Today we’d like to introduce you to Michael Aurit.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Law school had never been on my radar. I was 24 years old and living my New York City dream—performing in jazz clubs and theatre productions around Manhattan. My younger brother, Danny, had lost an epic battle with testicular cancer that year. Suddenly, I woke up in law school and wondered how I got there.
After losing Danny, I felt an aching need to help other families facing crisis achieve fair outcomes. And this compelled me toward a new mission of practicing law. But, it didn’t take me long to realize that I couldn’t help families in the way I hoped a traditional “lawyer.” Fighting in court hurts families — in the vast majority of cases, it does not help them. And so, I sought out to become a sort of “anti-litigation attorney.”
I focused my studies on mediation at Pepperdine Law’s Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. The solutions-based approach to mediation made far more sense to me than harmful litigation battles in courtrooms—especially for difficult issues like divorce and child custody. Trading the courthouse for the mediation room was one of the best decisions of my life.
Today, after more than five years as a licensed attorney, I’ve never litigated a single case—never so much as appeared in a courtroom. And I never will. As a professional divorce mediator, I’ve found my calling.
In 2014, after several years serving within the non-profit sector, my Wife, Karen Aurit and I co-founded The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona. Karen’s background as a family therapist has created an ideal balance to help shape our unique approach to divorce and healthy co-parenting. Thousands of mediation meetings later with hundreds of divorce cases settled peacefully without any fighting in court – our work goes on.
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?
Unfortunately, the societal norm around divorce invites a “lawyer-up-and-fight” mentality. Our biggest challenge as a divorce mediation firm has been educating our community in Phoenix that mediation even exists as an option! Many people have never even heard of divorce mediation—and many who have do not know that they can choose to start their divorce in mediation before ever hiring an attorney and initiating the court process.
The truth is that spouses don’t need fight through their divorce. The vast majority of court battles are totally unnecessary. But, when spouses are advised by their litigation attorneys to “stop communicating with each other,” misunderstandings can cause conflict to escalate rapidly. For most, this results in tens of thousands of dollars in unnecessary attorney’s fees, a year or more of dragged out litigation, high stress for everyone involved, and most importantly, long-term psychological harm to children.
It has been so ingrained in our culture that divorce should be a horrible, expensive, high-conflict battle that when a firm like ours comes along and says, “Hey, that’s actually not the way it needs to be—we can help you through this in a healthier, more affordable, low conflict divorce process,” many must find it hard to believe. But that’s exactly what we do.
We believe that divorce is hard enough already. What spouses and parents need most is a supportive process that helps them stay in control of their own personalized divorce terms. Once spouses understand that going through mediation is better for their children and their own personal interests, the majority choose mediation and avoid court completely. In the end, many who were skeptical about mediation’s success are surprised that they have had a relatively simple and respectful divorce.
We are continuing to spread the word about divorce mediation in Arizona. The more people know that a healthier divorce is possible, the more children will be protected from the chaos of divorce. What children need most for their own well-being is for their parents to lower their conflict both throughout and after divorce.
We are also seeking to educate financial experts, therapists, religious clergy, educators, and business leaders to put mediation on their radar. Professionals who can refer their own clients to mediation can become heroes by passing on the information and will make a positive impact on families facing divorce.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
From beginning to end — from filing an initial Divorce Petition to finalizing the Final Divorce Decree — we handle the entire divorce process in the healthiest, lowest conflict way possible so that neither spouse ever sets foot in a courtroom.
At The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation, a neutral mediator helps both spouses reach agreements on all divorce issues in the private and confidential setting of divorce mediation.
During mediation, every divorce issue – dividing assets and debts, spousal support, and child custody are discussed together. Your mediator explains the law, and then seeks to understand what each spouse wants in order to help them reach creative mutually acceptable agreements on everything.
Once all agreements are reached, and each spouse has an opportunity to consult with their own legal advisor, we write and submit their final divorce judgment (with their own agreements!) to the court—case closed, conflict in court avoided. This way, divorcing spouses prevent fighting, and walk away with the best possible divorce terms for themselves and their children.
We are most proud of the highest level of care that we provide spouses throughout the divorce process. We guide our clients through the process every step of the way with genuine compassion and understanding. Every aspect of our approach — from rapid response communications with our clients to client-friendly flat fees for services — is built around making the divorce process as low stress as possible.
What were you like growing up?
I think I was born to be a mediator. Even as a little boy, I was a mediating problems without knowing it between friends on the playground and just about anyone who!
Growing up, I loved writing, read the daily newspaper at probably far to young an age, and could always talk a good game. I was always a listener. Friends naturally opened up to me. As far as I can remember, I was creative, had visions of building things to help people and always approached things a little differently then everyone else. My passion growing up was music.
- The cost of divorce in Arizona is staggering. Attorneys often estimate average divorce litigation costs at $15,000 – $20,000 per each spouse for a moderately contested case that does not go to trial. Many cases surpass six figures in total and can take over a year to conclude.
- Divorce attorneys in Arizona bill by the hour and require a large initial retainer—$5,000 to $15,000 on average. We believe that “hourly billing” causes a fundamental problem with divorce: that attorneys are financially benefited from length of time and level of conflict in any divorce case.
- We do things differently.
- • Divorce at The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation costs 85 – 95% less than average attorney’s fees in Arizona for divorce.
- Address: The Aurit Center For Divorce Mediation
7231 East Princess Blvd., Suite 202
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
- Website: www.auritmediation.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/auritmediation/