Constructively Mediate Your Way Through Family Conflict
Author: Bryana Turner
It’s always said that hindsight is 20/20. Through that lens, it’s not at all surprising that my career took the path it did—even though it wasn’t always so obvious to me.
I went to law school with little idea of where it would take me. I knew that I had many interests and I wanted to explore them all. And I did, even spending time as an attorney at Sony Music—which, given that I’m from Long Beach, California (home of Snoop and Sublime!), was a dream come true. But I soon found that the work I was doing was missing an essential component: personal connection.
I realized that what I really wanted was to make a direct and positive impact on people’s lives. In retrospect, this should have been obvious since I majored in psychology. But I didn’t realize how important it was to me until I joined my law school’s Divorce Mediation Clinic. From my very first session, I knew that I was destined for a career helping families mediate their disputes. And, sure enough, earlier this year I formed Turner Divorce Mediation—a firm completely dedicated to giving families more amicable options for resolving difficult issues.
My mission at Turner Divorce Mediation is to help families avoid the financial and emotional warfare of litigating family conflict. I truly believe that, with sufficient knowledge and help, individuals are usually capable of creating reasonable solutions without court assistance. In fact, in most situations, individuals are better situated than a third party, such as a court, to create an agreement that specifically addresses the unique needs of their family.
My practice is client driven, meaning clients make all of the decisions. My role is to help clients navigate through their issues and produce a practical and durable agreement. To do that, I focus on helping each person understand the reasons underlying the other’s positions. In my experience, that understanding usually creates the space couples need to generate the options that will best resolve the conflict. I also focus on facilitating discussion, empowering clients to making intelligent decisions by providing legal information and prompting clients to consider how and whether their agreements will meet their needs in real life. I call this process Constructive Mediation because working together, clients can start the new chapter of their lives better prepared to co-parent, with a better understanding of their former partner and with an agreement personalized to their circumstances.
I feel privileged every day that my clients allow me to play a role in resolving the issues that so many families face today. And I look forward to helping as many families as I can to avoid unnecessarily costly and destructive litigation—and to focus on preparing themselves and their families for the next stage of their lives.
About the Author: After earning her BA in Psychology, Bryana was torn between continuing her psychology training and attending law school. She chose law because she wanted a wide range of opportunities to positively affect the lives of others. But she quickly learned that many areas of law lack the personal engagement that she wanted in her career. It was not until she was selected for her law school’s Divorce Mediation Clinic that she found her passion: helping couples work through divorce while avoiding the devastating effects that the adversarial process often causes. Following graduation, Bryana worked for a matrimonial judge, where she saw her judge consistently encourage settlement to avoid the cost, emotional damage and loss of control that trials impose. She then joined a boutique matrimonial firm as a litigator, quickly realizing that litigating divorces couldn’t give her the same kind of satisfaction as helping clients through more amicable avenues. This realization sparked the creation of her mediation and law practice: Turner Divorce Mediation, PC