trial that is extremely unlikely to happen. This disconnect led to the development of mediation as an option, allowing divorcing couples to work toward settlement without spending unnecessary time and money in preparation for a trial that will never come to fruition. Are there other myths and misconceptions about the conventional litigation model? What are the benefits of mediation?

Sam Margulies is one of the most experienced mediators in the country, having facilitated settlements in hundreds of civil disputes and approximately four thousand divorces since 1980. Sam also has 35 years of experience training divorce mediators and conducting civil mediation training programs. He has served as Director of the Institute for Dispute Resolution of the Seton Hall Law School and taught graduate courses in mediation at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Sam is also the author of three books on divorce and mediation: Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life, A Man’s Guide to Civilized Divorce, and Working with Divorcing Spouses.

Today, Sam joins Katherine to discuss his experiences in the early days of mediation, explaining the impetus behind its development and the threat mediation posed to traditional litigators. He speaks to the public’s ignorance of settlement as the norm in divorce cases and the unnecessary cost of discovery in the conventional system. Listen in to understand why Sam recommends mediation as the first option for divorcing couples and learn how mediation seeks to create a system in which every family member can thrive.


Sam’s experiences in the early days of mediation

The impetus behind mediation as an option

  • Divorce cases prepared for trial
  • Vast majority settle out of court

The Family Therapy Movement’s influence on mediation

The significant resistance to mediation from traditional divorce litigators

  • Discussion around disbarment proceedings

The lack of data re: the percentage of couples who divorce through mediation

The ongoing negative sentiment litigators harbor toward mediation

Why the public is woefully ignorant about settlement as the norm

The unnecessary cost of discovery in the conventional system of divorce

How bad faith breeds and grows during the discover process

Why law is the only professional in which pessimism positively correlates with success

Sam’s recommendation that couples look at mediation as their FIRST option

How an understanding of settlement norms would lead to quicker resolution

  • Equitable distribution, alimony norms, child support guidelines

Mediation’s objective to create a system in which every family member can thrive


Sam’s Website

Call (336) 669-3141


Getting Divorced Without Ruining Your Life by Sam Margulies

A Man’s Guide to Civilized Divorce by Sam Margulies

Working with Divorcing Spouses: How to Help Clients Navigate the Emotional and Legal Minefield by Sam Margulies

How to Tell Your Spouse You Want a Divorce


The Center for Understanding Conflict

Miller Law Group

Katherine on LinkedIn

The New Yorker’s Guide to Collaborative Divorce by Katherine Miller

Email katherine@westchesterfamilylaw.com

Call (914) 738-7765