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One or both parents requiring care can create serious stresses and conflicts within families. Sometimes disagreements and misunderstandings over elder care or inheritance issues can lead families to break apart, affecting descendants for generations. To avoid this, elder mediation is available to resolve family disputes that otherwise may go unaddressed or lead to costly and traumatic litigation. A successful resolution can preserve family ties to the benefit of the entire family tree. read
So you’re getting divorced. Quite how you feel about that prospect will, of course, depend on the circumstances. Are you divorcing your spouse or being divorced by them? No one likes to feel like a victim of circumstances we cannot control – that is one of the worst sources of stress that life can throw at us. But relationships are a delicate balance. If your partner decides it’s all over, there is in reality very little you can do. You might – might – be able to persuade them to give it another go, but the cat is out of the bag and the genie is out of the bottle. That delicate balance has taken quite a knock. You cannot unsay the word ‘divorce’. read
Whatever the trigger for a couple taking such a step, divorce is never an easy or pleasant experience. But there are approaches which can make it more straightforward and somewhat less personally taxing, particularly if there are children involved. Mediation and collaborative law are two possible approaches. Here is a quick introduction to the areas you'll need to think about when deciding what the right approach is for you: read
There’s plenty of guidance available to lawyers and judges on how to deal with an unrepresented litigant but I haven’t seen much out there aimed at unrepresented litigants themselves on how to deal with your ex’s lawyer and the judge in your case. Personally I think there is a need for such advice because it is increasingly common to find yourself up against a lawyer representing your ex, especially with the effective abolition last year of legal aid for private family law matters. read
It's just three years ago when I personally invited Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to settle their divorce over a weekend in one of our DivorceHotels in order to avoid a never ending process. In the end they didn't take me up on my offer and as it turned out, it took 2 whole years to get the divorce finalized after they had split up. From that moment on, celebrity divorces started to fascinate me. read
A team of family law barristers will today overturn centuries of legal tradition by being first to offer the public a fixed fee divorce service designed to keep their clients out of court. The team of barristers from Middlesbrough are dispensing with the wig and gown to help warring couples reach out of court settlements over child arrangements and family finances. The decision to encroach on the traditional turf of high street solicitors is the unintended consequence of the government’s swingeing cuts to the family justice system. Following the withdrawal of legal aid for most family law matters, solicitors are instructing fewer and fewer barristers to represent publicly funded clients at court. As well as being responsible for the ballooning number of parents now representing themselves at court, it is threatening barristers with financial ruin. read
In their information about the process of divorce, the California Courts recommend that all couples consider mediation. “It is unsurprising that the California Judicial Branch officially recommends divorce mediation,” said Gerald Maggio, a California divorce attorney and mediator. “Right now, California family court judges are dealing with an enormous backlog of cases. And many are divorce cases that wind up up simply as a division of debts because the couple has spent all of their assets on divorce attorneys.” In their discussion of mediation, the California Courts place the most emphasis on the benefits that mediation passes on to children. read
On Friday last week National Family Mediation (‘NFM’), the largest provider of family mediation in England and Wales, reported a significant rise in the take-up of its services in the first six months of 2014. Mediation is, of course, the government’s big answer to its abolition of legal aid for most private law family matters in April 2013. Instead of going to court, couples should resolve their disputes through mediation, or at least that is the idea. read
A man accused of sexually abusing a girl for seven years may see his case end in mediation. Donald Lenz, 56, was scheduled to be tried Oct. 6 with first-and second-degree sodomy and first- and second-degree sexual abuse. Thursday, Circuit Court Judge William Clouse allowed all parties to meet in a mediation session, which will be before a retired judge. If an agreement is reached, it will be presented to the trial judge for approval. read
The Mark Sanford divorce saga has gone back behind closed doors: After a surge of attention to the South Carolina congressman’s rambling Facebook post on Friday about his private life, a family-court judge said today that Mr. Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, have agreed to mediation on parenting issues and other concerns. read
Themes in Mediation (11/10/14) Michael Scott Hidden beneath the arguments of a couple in mediation there is a repeating theme. The argument is like Joseph’s coat of many colors. Each disagreement on the surface appears to be about something different, like one of the many colors on the coat. Under the coat, however, there is only Joseph, who remains mostly unchanged.
The Shocking Cost of Divorce in PA (10/31/14) Cris Pastore The added expense of living in two separate households may be obvious in a divorce case, but have you also budgeted for the cost of hiring a divorce lawyer to go to court? Read this article to gain a full understanding of the fees associated with a divorce lawyer and understand why divorce mediation may the better option for you.
Dividing Stuff (10/24/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Most people do not think of their household belongings as assets. It is, after all, just “stuff”. Except, that is, if asked to view the stuff as property subject to division in divorce. Then, suddenly, even the smallest or most insignificant items are seen in a whole new light, indeed take on a whole new value.
Gender and Decision-Making (10/24/14) Maria Simpson Men and women are pretty much equally good decision-makers when under low stress levels, but “When stressed, men are more prone to taking risky bets with little payoff.”
Mediation - The Savvy Choice (10/21/14) Morna Ellis Elder mediation can be helpful for families trying to make difficult decisions. It helps children and parents make decisions that include everyone's opinions.
Fall is a Time to Reap What You've Sown (10/21/14) Meredith Richardson Fall is in the air. The nights are cooler and longer. The apples at local farms are almost ready to be picked. If you've been taking care of yourself and your relationships, then spending time at home with your loved ones may be quite pleasant.
When You Might Need Mediation After Divorce (10/13/14) Cris Pastore When the divorce mediation process succeeds, spouses and their families often report a tremendous benefit from having chosen the option. However, there are still times when ex-spouses, even if they remain amicable after divorce, may need post-divorce mediation.
Compassion for Your Clients (10/13/14) Sarah Peyton One surprising way to think about trauma is not by measuring the magnitude of the horrific event, but rather by measuring the extent to which the person who experiences the tragedy is left alone with it. This article provides a useful reminder that we can never understand the pain that our clients have encountered, and that we might be providing one of the only safe places in their life for them to discuss what they are going through.
How to Mediate High-Conflict Cases: Balance and Control (10/05/14) Jennifer Shack Like a lot of ADR researchers, I’m always interested to know what really happens in the black box that is the mediation session. So, when someone pries the box open to look inside, my eyes light up. Researchers have begun using conversation analysis to uncover what happens in mediation that leads to successful outcomes. The latest contribution to this research comes from Norway, with a study of 154 custody mediations.
I Hate When He . . . (10/04/14) Cinnie Noble Lately I have been hearing several of my friends complaining about their life partners. It seems it is more than usual, but maybe I am just more aware of their plaints these days for some reason. The gripes typically start with “I hate when he (or she)…” and the “odious” acts, as they perceive them, may be how the person answers the phone, eats, flosses, leaves laundry on the floor, makes puns, and on and on.
Creating A Foundation for Cohabitation (10/03/14) Halee Burg You are in a committed relationship. You and your significant other desire to live together but are not ready for or interested in marriage. You decide to rent or purchase a property together, or to move into a place one of you currently rents or owns. You are in good company, joining over eight million cohabiting couples in the United States.
Shhhh! The Big Risk Associated With Mediation Confidentiality Nobody Talks About (9/05/14) Rachel Ehrlich In complex civil disputes it is not uncommon for information to be provided through mediation and that information is often subject to mediation confidentiality. When related disputes (contractual indemnity, insurance carrier contribution, insurance coverage and bad faith, and reinsurance) arise, mediation confidentiality prohibits using the information relied upon as evidence in the related matter.
Law Professor Transformed (9/05/14) Dan Simon Professor Sherry Colb, who teaches criminal procedure and evidence at Cornell Law School, took a training in transformative mediation this spring and it blew her mind. You can read the full text of the article she wrote about it here. In her article Colb explains the fundamentally different assumptions that underly the legalistic paradigm as compared to the transformative paradigm. Here are a dozen of the insights that the training inspired in her:
Resolucion Alterna de Conflictos en Costa Rica y la Apertura Hacia Nuevas Formas de Gestionar el Conflicto (9/01/14) Rolando Perlaza Perez Hace 17 años en Costa Rica se promulgó la Ley Sobre Resolución Alterna de Conflictos y Promoción de la Paz Social ley número 7727 (Ley RAC) y se iniciaron campañas de formación y concientización de la ciudadanía sobre las ventajas y bondades de la solución pacífica, dialogada y colaborativa del conflicto. Desde entonces, Costa Rica ha avanzado en el desarrollo y fortalecimiento de los métodos tradicionales de RAC (Resolución Alterna de Conflictos), entiéndase Arbitraje, Mediación/conciliación, Negociación y en los últimos años los Círculos de Paz. Incluso en el año 2011 se promulgó la Ley Sobre Arbitraje Comercial internacional Ley 8937, que sienta las bases para que Costa Rica sirva de Sede para arbitrajes internacionales de naturaleza comercial.
Conflict Resolution for Kids (8/22/14) Judy Ringer My good friend and colleague, Thomas Crum, taught me a lot of what I know about having hard conversations. A method he uses with children - the BLT - is so simple and easy to remember, I often use it and have found it to work very well with children and adults: Breathe, Learn, Talk.
When the Mediators Pay the Highest Price (8/22/14) Martin Svatos Recent development in the Near East reminds how long and disastrous the Arabic-Israeli conflict is. Unfortunately, it has already claimed thousands of victims and every one of these tragedies could narrate a specific and sad story. One among them is especially important to be commemorated since it recounts a life and work of the first UN mediator who had saved thousands of prisoners in the Second World War and who was later killed carrying out his duties.
Understanding Each Party’s Power in Family Mediation-Arbitration: Why it is Critical (7/25/14) Hilary Linton A recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision illustrates the need for clearer guidelines for “screening for power imbalances and domestic violence”, a mandatory component of Ontario family arbitration. It also demonstrates the benefits for parties, lawyers and arbitrators in understanding that some methods of screening are more effective than others; and in ensuring that screening is done in accordance with the best practices before the mediation in a mediation-arbitration.
Mediating Inheritance Disputes (7/18/14) Jeffrey Fink Inheritance disputes can be difficult to resolve. They are tied up in a lifetime of emotions toward the deceased and every other claimant under the will, as well as personal and spousal expectations of monetary gain. Here are 10 tips and tricks that have helped with this kind of dispute.
Case Study: The Mediating Manager (7/18/14) Katherine Graham Sian is the Communications Manager for a UK charity and has recently appointed James, a designer whose job required frequent contact with production officer Helga, who had worked with Sian for over 3 years. Sian had a sinking feeling that things were not going too well between James and Helga, but Sian was busy and, optimistically, had put the tensions down to early teething troubles and hoped she could leave them to sort out their differences ‘as adults’.
Insecurity in Nigeria : Focus on Social Protection (7/16/14) Mary Aderibigbe The spate of insecurity has become alarming. There have been calls for stringency of laws to bring culprits to justice. Security operatives go after the perpetrators and turn over those apprehended to the courts -- yet the conditions that breed revolt are worsening. This spells real danger!
GPS and Divorce Mediation (7/07/14) Bruce Provda GPS systems are starting to make their way into divorce proceedings. When infidelity is suspected, being able to produce digital confirmation of an spouse’s movements can provide powerful ammunition and lay a strong foundation for the remainder of the mediation process.
A Song of Loss for Divorce Mediators (6/30/14) Richard Barbieri I was recently asked to give a presentation in an advanced seminar on Mediating with Families in Transition. I thought at first of the many film scenes that I have previously utilized, from the opening of Wedding Crashers to The War of the Roses. I then realized that most of my artistic experience of lost love comes through music, rather than film, and so I prepared a new presentation based on favorite songs about the effects of divorce. 1 Comment
Values and Interests Revealed in Detroit “Grand Bargain” (6/30/14) Mary Novak The story of the Detroit bankruptcy mediation’s emerging “Grand Bargain” (as it has been dubbed in the media) is a fascinating case of many different groups working to protect their chosen interests. The bargain demonstrates how mediation allows parties to consider what they are willing to give in order to secure the things that matter most to them, and how traditional rivals may collaborate for a shared goal.
Faith-Based Mediation: What is it and does it matter? (6/21/14) Leslie Short, Joyce P. Dugger This article is defining what we believe a faith based mediation is seen and practice through the lens of being inclusive of all faith and belief system. This article asks two question "What is faith" and "Does it Matter" we explore these two questions understanding the process of embracing all faith. To create a dialog that opens all faith to come to the table without being judge.
Post-Divorce Blues: Unresolved Issues and New Problems Unsettle Divorced Spouses (6/13/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Months, even years, of haggling and anxiety were finally at an end. A new beginning was in the offering. Yet the initial relief, may be filled with sadness, and may well be short-lived. Divorced couples are often faced with agreements that do little to help them navigate an evolving, and even rocky, future. Mediation provides an agreement which is clear and specific as to beginning points and ends, as to the details of property, support, and the children, including education, death, and taxes, provides insurance for protecting couples from the surprises of tomorrow.
agreement which is clear and specific as to beginning points and ends, as to the details of property, support, and the children, including education, death, and taxes, provides insurance for protecting couples from the surprises of tomorrow.
Anger Management (6/13/14) Phyllis Pollack Let us suppose that you are at a mediation or in some sort of negotiation and the other party has just said something that has gotten you so angry, you are ready to grab your belongings and storm out of the mediation/negotiation.
Pain in the Neck (6/03/14) Cinnie Noble When we are in conflict with another person or the dynamics between us seem to be leaning towards one developing, some of us have a tendency to begin to find fault with the other person. We may attribute negative motives to her or him. We may stay away from this person or show the emotions we are experiencing in various ways.
The Value of a Gesture of Good Faith (5/23/14) Jan Frankel Schau This week I learned something from a friend and colleague, Steve Rottman, who, more often than I do, mediates at the lawyer’s offices. He sets up the condition that whoever has the convenience of holding the hearing in their office must pay for lunch and parking for all parties. This article discusses the importance of good faith gestures.
When You Inadvertently Magnify a Conflict (5/23/14) Tammy Lenski Conflict doesn't necessarily mean something fundamental has shifted in your business or personal relationship. It's possible the relationship is as sound and strong as it ever was. It's just hard to see that when the conflict is crowding out your wider view. I was reminded of this recently in an experience with a certain company whose services I use to manage a small digital aspect of my conflict resolution business.
Parenting, Mediation, and Divorce: Meeting the Needs of Our Children (5/16/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen Children are a huge source of love in our lives; they can say one sentence, bring a huge smile to our face, and remind us of the innocence of childhood. Children all deserve that time of play, laughter, and fun as they grow up. This article addresses what parents and other loved ones can do for children before, during and after a divorce. You can take this information and pass it along or decide to be mentor or positive role model for the children yourself.
Conflict is Contagious (5/16/14) Jeff Thompson Mediators, coaches, negotiators, and ombuds- your verbal and nonverbal actions are contagious. As "guides" in assisting people involved in conflicts and disputes, you can help or hinder them on their journey.
5 Steps for Resolving Conflict Within Your Marriage (5/07/14) Mary Aderibigbe Couples can resolve their grievances themselves through discussion. No marriage relationship is devoid of conflict, but if these challenges are properly managed, the marriage is strengthened. Couples should therefore show commitment to their relationships by working together to resolve problems. 1 Comment
Mediated Prenuptial Agreements Benefit Couples and Mediators (5/02/14) Michael Toebe The romance might be lacking in the thought and decision making but there might be relational wisdom in pursuing mediated prenuptial agreements and valuable marketing awareness as a byproduct for mediators. Couples often spend significant time planning a wedding, buying a house and cars, financial planning and how to best raise children, so a question that begs asking is why don't most marrying partners plan for better outcomes in the event a marriage eventually dissolves? 1 Comment
People Moving: Using the Dimension of Space to get “Unstuck” in Mediation (5/02/14) Jan Frankel Schau I read Ken Cloke’s newest book, “The Dance of Opposites” over the last weekend and then yesterday I attended an excellent training by my friends and colleagues at the IAM, Tracy Allen and Eric Galton at the United States District Court. They reminded me of a concept Tracy calls, “People Moving” as a means to getting the parties out of position that appears to be heading towards impasse or “stuck”. In essence, the concept is simple in both dancing and negotiating: if you stop moving, the dance is over.
I Am Better Than You Are! (5/02/14) Phyllis Pollack The Lake Wobegon effect, a natural human tendency to overestimate one's capabilities, is named after the town. The characterization of the fictional location, where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average," has been used to describe a real and pervasive human tendency to overestimate one's achievements and capabilities in relation to others.