The Role of Mediation

Request a Consultation

At the Schoenberg Family Law Group, we are deeply committed to resolving cases outside of court when a favorable outcome for our clients can be achieved. While our attorneys are principally litigators, we seek to resolve all cases short of a contested trial. A resolution which is the product of mutual compromise is often more satisfactory to our clients and their opponents than an outcome reached at trial, and is often more cost-effective. We promote the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including mediation and other judicial or quasi-judicial settlement conferences.


Mediation is a form of ADR. It involves the help of a mediator who is a neutral third party. The mediator does not represent either party involved in the case. Instead, the mediator’s role is to facilitate communication between the parties and help urge them to settle their case to avoid ongoing litigation.

The typical mediation involves the following steps:

  • The mediator explains the process, their role, and the ground rules for mediation.
  • Each party gives an opening statement about their position on the matters involved in the case.
  • The mediator divides the parties into separate rooms and then talks to each side one-on-one.
  • The mediator shuffles back and forth between the parties’ rooms to learn more about their interests, provide additional information, and make settlement offers made by the other side.
  • Depending on the circumstances, the mediator may have the parties reconvene if they are amenable to this and can work productively together.
  • If the parties reach a settlement, the mediator draws up the agreement.
  • The parties later present the agreement to the court.

Each mediation session is different, but many follow this general procedure. The mediation may take part of one day or go on for several days, depending on the progress and willingness of the parties to continue working toward a settlement.


There are many benefits to mediation, which is why we often recommend this method to clients who are interested in resolving their case outside of the courtroom. Here are a few of the benefits of mediation, especially in the family law setting:

  • Faster resolution – Because mediation can be completed once the parties and mediators agree on a mutual time, there is the potential of resolving the case much faster than waiting for an open court date. A faster resolution can mean that problems can be resolved more quickly and with less animosity that might otherwise gather while waiting for the court docket to open up.
  • Privacy – Court cases are often a matter of public record, but mediation is a private and confidential matter. Anything said during this process generally cannot be repeated in court if the case does not resolve in mediation.
  • Less expensive – Mediation has the potential to save legal costs because attorneys may not have to prepare for court proceedings. Depending on when the case settles, you could also avoid discovery costs.
  • Creative solutions – One of the most important benefits of mediation is the ability for the parties to make suggestions about how to resolve the matters that directly impact them. The mediator can also suggest terms that have worked for other families.
  • Greater compliance – Because the parties help to create the terms of the agreement, they are more likely to comply with the agreement. This can help avoid problems down the line. Also, a successful mediation can provide a framework to resolve any problems that do arise.


Although we promote and applaud mediation and other forms of ADR as an alternative or companion to contested litigation, the attorneys at our firm are not trained in mediation nor do we offer such services to our clients. We work with our clients to ensure that they are aware of the availability of mediation and other forms of ADR and, in appropriate cases, encourage our clients to utilize such services; however, we are not equipped to provide mediation services to our clients.

Although we are not trained as mediators, in every case that we handle, we utilize negotiation and settlement techniques with the goal of reducing the amount of contested litigation and reaching a favorable outcome without the necessity of a full trial.

“I was very pleasantly surprised how comfortable I felt dealing with Ms. Schoenberg. She not only was clear and honest yet also respectful of my needs. She at first asked if my situation could be handled with mediation to save cost and then after hearing my specifics suggested and gave a few names of excellent mediation folks. I do wish you also have the same experience in this difficult time and if you talk with Ms. Schoenberg I believe it will be the least difficult it could be. Should my situation go downhill I will use Ms. Schoenberg to handle all the rest of my legal needs!”

— D.W. (See more testimonials.)

Solid Legal Advice For Mediated Divorce

The experienced family law attorneys of Schoenberg Family Law Group serve diverse clients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area counties. Contact us online or call 415.834.1120 to discuss mediation and all facets of your divorce or custody case in a confidential consultation.

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

More About Honors & Awards
Arrow Image
10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
Arrow Image