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News Categories: Custody, Divorce, Family

8/26: Divorcing? What are the benefits of mediation versus litigation

Court battles can go on for months or even years, and can get very ‘ugly’. All sense of civility is usually lost, and lawyers battle it out, airing the couple’s dirty laundry to be judged in court. In some cases, the litigation route is the only option – and you may need to hire a lawyer to make sure your interests are protected. However, if at all possible, you should try to go the route of mediation. This is where both parties come to a mutual agreement through a trained negotiator experienced in divorce law. It is often much quicker and far less emotionally damaging than litigation. read


8/26: UK: Mediation Matters: Unlocking an understanding of mediation

Who says August is a quiet month? It’s not traditionally noted for major Government statements, but this month saw one of the most significant announcements affecting family law and mediation for some time. Justice Minister Simon Hughes pledged funding for a single free mediation session for both parties where just one of them qualifies for legal aid. read


8/22: Pre-nuptial Agreements Increasing In the UK

The demand for prenuptial practicalities is on the rise, with one London company reporting a 50% rise in people inquiring about pre-nups. This upsurge could have been partly prompted by the Law Commission’s suggestion that a pre-marriage agreement should form part of the marriage reform, and that pre-nups should be given the kind of legal weight which they’re afforded in Scotland. read


8/18: Couples should try out mediation

Today, I'd like to focus on a settlement approach that is currently receiving a lot of attention across the United States -- mediation. Mediation is a process in which a trained mediator tries to help opposing parties reach an agreement they can both live with. In Guam, the "father" of mediation is attorney Pat Wolff. When I think about Pat, I reflect back on the old saying: "One person can make a difference." read


8/17: DIY divorce: Britons pay 30% less to split

The cost of legal advice for divorcing couples has fallen 30% since 2006, according to research by one of Britain's biggest insurers. The rise of cheap DIY services, while limited, may have helped force down prices, the insurer suggested. However, legal experts said the removal of legal aid is likely to have contributed to the decline in the average cost, which has fallen from £1,818 to £1,280. Online do-it-yourself services advertise a “quickie” divorce for as little as £37. But couples must agree on how any assets will be split and how child care and other arrangements will be managed. While almost a third of couples said they tried to reach an amicable settlement to save on legal fees, the proportion that used on online service, while growing, is still very low at 4%. read


8/17: Column: Parent who spanks has empty parenting tool box

. . . My ex-husband and I share custody of our 4-year-old son. Part of the reason we divorced was because of the different ways we view raising a child. My ex-husband is much more strict and firm with our son. Despite a contentious divorce a year ago, we are usually able to agree upon the day-to-day aspects of our son’s life. My concern is that my son has come back to me saying that his father has spanked him hard. read


8/13: Is Mediating Prenups a Form of Marital Mediation?

My mediation practice during the past several years has taken a turn towards mediating prenuptial agreements. Here's how it happened. read


8/13: Ireland: Divorcing couples face mandatory counselling to stave off court action

Couples who want to end their marriage could be forced to take part in mandatory counselling and mediation as part of proposals for a radical overhaul of the family law system being considered by the Government.  The reforms, the most ambitious ever proposed for Ireland’s divorce and separation system, were the brainchild of former Justice Minister Alan Shatter but are now being considered by his successor, Frances Fitzgerald.  At present, separating couples who wish to part without going to court can seek to resolve their issues through the Family Mediation Service (FMS).  The free, confidential service is for married and non-married couples who try to sort out matters such as parenting, financial support and issues relating to the family home and other property.  However, many couples experience huge delays in accessing mediation which, since 2011, has been transferred to the Legal Aid Board.  Delays accessing mediation and free legal advice exacerbates the conflict between many couples enduring separation and divorce. Under the proposals now being considered by Ms Fitzgerald, couples could be forced to engage in mandatory counselling before seeking the intervention of the courts. read


8/13: Opt for a common-sense divorce

Trying to get a divorce? Wondering why it’s taking so long and costing so much? Family courts are backlogged because we’ve been conditioned to believe the divorce process has to be both litigious and expensive. But it doesn’t have to be either of those things. If we applied some common sense — putting the beginning of our next chapter ahead of the retaliation we feel for ending the last chapter — it could be a much smoother process. The Ontario government knows that marriage dissolution is a right mess. It’s looking for ways to encourage people to talk it out rationally in order to keep families out of court. That’ll keep more money in people’s pockets too. read


8/07: Home Share Now wins award for mediation

The American College of Civil Trial Mediators, a professional association, recently gave a cash award to Home Share Now for its efforts in home sharing mediation. The award came in support of applying dispute resolution in the alternative setting of facilitated home sharing. Home Share Now has facilitated the sharing of housing, such as by multigenerational housemates, since 2003. The organization said it views conflict resolution as the most important skill necessary for successful home sharing. read


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Family & Divorce Mediation Articles



Judy Ringer
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.

Martin Svatos
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.

Cris Pastore
Using the 17 Factors of Alimony in PA in Divorce Mediation (8/15/14)
Cris Pastore
Curious about how alimony is determined in Pennsylvania? Read this comprehensive article and learn about alimony and about the 17 factors the court considers in determining it.

Hilary Linton
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.

Jeffrey Fink
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.

Katherine Graham
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’.

Mary Aderibigbe
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!

Bruce Provda
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.

Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.
Pioneer Series: Families Closer Post-Divorce - Video (7/04/14)
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D.
Joan Kelly describes a research finding which concluded that families who mediated during the divorce had father's who were significantly more involved in their children's lives twelve years post-mediation.

Richard Barbieri
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

Mary Novak
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.

Constance Ahrons
Pioneer Series: Old Dissolution Model Was Damaging - Video (6/29/14)
Constance Ahrons
Constance Ahrons discusses the pre-joint-cutody model for the relationship between Ex-spouses. The cultural norm was to have no relationship, because that meant that the ex-spouses where hanging on.

Nina Meierding
Pioneer Series: Cultural Sensitivity while Training - Video (6/27/14)
Nina Meierding
Nina Meierding discusses her approach to mediation training in other countries. This involves being culturally sensitive, not imposing the Western model as it may not be useful for other cultures and their ways of problem-solving.

Dr. Lynne C. Halem
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.

Phyllis Pollack
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.

Cinnie Noble
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.

Joy Rosenthal
Mediating Your Divorce? Do You Still Need an Attorney? (5/23/14)
Joy Rosenthal
Reviewing or consulting attorneys are crucial to the divorce mediation process. This article explains why, and helps readers know how to find the right attorney for the job.   1 Comment

Jan Frankel Schau
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.

Tammy Lenski
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.

Nina Meierding
Nina Meierding: Culture and Gender Trailer - Video (5/20/14)
Nina Meierding
Internationally prominent trainer Nina Meierding shares with her class how to be culturally sensitive during mediation with non-verbal cues.

Shannon Rios Paulsen
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.

Jeff Thompson
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.

Dane County Bar Association
Elder Care and Mediation - Video (5/10/14)
Dane County Bar Association
The Dane County Bar Association's Case Mediation Program has produced videos to help the public understand and use mediation in the dispute resolution process.

Richard Gordon
Issues with Children in Divorce (5/09/14)
Richard Gordon
Divorce is complicated enough. When children are also part of the mix, there are several unique considerations the parents need to make.

Mary Aderibigbe
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

Michael Toebe
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

Jan Frankel Schau
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.

Phyllis Pollack
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.

Andres Vazquez
Parlamento Europeo - en Espanol (5/01/14)
Andres Vazquez
La mediación civil y mercantil todavía se utiliza en menos del 1% de los casos en la Unión Europea.

Jen Hull
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.

Caroline Knorr
Guide to Negotiating Children's Internet Habits Between Shared Households (4/25/14)
Caroline Knorr
Different rules at different households makes life confusing for children. This article provides a guide for parents so they can have an objective standard for determining internet safety policies for their children.

Joanna Wares
You Can Avoid Disputes in Business Relationships (4/25/14)
Joanna Wares
When a business is family owned, the potential for problems can increase. Issues may roll over to spouses, parents and children. When you want to have an ongoing relationship, mediation can help in the resolution process

Phyllis Pollack
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.

Rachel Virk
Litigation, Negotiation, Collaboration, or Mediation--Should I Work It Out or Fight It Out? (4/17/14)
Rachel Virk
This article is an excerpt from Rachel Virk's book "The Four Ways of Divorce." This section examines the reasons why people choose different options for ending their marriage, and what are possible outcomes from those options.

Shannon Rios Paulsen
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.

Mary Aderibigbe
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.

Halee Burg
Mediation Can Help Bridge the Family Divide Created by an Alzheimer's Diagnosis (4/04/14)
Halee Burg
Mediation can support families as they navigate the challenging issues and decisions associated with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Through productive discussions led by an experienced neutral mediator, mediators help family members explore each topic, share perspectives, gather information, reach consensus, and find their way forward.

Joseph Berljawsky
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.

Vivian Scott
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

Larry Gaughan
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

Zeno  Daniel Sustac
Overview on the Mediation in Cross-Border Conflicts – Sources and Application Areas (3/21/14)
Zeno Daniel Sustac
This article is the introduction to a thesis by Zeno Sustac about the Best Practice Guide on the Use of Mediation in Cross-Border Disputes. This section specifically looks at what disputes are appropriate for cross-border mediation.

Shannon Rios Paulsen
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

Rachel Virk
I'm Heading for Divorce--What Should I Do? (3/21/14)
Rachel Virk
You want out. Your marriage is no longer happy. You just need to know the correct process for telling your spouse in a safe and respectful way, and know what are the appropriate steps to take.

Phyllis Pollack
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.

Michael A. Zeytoonian
3 Misconceptions About Using Collaborative Law in Employment Disputes (2/28/14)
Michael A. Zeytoonian
Over 2013, we heard a few reasons from employers and companies for why they would forego using Collaborative Law – a much more efficient dispute resolution process than litigation – and opt for litigation or arbitration instead.

Rachel Virk
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.

Roger Ley
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.

Dr. Lynne C. Halem
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

Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton
How Much Is That Doggie In The Living-room Window? (2/14/14)
Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton
Roger Caras’ famous quote, ”Dogs are not our whole lives, but they make our lives whole,” speaks volumes when it comes to divorcing couples and their pet. The human animal bond enhances our lives by its presence, but also makes divorce mediations complex.

Morghan Leia Richardson
5 Ways That Divorce Mediation Can Help Resolve the 'Get' Crisis (2/07/14)
Morghan Leia Richardson
Without the religious divorce, Leah would not be able to remarry -- or even date -- in her community. Her life was on hold, tied to her ex -- at his whim. And she is not alone. This article discusses the conflict that many in religious communities are trying to resolve.

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