Divorce attorney Larry Sarezky has created a short film to stop divorcing parents from engaging in high-conflict custody battles for the sake of the kids. I saw the film, Talk to Strangers, and was dramatically impacted by its message. Larry also provides ten questions divorcing parents should ask themselves before fighting over the kids in court. His years of experience have shown him the consequences for the children involved -- effects they'll experience on a life-long basis. Here are Larry's 10 questions, along with his opening comments about high conflict divorce. read
A South Carolina Family Court judge has ordered U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford and his ex-wife, Jenny, to work with a mediator to resolve a dispute over money for their two youngest sons. The two appeared in court in Charleston on Monday. The issue is trust funds for the couple's two youngest boys. Their divorce agreement four years ago said the couple would try to work together to equalize the amount in the boys' trust funds so it's comparable with what was put in their older two boys' accounts at the time. read
Remember when we used to lament the fact that there were no mediation tv shows? Well we had Fairly Legal which was farcically formulaic and often a bit silly. Now we have Untying the Knot, a new reality series on the Bravo network. The show follows New Jersey divorce attorney-mediator Vikki Ziegler as she “mediates” property division issues for divorcing couples. The reason for the quotes? Here’s why: read
Bitter and costly court battles between warring former spouses could be minimised thanks to a new family mediation service being trialled at Queensland University of Technology health clinics. Its aim, QUT family dispute Resolution Practitioner Jennifer Felton said, is to minimise the damage caused to children caught between divorcing parents by cutting down on time spent squabbling before a magistrate. She said negotiations before a qualified mediator gave former couples the opportunity to rationally resolve problems arising from their separation, without the added stress of doing it in a courtroom. "Mediation and family dispute resolution is increasingly used in Australia and offers a much more beneficial way of parents making decisions than using the legal system to argue against each other," she said. read
Separating couples who choose mediation may now both be eligible for legal aid family lawyers as Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) expands its pilot province-wide. Starting July 3, when one of the mediation clients is financially eligible for a lawyer, the other mediation client may also be eligible, as long as they earn up to a maximum of $50,000. This new service, which began as a pilot in select locations in February 2014, has LAO covering the cost of a family lawyer for up to six hours of support and advice for financially eligible clients participating in mediation. Clients can receive advice about the process before starting a mediation, assistance in preparing for the mediation and legal advice after the mediation to help them understand their rights and obligations under the mediated agreement. The lawyer can also assist with obtaining a court order or binding agreement based on the terms of the mediated agreement. read
Award-winning filmmaker Francisco Lorite has received a 2014 “Best Theatrical Short" Imagen Award nomination for his short film entitled “Mediation.” The Imagen Awards are given annually by the Imagen Foundation to recognize and reward the positive portrayal of Latinos in all media, as well as to honor the achievements of Latinos in the entertainment and communications industries. "Mediation" is the first project released by the brand new Film/TV production company entitled Top Rebel Productions - the brainchild of Francisco Lorite, actor Freddy Rodríguez (“Six Feet Under”, "Night Shift”) and veteran producer Bill Winett. The short tells the story of a divorce mediation that spirals completely out of control for a husband (Freddy Rodriguez), his soon-to-be ex-wife (Marley Shelton) and their court-appointed mediator (Lola Anthony). read
New Iowa Legislature-mandated mediation guidelines for court cases involving children will take effect next month. If you have a dissolution of marriage or a domestic relations case involving children, you'll be ordered to go through mediation to try and mediate the issues. Previously, mediation didn't happen unless the parties involved in the case did it on their own. There will be a mediator roster provided to the parties and they will choose their own." The mediator will then file a report saying whether it's been successful or not. Statistically, it's been proven that the parties in these cases are happier that they're a part of the outcome as opposed to going to trial. read
The cost of a divorce or separation through mediation is typically 50 percent less and takes about half the time of a traditional court proceeding. Ultimately, 95 percent of such court cases end with a settlement anyway! Mediators discuss the benefits of mediation for many families. read
North Shore Community Mediation Center may be a mouthful, but each word has meaning, according to the organization. As the organization enters its 20th year of bringing mediation services to the communities of Essex County, it said it has lots to celebrate. Community mediation is for anyone with a dispute: families, neighbors, students, consumers, even friends. As a community mediation center, NSCMC provides low-cost mediation services wherever they are needed: in schools, the workplace, and in the district, juvenile and probate courts on the North Shore. read
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Family & Divorce Mediation Articles
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.
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.
Are We Fixed or Fluid? Effects of Adolescent Beliefs on Responses to Victimization (4/26/14) Jen Hull Research has shown that interventions aimed at reducing aggression and violence in children yield mixed results when extended to adolescents. This is particularly concerning due to the fact that aggression can become increasingly violent or serious during adolescence. Thus, researchers have turned their attention to understanding the causes of adolescent aggression in response to victimization or exclusion.
The Five Stages (4/18/14) Phyllis Pollack In 2000, when I took my first mediation training class, my teacher discussed the five stages of loss and grief first proposed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. The particular training course I was attending focused on divorce mediations and so the stages were relevant because of the loss and grief suffered by the parties in a divorce.
Children, Divorce, and Dating (4/15/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen In my role as a counselor for children of divorce, my focus is the children. Parents made a decision to divorce and they also made a decision to have children. It is my view that they must do all things possible to mitigate the effects of the divorce on their children. The question about dating arises in every session of “Co-parenting Through Your Divorce” that I facilitate. This article addresses this question for parents of divorce and for those who are dating others who are divorced with children.
5 Steps for Strengthening Your Marriage (4/14/14) Mary Aderibigbe You can make your marriage strong but you’ve got to acknowledge that disagreements are inevitable. Preventing conflict begins identifying what are common conflict points in your marriage. Preventing conflicts also means strengthening your marriage to withstand outside conflicts. This is a faith-based article discussing Biblical viewpoints for strengthening marriage.
The Importance of Mediation in Family Business Management (4/04/14) Joseph Berljawsky Managing a business can be difficult enough—but when your in-laws are the board of directors and your sister is the CEO, management of a family business can also become a contentious issue. Problems related to leadership and ownership of family businesses arise in a variety of situations. Sometimes there is a power struggle, other times people feel they have been treated unfairly or do not get enough of a say in the company.
Stupid Nice Things Good People Say (4/04/14) Vivian Scott Why is it that whenever someone shares disappointing or sad news with us our first inclination is to throw on a super-hero cape and deliver the perfect words that will make everything better? No matter our good intentions, what usually happens, though, is that we end up saying really stupid things—meant to be nice and comforting, mind you, but stupid nonetheless. This article shows you a few examples. 1 Comment
Marriage 101 for Family Mediators (3/29/14) Larry Gaughan Those of us who have been in the trenches of family law practice for decades have lots of experience with bad marriages. We each probably know more gruesome details about marriage breakups than we care to remember. But most of us also know the details to what makes a marriage great. 1 Comment
How Dating Can Cause Stress For Your Child (3/21/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen The truth about dating is that it can cause stress for your children. You impact their level of stress by your actions. It is my view that parents must do all things possible to mitigate the effects of the divorce on their children. One easy way to do this is to be conscious of your dating. Dating done wrong has the potential to cause stress for children for three crucial reasons, and they are important to understand. 3 Comments
It's All about the Relationship (3/14/14) Phyllis Pollack In 2000, I decided to move away from practicing law because I got tired of fighting with opposing counsel and being labeled and treated as the "bad guy" simply because I was representing an allegedly "bad guy". It seemed that civility and professionalism among lawyers no longer existed, and I and my clients were continuously lumped together as "hated and despised" individuals.
Third Party Assisted Negotiation and High Pressure Settlement of Disputes (2/21/14) Rachel Virk After twenty years of marriage, two parties separate. They are each college educated and gainfully employed. The parties have two children whom they hope to send to college, ages 13 and 15. They have amassed many assets during their marriage. This articles discusses how our current legal system does not have an effective way of dividing the mutually valued sum of these two people's lives.
Compassionate or Benevolent Divorce (2/21/14) Roger Ley This is an essay on compassionate divorce and the role of lawyers in the divorce or dispute resolution process. For the parties, the core of my system is to negotiate for the welfare of both sides. For the lawyers, the core is to throw away the law books and let imagination help the lawyers find creative resolutions to their cases.
Marital Mediation is Not Therapy (2/14/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem Mediation is not therapy. Mediation is a problem solving process in which the three participants, husband, wife, mediator, determine the issues to be tackled, what information is needed to embark on the process and what were the objectives to be gained. 4 Comments
Whose Fault Is It? (2/07/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen When parents are arguing, children are typically caught in the middle. The children try to figure out who is at fault and what they can do to stop it. This article suggests that what children need is not a place to assign blame, but a place of peace.
Mediate is Top Ranked Mediation Website (2/04/14) Mediate.com Mediate.com is ranked the top mediation and dispute resolution website by Alexa in its February 1, 2014 global website rankings. In business since 1996, Mediate.com has over 15,000 searchable mediation articles, blog posts, news items and videos. Mediate.com also hosts the most used mediator directory and offers mobile friendly website development, professional promotional services and cloud-based case management systems.
Demystifying American Divorce Law (1/24/14) Larry Gaughan The misconception that there may be a fixed "legal" solution for many mediated divorce cases has created unnecessary difficulties in communication between mediators of different professions. A proper understanding of how the formal system of divorce law works (and often doesn't work) may help to bridge these gaps. This article is intended to enable mediators who are not attorneys to be more comfortable with some useful concepts and guidelines inside the legal box. It is also intended to enable mediators who are lawyers to expand the scope of their skills and knowledge into the important areas of divorce settlements outside of the legal box.