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Key To The Puzzle!

by Nancy Hudgins, Debra Synovec
February 2009

From the Real Divorce Mediation Blog of Nancy Hudgins and Debra Synovec

Divorce mediation is a client centered, transparent, flexible process that allows clients to create a plan that meets their unique needs and goals based on their circumstances. But what if the divorce clients do not have the information and skills they need to make decisions?

Mediation is the key that enables the divorce clients to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Fundamental to the process of divorce mediation is that the clients have the information necessary to make decisions that support their needs and goals based on their circumstances. The mediator guides the clients through the process, helping them to identify the issues, determine the information they need, and find the resources to get the information.

The key to a successful mediated divorce is getting the information needed from the professionals most able to give it. Mediation includes clients consulting with interdisciplinary professionals as needed. Depending on the knowledge of the clients and their goals, the clients choose to bring experts in and out of the mediation process. Not all mediation clients use all of the professionals. In fact, most clients decide to not use all of the interdisciplinary professionals, it is their choice. The mediator shapes and guides the process so the divorcing couple is able to determine which professionals are needed and how the information provided by the professionals will be used in the mediation framework.
Some of the Interdisciplinary professionals the divorce clients may choose to use include:

  • Therapists

  • Financial planners

  • CPAs

  • Business appraisers

  • Real property appraisers

  • Child specialists

In addition, most clients benefit from working with a consulting attorney throughout the divorce mediation process. The attorney may educate the client about the law, help them learn negotiation skills, advise them about options and handle the legal paperwork.


Nancy Hudgins, a San Francisco mediator and lawyer, began specializing in civil litigation in the 1970's. She has represented both plaintiffs and defendants, chiefly in personal injury, medical malpractice, elder abuse and product liability lawsuits, but also in a wide variety of complex litigation, including civil rights, fraud and class actions. She has settled and mediated thousands of cases. In addition to civil litigation mediation, she also co-mediates divorces with John Duda, a marriage and family therapist.

Debra Synovec, a Seattle-based mediator and lawyer, has mediated divorces for 20 years. She believes in empowering the parties to reach their own resolution.