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Meet Amanda Singer and Jennifer Segura of San Diego Family Mediation Center in Solana Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Singer and Jennifer Segura.

Amanda and Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
We both worked for another family mediation firm in San Diego for a few years, however Jen founded San Diego Family Mediation Center (SDFMC) in January 2008 and then in March 2015 we decided to leave the other firm and grow SDFMC as partners in the way we wanted to see a business run. At the beginning SDFMC started off by using conference room space in other offices then to sharing a space with a dog groomer then to sharing a small office with both of us in it to our current office on 674 Via de la Valle with room for three mediators and a conference room for community events and workshops.

For the first few years it was just us doing everything for the business including answering phones, filing documents and meeting with the clients. In 2017 we started to grow and hired our first employee and now we have two employees in the office with us and our Marketing manager who works remotely (well I guess we’re all working remotely now). Since the beginning we’ve always only done family mediation and no representation or litigation work. Over the years we’ve also expanded our services to offer pre-marital and marital mediation to take care of relationships before the get to the point of divorce. In 2018 we along with another partner opened our second location as California Family Mediation Center in Orange County. Over the years we’ve always allowed our business to grow at the rate that we were able to without pushing it too quickly, knowing that we would succeed as giving up was never an option.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the very beginning when Jen began SDFMC she really had no clue how to run a business, which started her off facing some financial difficulties. She continued to work full time for someone else while trying to grow the business on the side, however it wasn’t until both her and Amanda committed to growing SDFMC as their full time work in 2015 that things began to really take off and we saw substantial growth. Now that doesn’t mean that it’s been a completely smooth road since then, there have been ups and downs along the way that have only made us stronger as partners and a business. Some of our struggles have included finding the right employees for our business that would be committed to helping us grow and do the hard work to get there.

Additionally, we find that as partners we work very well together because we bring different ideas and perspectives to the table, however we’ve also had to learn how to integrate our differences and communicate in order to grow. We’ve had many difficult conversations over the years that have only helped us grow both as a person and as a business. When we began the business we were doing everything ourselves because we weren’t sure what we could expect to bring in for income, however as we grew we needed to learn how to effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities both to employees as well as finding the right professionals to help us. For example, Amanda did the books for many years until realizing that hiring a bookkeeper would not only be more efficient but would allow us to focus our time and energy on other important things.

At the time of writing this we’re in the middle of unchartered times as we’re currently on lockdown and have moved our services 100% online earlier this week. While the beginning of this year was probably the best yet we’ve had a complete upheaval in the last week and have much uncertainty as to what the future weeks or even months look like. Learning how to pivot and move our practice online has been a struggle as many of our clients would prefer to meet with us in person as we would as well, however we can’t at this time.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with San Diego Family Mediation Center – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
At San Diego Family Mediation Center we work as professional family mediators helping our clients through divorce, separation, parenting issues and other family conflicts. For divorce we handle the whole process for the clients so that they never have to step foot in court, from filing the petition and other court documents to mediating the issues necessary to dissolve the marriage. For most divorces this includes parenting plan if there are kids, child and/or spousal support and division of assets and debts. We also offer pre-marital and marital mediation to assist clients who are getting married or are married figuring out how they want to manage their finances, communicate and deal with issues that arise.

At SDFMC, we are here to help our clients constructively manage conflict and improve their communication skills, helping them to solve problems within the mediation, and hopefully, beyond the mediation. We help facilitate the discussion and provide information so the clients can make sound and lasting agreements on both legal and non-legal issues. While litigation destroys relationships, mediation is utilized to help them re-build and maintain their relationships, by getting to the heart of the issues that are causing conflict. We have learned that rather than force a pre-determined one size fits all solution onto our families, it is far more beneficial to clear away the debris, reframe the problems, raise the right questions and help guide them in their own thinking. We strongly believe in our clients and their power to engage in self-determination.

One of the things that sets up apart from others is that we truly value the familial relationships and understand the impact of strain on those relationships. We are all passionate about helping our clients families find their new normal. Additionally, our firm only does mediation and none of our mediators are also litigating. All of our mediators have their law degrees, are certified divorce financial analysts and have extensive training in conflict resolution. We also work to offer resources and community events for our clients to educate and support them before, during and after their divorce. We offer flat fees for our divorce mediation so that the clients know what the process will cost upfront. Lastly, Toby is Amanda’s rescue dog who is in the office at least a few days a week providing emotional support to clients. He takes his job very seriously and loves to be pet!

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
So we plan to do some restructuring and rebranding this year. As we hope to grow beyond the two locations we have currently and also want to better integrate these current locations we’re looking to move to have everything under one parent company that can allow us to streamline all of our locations and provide even more services to our clients and community. Additionally, we are hard at work at putting together an online course to help couples who are currently married and as most couples do, facing some difficulties. We hope to be able to provide this online course to help people avoid actually having to get divorce and also know where they can go if they need more resources or help. We’re looking forward to no longer being locked down in our houses and being able to meet our clients again safely in our office, whenever that may be.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Marcy Browe Photography

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