Colleen McNamee couldn’t take it any longer. There she was, a young lawyer, entrenched in a divorce litigation case, listening to a wife rant and rail against her husband. He wasn’t even present. What was the point of this?
As her mind drifted, unable to focus on the negative stream of consciousness, she thought to herself:
“Wouldn’t it be great to hear the other side of this story—we all know there are always two sides to every story? Wouldn’t it be great to hear what the husband has to say? That would help me be so much more effective in my job.”
At that very moment, Colleen decided that divorce litigation was not for her.
Mediation, however, was the answer. She decided that she would devote herself to building a family law mediation practice here in Irvine that would serve both parties equally. She would work to minimize the damage done to the family unit because of the divorce.
Colleen Is a Certified Family Law Mediation Specialist Aiming for Improving Relationships
Seventeen years later, Colleen McNamee is heralded by clients as Godsend. She is flourishing as the only Certified Family Law Mediation Specialist in Orange County.
Colleen has handled more than 4,000 cases. In most every instance, the couple actually walks away on friendlier terms than when they started divorce mediation process. Some have even gotten back together again.
The Legal & Emotional Journey of Divorce
Colleen believes mediation is a combination of law and psychology. Having a strong skillset in both areas has been the key to Colleen’s success in Irvine. Due to her education, many years of experience, and enthusiasm in helping others, Colleen has emerged as one of the top divorce mediators in the Orange County area—one who is highly in demand by couples in conflict. Although it is not required that one is a lawyer to provide divorce mediation services in Orange County, Colleen’s advanced legal understanding is a great advantage to her firm’s clients!
Working with a Mediator Helps Alleviate the Adversarial Nature of Divorce, Common When Litigation is Involved
In Colleen’s own words:
“Mediation is a true and effective alternative to the adversarial manner in which typical divorce cases are handled by attorneys. In litigation you’re essentially pitting one spouse against the other and taking as much as you can from them. It just doesn’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be so combative, abusive and adversarial. It can be the opposite, if you really want it to be. The bottom line is, especially if you have children, you are going to have to co-parent when everything is all said and done – why make things worse than they already are.”
The Financial & Emotional Cost Savings of Divorce Mediation Makes It Very Attractive to Irvine, California Families
Divorce mediation costs far less than a typical divorce in Orange County – typically 90% less! And that’s not even counting the emotional cost.
Divorce Was Costing Him $300,000 Dollars
Joe Brain didn’t believe mediation was possible in his divorce case. He had retained an attorney, and his wife had also. To make it worse—he was paying for both lawyers.
“I was already into it for $60,000,” he says.
His lawyer also told him: “This won’t be easy. You have a lot of assets and a lot of money. This is going to take two years and it’ll cost you between $200,000-$300,000.”
Divorce Process Was Increasing Conflict, Hurting Family More
The argumentative and confrontational way the attorneys were handling the case made it unbearable for Joe and his wife Traci. So, they decided to find new attorneys. While in the process, a friend intervened, mentioning the experience they had with Colleen at McNamee Mediations.
Don’t Say “No Way” to Divorce Mediation
“At first I said ‘no way – there’s no way we’ll be able to settle this with a mediator,’” Joe says. “But I was willing to try because I felt I’d be broke if we did it the other way.”
When Joe and his wife walked into Colleen’s divorce mediation office in Irvine for the first time, “[he] had no expectations,” he says. But in a moment, his world began to change.
“I felt such a relief fall off my back,” he says. “Colleen came off as a sweet, genuine, down-to-earth person who was totally opposite of the attorneys we had. She wanted to get the divorce done, get it done quickly, and she wanted to save us as much money as possible.”
The Reassuring Emotional Experience of Working with a Divorce Mediation Specialist Attorney like Colleen
Joe pauses, remembering that immensely difficult period in his life and the faith that he experienced that day. “It was the first time I had hope that something good might come out of it,” he says.
Through the entire process, Joe Brain says McNamee “was incredible.”
After all, “I was devastated!” he asserted. Often, he visited her office depressed and disappointed, yet “she would console me,” he says. “I’d come in crying. But Colleen got me through it.”
McNamee Mediations didn’t just save Joe Brain mentally and emotionally. Colleen saved him financially as well.
Big Money Saved & Tender Feelings Healed in Difficult Separation
“Instead of two years, Colleen got it done in four months and it cost just $13,000 instead of $300,000. She is an angel,” he says. “I feel so strongly about her that I would recommend every single person in the world going through a divorce to go to her.”
By the time the case was complete, “Colleen actually got me to not despise my wife anymore,” he says. “I went in hating her. I left there as her friend.”
The Therapeutic Role of a Divorce Mediation Specialist
Colleen McNamee embraces and excels at managing the emotional conflicts in her job. She takes it very seriously. It’s what makes her job so personally rewarding. The process of divorce mediation can play an important and positive role in the psychological healing of couples that are in pain.
“The way I look at it, I have a great responsibility to my clients,” she says. “Not only is it imperative to keep the environment civil during meetings, without escalating fights or arguments, but I feel it is my responsibility to minimize the damage being done to each party and to bring the couple closer together, if it’s at all possible.”
“Colleen convinced me,” says Joe, “that since my ex-wife and I were going to have to deal with each other the rest of our lives because of our two boys, we might as well be friends. To this day, my ex-wife is a true friend and I owe it all to Colleen. I was probably on the verge of having a heart attack because of all the anger that was inside of me. Colleen helped me get rid of that anger.”
When a Family Law Mediation Specialist Saves a Marriage
McNamee Mediations also had an extraordinary impact on Carolina and Eddie Tourgeman. Married 10-years, then divorced—they found their way back to each other again.
Amazing? Yes, but not impossible.
Divorce Mediator: “I Don’t Think You Guys Are Done”
The Tourgemans originally visited Colleen to learn more about the divorce process.
“What I first saw from Colleen was that she reads people really well,” Eddie explains. “After 30-minutes or so, Colleen told us, ‘I don’t think you guys are done.’ That stunned me.”
Says Carolina: “Right from the beginning, Colleen makes you feel like she’s there for the both of you. It’s already a very tense situation and process, but Colleen’s calm, patient, and understanding nature significantly reduces the tension and paves the way to sensible behavior.”
Eddie insists: “Colleen really saved us and our marriage.”
We Are in a Position to Help People
When Colleen McNamee envisioned her business model many years ago, this is what she imagined:
“I just wanted to be in a position to help people, to assist them in getting through this difficult period of their life, and I wanted it to be affordable. I love what I do because it’s so impactful. I firmly believe the primary cause for divorce is a breakdown in communication. What I hope to do is open up those lines of communication and if there’s a way to help save the marriage, then I do everything I can to make that happen.”
If your family is in conflict, don’t hesitate to call and speak with a divorce mediation specialist right away. Even if you are currently working with lawyers, Colleen’s Irvine, California practice could still work for you. Our Orange County professionals are available to help.