The Story of Affordable Mediation
By Mara Linder
Being an attorney for close to 30 years, I had been almost constantly frustrated with the litigation and court process. I witnessed clients struggle with huge financial costs, emotional wear and tear, fighting, and unpredictable rulings that characterize the litigation process. I would encourage my clients towards finding a settlement in order to stop the bleeding and enable them to move forward with their lives. The problem was often the other side was not willing to work out a settlement. It was the human element of the divorce process that my legal background did not properly equip me to address.
Out of my desire to improve my clients’ experience and to help people in a more personal way, I went back to school and obtained my Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. The perspective that my Master’s training provided has helped me address the emotional fuel that runs the cycle of litigation. It provides me with deeper insight into why people fight, what motivates us to waste our energies in debilitating lawsuits, and how we can heal and move forward after an emotional trauma.
Since 2007, I have been using my legal background, my counseling skills, and Mediation training to help divorcing couples move forward with their lives. I believe that families can emerge from a divorce better than they were before. I have mediated well over 2,000 divorce cases with almost every case finding a mutually acceptable settlement and avoiding court and the stress of litigation.
I founded Affordable Mediation in Phoenix, Arizona to focus on providing affordable mediation to couples going through a separation or divorce. Even though “traditional mediation” is often significantly less expensive than litigation, it is still a huge financial burden on divorcing couples. Affordable Mediation’s goal is to make quality mediation more accessible and affordable through the use of innovation. Affordable Mediation helps couples navigate the legal and emotional maze of divorce by providing significant support, assistance, and guidance at a fraction of the cost of other mediators.
Since opening our doors in our first North Central Phoenix office in 2010, I’ve been fortunate to expand to other locations in the West Valley (Goodyear, then Avondale) and East Valley (Tempe) to better serve couples in different parts of our Phoenix valley. Also, we’ve added quite a team since then, including our experienced Mediator Shahnaz Stanley, our intern and Mediator, Lorena Benítez Garzón who established the Spanish speaking side of our business (and has relocated back to Ecuador, but still is available remotely), to now adding a Divorce Coach and mediator, Karen Dorsey. Our expanded team is here to help couples and families transition to a healthier future.