When Summit County Probate Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer took office in January 2013, she declared her intention to use mediation as one means of resolving disputes brought to her court. Judge Stormer developed a mediation program, and longtime Akron attorneys William Dowling and Douglas Godshall were appointed as court mediators. Concluding its first year of operation, the mediation program has proven to be a success, enabling the parties involved to resolve numerous disputes without the need for lengthy litigation and court trials. read
A northern New Jersey honor student who has sued to get her parents to support her after she moved out of their home had her initial request denied Tuesday by a judge who cautioned that the case could lead to a 'potentially slippery slope' of claims by teenagers against their parents. Rachel Canning had sought immediate relief in the form of $650 in weekly child support and the payment of the remainder of her tuition at Morris Catholic High School, as well as attorney's fees. State Superior Court Judge Peter Bogaard denied those motions but ordered the parties to return to court on April 22, when they will present evidence and testimony on the over-arching question of whether the Cannings are obligated to financially support their daughter. Rachel Canning, a high school senior, has already been accepted by at least one college and is seeking to have her parents pay some or all of her tuition, attorney Tanya Helfand told Bogaard Tuesday. read
For baby boomers, divorce has almost become, like marriage, another rite of passage. The post-World War II generation is setting new records for divorce: Americans over 50 are twice as likely to get divorced as people of that age were 20 years ago. But just because it's more common, doesn't mean it's not still painful. read
There is a lot more that goes into mediation, but this is a good overview to the framework. People need to understand before entering mediation that it is a process of compromise — meeting each other in the middle somewhere. If either party has to have everything that he or she wants at mediation, it will likely not work. read
It's not news that divorce and the legal process of separation have a negative impact on children. In recent years, as this has become more apparent, courts and governments in many parts of the world have attempted to minimise the knock-on effects for youngsters. In Hong Kong, the welfare and best interest of the children in divorce is of paramount importance. This is enshrined in statute and is where judges will start when they look at a divorce case involving children. It is also a fact that if conflict in a case can be minimised, the impact on the parties and the children will also be reduced. This has led to an increase in mediation - both outside the court process and within it - and the newer concept of collaborative practice. Initially, both mediation and collaborative practice focus on what can be agreed between the parties. The problem with traditional litigation is that it tends to focus the minds of the parties on what they do not agree on and consequently each takes a position. It is a different mindset. read
Mediation is no panacea in family law, but clients must be properly advised on dispute resolution. The number of couples helped through publicly funded family mediation has indeed fallen. However, there is no causal link between the decline in the use of mediation and the skills of mediators. The trend has arisen directly from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act and the loss of Funding Code referrals from solicitors to Legal Aid Authority-contracted mediators by legal aid solicitors. This has been described as a ‘policy car crash’ by a number of Ministry of Justice representatives. read
As a Harvard law student two decades ago, I became involved in the well-known Harvard mediation program. After being trained as a volunteer mediator, I was sent to local small claims courts to help disputants resolve their conflict through a mediated agreement, rather than through a judge’s decision. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the vast majority of cases did, in fact, reach a mutually agreed-upon settlement. I was delighted with the outcomes, and increasingly interested in a specific question: why did mediation work? This question is heightened when you consider the limited tools which a mediator has. I could not force parties to agree. I could not give an expert opinion as to what they should do. I did not even have a strong relationship with these people – they were total strangers, who I had never met before and would never meet again.And yet, something powerful happened in mediation that worked. I dedicated my career to exploring that dynamic and using it with my clients in training, coaching, mediation, facilitation and other conflict resolution services. read
Radical legislation in Scotland would ensure all are better served when partners separate, says Stuart Valentine. Family mediation helps resolve issues between separating couples more quickly and more cheaply than those cases that go through the courts. Family mediators work directly with separating partners to improve communication, reduce conflict and help the couple themselves agree on practical, workable arrangements for the future care of their children. It is estimated that around 70 per cent of mediations result in an agreement being reached. Mediation is currently receiving high levels of media attention across the UK. The Westminster government is progressing legislation to require separating couples involved in parenting or financial disputes to meet with a mediator prior to going to court. The new Children and Families Bill will, however, only apply to England and Wales. Scotland has a different legal system in the area of family law and currently there is no level of automatic compulsion for separating couples to consider family mediation. read
Dr. Carol Berz, owner of Private Dispute Resolution Services in downtown Chattanooga, will be recognized in Nashville on Feb. 14 with a prestigious honor: the 2014 Grayfield Gray Public Service in Mediation Award, presented by the Coalition for Mediation Awareness in Tennessee (CMAT). The Grayfield Gray Award seeks to honor those who have made “innovative and lasting public service contributions through alternative dispute resolution in Tennessee.” It is named after its first recipient Grayfred Gray, emeritus professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and founder of UT’s Mediation Clinic. Past recipients have also included Tennessee Supreme Court Justice Janice Holder as well as Nashville Second Circuit Court Judge Marietta Shipley. read
There are rarely any winners when a family is dragged through the trauma of divorce. As well as the emotional strain, separation throws up a multitude of practical issues to be resolved – financial costs, child custody – and since April 2013, cuts to legal aid advice for family law appear to have made this unpleasant experience a little more unpleasant. The Government had initially hoped the cuts would encourage separating couples to seek out family mediation, for which legal aid is still available, rather than turning to the courtroom battlefield. But, despite the Government’s hopes for less clogged-up courts, new figures appear to show that the opposite is happening. Figures from a Freedom of Information request by London family mediator Marc Lopatin reveal that the number of people in Cambridge seeking family mediation fell by 47 per cent between April and October in 2013. The number of family mediations getting under way in the Cambridge area also fell by a third compared to the same period in 2012/13. read
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.
The Parents Left Standing (1/23/14) Shannon Rios Paulsen There are many different scenarios where parents leave the life of their child. This article goes over some of these scenarios, as well as what to say to a young child, such as the parent is learning to be a better parent and person and having your child write a letter to or draw a picture for the other parent. Remember you chose to have your children, please continue to choose them. I can tell you that adults are much less forgiving than children.
Elder Divorce Mediation (1/17/14) Dr. Lynne C. Halem As the remaining baby boomers turn 50 this year, we continue to see a significant increase in divorce and separation among the general population of those in that 50-plus age bracket.
Is Collaborative Law a Good Fit for You? (1/11/14) Dick Price Adryenn Cantor, a San Diego, CA attorney included an excellent list of five questions for people to ask themselves to determine if they are a good candidate for using Collaborative Law in a divorce case.
Mediation Works for Family-Run Enterprises (1/10/14) James MacPherson In the Arab World, family firms make up 85 per cent of the region's non-oil GDP. While many are small to medium-sized enterprises -
the cornerstone of any successful economy - the success of the GCC economies, coupled with the enterprising minds of business
leaders during the region's boom years mean that a significant number of these organisations have become multinational and highly
Conflict: It's Relational and That Ain't Situational (12/27/13) Dan Simon Many mediators say they adjust their approach according to the situation. This makes sense on one level. If a mediator remains responsive to the parties, the interventions will necessarily vary according to the parties, and will even vary with the same parties as their interaction changes. 2 Comments
Family Violence and ODR (12/23/13) Maria Eugenia Sole While conflict is inevitable and inherent to the family, violence is an inadequate manifestation of tensions and conflicts that goes beyond the capacity of response of individuals, due to serious situations of psycho-emotional, sociocultural or economic limitations. In this sense, violence is the extreme manifestation of the constraints to which families are subjected.
Violencia Familiar y ODR - Espanol (12/18/13) Maria Eugenia Sole Mientras el conflicto es inevitable e inherente a la familia, la violencia es una manifestación inadecuada a tensiones y conflictos que desbordan la capacidad de respuestas de los individuos, por encontrarse en situación grave de limitaciones psicoemocionales, socioculturales o económicas. En este sentido, la violencia es la manifestación extrema de las limitaciones a las que están sometidas las familias.-
The Real Christmas Gift for Kids (12/13/13) Gary Direnfeld Even though parents argue as to the best residential schedule, choice of school, faith, holiday time, Christmas and extra-curricular activities, these issues are simply not as predictive for the wellbeing of children as conflict alone.
Mediation and CollabLaw (12/13/13) Oran Kaufman What is the difference between mediation and collaborative law? Couples going through divorce today fortunately have many more options available to them to finalize their divorce. Choosing the right approach involves knowing and understanding the differences between approaches.
To Move or Not To Move an Elder (12/06/13) Halee Burg This article concerns the important decisions that often face caregivers or other family members concerning where an elder family member will live, the strong emotions that are evoked in families contemplating a possible elder move, the important questions that should be considered in considering a move, and how mediation can support families in having a productive discussion concerning this important, complex and highly emotional issue.
Parent Conflict After Separation: Taking a Closer Look (11/27/13) Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. High conflict is often described as the most damaging factor in the post-separation adjustment of children and adolescents. High conflict that continues in the years after separation is indeed a major risk factor for children’s longer-term well-being. However, more recent research has demonstrated that it is only one of several important factors creating risk and potential detriment. The quality of parenting after separation and divorce, for example, is now recognized as equally important, if not more so, because competent and warm parenting acts as a protective barrier against the effects of high conflict.
REVIEW of Ellen Bruno’s DVD, “SPLIT: Divorce Through Kids’ Eyes” (11/26/13) Donald T. Saposnek Ellen Bruno’s new film, Split takes us to a whole new level in understanding the effects of divorce on children. The movie is 28 minutes long and consists 100% of interviews of real children (no adults were harmed used in the making of this film) telling about their experiences going through their parents’ divorces. I strongly encourage you to view this lovely film and discover ways to integrate it into your work of supporting families going through divorce. 1 Comment
Family Mediation UK - Video (11/13/13)
This video is produced by the Ministry of Justice in the UK . It highlights the benefits of using mediation for family cases.
Mediating in Cases in Domestic Violence – Between a Rock and a Hard Place (11/08/13) Sabine Walsh The question of whether, and how, to mediate with couples who have experienced or are experiencing domestic violence or abuse has challenged and divided mediation professionals for many years now without consensus on how to handle such cases having been reached. Domestic abuse can be a contra-indicator for mediation for a number of reasons, mainly however that it is likely to compromise the equality of bargaining power, the free interaction with and the voluntary participation in mediation.
Why Couples Are Choosing Mediation in Divorce Cases (11/04/13) Bruce Provda If you are contemplating a divorce or having trouble settling divorce issues with your spouse, mediation might be the best choice. Mediation is a great setting for you and your spouse to settle your divorce issues in a more amicable fashion with less stress on you and other family members, including your children. Being able to settle issues quickly helps children and other family members adjust to the situation as well.
Ten Tips for Developing and Drafting Effective Parenting Plans in Mediation (10/31/13) Donald T. Saposnek A mediation process that is thoughtful, respectful, and paced to fit the communication style and needs of the parents will increase the chances of crafting a clear and comprehensive parenting plan. Such a process offers a supportive and cooperative context, promotes direct communication between the parents, empowers the parents to make their own decisions, remains sensitive to their unique couple dynamics, and maximizes a tone of flexibility for future modifications to their agreement. While this context is very important, even more is needed to develop an effective parenting plan. The following ten tips will ensure a well-drafted product. 4 Comments
Divorcing Parents: Avoid Bringing Your Battles to Court (10/15/13) Rosalind Sedacca You're getting divorced and you're angry, resentful, hurt, vindictive or any combination of other painful emotions. Hiring the most aggressive litigious divorce lawyer you can find seems like your smartest choice. If you're a divorcing parent who is thinking along those lines, you're making a choice you may long regret.
Getting Unhooked From Interpersonal Conflict (10/15/13) Tammy Lenski You’re familiar with hooks: Hooks for hanging coats, hooks for fishing, hooks for crocheting, hooks in computer programming, hooks in barbed wire. They share a kindred function: To intercept and snag, to catch and hold. But what is the role of a hook in mediation?
Globalization of Family Mediation Rooted in Children’s Rights (9/20/13) Maureen Dabbagh Mediation now includes standards and guidelines for international family mediation. Unlike traditional family mediation rooted in state family law codes, international family mediation has developed within the context of international rights of children. The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HccH) used the principles found in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in framing international family mediation. The first standards for cross border family mediators was presented in December 2012. 3 Comments
Dealing with Your Ex’s New Other (9/20/13) Allison Pescosolido For many, some sort of relationship with your ex exists beyond divorce. Whether you have children, business interests, or other things in common after divorce, you may have to confront a new love interest in your ex’s life. Below are five tips to help you interact with the new other and maintain your personal integrity.
Love, Eros, and Negotiation (9/19/13) Robert Benjamin Even linking the notions of love with negotiation rubs some people the wrong way. Love, after all, should be pure and not subject to vicissitudes of business. And, negotiation, being business, many believe should never be personal. In most relationships, however, personal and business, love and negotiation are inseparable and he denial of that reality frequently and unnecessarily contribute to the end of many relationships. 1 Comment
Restructuring the Family the Collaborative Way (9/13/13) Dick Price In a typical litigated divorce, the Judge will impose a standard set of guidelines for most matters relating to the children. In many of those cases, the resulting order doesn't exactly fit the needs or facts of the case. Many times, there's a random standard possession schedule for the children, as well as a standard child support order. Special needs due to work, geography, health, school or any other factors are often not considered. The big advantage of that approach, "one size fits all", is that it's easy.
On Apologies (8/31/13) Gregorio Billikopf We must first recognize our error before we can make things right. While never easy, it is even harder when such recognition requires a public acknowledgement—an apology—to those we have injured. A true apology requires a great deal of humility and includes a sincere expression of regret, changed behavior and, when possible, restitution. 3 Comments
The "Too Attractive" Bias (8/23/13) Phyllis Pollack On Sunday, October 13, 2013, I will be participating in a panel presentation entitled, "Ethical Duties of Eliminating Bias in the Legal Profession" as part of the California State Bar's Eighty Sixth Annual Meeting in San Jose, California. The focus of our discussion will be hidden/implicit biases- those biases that exist within us, subconsciously, if not unconsciously. When do these actually become discrimination?
A Rose by Any Other Name (8/23/13) Richard Birke Most of the leading law school textbooks explain arbitration by describing a case where a party suffers a loss and there is a dispute between the insurance company and the insured. The insured typically places a high value on the subject of the loss, while the insurance company places a lower value.
Co Parenting Strategies (8/23/13) Allison Pescosolido There are 5 strategies that both parents should employ while parenting. These strategies help parents to maintain sanity and keep consistency for their children.
Virtually Everyone is Touched in Some Way By Divorce (8/16/13) Rachel Virk Understand that although your marriage is ending, you have every right to hold on to the memories of the good times and of the good years. They were good, and nothing can take that away. It is not that parts of you are being torn away or destroyed, but rather the divorce experience, and the self-knowledge you gain, will help to define and develop the whole person you are becoming. 2 Comments
More Conflict Resolution Tips for Divorcing Couples (8/02/13) Oran Kaufman Many aspects of the mediation and conflict resolution process are counter-intuitive. It is very easy and tempting as clients to throw in the towel and give up on the mediation process when an impasse occurs. This article provides useful tips for the mediator to properly set the stage so this does not occur and suggestions for clients that will allow them to work through the conflicts and bumps in the road that are bound to arise in the mediation process. 1 Comment
A Glass of Wine and the Truth (8/02/13) Vivian Scott At some point down the line we parents can create an opportunity to cozy up on the couch with a glass of wine, some comfy throw pillows, and talk about the events that took place over the years as a collective experience; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Fifth Circuit States Terms of Prior Agreements Were Not Incorporated Into Master Settlement Agreement (7/26/13) Beth Graham The United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that the terms of two parties’ Merger and Cooperation Agreements were not incorporated into a Master Settlement Agreement entered into by only one of the parties. In Alford v. Kuhlman Electric Corporation, No. 11-60728, (5th Cir. May 24, 2013), BorgWarner, Inc. purchased Kuhlman Corporation (“Kuhlman”) and all the company’s subsidiaries, including Kuhlman Electric Corporation (“KEC”).
The Varying Roles of the Mental Health Professional in Divorce (7/25/13) Rachel Virk This article discusses ways in which a mental health professional may be involved in the resolution of divorce – whether through mediation, collaboration, negotiation or litigation. To best serve the needs of the client, and to protect his or her interests, it is essential for the mental health provider to understand the context in which the conflict is being addressed.
As Marriage Equality Disputes Arise, so Does Opportunity for ADR (7/19/13) Patrick Mahoney Recently the United States Supreme Court issued long anticipated rulings in the first marriage cases to reach the high court – United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. Taken together, the decisions represent a significant step in the central civil rights issue of this era – the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples to marry.