Hiring a mediator can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees—and even more if a judgment goes against you, as a recent Weekend Investor story explained. Some states require divorcing couples to explore mediation first. Mediation is also an option in some disputes between investors and stockbrokers, an employer and a former employee, business partners parting ways or parties to a commercial contract. The process isn’t meant to be adversarial. “Win-lose as a bargaining model puts most of the benefits of mediation into a black hole,” says Michele Lowrance, a retired judge in Chicago who works as a mediator with JAMS, an alternative dispute-resolution provider based in Irvine, Calif. But there are still ways to protect yourself – and even gain an advantage – when entering mediation. read
Divorcing parents: you can be super heroes to your children. Here's the plot twist: becoming their super hero means accepting that your children deserve to experience both a "Super-Mom" and "Super-Dad." Your marriage is ending, but your relationship as co-parents continues. Please consider these four commitments you can make as co-parents that will change the course of your children's lives and in the process, possibly save yours too. read
A University of Missouri researcher has found that even if just one member of a couple stops driving, negative consequences result for both the driver and non-driver. The researcher recommends that the elderly, and their adult children, carefully discuss and plan for the transition to driving cessation. "These are complicated, difficult decisions, and mediation of the discussion can often be helpful.” read
Singapore Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon tells his counterparts in member-states of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to consider co-mediation in dealing with cross-border child custody rows. read
The Online Dispute Resolution Advisory Group of the Civil Justice Council has published a report, in which it recommends the establishment of an Internet-based court service, to be known as ‘HM Online Court’ (HMOC). In his foreword to the report, the Master of the Roll Lord Dyson supports the idea, saying that online dispute resolution has “enormous potential for meeting the needs of the system and its users in the 21st Century.” read
Mediation is a valuable tool for resolving the occasional agriculture-related dispute before it ends up in court. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announces that agricultural mediation services are now available to Virginia’s agriculture community through a partnership with the North Carolina Agriculture Mediation Program (NCAMP), which operates out of Western Carolina University. read
Roseann Vanella sees more than her fair share of marriages ending in divorce. Typically, she said, couples aren’t happy to see her at first, especially when one spouse isn’t interested in pursuing a split. By the time her clients have completed the process of dissolving their union and dividing assets, they may view her as a good friend. read
Alexa.com, the leading website ranking service, reports that Mediate.com is the world's most visited mediation website, and not by a little. Alexa reviews all websites in the world and reports that Mediate.com is the 115,020 largest site in the world as of February 1, 2015. The lower the site rank, the more traffic the site receives. The next most visited site, mediation.com, is ranked at 1,260,625. AAA's mediation.org website is ranked 4,951,487 read
The recent Divorced Ireland series in the Irish Times has highlighted the challenges people face in dealing with separation, particularly when children are involved. Faced with the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship, many people see court as being the only avenue open to them. Mediation offers an alternative to this. In family mediation, trained professional mediators assist couples in negotiating the profound changes their family is going through, with a view to reaching an agreement that will work for everyone. read
New research suggests that reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities help people sleep better. A multi-institution of researchers found that workers who participated in an intervention aimed at reducing conflict between work and familial responsibilities slept an hour more each week and reported greater sleep sufficiency than those who did not participate in the intervention. read
A good storyteller is a person who has a good memory and hopes other people haven't.
Family & Divorce Mediation Articles
Book Review: The Master Agreement by Jay Bultz (3/25/15) Donald T. Saposnek The Master Agreement offers a comprehensive manual of issues, clauses and phrases for use in drafting Marital Settlement Agreements. The author capably provides a collection of relevant issues and then a multitude of options for clauses to include in your divorce and separation agreements. This book is unique, of very high quality, will save you time and elevate the quality of your drafting.
The Future of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation as a Piece of the Puzzle (3/20/15) Peter Salem Had I written about the future of family dispute resolution in the late 1980s, when I was a young and enthusiastic child custody mediator working for a Wisconsin family court agency, I would probably have focused exclusively on mediation rather than considering the current broad spectrum of family dispute resolution (FDR) processes that I did not anticipate at the time.
Minnesota Considers Moving Divorce out of Court (3/13/15) Dan Simon “In our culture, court means contest – it means a fight. . . we’ve culturally viewed divorce as a battle” says Bill Doherty. Doherty says that, no matter how well-intentioned the lawyers, the assumption that judicial supervision is needed greatly increases the risk of destructive conflict arising. Doherty believes that, very often, couples who get divorced without the help of lawyers do better than they would with lawyers. Doherty’s plan takes divorce entirely outside the courts.
Family Mediation - Preface (3/12/15) Lisa Parkinson The Children and Families Act 2014 is focusing more attention on the role of family mediation in the family justice system. Family mediators have been given greater responsibility to encourage consideration of non-court dispute resolution processes before application is made to the family court, and to assess the suitability of mediation in particular circumstances.
“Good Faith” vs. “Naive Realism”? (3/06/15) Phyllis Pollack Perhaps I am an idealist, or even though a baby boomer with many years of litigation experience behind me— a bit naïve. Or –perhaps it is because I am a mediator and so am privy to both sides of the dispute and can see the “story” as an outsider or bystander. I do not know.
Where Does Marital Mediation Fit In? (3/02/15) Laurie Israel During the past quarter century, academics and others writing about mediation have characterized styles of mediation as belonging to one of three categories: “facilitative,” “evaluative,” and “transformative”. The categories are quite clearly defined.
Musings on Mediators, Pizza-Makers, and Humanity (3/02/15) Henry Brown I began this article on the future of mediation practice at what I thought, reasonably enough, was the beginning. Discussing how I came to New York in 1985 to train with John Haynes on a new approach to managing disputes that at that time had not yet found its way to the United Kingdom where I practised as a solicitor. However, In the course of writing and reviewing this piece, it began to dawn on me that while the trip was my conscious recollection of the beginning, it was not the actual beginning of my attraction, engagement and investment in what has become a personally and professionally fulfilling career.
Mediating Divorce Agreements: The Problems and the Potential (2/26/15) Larry Gaughan It was really exciting to be part of the divorce mediation movement when it became national around 1980. Almost everyone seemed to be aware of the problems with the adversarial system of divorce, and mediation held the promise of a process that was more personal and far less expensive and time consuming. Mediation training was mainly focused on divorce agreements, and those training courses rapidly became a major source of income for the trainers.
Federal Judge Orders Sugar Land Nursing Home Visitation Dispute to Mediation (2/20/15) Beth Graham A Sugar Land nursing home dispute that arose after an elderly resident’s family was banned from a long-term care facility over a number of social media posts has reportedly been ordered to mediation. According to a complaint filed in the Southern District of Texas, Silverado Senior Living barred a woman’s two sons and daughter-in-law from the premises after the individuals refused to remove several photos and videos of their mother at the facility from their social media accounts.
Court ADR Trends for 2015 (2/17/15) Mary Novak Last year perhaps the most visible trend in court ADR was the courts’ use of mediation to address truly large-scale crises. From the mediators who helped opposing groups reach the Grand Bargain that led Detroit out of bankruptcy, to the mediations being used to address thousands of insurance claims that remain from Hurricane Sandy, courts essentially created ad-hoc ADR programs to respond to major crises.
Looking to the Future: Is There Still A Place For Proactive, Early Intervention Mediation in Our Changing Field? (1/13/15) Nina Meierding In the author's experience as a mediator in over 4,000 cases and in almost thirty years of working with advocates, consulting attorneys, and collaborative lawyers, she believes that all forms of mediation are valuable processes which each have their place in helping parties move forward in their conflicts. She takes no position on the "best" process, only that self-determination remains the ultimate goal of any form of mediation. She is hopeful that mediators, participants, and attorneys will re-examine the trend of late intervention, lawyer-centric mediation and bring pro-active, early mediation back as one of the important focuses of the mediation field.
The Critical Role of Mediation in Bridging the Access to Justice Gap (1/09/15) Robyn McDonald For more than a decade, Colorado has worked to provide access to justice (ATJ) for its indigent and modest means citizenry. Despite efforts by the bar and the courts, the state continues to struggle in its pursuit. What has been so often overlooked, however, is how mediation provides the courts and litigants an affordable, efficient option to resolving many disputes.
Alimony in PA: Friend or Foe in Divorce? (1/09/15) Cris Pastore Alimony has become the "black sheep" of divorce law, often viewed as evil, spiteful and punitive. In my opinion, these perceptions are greatly misguided. I see alimony as entirely moral and appropriate, but only when it is necessary. Read my article to understand why.
Selma (1/09/15) Joe Markowitz Was there ever an opportunity for peaceful resolution of this civil rights conflict? We see President Johnson acting at times a little bit like a mediator between King and Governor Wallace, but no real attempt was made at creating a dialogue that could resolve the dispute.
Violencia Familiar y ODR - Video en Espanol (1/07/15) Maria Eugenia Sole ¿Cómo podemos definir la violencia familiar? En primer lugar, podemos decir que la violencia familiar o violencia doméstica es cualquier forma de abuso entre los miembros de una misma familia, de un miembro a otro miembro. Este abuso generalmente causa un daño físico o psicológico a este miembro de la familia.
4 Tips for a Stress-Free New Years (12/26/14) Tammy Lenski The holidays can be a cheerful time — with plenty of work, it seems. But with loads of family smashed into tiny spaces, many find themselves feeling less than jolly. Lashing out is common around the holidays. But Dr. Tammy Lenski, a conflict resolution trainer and author of The Conflict Pivot: Turning Conflict into Peace of Mind, has a few tips for keeping your gathering from turning into a war zone.
Giving Yourself Permission (12/26/14) Phyllis Pollack The holidays are upon us, and with them come the usual stress and tension that family events often bring. Over Thanksgiving, I had an experience that put it in perspective for me. Although I am supposed to be the conflict resolution person, it was a cousin that gave me a very much needed "reality check", if not "permission" to think differently about family loyalty.
6 Reasons You Need a Prenup (12/19/14) Bruce Provda Many divorces happen because of financial problems. A prenup forces both parties to look at — and reveal — their financial picture. An open discussion about finance may help to build a firm foundation for marriage.
Retire Already! Why? (12/12/14) Larry Susskind This article discusses retirement in non-traditional fields such as mediation and teaching. Should there be a set retirement age?
My Least Favorite Part of Conflict (12/01/14) Meredith Richardson My least favorite part of conflict is not the conflict itself, nor is it any argument that may result. It's the aftermath. It could be that the conflict remains unresolved. It could be that things were said that deeply hurt one or both people, and that hurt feelings have been lingering for quite some time and only recently voiced.
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.