Here are some questions from a foreign resident here who is married to a Japanese citizen: “How does a foreigner get a divorce (no children involved) if the spouse refuses to sign a mutual consent decree? What are the fees, if any? What are the ramifications if the foreigner cannot afford the fees (if any)?”
Toxic disputes between parents and principals could soon be resolved by independent mediators in schools. As part of a new trial being run by the Victoria, AU Education Department, professional mediators will help Victorian principals resolve complaints that are "complex, serious and involv(e) conflict".
Tensions have become so high between management and workers at the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center that two members of Congress on Friday proposed federal mediation to fix the problem. The acrimony became apparent during a closed-door meeting with workers and management at the St. Cloud facility Friday afternoon with U.S. Reps. Tom Emmer and Tim Walz. Emmer represents the district in Congress and Walz is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
To settle a long-running ownership dispute over their father’s Nobel Prize and Bible, the children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have turned to a man who knows something about conflict negotiations: Jimmy Carter. The former president has agreed to serve as the King siblings’ mediator in a court battle over whether brothers Dexter Scott King and Martin Luther King III may sell their father’s possessions, Their sister, Bernice King, has argued the items are sacred and should remain with the family.
Couples who decide to end their marriage are often dealing with the most upsetting, stressful time of their lives, and the prospect of fighting tooth and nail in court to decide issues like child custody, visitation, and finances only piles on the emotional trauma. That’s why divorce mediation — a less costly, less stressful alternative to a contested divorce — is gaining in popularity.
The goal of mediation, however, is to resolve conflict, which has nothing to do with mental health. Mediation aims to help two (or more) parties find a mutually acceptable resolution to their points of difference or disagreement. It’s all about identifying goals and finding a way to achieve them that bypasses the inherent conflict.
On the heels of their successful statewide campaign to legalize cannabis, marijuana advocates began mobilizing for another fight. They began collecting signatures for another ballot measure, this one aimed at allowing citizens to vote on whether to legalize pot smoking in many Denver bars and restaurants. To the activists’ surprise, however, the Denver City Council approached them and asked to try to negotiate a solution instead.
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In An Interdependent World There Is No Them And Us, Only Us (6/29/15) John Sturrock The old certainties are gone. The disruption caused by the General Election result will inevitably cause instability - and opportunity. Now is the time for new thinking, a break from the old paradigms. You don't solve your problems by using the same thinking that got you into them, as Einstein would say.
“Justice” Report for England and Wales: A Missed Opportunity for Radical Change (6/29/15) Charlie Irvine "Justice," a UK think-tank committed to legal reform, launched a new report in April 2015 entitled "Delivering Justice in an Age of Austerity". It proposes significant changes to the justice system of England and Wales, including a new character, the "Registrar", who would have powers to mediate, provide early neutral evaluation, dismiss cases or refer them to a judge. The article provides a detailed critique of the proposals, concluding that despite great merit, they extend the "shadow of the law" by making early neutral evaluation the default. A more radical and empowering change would have been to make mediation the default, with ENE and adjudication the remedial alternatives.
Avoiding the Uncertainty of a Medical Malpractice Trial (6/19/15) Richard Bone Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provides viable and attractive alternatives to jury trials as a means of resolving medical legal disputes arising out of allegations of professional negligence. The two primary alternatives to a jury trial for medical malpractice cases are mediation and binding arbitration.
Making Better Use of Mediation to Resolve Disputes and Manage Difficult Issues (6/19/15) John Sturrock Mediation encourages parties who have – or who anticipate having – differences, conflict or a dispute to sit down and talk, with a view to finding a mutually acceptable way forward. It is usually most appropriate when, for a number of reasons, people are unable to negotiate effectively for themselves or have reached some sort of impasse or deadlock. It recognises that direct negotiations can be difficult in many situations. It can also be effective to prevent awkward situations escalating.
Why Taking the High Road to Deflate “Deflategate” is Important (6/19/15) Michael A. Zeytoonian It’s the most talked about dispute in New England and in sports these days. Deflategate. But really, how important is this issue? Whether the league rule was violated and footballs were intentionally deflated to a weight less than the range allowed. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most important, this topic is a 1, if that. Ask anyone who ever played football, at any level.
Designing a Successful Parenting Plan (6/17/15) Don Gordon, Jack Arbuthnot Here are several important issues you should think about as you design your parenting plan. A child needs the love and affection of both parents, but they also need both as teachers. These roles should override your desire to “own” your children.
Not All Mediation Educational Programs Are Worth the Time or Money (6/12/15) Former Author Given the rapid expansion of the mediation field over the past several decades, an increasingly important question for young and aspiring mediators is whether it is worth the time and/or money to invest in what are, in many cases, quite extensive mediation and dispute resolution training programs that have popped up around the world.
Compliance Success with Mediated Settlements in Small Claims (6/11/15) Mattie Robertson A report on the success of mediated settlement agreements by SEEDS Community Resolution Center's mediation team in Small Claims Court in Alameda County. High compliance with settlements has provided litigant parties with a reliable and effective way to resolve their cases using interest-based negotiation within a community mediation model.
Overcoming Reluctance to Engage in Mediation (6/11/15) Laura Athens Many attorneys know and appreciate the benefits of mediation. Those who are familiar with the benefits of mediation readily propose and eagerly participate in it. However, should you encounter any resistance, how can it be addressed?
The Future of Mediation (6/09/15) John Ford A coach once asked me to predict which way a drop of water would go around a rock up ahead. Of course there is no way of knowing: the water drop may not make it due to evaporation to the atmosphere, absorption by the river bank, and then if it does make it to the rock, whether it goes left or right, over or below. However, even if the future is uncertain, we can still comment on where the drop of water is at the moment. Even its relationship to our imagined future. And of course about its past.
Musings of a Long Time Arbitrator (6/05/15) Brian Jerome Musings of a Long Time Arbitrator reflects on the positive and challenging aspects of serving as a neutral, in a manner both realistic and humorous. Similar practitioners will be able to immediately relate, and those that seek or utilize the services of ADR providers will get a direct look at the implications of a neutral’s daily reality.
Beyond “Divorce American Style": The Search for a More Responsive Process (6/05/15) Larry Gaughan Marriage is a high risk undertaking. Consider the statistics. In recent years the number of marriages each year is just over twice the number of divorces in the same year. So when two adults in their late 20’s – let’s call them Justin and Lisa - decide to get married and have an expensive wedding with all the trimmings, there is a good chance that they will also get divorced. And when they do, it wouldn’t be unusual for their divorce to cost as much as (or more than) their wedding and honeymoon.
Presenting Your Presentation: A Few Words (6/05/15) Richard Barbieri The passing of William Zinsser leads me to offer some suggestions on writing well in a specific context: applying to present at a professional conference, or seeking to attract participants to a workshop, based on over forty years of both writing and reviewing proposals.
Settle Your Personal Injury Claim Before A Lawsuit Is Filed (6/01/15) Don Cripe As a retired lawyer who handled many personal injury cases (both as a defense lawyer and for plaintiffs), an Arbitrator and Mediator who has handled many, many more, some things become ever more obvious as the years pass. Resolving most personal injury cases before a lawsuit is filed (or at least before the defense files an answer) accomplishes most of the objectives of the parties more quickly and efficiently than after.
The Family Mediator's New Tool (6/01/15) Charlie Mulvey After setting forth the nexus that alcohol abuse and dependence has with both domestic abuse and violence, but also with high conflict parties, then briefly discussing the evolution and technological advances of alcohol detection devices, the Author recommends that every family mediator should be carrying one, both to ensure the safety and security of the mediator and parties, but also as a tool in negotiating child visitation and possession when alcohol abuse or dependence is alleged.
Managing the Cost of Conflict (5/22/15) Alessandra Sgubini Roxanne De La Roche Conflict is a common occurrence in society. It arises everywhere, among different types of parties, in different parts of the world, and for different reasons. If conflict is not addressed properly it can escalate and degenerate leaving serious consequences in its wake. This article explores the true costs of conflict, methods to address conflict, and how to prevent conflicts from escalating in the first place.
The Good Divorce (5/22/15) Dr. Lynne C. Halem “What is a good divorce?” you ask. “After all, divorce is not a good or a happy event.” Correct you are. Divorce cannot be logically characterized as “good,” if we are referring to the event itself. Divorce is a time of sadness, even regret; it symbolizes the end to dreams once held. “ So,” you ask again,” how can a divorce be good?”
Bush and Folger on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future (5/22/15) Dusty and Vicky Rhoades, Dan Simon One of the many things that Baruch Bush and Joe Folger have contributed to the mediation community is the stimulus to engage in difficult conversation about how we support participants in conflict. What informs our practice? What does it mean when I say that I’m committed to participant self-determination? Baruch and Joe’s recent article on Reclaiming Mediation’s Future and their challenge to return to “an original vision of the mediation field” has certainly stimulated conversation and strong reaction.
Advocacy in Mediation (5/21/15) Uma Ramanathan Advocacy is recommendation of a cause. Advocacy presupposes a difference of opinion or a conflict and the need to clarify the ‘knot’, get to understand the root cause and then acknowledge consequences. Mediation advocacy pre-supposes support by the mediator for resolution and projection of a cause by the counsel/ party.
We Are The Future of Mediation (5/18/15) Michael Aurit How will the future of mediation matter if a new generation of young mediators is not encouraged and carefully shepherded into our profession? Here’s to a future where we all may learn from one another, unite to overcome our profession’s greatest obstacles, and create the future that we imagine.
The 2016 Global Pound Conference Series! (5/17/15) Deborah Masucci, Michael Mcilwrath In April 1976, an event now known as the Pound Conference ignited modern ADR in the USA, launching discussion of what might be the “greatest reform in the history of the country’s judicial system “. Forty years later, all stakeholders in the dispute prevention and resolution fields around the world are being invited to participate in a series of unique thought leadership events around the globe under the auspices of a Global Pound Conference (“GPC”) series. The GPC has a remarkable goal: to shape the future of dispute resolution and access to justice in the 21st Century.
What Is A Humanistic Approach to Mediation? An Overview (5/15/15) Mark S. Umbreit, Ted Lewis A humanistic approach to mediation developed in parallel to the transformative approach to mediation in the 1990's. While fully harmonizing with transformative mediation, a humanistic approach brings several additional emphases that can deepen the work of mediators in both dispute resolution and restorative justice work. The 'human-element' is highlighted by giving greater attention to several humanizing capacities in mediation.
More Online Mediation Needed Before We Can Measure Effectiveness (5/15/15) Charles Hill The author suggests that a larger number of cases must be mediated online before determining the effectiveness of any online methodology. The author draws similarities between the advantages and disadvantages often cited for online education and online mediation and contends that what we’ve learned in education can readily carry over to mediation.
Unbroken Circles for Schools - Book Review (5/15/15) Ken Johnson, Barb Caffrey "Unbroken Circles for Schools" is an excellent nonfiction read about conflict, social justice, and restorative justice. Mr. Johnson's premise is that our criminal justice system is doing juvenile offenders a grave disservice. Rather than sending juvenile offenders into the prison system (where they mostly learn only to re-offend), we need to teach the principles of restorative justice instead -- and where else should these principles be taught but in the schools?
Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and the Road That Lies Ahead (5/11/15) Stephen Erickson Looking back as one of the early professional family Mediators, I believe we are a movement developed out of reaction to the excesses and misadventures of the way divorce was practiced in the early 1970s. Most of the early pioneers I worked with turned to divorce mediation out of frustration with the negative results of adversarial litigated divorce.
Video Presentation: 50 Ways to Break an Impasse: Tips, Tricks, Traps and Tools (5/08/15) Sam Imperati Parties and advocates can flounder in the intersection of logic and emotion. What if the parties’ goals are “distributive” and their “interests” are legal arguments? What if the participants are aggressive, intransigent and obnoxious? A “transformative” mediation would involve an exorcism, but that seems a bit “evaluative.” A “facilitative” mediation would require a PhD. This program will focus on “nuts and bolts.” Learn tips to dispense “reality therapy” and reach closure in the face of apparent impasse. Explore the psychology of decision-making, and learn practical tools for resolution. Learn tricks to reach settlement.
Video Presentation: Game Playing in Negotiation and Mediation - Machiavelli’s Place At the Table (5/08/15) Robert Benjamin While often dismissed as disingenuous, irrational, or “Machiavellian,” game playing strategies and devices are a natural and necessary part of the negotiation and mediation of difficult issues and controversies. The behavior offers participants protection and provides a lubricant for collaboration which can allow difficult issues to be managed constructively and creatively. This interactive workshop will offer an inventory of common strategies and devices, their applications, benefits, risks, and ethical limits.
When Did Asking Questions Become a Sign of Weakness? (5/08/15) Jason Dykstra If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably also reacted poorly to a co-worker or an individual you manage. A quote by Edgar Schein recently jumped out at me when he said, “We are biased toward telling instead of asking because we live in a pragmatic, problem-solving culture in which knowing things and telling others what we know is valued.” We don’t have to look too far or hard to see what Schein is saying. Our bosses tell us what to do, our family and friends tell us what they would do in our particular situation, and each “expert” has an answer for us at the tip of their tongue.
Ironically, Bush and Folger are Evaluative (5/04/15) Sam Imperati There is room in our field for a broad spectrum of mediation approaches. We should celebrate innovation and a greater diversity, rather than disparage the methods of others. This article rebuts Bush and Folger’s article: Reclaiming Mediation’s Future: Getting Over the Intoxication of Expertise, Re-Focusing on Party Self-Determination. Their article attempts to redefine mediation in their own image. I push back at their attempt to elbow out any mediator that does not adhere to their transformative philosophy. No single approach has cornered the market on mediation, nor should it. Our collective approach to mediation should not be shackled by rigid doctrines; it should be varied and flexible, adapting to the desires of the parties we serve. This is real Self-Determination.
Mediation in the Future of Policing (5/04/15) Maria Volpe The future of policing must incorporate mediation. No other profession places its practitioners more in the middle of challenging situations; police officers are regularly expected to make difficult conversations work on the spot.
Divorce: Emergency Tumor Removal Surgery (5/01/15) Don Cripe Analogizing health care with other emergent situations may be a stretch to some, but it is valid. Couples on the bumpy glide to divorce are almost always in pain; they are facing one of the most dramatic life changes they will ever experience (some social scientists liken divorce to the death of a family member); the finances of the crisis are always a concern; and life after divorce will be disrupted for an indefinite time.
Conflict and Psychological Development: “Six Stages of Conflict Reasoning” (5/01/15) Donal O’Reardon In the 1960’s the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg (1927-1987) listed six stages of moral development. Kohlberg says these stages can’t be jumped, you have to go through them in order. And they are universal, they apply no matter what culture you’re in. With a little thought we can link these to conflict and conflict resolution. Kohlberg’s stages don’t only tell us about a person’s moral reasoning, they also tell us what kind of conflict they get into and how we can help them to deal with it.
Computer Uses in the Law Office - Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow (4/29/15) Jim Melamed With the technologic advances over recent decades and their remarkable acceleration, it is clear that the legal profession needs to play a bit of catch-up by asking ourselves how can we best utilize all available communication capacities to elevate and expand the delivery of valuable legal information, advice, and services. Dream big! The future is not what it once seemed.