The Underwoods, the main characters in the show House of Cards, have been married a long time when we meet them - 26 years - as the series begins. They seem to be a very solid two-person unit, that have things to teach us about balancing personal fulfillment and commitment to the marriage.
Mediation, the ADR vehicle most commonly used in family law cases, frequently results in a final settlement – but often only after a marathon session dealing with the many important issues in the lives of family members.
A national story involving two very famous names (MLK Jr.'s children and former President Jimmy Carter) that can prove so helpful in building more awareness about the intelligence and effectiveness of mediation to solve disputes in place of punching someone with rights-based litigation.
While representing culturally diverse clients in court requires a degree of knowledge and cultural sensitivity, acting as a neutral mediator often presents even a greater challenge, – to maintain a delicate balance between honoring the cultural and religious rules and rituals that a family has and, on the other hand, helping people understand U.S. law and come up with agreements that are considered fair and legally enforceable.
Requesting parties to try mediation in a high-stakes case is not a reckless thought on behalf of the judge or the parties. It's more big picture and helpful to the people, relationship and for the allocation of resources in the dispute. Full-blown litigation is not excluded. It's just asked to wait patiently for now.
Has a young aspiring mediator ever approached you—as someone they look up to as an experienced professional—and asked, "I want to become a mediator. Can you give me some advice? Do you think I can ‘make it’ as a mediator?"
How can you economically and effectively settle the single-family construction defect case? In a recent mediation involving a homeowner, contractor and 15 subs, the participants used the following practices, which resulted in 16 signed settlements at the end of one day.
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.
The divorce rate began its sharp increase in the early 1960's and more than doubled by the end of the 1970's. This was accompanied by dramatic changes in cultural traditions, societal expectations, and divorce and child custody laws.
Twenty-first century technology will continue to impact family life and mediation. The family mediator’s awareness of the possible positive and inflammatory influences of the internet, may be instrumental in effectively identifying and resolving the modern family’s disputes. Social media, cyber abuse, the child’s computer voice, the use of a forensic computer expert and the futuristic divorce are factors to be considered in the practice of family mediation.
Whether for family mediators in particular, or family lawyers in general, Lisa Parkinson’s third edition of ‘Family Mediation’ is the authoritative textbook and guide that no professional adviser in family disputes should be without.
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.
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.
For years, family law litigators were the go to persons to facilitate the distribution of property, support obligations and the plan of care for children of the relationship between separating couples.