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Make the Most of Your Mediation: The Single-Family Construction Defect Case
Lynn Duryee 07/30/2015
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.
Just to be clear: Family Court Doesn’t Resolve Conflict
Gary Direnfeld 07/30/2015
Parents turn to the court thinking a Judge will settle matters and life will be peaceful thereafter. This is far from the truth.
The Family Mediator's New Tool
Charlie Mulvey 06/01/2015
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.
Family Mediation Research: Is There Empirical Support for the Field? (An Update)
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. 04/22/2015
The divorce rate began its sharp increase in the early 1960’s and more than doubled by the end of the 1970s.  This was accompanied by dramatic changes in cultural traditions, societal expectations, and divorce and child custody laws which led to increased reliance on the courts to adjudicate separation and divorce disputes, including decisions related to children.
Family Mediation In The Digital Age
Sherri Donovan 04/17/2015
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.
Both Textbook and Handbook – Lisa Parkinson’s “Family Mediation” - Book Review
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.
Family Law Arbitration Act
Susan Yates 03/31/2015
People who have been involved with family law are likely to have encountered mediation, especially in child-related issues. But what about arbitration?
The Future of Family Dispute Resolution: Mediation as a Piece of the Puzzle
Peter Salem 03/20/2015
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.
Family Mediation - Preface
Lisa Parkinson 03/12/2015
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.
Best Interests and Little Voices: Child Participation in the Family Mediation Dialogue
Jennifer Winestone 01/17/2015
This article examines the circumstances in which the child's perspective and inclusion is appropriate in divorce mediation and provides guidelines for achieving a safe inclusion process.
Understanding Each Party’s Power in Family Mediation-Arbitration: Why it is Critical
Hilary Linton 07/25/2014
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.
The Importance of Mediation in Family Business Management
Joseph Berljawsky 04/04/2014
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.
Mediation Can Help Bridge the Family Divide Created by an Alzheimer's Diagnosis
Halee Burg 04/04/2014
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.
Marriage 101 for Family Mediators
Larry Gaughan 03/29/2014
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.
Mediation Works for Family-Run Enterprises
James MacPherson 01/10/2014
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 diversified businesses.
Mediating Family Property and Estate Conflicts: Keeping the Peace and Preserving Family Wealth
Jay Folberg 07/22/2015
Of all of the cases I have mediated over the past 30 years, the most challenging and rewarding disputes have been those between family members over family property, estates, trusts and businesses.
Solving the Growing Never Married Parent Dilemma for Courts and Divorce Professionals
Don Gordon 06/29/2015
Almost one of every four births today are to unmarried, cohabitating couples. This represents an 80% increase. It used to be that marriage was the norm when pregnancy was involved. Now it is not.
Designing a Successful Parenting Plan
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.
Separated Parents and the Continuum of Conflict
Gary Direnfeld 06/06/2015
Not all parental separations are alike and not all parental separations spell disaster for their children. The social science research advises that the most salient factor in determining risk for poor developmental outcomes for children subject to parental divorce is the level of conflict between the parents.
Utilizing Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) for Co-parenting Issues in Families with a History of Domestic Violence
Maria Eugenia Sole 12/17/2014
This video discusses family mediation, domestic violence, and online dispute resolution. Maria Eugenia Sole discusses that different cultures have different definitions--with different understandings of what should be tolerated and what requires help. She also discusses different steps that can help.
Parenting, Mediation, and Divorce: Meeting the Needs of Our Children
Shannon Rios Paulsen 05/16/2014
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.
The Parents Left Standing
Shannon Rios Paulsen 01/23/2014
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.
Fear Comes to School: Mediating Among Parents Around Ebola
Richard Barbieri 11/21/2014
As medical personnel, emergency aid workers, and diplomatic personnel return to the U.S. from West Africa, schools must manage tensions between local families who are fearful for their own children, and parents who have been at the front lines attempting to stem the epidemic. What mediator strategies may prove useful?
Divorce Mediation: The Best Forum for Families with Special Needs Children
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 08/21/2015
Families who have children with special needs constitute a significant percentage of the divorced population. Children, all children, present a mixed blessing. Some times they may help to save a marriage; other times they add to the stresses of daily living in ways that parents are not able to handle.
Sometimes You Need to Give Them Reasons to Mediate
Jeff Murphy 08/08/2015
So you would like to mediate your divorce, but you think you’ll have a hard time convincing your spouse to go along. I’m assuming he or she is ready to end the marriage as well and having a conversation about how to do it won’t be a surprise.
Litigation vs. Mediation - “Child’s Play” for Understanding Your Options
Jennifer Winestone 07/30/2015
This article applies the litigation and mediation processes to a common parenting scenario in order to illustrate the differences between the processes and the advantages of resolving family conflict through mediation.
Finding a Maryland Divorce Mediator
Donna Duquette 07/08/2015
If you are thinking about working with a divorce mediator, then this is probably one of the more difficult times in your life. To make matters even more challenging, in the midst of this emotional turmoil you are called upon to make some important family decisions. One of these decisions is how to find a divorce mediator who will be right for you and your spouse. Here are suggestions for finding a divorce mediator in Maryland.
Why We Have Different Experiences
Jason Dykstra 06/12/2015
How often does this happen to us? We experience the same action as another person and walk away from the action with a totally different perspective that happened. It happens at staff meetings, conversations with our bosses or employees, and even with our partners and kids.
Say it Ain't So, Marge and Homer!
Dave McDonald 06/12/2015
It was leaked recently that Marge and Homer Simpson are soon planning to separate. I guess the divorce rate in Springfield is comparable to the rest of the United States, and with Homer’s continued antics, how can you blame Marge?
Overcoming Reluctance to Engage in Mediation
Laura Athens 06/11/2015
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?
A Pregnant Pause: Using ADR to Resolve Pregnancy-Related Workplace Issues
Lorraine Brennan 06/06/2015
A recent case heard before the U.S. Supreme Court, Young v. UPS (issued March 25, 2015), caught the attention of many women and employers as well. In Young, the Court interpreted the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), in particular the second clause of that Act, which reads that employers must treat “women affected by pregnancy…the same for all employment-related purposes…as other persons not so affected but similar in their ability or inability to work.” - See more at:
Dissolution- Don’t let the Resolve Dissolve
Belinda Jokinen 06/06/2015
I was helping this couple, Jane and John of course, sort out the details of their divorce. The item that was the most difficult to “separate” was the china cabinet. They had invested time, and money, and both had an attachment to it. We were on our 3rd session and they had been able to remain in the same room every time. When we discussed the cabinet they got real snippy so it was time to visit with them separately.
Beyond “Divorce American Style": The Search for a More Responsive Process
Larry Gaughan 06/05/2015
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.
Would Mediation Help Resolve the Dispute Between Taranaki and Tongariro?
Denise Evans 06/01/2015
The article is about what if ?mediation had been an option in Maori legend as a metaphor for disputes between family members.
The Good Divorce
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 05/22/2015
“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?”
Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and the Road That Lies Ahead
Stephen Erickson 05/11/2015
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.
Professional Divorce Mediation and The Future
Marilyn McKnight 05/08/2015
Today it really is a “Back to the Future” for me. Divorce Mediation will become the primary way to divorce. Divorcing families will become healthy and resilient, no longer harmed by adversarial divorce.
Divorce: Emergency Tumor Removal Surgery
Don Cripe 05/01/2015
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.
Domestic Violence Finding Overrides Agreement to Mediate
Mary Novak 04/17/2015
A case in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court stands as a reminder of the complexities of family mediation when domestic violence is involved. Indeed, the court found that a finding of domestic violence can trump a requirement to mediate.
Juries of Their Peers
Maria Simpson 04/10/2015
When I was in fourth grade, a few millennia ago, our teacher established a system so we could settle a lot of our own disputes. General mischief-maker, Walter, was elected judge, a decision that completely confounded our teacher, and the class was the jury. We explained our choice of Walter as judge by saying that judges always behave well, and if Walter were judge, he would have to behave better than usual. It was completely logical to us, but I’ll bet the teacher would never have seen that possibility and would have continued to discipline Walter rather than offer opportunity.
How to Make Mediation Safer in Cases of High Conflict
Kristen Blankley 04/10/2015
This article considers issues of safety in mediation. Mediation involves parties in conflict, and safety should be a priority of all mediators. Mediators should be aware of both participant and mediator safety throughout the process. This article considers practical advice for all mediators to consider before, during, and after a mediation session to ensure participant and mediator safety.
National Divorce Survey Yields Surprising Insights
John Licciardello 04/03/2015
Divorce is as popular as ever in America, with over 50% of first marriages and 70% of second marriages ending prematurely. In addition to traditional litigation couples are increasingly turning to mediation and the “do it yourself” pro se divorce process in the quest to have “successful” divorces as measured by satisfactory settlements, minimal relationship damage and reasonable cost.
Looking to the Future: Complexity, Chaos, and Making Connections
Lisa Parkinson 03/31/2015
Diversity matters! For mediation to develop in fresh and vibrant ways, we need to think and act creatively. Some of the best ideas come from making connections – for example, between mediation, sciences, and the arts – and through using these connections in practice. Bernie Mayer's article in the Mediation Futures series struck chords with me, with its references to complexity science, chaos, and the importance of adapting the ways we mediate to meet diverse needs, instead of expecting participants to fit in with the particular way we choose to mediate.
Reflections on Mediation: Past, Present, and Future
Susan Bulfinch 03/30/2015
To reflect on the future, it is helpful to understand where we are and how we got here. This article gives an overview of mediation and suggests some directions for the future. Social media will help increase interest in the field and teaching conflict resolution at an early age may help reduce conflict at school, home and work.
Book Review: The Master Agreement by Jay Bultz
Donald T. Saposnek 03/25/2015
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.
Minnesota Considers Moving Divorce out of Court
Dan Simon 03/13/2015
“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.
“Good Faith” vs. “Naive Realism”?
Phyllis Pollack 03/06/2015
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.
Musings on Mediators, Pizza-Makers, and Humanity
Henry Brown 03/02/2015
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.
Where Does Marital Mediation Fit In?
Laurie Israel 03/02/2015
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.
The Future of Mediation: Teens and Technology
Sandra Untrojb 03/01/2015
Preparation for the future of mediation needs to focus on who will be using mediation and how. The audience in 20 years will have different expectations than the audience of today.
Mediating Divorce Agreements: The Problems and the Potential
Larry Gaughan 02/26/2015
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
Beth Graham 02/20/2015
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
Mary Novak 02/17/2015
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?
Nina Meierding 01/13/2015
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.
Joe Markowitz 01/09/2015
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.
Alimony in PA: Friend or Foe in Divorce?
Cris Pastore 01/09/2015
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.
The Future of Mediation: Toward a Conflict Revolution
Kenneth Cloke 01/18/2015
We evolve, not only as individuals, but as couples, families, groups, organizations, societies, economies and polities, both in the nature of our conflicts and in our approaches to resolution, moving from simple to more complex, nuanced and skillful forms. But in order to evolve, it is necessary for us not merely to settle or resolve the particular conflict we are facing, but also its hidden coda, essential nature, or binding principle, by learning the secret lesson it took place in order to teach us.
The Future of Mediation in Different Sectors
Mediation has come a long way in the last 4 decades since it was endorsed, but this article examines all of the areas in which mediation still needs to grow.
Giving Yourself Permission
Phyllis Pollack 12/26/2014
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.
4 Tips for a Stress-Free New Years
Tammy Lenski 12/26/2014
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.
6 Reasons You Need a Prenup
Bruce Provda 12/19/2014
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.
Mediation Going Forward: What Do We Know? What Can We Expect?
Donald T. Saposnek 12/17/2014
The current complexity of our problems, at least in the U.S., is close to the point of overwhelm; for the individuals involved, for the governments that rule them, for the courts that adjudicate them, for the economic systems that support them, and because of the corrupted values that guide them.
My Least Favorite Part of Conflict
Meredith Richardson 12/01/2014
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.
The Golden Sounds of Silence
Jan Frankel Schau 11/21/2014
Once you acquire some skill in mediation, I find one of the hardest things to master is keeping quiet when emotions erupt. Yes, anger, shouting, tears and bluster happen. Our job as mediators is to bring peace and calm into the room, but I find one of the challenges is to remain silent and still without reacting in a “fix it” mode. Eventually, the anger usually blows over once the steam has been let out.
The Art and Science of Mediation: How the Principles of Commitment/Consistency and Expectation May be Applied to Mediation to Help Break Party Impasse - Part One
Jennifer Winestone 11/14/2014
This article provides a review of two psychological concepts derived from Robert Cialdini's "Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion" and Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational" and considers their practical and ethical implications as applied to mediation.
10 Tips for Choosing the Right Divorce Mediator
Cris Pastore 11/14/2014
Perhaps you've come to the realization that divorce mediation is the way to go for you and your spouse, but how do you choose a divorce mediator? After all, not all divorce mediators are created equal.
Themes in Mediation
Michael Scott 11/10/2014
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.
Healing your Relationship with Money: Letting go of Fear, Resentment, and Scarcity
Lorraine Segal 10/31/2014
Is talking about money scary, triggering, or confusing? Do you worry that there is never enough? Issues around Money can be big emotional triggers for many of us.
The Shocking Cost of Divorce in PA
Cris Pastore 10/31/2014
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
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 10/24/2014
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.
Editorial Notes on Youth Mediation Future
Clare Fowler 10/23/2014
This page includes editorial notes on the future of the youth mediation sector.
Editorial Notes on Elder Mediation Future
Clare Fowler 10/23/2014
This page includes editorial notes on the future of the elder mediation sector.
Editorial Notes on Divorce Mediation Future
Clare Fowler 10/23/2014
This page includes editorial notes on the future of the divorce and family mediation sector.
Fall is a Time to Reap What You've Sown
Meredith Richardson 10/21/2014
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.
Mediation - The Savvy Choice
Morna Ellis 10/21/2014
Elder mediation can be helpful for families trying to make difficult decisions. It helps children and parents make decisions that include everyone's opinions.
Faith-Based Mediation: What is it and does it matter?
This article is defining what we believe a faith based mediation is seen and practice through the lens of being inclusive of all faith and belief system. This article asks two question "What is faith" and "Does it Matter" we explore these two questions understanding the process of embracing all faith. To create a dialog that opens all faith to come to the table without being judge.
What I Learned from Sitting on the Other Side of the Table
Jan Frankel Schau 10/13/2014
Since 2003, when I quit litigating, I have never attended a mediation as a disputant–until last week. I was asked to help be a part of a mediation. Here are my observations from the other side of the table.
When Trust is Broken
Meredith Richardson 10/13/2014
Do you want to be right or do you want to be in relationship? This can be one of the hardest questions to answer.
Compassion for Your Clients
Sarah Peyton 10/13/2014
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.
When You Might Need Mediation After Divorce
Cris Pastore 10/13/2014
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.
How to Mediate High-Conflict Cases: Balance and Control
Jennifer Shack 10/05/2014
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.
Creating A Foundation for Cohabitation
Halee Burg 10/03/2014
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.
Divorce Mediation Sessions: What Goes on Behind Closed Doors
Cris Pastore 09/26/2014
If you are considering using divorce mediation as the option for your separation or divorce, you might find it helpful to understand what is actually discussed in the mediation room.
Is Mediating Prenups a Form of Marital Mediation?
Laurie Israel 09/19/2014
I have been noticing a trend in my practice lately: the first draft of prenuptial agreements generally sketched out a marriage with no guaranteed financial interplay.
6 Major Mistakes to Avoid in a Do-It-Yourself Divorce
Cris Pastore 09/05/2014
Although spouses claim to have everything worked out, they almost always fail to consider some very important details. Read this article and learn the 6 common mistakes to avoid when attempting to resolve your own divorce.
Shhhh! The Big Risk Associated With Mediation Confidentiality Nobody Talks About
Rachel Ehrlich 09/05/2014
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.
Resolucion Alterna de Conflictos en Costa Rica y la Apertura Hacia Nuevas Formas de Gestionar el Conflicto
Rolando Perlaza Perez 09/01/2014
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
Judy Ringer 08/22/2014
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.
Using the 17 Factors of Alimony in PA in Divorce Mediation
Cris Pastore 08/15/2014
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.
Case Study: The Mediating Manager
Katherine Graham 07/18/2014
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’.
Insecurity in Nigeria : Focus on Social Protection
Mary Aderibigbe 07/16/2014
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!
Mediating Inheritance Disputes
Jeffrey Fink 07/18/2014
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.
GPS and Divorce Mediation
Bruce Provda 07/07/2014
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.
A Song of Loss for Divorce Mediators
Richard Barbieri 06/30/2014
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.
Anger Management
Phyllis Pollack 06/13/2014
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.
Post-Divorce Blues: Unresolved Issues and New Problems Unsettle Divorced Spouses
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 06/13/2014
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.
Mental Health and Mediation: Is Mediation Always the Right Process?
Mandy Rutter 06/03/2014
What I offer here is a starting process to think constructively about mental health and mediation. Having practised as a mediator for some years, I am a great believer in attempting to apply the mediation process in as many situations as possible.
Pain in the Neck
Cinnie Noble 06/03/2014
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.
When You Inadvertently Magnify a Conflict
Tammy Lenski 05/23/2014
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.
The Value of a Gesture of Good Faith
Jan Frankel Schau 05/23/2014
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.
Mediating Your Divorce? Do You Still Need an Attorney?
Joy Rosenthal 05/23/2014
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.
Conflict is Contagious
Jeff Thompson 05/16/2014
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.
Issues with Children in Divorce
Richard Gordon 05/09/2014
Divorce is complicated enough. When children are also part of the mix, there are several unique considerations the parents need to make.
5 Steps for Resolving Conflict Within Your Marriage
Mary Aderibigbe 05/07/2014
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.
I Am Better Than You Are!
Phyllis Pollack 05/02/2014
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.
Mediated Prenuptial Agreements Benefit Couples and Mediators
Michael Toebe 05/02/2014
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?
Are We Fixed or Fluid? Effects of Adolescent Beliefs on Responses to Victimization
Jen Hull 04/26/2014
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.
You Can Avoid Disputes in Business Relationships
Joanna Wares 04/25/2014
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
The Five Stages
Phyllis Pollack 04/18/2014
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.
Litigation, Negotiation, Collaboration, or Mediation--Should I Work It Out or Fight It Out?
Rachel Virk 04/17/2014
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.
Children, Divorce, and Dating
Shannon Rios Paulsen 04/15/2014
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.
Stupid Nice Things Good People Say
Vivian Scott 04/04/2014
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.
5 Steps for Strengthening Your Marriage
Mary Aderibigbe 04/14/2014
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.
I'm Heading for Divorce--What Should I Do?
Rachel Virk 03/21/2014
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.
How Dating Can Cause Stress For Your Child
Shannon Rios Paulsen 03/21/2014
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.
Overview on the Mediation in Cross-Border Conflicts – Sources and Application Areas
Zeno Daniel Sustac 03/21/2014
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.
It's All about the Relationship
Phyllis Pollack 03/14/2014
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.
Mediation: A Process for Empowerment of Both Parties
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 03/14/2014
Mediation has long been identified as a process which promotes the self-actualization and empowerment of the individual participants. But what does empowerment mean? Clearly, it would not be a “good” outcome for mediation to encourage individuals to learn to be aggressive or confrontational or to stubbornly stand their ground, so empowered are they by their newfound self-worth or importance. Nor is empowerment akin to granting individuals his or her own bully pulpit. Rather, in mediation, empowerment represents individual growth and new found personal confidence and strength, as well as the acquisition of new skills.
The Neutral’s Perspective: Lessons from the Trenches
Ellen Kandell 03/07/2014
Conflict in family estate cases can often be lessened by guided communication. The degree of conflict in some disputes can be minimized by more sharing of information by the personal representative with the heirs.
3 Misconceptions About Using Collaborative Law in Employment Disputes
Michael A. Zeytoonian 02/28/2014
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.
Third Party Assisted Negotiation and High Pressure Settlement of Disputes
Rachel Virk 02/21/2014
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.
What is Mediation?
Hilary Linton 02/14/2014
This rant is for those (few remaining) lawyers who discourage their clients from trying mediation with the lame allegation that mediation is too “touchy-feely.” It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, some lawyers still have such a patronizing attitude.
How Much Is That Doggie In The Living-room Window?
Debra Vey Voda-Hamilton 02/14/2014
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.
Marital Mediation is Not Therapy
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 02/14/2014
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.
Whose Fault Is It?
Shannon Rios Paulsen 02/07/2014
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.
5 Ways That Divorce Mediation Can Help Resolve the 'Get' Crisis
Morghan Leia Richardson 02/07/2014
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.
Demystifying American Divorce Law
Larry Gaughan 01/24/2014
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.
Elder Divorce Mediation
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 01/17/2014
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.
There's Nothing Weak About an Apology
John Sturrock 01/17/2014
Breaking the cycle of blame needs someone to have the courage to accept responsibility. It can be hard in mediation, but it is powerful.
Is Collaborative Law a Good Fit for You?
Dick Price 01/11/2014
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.
Does Divorce Mediation Work?
Brietta Mengel 01/11/2014
This article is a pictograph that illustrates visually the changing percentage of divorce in the US.
Are You Really Ready for Divorce? The 8 Questions You Need to Ask
This article outlines what couples need to do in order to face the numerous dilemmas that are inherent in divorce. A dilemma implies that you are torn between two choices, each of which have undesirable fearful elements. If people have not resolved their dilemmas before the divorce, they go through the process trying to manage their fear in different ways by hiding their doubt, responsibility; vulnerability, or dependency.
Why Our Practice Areas Include Special Education Cases
Michael A. Zeytoonian 02/13/2015
There is a personal reason and a law practice philosophy reason why we represent clients – parents and families of special education children – in disputes involving special education matters and include this area of practice in our services.
Just Don’t Ask and Get Good Karma??!!
Cynthia Alkon 10/13/2014
As many are probably aware, Microsoft’s CEO recently said that women who don’t ask for raises will enjoy “good karma.” So, his negotiation advice seems to boil down to just don’t ask and you count on the universe rewarding you in this life (or the next).
Being Heard: Mental and Verbal Strategies for Getting Your Point Across
Judy Ringer 04/25/2014
We all want to be heard. It's gratifying, empowering, and makes us feel valued. And in a difference of opinion, we want our side to be represented. We want others to get who we are and to hear our valid arguments, even if they don't agree with us–though, of course, we'd like that to happen as well.
Family Violence and ODR
Maria Eugenia Sole 12/23/2013
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.
Globalization of Family Mediation Rooted in Children’s Rights
Maureen Dabbagh 09/20/2013
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.
Restructuring the Family the Collaborative Way
Dick Price 09/13/2013
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.
Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction
Sabine Walsh 07/08/2013
The School of Law, National University of Ireland, Galway hosted in association the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG and the Irish Centre for International Family Mediation a Conference on Mediation in Cases of International Family Conflict and Child Abduction on a typically damp Saturday in May in the West of Ireland.
Infidelity and Family Mediation
Laurie Israel 06/24/2013
Spouses fear infidelity, and for good reason.  They see other marriages dissolve as a result of it.  Infidelity seems to always have the effect of a fire – uncontrollable and unpredictable.  It often destroys a marriage.  But does it have to?
The Boogeyman of California Family Law
Don Cripe 06/13/2013
People in a dispute have an increasing number of options for resolving their dispute. Those resolving family disputes have mediation as an option as well as many services provided by local courts.
The Family Business in Divorce: Issues for Mediators
Jeffrey Fink 05/28/2013
There are millions of family businesses in the US. Even a buzz-word, “copreneurs,” has been coined to describe couples who work together.  Unfortunately, with up to half of all marriages ending in divorce, a significant number of these businesses will end up as a football to be tossed around between squabbling spouses. 
From Behind the Glass: Mandatory Family Law Mediation
Amanda Fletcher 05/27/2013
This article sets out a plan of attack for how an attorney can effectively advocate for their client in a mandatory family law mediation setting where the attorney is excluded from the mediation session.
Wendy Landes, Family Law Attorney Mediator
Wendy, formerly a family-law litigator, devoted her Santa Monica practice to resolving family-law cases out of court. She dedicated a large portion of her career to educating the public on alternative divorce options.
AudioBlog: Elder Mediation: Family Disputes Over Caregiving
Patricia Porter 03/29/2013
When families are faced with the long-term care arrangements for their aging parents and relatives, feelings of resentment, anger and jealousy that have festered since childhood often create new problems as families learn to cope and prepare for the road ahead. Instead of working together, families can get stuck placing blame.
Family Business Conflict: Flexible Solutions
Karen LaRose 12/21/2012
In a family business conflict, relationships are embedded in a system of family dynamics and a business system. It is impossible to separate the two components: familial relationships and business relationships. One informs the other in a circular fashion. This article discusses the correct mediation approach to working with the two systems.
Tips for Dealing with Family Conflict During the Holidays
Alexandria Skinner 12/14/2012
Alexandria Skinner has put together a useful list of suggestions for avoiding and neutralizing family conflict during holiday gatherings, roughly framed in terms of the general principles of interest based negotiation.
Insecurity in Nigeria: Focus on the Family
Mary Aderibigbe 11/30/2012
The society goes by the people in it. Strong, healthy families ensue when the needs of its members are met, making for the building of a strong and progressive society. The state of the family institution is a major index to the determination of the condition in the society. This article discusses how mediation can strengthen the basic family units.
The Broken Family
Jeffrey Krivis 11/16/2012
The Central Valley of California, known for its good weather and rich soil, is considered the breadbasket of the country. The many people who live in this agricultural community work hard. They know that the literal fruits of their labors feed people, and are proud of their role in society.
Family Therapy: Universal and Unique Approaches - Video
Samuel Gladding 09/25/2012
Through a series of entertaining, brief, and instructional role plays, Dr. Gladding reviews several universals of family treatment approaches, such as types of communication patterns, rules, and feedback. This role play shows an example of a mediator listening to families discuss their day, and giving honest feedback about how statements have affected them.
Collaborative Family Helping - Video
Collaborative Helping 07/25/2012
This video introduces Collaborative Helping, an integrated practice framework that draws from cutting edge ideas and practices in family therapy, community/organizational development, and post-modern thinking while applying them in a concrete and accessible fashion.
Mediation of Family Disputes
Hon. Richard Bennett 07/09/2012
Mediation is beneficial in family law cases, where custody and children’s visitation arrangements are in dispute. There is a growing trend to utilize ADR tools in dissolution actions involving individuals with greater wealth. However, these tools have been less widely used to resolve the thorny and emotional issues surrounding identification and distribution of property in lower total value dissolution matters.
An Alternative to Colosseum of Family Court
Stephen Erickson 05/20/2012
Steve Erickson discusses the view from family court. He left the practice of family law for family mediation, looking for a less aggressive alternative to resolving family disputes.
The Revolution in Family Law Dispute Resolution
John Lande 04/12/2012
In the past fifty years, the revolution in American family law led to a revolution in family law dispute resolution. Virtually every aspect of divorce law has been transformed since the Mad Men era, including grounds for divorce, characterization of marital property, child custody presumptions, and alimony and child support rules. Marriage is not assumed to be a lifelong commitment. Fault generally is not legally relevant. Gender equality is a fundamental principle.
Introducing the Academy of Professional Family Mediators
Academy of Professional Family Mediators 03/16/2012
Returning to our roots, Family Mediators have come together and have chosen to form a new organization of our own, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators.
My “Big Three” BC Family Law Information Powerhouses
Susanna Jani 03/05/2012
It comes as no surprise that many of our readers have been wondering about British Columbia’s new Family Law Act. I confess to wondering about it also. It has been quite a few months since it received Royal Assent, and the suspense about it is beginning to grow.
Family Law Council Files Rare Amicus Over Mediation Issue
Victoria VanBuren 01/30/2012
The council submitted the brief on Jan. 9, urging the Supreme Court to grant a mandamus to force a family law judge to approve a mediated settlement agreement (MSA) in a custody dispute. The judge in that suit, 309th District Judge Sheri Dean of Houston, refused to approve the MSA between Stephanie Lee and Benjamin Jay Redus, on the ground it was not in the best interest of a child. The council argues in the amicus that the judiciary should not create common-law exceptions to the enforceability of MSAs.
The Basics of Collaborative Family Law - A Divorce Paradigm Shift
Sherri Goren Slovin 06/24/2012
Collaborative Family Law (CFL) is a revolutionary approach to divorce that has quickly spread throughout the United States and Canada. Often misunderstood and occasionally maligned, it has the potential to dramatically change the field of family law.
Understanding The Basics Of Collaborative Family Law
Sherri Goren Slovin 05/24/2012
The process you choose to end your marriage will have a far-reaching impact on the custodial, financial and emotion outcome. Depending on where you live, you may have the options of mediation, Collaborative Family Law (Collaborative Practice), traditional negotiation, or litigation. The following is an overview of the Collaborative Family Law process.
Parent Conflict After Separation: Taking a Closer Look
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. 11/27/2013
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.
Ten Tips for Developing and Drafting Effective Parenting Plans in Mediation
Donald T. Saposnek 10/31/2013
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.
Divorcing Parents: Avoid Bringing Your Battles to Court
Rosalind Sedacca 10/15/2013
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.
Co Parenting Strategies
Allison Pescosolido 08/23/2013
There are 5 strategies that both parents should employ while parenting. These strategies help parents to maintain sanity and keep consistency for their children.
Parents' Guide to Protecting Kids' Privacy Online
Caroline Knorr 08/02/2013
With a variety of divorcing couples turning to more technology options to connect children and parents, it is important to also safeguard children online. This article discusses safeguards for children--and their parents--online.
Negotiating & Mediating Parenting Screen Time Agreements
Jim Melamed 05/20/2013
How the world has changed! It used to be that divorcing couples would fight over family pictures, music collections and fear losing contact with their absent child. Digital pictures, digital music and “Skype parenting time” have now dramatically altered this divorced parenting landscape. Compelling is the new critical need for parents to directly address screen time and digital media issues in a constructive way. These issues are challenging for any family and doubly challenging when a child is being raised between two households.
How Children Cope with High Conflict Divorce: How are they harmed and what can parents do to help them?
Bob Livingstone 06/06/2013
A high conflict divorce is where marriage ends and war begins. Children are frequently unwittingly used as pawns in this high stakes, emotionally bloody demolition. Kids find different ways to cope in a system that includes children and two parents who absolutely despise each other. This is a hatred that doesn’t ease up over the passing of time; no these bitter feelings tend to increase and escalate as the years go by.
5 Tips for Co-Parenting After Divorce
Allison Pescosolido 05/28/2013
Divorce affects the whole family. It causes parents to worry about children in ways they never thought they would. As the relationship between a couple change from souse to ex, so does the parenting relationship.
What are the Biggest Mistakes Divorced Parents Make?
Lorraine Segal 01/11/2013
While parents are divorcing and after they are divorced, they are often overwhelmed by all the changes in their lives. They may be filled with guilt, blame, rage, or grief. Though they, of course, love their children, it may be a huge challenge to manage emotions and conflict with their ex in a way that helps their children move through the changes and feel loved and secure.
Over the Oceans and Through the Skies to Relatives' Houses We Go
Patricia Porter 12/21/2012
It is the beginning of the holiday season and with it comes all the hustle and bustle. There are many elements to the season however, before we can even think about that nice dinner and presents under the tree the feeling of being overwhelmed can surely set in. It doesn’t matter how old we get or how many holidays we celebrate for some people; family members make our celebration less than enjoyable. There are many people who dread this time of the year.
Five Steps Divorced Parents Can Take to Cool Down Holiday Conflict
Lorraine Segal 12/21/2012
We all have idealized images of the holiday season–perfect gifts and the warm glow of togetherness. But the gap between expectations and reality can be huge when parents are recently divorced, and grief, anger, and bitterness can intensify holiday stress.
Whose House is MY House for Christmas: Mommy’s or Daddy’s?
Jeff Murphy 11/16/2012
Before we are in the midst of the Holiday season, separated and divorced couples should take a moment to walk through their expectations. When it comes to protecting children and safeguarding their holiday experience, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Co-Parenting Skills: Credit Where Credit is Due
Nancy Hudgins 06/25/2012
I conducted a divorce mediation recently where the parties have been separated for many years but now have started the divorce process by coming to mediation. They have been co-parenting their children during the separation. We have worked through most of the issues involved and are very close to resolution. What was to be the last session turned out to be the next-to-last session.
Co-Parenting Skills: Credit Where Credit is Due
Nancy Hudgins 06/11/2012
I conducted a divorce mediation recently where the parties have been separated for many years but now have started the divorce process by coming to mediation. They have been co-parenting their children during the separation. We have worked through most of the issues involved and are very close to resolution. What was to be the last session turned out to be the next-to-last session.
Thoughts on Gender Bias in Co-Parenting Mediation
This article examines the influence of gender dynamics in the mediation process. It further explains the ways in which gender differences are perceived by mediators and participants. It concludes with several suggestions on how to overcome these barriers to an unbiased mediation.
Tough Questions About Human Nature and the Purple House
Dan Simon 08/02/2013
Baruch Bush and Joe Folger conducted a training in May called “Responding Effectively to Workplace and Family Conflicts”. This workshop focused on how we might best manage our own conflicts, taking into consideration the transformative framework. A participant in that course posed the following questions afterward.
Conflict: It's Relational and That Ain't Situational
Dan Simon 12/27/2013
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.
Violencia Familiar y ODR - Espanol
Maria Eugenia Sole 12/18/2013
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 Bias Against Non-Attorney Mediators
Howard Iken 12/20/2013
Mediators are in hot demand in Florida family law cases. Every open case requires mediation. Many cases require two mediations. But there is an open bias against non-attorney mediators in many family law cases. Read this simple list of ways you can penetrate that barrier and increase your success as a mediator.
Managing Media with Your Ex this Holiday Season
Caroline Knorr 12/20/2013
Two homes doesn't have to mean a double standard on media rules. Keep the peace with these smart strategies. Both kids and parents will be happy.
Breaking Bad: The Decision To Change Holiday Traditions
Patricia Porter 12/13/2013
Breaking away from family traditions during the holiday season can be difficult. Regardless of the reason or the explanation given to your family, friends or spouse, it rarely goes well. Why is that? The fact is that traditions are traditions for a reason.
Mediation and CollabLaw
Oran Kaufman 12/13/2013
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.
The Real Christmas Gift for Kids
Gary Direnfeld 12/13/2013
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.
To Move or Not To Move an Elder
Halee Burg 12/06/2013
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.
REVIEW of Ellen Bruno’s DVD, “SPLIT: Divorce Through Kids’ Eyes”
Donald T. Saposnek 11/26/2013
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.
The Benefits of Working With a Probate Lawyer
James Burns 11/22/2013
When a loved one dies, dealing with the preparations for the funeral are more than enough. Your emotions are raw and this is a very difficult time. In addition to the funeral planning, you will also need to deal with the last will and testament left by your loved one. No one really wants to think about material things at this time but it is very important that you have a probate lawyer assist you with this process.
Grief, Anger, and Fear
Joe Epstein 11/22/2013
Family law mediation is laced with raw emotions. Emotional pain, sorrow, sadness, regret and remorse are encountered in circumstances that call for courage, calm and control. Family law mediators are called upon to ferret out motivations, interests and needs in what are often trying circumstances. Such mediators must be prepared to deal with the four basic emotions of grief, anger fear, and love.
Mediating in Cases in Domestic Violence – Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Sabine Walsh 11/08/2013
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.
A Reasonable Reason For Unreasonable Behavior
Jason Dykstra 11/04/2013
“They made me do it!” “They forced me to respond the way that I did.” “It’s all their fault, they backed me into a corner. What choice did I have?”
Why Couples Are Choosing Mediation in Divorce Cases
Bruce Provda 11/04/2013
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.
Eliminating “Hot Speech” in Marriage
Laurie Israel 11/04/2013
Anger is not a good thing. It’s not a good way to solve problems. By taking a timeout, you can become calm. You are no longer in “real” time. Emotions abate.
A Child’s Best Interest Comes Second to Mediation Finality: In re Lee
Mary Novak 10/18/2013
“…I’m not going to accept this MSA. I’m not going to give her any kind of visitation….No way. I’m not going to put a kid in a house with a sex offender who violates a child. Not accepted. Appeal me."
4 Secrets for Winning the Toughest Negotiations
Jeff Thompson 10/18/2013
"Let's send Richardson," President Bill Clinton once said, according to Bill Richardson, a former Clinton cabinet member. "Bad people like him."
Getting Unhooked From Interpersonal Conflict
Tammy Lenski 10/15/2013
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?
Dealing with Your Ex’s New Other
Allison Pescosolido 09/20/2013
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
Robert Benjamin 09/19/2013
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.
On Apologies
Gregorio Billikopf 08/31/2013
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.
Virtually Everyone is Touched in Some Way By Divorce
Rachel Virk 08/16/2013
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.
Bargaining in the Shadow of the Tribe - Part 2
John Wade 08/13/2013
This article and these case studies discuss the outside influences in any dispute -- children, parents, coworkers, and even the other party's influences.
A Glass of Wine and the Truth
Vivian Scott 08/02/2013
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.
More Conflict Resolution Tips for Divorcing Couples
Oran Kaufman 08/02/2013
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.
The Varying Roles of the Mental Health Professional in Divorce
Rachel Virk 07/25/2013
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.
10 Tips for Breakup Success
Allison Pescosolido 07/19/2013
Connect every day in some small way to the things around you. This article gives you ten tips for staying connected while going through a break-up.
As Marriage Equality Disputes Arise, so Does Opportunity for ADR
Patrick Mahoney 07/19/2013
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.
When a Deal is Not Equal
Diana Mercer 07/18/2013
What do you, as the mediator, do when a deal isn’t equal?  And not just sort of unequal, but big bucks unequal?  And you know your clients aren’t talking to attorneys.  What’s your role and what’s your responsibility?
3 Fallacies over Lunch
Dick Price 07/07/2013
At lunch today, a very good friend and I started talking about Collaborative Law. I have known him over 30 years and we often talk about law, divorce (he's had two) and what I do as a lawyer. We have discussed Collaborative Law a number of times. I learned today that I need to be a little clearer with others when I talk about how the process works. I was shocked to hear statement after statement of misunderstandings from him.
Why is it Beneficial to Collaborate?
Rachel Virk 07/07/2013
Litigation is an old-fashioned way to resolve disputes. Nowhere is this more evident than in the family law arena. Attorneys are increasingly developing and turning to nonlitigated forms of dispute resolution. Not only are there now choices between litigation, negotiation, collaboration and mediation, but all four of these basic methods can be further divided into even more refined processes, models and approaches.
Managing Media with Your Ex Over the Summer
Ingrid Simone 06/03/2013
If two households doubles your kids' TV, game, and movie time, here's how to agree on limits so everyone can keep their cool over the summer.
I Didn't Leave the Children
Michael Jacobs 05/28/2013
From a mediator's perspective, slowing down, taking care to name truly, and to value messiness, are key elements of our practice. To break the cycle of attack/defend ("You left us/I didn't leave the children") is only possible by creating a space wide enough to encompass the complexity of where they currently stand. These perspectives are gathered from 16 mediators in a recent advanced family mediation training.
10 Helpful Tips for Mediating Child Related Issues
Lisa Nelson 05/26/2013
The article provides helpful tips and considerations for parents to address in divorce mediation when minor children are involved. There are specific considerations that parents need to be made aware of before they enter the mediation process with children.
The Gray Divorce
Denise Tamir 05/25/2013
Though the fact that divorce has become more common and less of a stigma has some impact, that does not explain why the gray divorce rate is climbing while the general divorce rate is going down. Denise Tamir suggests a few contributing factors.
I'm Heading for Divorce. How do I Start?
Rachel Virk 04/22/2013
This article walks through the divorce process for someone who is just beginning to consider a divorce. It gives a practical guide for people to navigate through the process without an emotional roller coaster.
5 Effective Ways to Focus on What’s Important in Relationship Conflict
Tammy Lenski 04/22/2013
How do you decide how much of a relationship conflict’s flotsam is worth pursuing? How do you focus on the important matters in a relationship conflict and not get sidetracked by trivial ones?
AudioBlog: Transforming Difficult Decision Making In Elder Care Planning
Patricia Porter 04/22/2013
Families today are assuming responsibility for the informal care of over 75 percent of elderly family members and are often faced with difficult decisions from a bewildering array of choices: e.g. estate planning, financial issues, and guardianship. In the best of circumstances, this can be a stressful process and sometimes leads to disagreements, confusion, and conflict at a time when the best intentions of the family are to work together for the needs of a loved and respected aging family member.
Is Collaborative Law Worth the Cost?
Dick Price 04/22/2013
For people facing divorce, a common question is whether Collaborative cases are "cheaper than litigation". While there is no way to compare a specific Collaborative case to an abstract idea of a litigated case, we can say that Collaborative Law will avoid a lot of the expense involved in litigation.
Facing a Divorce Later in Life?
Dick Price 03/29/2013
It has become noticeable that Baby Boomers and even older people are starting to experience a significant number of divorces. Couples married for 20 to 40 years are getting divorced.
Steubenville Tragedy Needs Effective Communication
William Hymes 03/25/2013
The divisiveness and acrimony that played out in this past fall's trial of two lacrosse players that sexually assaulted an intoxicated young lady is playing out again in Northeastern Ohio in a similar way. Because of the adversarial nature of the judicial process this has been traumatic for everyone involved, including the victim, the rapists, their friends and families the community at large and even the CNN correspondent covering the trial. The only hope of dealing and restoring the fabric of the community is a restorative intervention, which may also be useful in developing a program of prevention.
Five Tips to Let Go and Forgive after a Break-Up
Lorraine Segal 03/15/2013
Learning how to let go and forgive helped me a lot after two “break-ups.” Neither of these was with a spouse or romantic partner, but they were deep and difficult and painful nonetheless.
On Spin Cycle
Vivian Scott 03/15/2013
Here we go; round and round. That’s the sound of the all-too-familiar family whirlpool in which one person (usually the woman) asks that a chore get done and the other person (usually a man) seems agreeable but never quite gets it done. She starts tip-toeing around the subject, he avoids it, she gets louder, he acts like she’s a nag, and now they’re on spin cycle with no forward progress in sight.
Informative Mediation -- A New Model for Tough Economic Times (Part 2)
Rachel Virk 03/01/2013
Not everyone distrusts or has reason to distrust his or her spouse in a divorce.  Not everyone needs an advocate to actively and adversarially negotiate, but instead can use the attorney in his or her corner for advice, for information and for document reviews.  Not everyone needs to pay for a two-attorney collaborative process. How can a divorce attorney best serve this market?  The answer may be the process of "Informative Mediation," described in this two-part article.
Informative Mediation -- A New Model for Tough Economic Times (Part 1)
Rachel Virk 02/22/2013
Not everyone distrusts or has reason to distrust his or her spouse in a divorce.  Not everyone needs an advocate to actively and adversarially negotiate, but instead can use the attorney in his or her corner for advice, for information and for document reviews.  Not everyone needs to pay for a two-attorney collaborative process. How can a divorce attorney best serve this market?  The answer may be the process of "Informative Mediation," described in this two-part article.
The Dangers of Badmouthing Your Ex To The Kids
Jeff Murphy 02/08/2013
Getting a divorce is tough on any couple, but it’s even tougher on the kids. Think about them when you’re tempted to bad mouth your ex. The outcome may be very different from the one you planned.
How to Start a Collaborative Divorce
Dick Price 01/25/2013
Since Collaborative Law is still relatively new, many people may feel unsure about how to start the process. It's actually very simple.
Ten Commandments of Divorce
Donna Martini 01/18/2013
This article is an excerpt from the book, Ten Commandments of Divorce. This article encourages people going through a divorce to take the time to move slowly, act with respect, and create a safe space for their children.
On Weathering Marriage Communication Style Differences
Tammy Lenski 01/11/2013
Marriages can successfully weather significant communication style differences. It helps to set the foundation for success early, but if that boat’s already sailed, fear not — you can still change its direction.
Can Divorce Mediation Be Used in All Circumstances?
Lisa Nelson 01/11/2013
The article describes three situations where divorce mediation is not likely to be effective, and why.
25 Prenuptual Questions
Kenneth Cloke 01/11/2013
Ken Cloke suggests 25 prenuptual questions that are helpful for couples mediation. These questions are designed more to facilitate a strong marriage than a smooth divorce.
Tips for Better Communication During a Divorce
Dick Price 01/04/2013
In any divorce, things get heated occasionally (or more often). In Collaborative divorces, the parties can still feel considerable stress. It is an emotional experience. Sometimes, parties will react emotionally, in anger, and that is regrettable. Here are some quick tips to help maintain a constructive relationship between the parties.
Reducing Stress Through Divorce Mediation
Nancy Tran 01/04/2013
This article discusses the ways in which mediation can help to reduce the stress that couples undergoing divorce may experience. By creating a cooperative atmosphere, reducing the time that divorce proceedings take, and lessening the financial burden of a divorce, mediated divorce may be the perfect solution for couples looking to amicably end their marriage.
"I'm Sorry You Feel Like That . . ."
Michael Jacobs 12/21/2012
People often expect an apology in mediation. What they get is sometimes true repentance, and sometimes an insult disguised an apology. This articles helps mediators spot the difference between the two and to guide parties from escalating a conflict to forgiveness.
Sandy Hook: A Time for Change
Cherise Hairston 12/17/2012
This is a reprint of a notice that was sent to community mediators: I was moved to write something and do something regarding the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook Elementary School. My aim in this e-mail is to reach out because to those who understand the importance of our work. We must not give up increasing awareness about community mediation and the need to support our work. I do not aim to preach or judge but to express the sorrow I feel and the frustration of the missed opportunity to support the work of community mediators who day in and day out help reduce conflict and violence in our community. Please eaccept this expression from that place of concern and love for the well-being of our human family/community that weights heavy on my heart…
What Is Mediation – Revisited
Diane Cohen 11/30/2012
Within the field of family and divorce mediation, there exist two different types of mediations and two different types of processes which depend upon the needs and desires of the parties. Any given couple could at one point desire and need "structural divorce mediation" and at another point desire and need "impasse divorce mediation." The processes are not interchangeable. They serve different needs within the same field, although there is undoubtedly some overlap between the two.
Mediation is Underused in Civil Cases
Don Cripe 11/10/2012
Don Cripe is a law professor and experienced attorney/mediator. He shares his point of view as a lawyer, giving insight into how lawyers view and use the mediation process.
Improv and Negotiation
Phyllis Pollack 10/26/2012
I read an article posted on the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation’s website discussing the similarity of improvisation and negotiation. In both, one must be quick on her feet- ready for anything at any moment. In both, one must be ready “… to seize unexpected opportunities and respond swiftly to sudden threats.” (Id. at 4.) The good negotiator, like the good improv actor, must be acutely attuned to the situation at hand, realizing quickly if she has overstepped her bounds and how to respond appropriately about it, including an apology when necessary.
Using the TKI Tool for Divorce Mediation
Ralph Kilmann 10/26/2012
Ralph Kilmann discusses applying the TKI instrument to family and divorce mediations. The key is using the instrument to helping couples from competitive to distributive bargaining.
Patience, Please!
Dick Price 10/12/2012
Sometimes, people get anxious to get their divorce over with. That's understandable. Divorce is stressful, difficult and often unpleasant. It's usually not a good experience, unless you and your spouse both are still cordial with each other and both want to move fairly quickly through the process. Even if things start out well, try not to be in too big a hurry.
Antidote for Divorce is to Nip it in the Bud
Mary Aderibigbe 10/12/2012
This article demonstrates through a case that divorce could be averted if properly managed at the source. It started with an issue which could over time degenerate or escalate to a point that it threatens the relationship. It is evident that every disagreement has a potential of causing a breakup. The solution is to resolve challenges as they arise to keep a marriage strong.
Why Prenups Are Bad For Your Marital Health
Laurie Israel 10/06/2012
Selfishness kills a marriage.  Generosity makes it thrive.  Your mediator can help you discover options that will protect that generosity without a prenup, or show you how to make the prenup less restrictive. 
The Shalom Bayit Divorce
Denise Tamir 10/01/2012
Shalom Bayit, literally "peace in the home," is the Jewish imperative to maintain a respectful and harmonious household. The values of Shalom Bayit may be applied to the manner in which a husband and wife, who for whatever reason have decided their marriage can not be saved, make their way through the divorce process.
How to Ask for Help: Get into the Divorce Talk Comfort Zone
Andra Brosh 09/21/2012
This is Part One of the “How to Ask for Help” series. It will get you comfortable enough with yourself and others to ask for help. Once you’re in the zone, you’ve won half the battle. Actually, equally key in the process is helping those you are asking for help get comfortable and receptive to your needs.
Review of "Splitting America: How Politicians, Super PACS and the News Media Mirror High Conflict Divorce
Michael Scott 08/28/2012
Saposnek and Eddy offer an interesting and insightful perspective of the current American political landscape. This book offers a highly descriptive explanation of conflict, easily understood on the micro level of the dynamic between divorcing couples, which is then transposed onto the macro level of our two major political parties that are unable to resolve conflict.
Why You Shouldn't Negotiate with Your Spouse
Dick Price 08/27/2012
As a Collaborative case progresses, one or both of the parties often want to "save time" or "save money" by negotiating directly with their spouse, outside of the joint Collaborative meetings. That's usually a bad idea from my experience.
How to “Divorce Proof” Your Marriage
Andra Brosh 08/20/2012
Criticisms are hard to shake; they echo in the mind and tend to become negative self-talk. On the other hand, most people have a tough time actually hearing compliments. Make a habit of complementing your spouse at least once a day. At first he or she might find the practice unusual or strange, but soon it will become a natural part of a loving and nurturing routine.
Collaborative Divorce
Gary Direnfeld 08/06/2012
This article explains some of the specifics of the collaborative process for divorcing couples. It discusses who will be involved and who is subject to the collaborative policies.
Negotiating Your Settlement
Diana Mercer 07/30/2012
Learning how to talk constructively with your spouse will go a long way to creating lasting peace. This article explains how to negotiate in a way that keeps the long-term goal in sight.
Balance Listening and Limits with Storming Teens
Lorraine Segal 07/23/2012
How can parents stay loving and detached but still listen when challenged by preteens and new teens? My favorite pediatrician, T Berry Brazelton, advises parents of teens who are being challenged or insulted to say calmly, “I’m interested in what you have to say, but you’ll have to find another way of saying it.” (Press Democrat Tuesday December 13, 2011)
My Achy-Breaky Heart
Brooke Goldfarb 06/25/2012
Brooke Delaney-Goldfarb discusses her journey as a mediator, mother and lawyer. She shares insights into balancing multiple roles and developing a successful career. The article finishes with her advice from hindsight on parenting and being an effective mediator.
How Good Emailing Can Improve a Bad Relationship
Susanna Jani 05/14/2012
Today, you are in for a real treat. Jane Henderson, Q.C., our perennially popular blogger and member of our distance mediation team, is back with another of her signature frank, but light-hearted, posts. I hope you are settled into a comfortable chair because this is one you’ll want to read to the end!
On Beating Bullies
Michael Jacobs 05/14/2012
Tackling bullying may involve a counter-intuitive approach. While naming and shaming may leave us feeling morally superior, it might also produce ever more subtle forms of bullying. This article argues that we need to encourage those of us who feel like kicking butts to ‘come in from the cold’.
A Divorce Lawyer's Suggestions For Mediators
Scott Morgan 05/06/2012
This article offers advice from a practicing divorce attorney to mediators who are handling divorce cases. He offers his thoughts on how to best resolve difficult divorce cases. Addressed are issues such as whether there should be any limitations as to the parties being allowed to “vent,” whether joint sessions are helpful in divorce mediations, how to handle the situation when one side claims they are not able to settle because they are missing information, and whether potential court outcomes should be discussed.
Sixty Things You Can Do This Week
Diana Mercer 05/06/2012
Below is a list of 60 simple tasks that you can get started on this week. These are designed to be simple tasks that you can do to market your arbitration or mediation practice. It is an excerpt from The Peace Talks Marketing Book.
The Best Interests of Children: Negotiating in the Shadow of the Law
Susanna Jani 04/30/2012
Today, it is my privilege to publish a post about what is undoubtedly the single most important consideration for separating parents — including when they are participating in family mediation.
Think Before you Move-In
Jeff Murphy 04/23/2012
A recent study showed that couples who began their lives together by co-habiting before marriage had a higher rate of divorce than those who waited until the knot was tied. This article discusses the downside of co-habitation.
The Secret Language Divorce Lawyers Speak
Laurie Israel 04/23/2012
Lawyers often use idioms rather than legal terms to explain concepts and strategies in divorce law to our clients. Somehow, these idiomatic terms are more descriptive and powerful in describing the dynamics and techniques that are present in a divorce than any other type of language.
No Divorcing Please, We’re British
Jeff Murphy 04/17/2012
We have “no-fault divorce” here in the States, but in the U.K. a party suuing for divorce still has to prove cause. Officially the grounds are such serious matters as adultery and abandonment, but it seems the courts will take just about anything presented.
Is it Time to Go?
Jeff Murphy 04/09/2012
Check out the article about divorce counseling in the personal Journal section of the April 3, 2012 issue of the Wall Street journal:
Unresolved Conflict and Your Anger About It
Tammy Lenski 03/12/2012
Last summer, when I was in Colorado to speak at the Association for Conflict Resolution’s Rocky Mountain Retreat, I met a woman whose energy, warmth and charisma swept through any room she was in.
We Each Have Something Different to Offer
Diane Cohen 03/05/2012
It is no secret that there are many different approaches to mediation. In the world of mediators, we often classify them as facilitative, evaluative and transformative. Even these labels are unclear and possibly incomplete. Why do we have such vast differences in our approaches? I think one reason is that mediators are “called” to the practice of mediation for different reasons. So, some mediators want to help resolve disputes that are in the court system.
Do Children Fare Better in a Mediated or Litigated Divorce?
Howard Chusid 03/05/2012
Sometimes, parents think that only they are getting divorced and the children aren't adult enough to merit being heard. This is a major mistake that may fester and manifest into problems in the future. Poor grades at school, stomach aches, missing school days, getting up late, not listening to teachers, alcohol and drug use are just some of the ways that children and adults react to the stress and acrimony of divorce.
When it ain’t Easy to Say the Right Thing: How Distance Mediators Help
Susanna Jani 02/28/2012
“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” (Mark Twain). I wish I’d seen that quote years ago, when I was in the midst of my own separation. In hindsight, I can say without hesitation that many of the discussions I had with my ex about how to reorganize our lives went sideways for no other reason than that I didn’t understand how important my choice of words actually was.
Conflict: The Best Feedback Process There Is!
Liz Rivers 02/28/2012
Lets face it – most of us are terrified of conflict. Our hardwired responses are either to ignore it in the hope it will go away or to treat it as a fight that we must win at all costs in order to preserve our self image. Believe me, after 20 years as a mediator I am not immune to this once I’m off duty. My secret shame is how I lose my rag with people in call centres.
Mediation and the Two Wolves in Us
Susanna Jani 02/13/2012
I had that familiar, sinking feeling last night when I started cleaning out the inbox for my personal e-mails. My old friend, Procrastination, had left me with a stack of messages whose fate needed deciding — 549 in total. The feeling evaporated, though, the moment I started rereading an e-mail that had come from an acquaintance quite some time ago.
Seven Tips for Setting Boundaries and Consequences with Teens
Lorraine Segal 02/06/2012
One huge source of conflict and stress for parents of teens is figuring out how to set appropriate guidelines and consequences and then follow through successfully. Here are some tips and suggestions based on communication and conflict resolution principles.
Divorce (In Itself) Does Not Pose Risk For Children
Andra Brosh 01/01/2012
“It is not divorce in itself that can lead to problems in children. It is the divorce linked to interparental conflict, a lack of co-parenting, an unsuitable family climate, etc.,” according to Priscila Comino, a researcher at the University of the Basque Country’s (UPV/EHU) Faculty of Psychology.
Going Deeper in Mediation
Rachel Fishman Green, Esq. 01/23/2012
This article looks at going deeper in mediation. Specifically, how to resolve zero-sum divorce disputes through mediation. This case study examines detailed scenarios and arguments that often arise in divorce mediations.
Prenups – Don’t Lawyer Up, Mediate!
Laurie Israel 02/01/2012
Prenup articles typically talk about how resolving and clarifying money issues prior to marriage is a good thing.   However, they do not take into account the very important component of most good marriages: the sharing of money and resources.  So prenups aren't necessarily the best thing since sliced bread -- they can pose many problems for the future spouses.
Interview with Nina Meierding
Nina Meierding 08/02/2012
This is the complete interview by Robert Benjamin with Nina Meierding, Family Mediator, Culture and Gender Mediation Trainer, and adjunct professor of the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine, filmed as part of's "The Mediators: Views from the Eye of the Storm" Series
Support for Men in Divorce
Paula Lawhon 10/12/2012
A while back, I posted a link to a support group which focuses on helping women through the difficult transition of divorce or separation (although they also work with men). This is my belated follow up link for a support group which focuses on helping men through this same difficult transition (although he also works with women).
The Very Cutting Edge of International Arbitration
F. Peter Phillips 05/29/2012
I was privileged to be included in the recent European Users’ Council Symposium at Tylney Hall, near Basingstoke, England, and organized by the London Court of International Arbitration. Present were international practitioners and arbitrators; inside council of global corporations who regularly use international arbitration; professors of international dispute resolution; representatives of organizations that promulgate rules and administer international arbitrations; and attorneys from many countries who prepare and appear before international arbitrators.
New Frontiers in Cross Border Family Mediation
Sabine Walsh 11/07/2011
Front my point of view as a mediator and as a participant in the training programme, I can see only enormous benefits for bi-national families in using mediation to resolve, and even prevent the crises that can result in children being taken from their home country and the fallout that ensues.
Marriage Closure Therapy: Tips for Family Mediators
Susan Bulfinch 09/19/2011
Marriage Closure Therapy is a therapeutic intervention that assists couples who are struggling with the decision to stay married or to divorce. Tips for mediators working with divorcing couples are provided.
Gender Balanced Co-Mediation in Family-Centered Conflict
Situations involving multiple parties, experiences, and perspectives require skilled mediators who bring with them a finely tuned equilibrium, presence, and insight. A gender balanced, co-mediation team brings all three qualities to the resolution of family-centered conflict.
Family Mediation: One Lawyer Tells How She Does It
Susanna Jani 08/15/2011
Mediation is very much a child-centered process. As Mediator, if the children are of an appropriate age, I may be asked to speak to the children about what is going on and how it is impacting them. Sometimes it is more appropriate for that conversation to be with a child specialist rather than the Mediator.
The 8 Keys to Resolving Family Conflict
Diana Mercer 04/02/2011
From my experience, there are eight keys to resolving family conflicts. Using these eight keys you can change the dynamics of a conflicted relationship unilaterally and on an ongoing basis.
Use of The Our Family Wizard Shared Parenting Web Site Upheld in Kentucky Court
Jainarain Kissoon 09/08/2010
The Kentucky Court of Appeals (Telek v. Bucher) recently upheld a ruling by the Kenton Family Court that mandated the continued use of The Our Family Wizard shared parenting software.
Family Life-Line Through Wide-Base Support
Mary Aderibigbe 08/23/2010
Family matters are not suited for resolution in the court because of its adversarial nature. It increases hostilities, bitterness and escalates conflicts hurting children. Mediation is beneficial in family matters. Mediation is private and aims at amicable settlement, but this is not yet fully embraced in Nigeria. Mediation can also be practised in collaboration with other services to reconcile and strengthen families.
The Peacemaking Option For Divorce And Dissolution Of Domestic Partnerships: How Family Scientists Support Interest Based Conciliation And What This Means For Separating Couples
Thurman W. Arnold III 07/26/2010
The family sciences offer an approach for facilitating conciliation of the seemingly conflicting interests and needs of divorcing couples, and those dissolving domestic partnerships, that may be adapted by legal and other professionals to the task of mediation and peacemaking. By understanding the crisis of divorce, family scientists may help educate lawyers, and the clients themselves, to become peacemakers.
Mother Always Liked You Best—Dysfunctional Family Patterns In The Workplace
Lorraine Segal 02/15/2010
If you‘ve ever felt like your managers, co-workers or employees were acting like children, you may be right. For better or worse, many of our habitual patterns of communication and conflict in the workplace come from our families of origin. When people bring these unconscious understandings and roles to work, it is a volatile recipe for conflict, miscommunication, and a negative, poorly functioning organization.
Family Mediation Pilot Gets Mixed Results
Jeff Thompson 01/25/2010
This article I think is worth reading for many reasons- and beyond just for family mediators. Issues such as saving, accrediting mediators and determining success is not limited to court mediations surrounding family issues.
Holiday Parenting Part II
Jeff Murphy 12/05/2011
Here in Part II, I want to remind you that it’s you and your spouse who divorced and not your kids.
Holiday Parenting Doesn’t Have To Be A “War of the Roses” Part I
Jeff Murphy 11/28/2011
It’s a shame so much stress and tension surrounds Thanksgiving and Christmas. Too many movies are made about the sometimes ugly get-togethers with relatives who don’t get along the rest of the year and don’t want to see each other now, but feel obliged to.
The Healing Power of Apologies for Parents and Teens
Lorraine Segal 07/05/2011
Since everyone involved was willing to accept responsibility for their part and graciously accept the others’ apologies, all we mediators had to do was let positive results of the initial apology unfold and watch the transformation that followed.
Finding New Solutions for Parent-Teen Conflict
Lorraine Segal 04/11/2011
Successful communication and conflict resolution with teenagers can be immensely challenging. When parents find an approach that helped, it is natural to hope it will work again.
How To Settle Your Own Divorce: And Never Set Foot Inside Of A Courthouse
Erica Becks 04/26/2010
Yes, you read right. Clients are often astounded when I tell them that 1) arranging their own divorce is possible and 2) is a relatively straightforward process. If you or someone you know is looking to save themselves the time and heartache of litigating a divorce, please read on.
The Need For Parallel Parenting
Brook D. Olsen 04/12/2010
In the early stages of divorce, it is normal for tensions and emotions to be high. In fact, it’s more common than not. People need time and space in order to process their emotions and to find proper ways to both contain and appropriately express their anger over the shock, feelings of betrayal, abandonment and to get their head around how life is going to look in the future.
Parenting Plans For Special Needs Children
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 02/01/2010
All parenting situations are not the same. In particular, in families of children with special needs, the parenting plan needs to be crafted with great care. Here, parents need to think and re-think child-related situations that over the years have most challenged their coping mechanisms and include provisions for their interaction and oversight that deal specifically with these very targeted issues.
Sign Peace Alliance Petition - Save US Institute of Peace - House Votes to Cut All Funding!
Peace Alliance 02/21/2011
Recently, the US House voted to cut all of the United States Institute of Peace’s funding. All of it! This is a stunning development that could prove to be a serious setback for the work of peacebuilding around the world and a blow to the growing movement we've been seeing for peacebuilding investment in our government.
Interest-Based Negotiating For Parents And Teens
Lorraine Segal 02/14/2011
Although it may sound like something only for unions or businesses, interest based negotiating is a cornerstone of improving communication and resolving conflict in personal relationships, including those between parents and teens.
Obama Meets The House Republicans
Colin Rule 02/08/2010
This video was UTTERLY MEZMERIZING to watch. Really an incredible event in modern American politics - it begins: "Part of the reason I accepted your invitation to come here was because I wanted to speak with all of you, and not just to all of you. So I'm looking forward to taking your questions and having a real conversation in a few moments. And I hope that the conversation we begin here doesn't end here; that we can continue our dialogue in the days ahead . . ."
Today Show on Collaborative Practice - Video
The Today Show aired a segment on Collaborative Practice. They discussed the collaborative practice and they also brought in a couple who had been through a collaborative divorce to provide a real-life perspective.
The Identity of the Mediation Profession
Constantin-Adi Gavrila 12/19/2011
While large scale efforts are being made in order to be recognized as a worldwide and a free standing profession, the mediation became a profession in some countries and it remains an experiment in others.
Kris Humphries Divorce from Kim Kardashian
Andra Brosh 11/21/2011
The Kim Kardashian/ Kris Humphries divorce is top news, just about everywhere you look. It is important to keep in mind that divorce can be one of the most excruciating periods in life, no matter who you are or how long the marriage lasted. Both Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries have a potentially tough road ahead of grieving and healing.
Divorce Mediation: How it Works
Nancy Hudgins 11/14/2011
I co-mediate divorces with John Duda, M.F.T., a family and couples therapist who practices on the peninsula south of San Francisco. John and I appreciate the collaborative aspect of our mediation practice. Our clients tell us they appreciate the male-female, therapist-lawyer perspectives we bring.
How does Mediation Lead to a Legally Enforceable Agreement?
Susanna Jani 11/14/2011
One of the questions we most often receive about family mediation is whether, at the end of mediation, there will be an enforceable, legally binding agreement. As seems to be the case with so many of life’s important questions, the answer to this is not a simple “yes” or “no”.
Sure You Want to do This? A 2nd Marriage-Hope v. Experience
Jeff Murphy 10/31/2011
Nineteen percent of all marriages in 2008 were a second go-round for at least one party. If there were problems that led to a divorce in the first marriage, how sure are you that you won’t repeat them again in the second?
Jill Howieson 10/31/2011
Desire. I have some transcripts from real-life family mediations to analyse and reading the transcripts, it struck me that I was reading about desire.
Making Nice in Divorce Mediations
Nancy Hudgins 10/24/2011
Over the years, I’ve given and received lots of advice for how to act during a divorce mediation. Put simply, it can be summed up in two words: “Make nice.” Does being nice make sense in divorce mediation?
Here Comes the Bride…zilla, that is!
Vivian Scott 10/24/2011
Getting married is such an exciting time. The one you love proposes, you honor your best friends by asking them to participate in the big day, the planets align, and all is right with the world. Until the issues of time and money bring out the worst in you and everyone around you.
Unsure Where to start? A Handful of Separation and Divorce Resources to Get you Going
Susanna Jani 10/24/2011
For many people, going through separation or divorce can be truly overwhelming. In fact, I feel pretty confident in saying that, for many, the experience can be brutally overwhelming.
The Dark Side of Setting Behavioral Goals for Your Negotiations
Tammy Lenski 10/17/2011
I want to stay calm and flexible in my negotiation with him, said Ann. My goal is to keep my center and allow my reasonable self to lead the way, instead of my inner lizard.
When Negotiating Salary, Women are also Negotiating Social Approval
Tammy Lenski 10/03/2011
Women, when you’re negotiating salary, business contracts, departmental budgets, auto purchases and the like, figure out a way to imagine yourself as negotiating on behalf of others and not just for yourself.
“I Listen Better When I Can Talk” (and other disadvantages of videoconferencing in distance mediation)
Susanna Jani 09/26/2011
In a recent post, I explored some of the advantages of using computer-based videoconferencing platforms to conduct family mediations from a distance. In spite of our preference for these platforms, our distance mediation team recognizes that they also come with a number of disadvantages.
Love Is Never A Mistake
Brooke Goldfarb 09/19/2011
When you came together at the time it was meant to be. It was not a mistake. Your children are not a mistake. The life you built together was not a mistake. If it is time to move on, then let's move on, but let's honor the past as we look to the future
“Use Your Words” Works for Adult and Teen Conflict, Too
Lorraine Segal 09/06/2011
Adult brains have well developed habitual pathways for responding to high conflict situations, which we tend to follow unconsciously even if they don’t serve us any longer
Phil Gerbyshak’s 90-second Relationship Rule
Tammy Lenski 09/06/2011
Tammy Lenski discusses marital communication.
The Clouds and Silver Lining of Divorce in B.C.
Susanna Jani 08/29/2011
A recent post by Nate Russell on the Courthouse Libraries BC blog has got me thinking about just how lucky we are when it comes to getting a divorce in British Columbia today.
AudioBlog: Sibling Rivalry
Patricia Porter 08/29/2011
Summer is ending and the school year draws near. Our kids have had lots of fun times together. Siblings can be the best of friends, but conflict and disagreements are also a natural part of their ever-changing relationships. We may not always realize it, but we have many ways to help our kids learn how to "fight fair" - to work out disagreements without punching or shouting.
Crazy, Stupid Love
Andra Brosh 08/22/2011
Sometimes the most important thing to do when facing the early aftermath of being left is to focus on becoming the best possible version of oneself. This may be the person that existed earlier in the marriage or someone completely different.
Ten Tips for Preparing for Divorce Mediation
Nancy Hudgins 08/15/2011
In preparing for the mediation of your divorce, you are wise to take time to do a bit of planning. Here is a list of ten things to consider ahead of time.
Where are the Children During the Distance Mediation Process?
Laura Luz 08/08/2011
Distance, or technology-assisted, family mediation allows parents undergoing separation to participate in mediation from their own homes, making it particularly convenient for parents who are caring for the children. It also creates an extra responsibility for these parents and the mediator, to ensure that the children who are in the home during the mediation don’t “fall through the cracks.” Strategies and common sense guidelines for family mediators who are looking to expand their practice into distance mediation are provided.
Obstacles to Getting the Help You Need
Andra Brosh 08/01/2011
Going through a divorce is one of the most challenging life transitions. The feelings that get invoked around separation and divorce can be debilitating and overwhelming, and it is often hard to know where to turn for help. There are many things that can get in the way of reaching out for help and getting the support necessary to begin recovering from the devastation.
Tears Flow at Mediation
Jim W Hildreth 07/25/2011
I am glad that I played a role as a mediator in being a part of bringing a family together.
On Reducing the Gap Between You and Your Former Spouse
Susanna Jani 07/18/2011
“Coincidence” knocked on my door again a few days ago. I had literally just finished reading James Hollis’ What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life (Penguin Books, 2009) when what appears in my Inbox but a notification about a new post on one of my favourite blogs, Ben Ziegler’s Collaborative Journeys.
I Don't Rate the Mediation Process
Katherine Graham 07/11/2011
We each have weaknesses, habits, egos and fears which cause us to mess up in our workplace relationships from time to time. There isn’t an employee at any level alive, who hasn’t annoyed, undermined or hurt a colleague along the way. Mostly we see what we do, we take responsibility and seek and gain forgiveness – the mess is cleared up and we can move on.
The Great Breadcrumb Battle Finally Brought to its Knees
Tammy Lenski 07/11/2011
The great breadcrumb battle finally brought to its knees--Tammy Lenski examines an ongoing argument and the conflict behind it.
The One (Mediation) That Didn't Get Away
Vivian Scott 06/19/2011
After this mediation I closed the door and cried for the pair’s past, for my gratefulness at being allowed to see such pure emotion, and for the richness this experience brought to my life.
Dr. Joan Kelly’s Top Ten Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Fallout of a High Conflict Break-Up
Nancy Hudgins 06/13/2011
Dr. Joan Kelly’s Top Ten Ways to Protect Your Kids from the Fallout of a High Conflict Break-Up
Set Your Emotional GPS to Goodness
Diana Mercer 05/30/2011
Your emotional GPS will take you in the direction you program into it. When you program your destination for goodness, that’s where you’ll end up.
Thoughts on Mediating Custody
As a mediator, I have been involved in thousands of custody cases with their many nuances. Frequently, the perspectives of the participants amount to little more than parents playing out traditional gender roles. The mothers often argue a “tender years” position, and the fathers counter with a desire to be more than a mere “weekend dad.” The mediator’s role becomes especially frustrating when the parties truly believe an intractable position is in the best interest of the child.
Mom: The Ultimate Mediation Trainer
Jan Frankel Schau 05/09/2011
There's some debate about whether great mediators are born or made. I say that those of us lucky enough to have Mom's as mediation trainers provide a great model for sound mediation principles. My Mom, Bette, taught me these principles which have guided and eased not only my parenting, but some good instincts which serve me well professionally, too.
From Anger to Open Heart with Teens
Lorraine Segal 05/09/2011
Our feelings are an essential part of communication and relationships, but unmanaged anger can sabotage us. When we’re angry, we can’t listen or resolve problems well, and any loving connection is blocked.
Divorce Humor
Pete Desrochers 05/06/2011
Humor in life is wherever you find it, but divorce mediations aren’t exactly the best venues for humor…or are they?
The 8 Peace Practices
Diana Mercer 05/06/2011
There are eight simple peace practices that will help you stay sane and on track with your recommended divorce mission statement.
Mediation and Early Childhood Development
Phyllis Pollack 04/18/2011
on Law Journal 183 (2010). (Bader,SelfandIdentity) In it, Ms. Bader shows the reader that the identity of self about which we all learned in psychology class plays a much more important role in negotiation and mediation than we think.
The Value of a Psychologist Mediator
Ilene Diamond 03/21/2011
While a retired judge or former trial lawyer-turned-mediator may provide excellent ADR value for large-scale commercial lawsuits, there are many types of disputes in which the client(s) may be better served by a psychologist mediator. This article highlights the unique skills and experience psychologist mediators bring to the mediation table, and provides examples of cases in which a psychologist mediator adds exceptional value.
Transformative Mediation for Divorce: Rising Above the Law and the Settlement
Dan Simon 03/07/2011
Abstaining from providing legal advice and resisting the urge to problem-solve, transformative mediators offer divorcing couples an essential service: providing authentic support for any discussion they choose to have, helping them arrive at greater clarity, and improving their sense of connection with each other. While these conversations often lead to a comprehensive divorce settlement, their primary value extends far beyond the terms of the agreement.
When Divorcing, Set Your Emotional GPS To Goodness
Diana Mercer 02/21/2011
Your emotional GPS will take you in the direction you program into it. When you program your destination for "goodness," that’s where you’ll end up. If you let yourself (and your spouse) off the hook by letting go of the blame, shame, and other unproductive emotions, you can make your divorce work. You can experience your grief and healing as part of your divorce itself and begin your new life right now.
Acting Out: What Mediators Can Do To Help Parties Stop Reliving The Past And Start Working Together
Miriam L. Zimmerman 02/07/2011
This article will help mediators preempt client acting-out behavior by systematic strategies employing business methods and communication techniques to help clients begin creating a better future instead of invoking a dysfunctional past.
What Is The Role Of A Lawyer In A Divorce Case?
Diane Cohen 01/31/2011
Although I have been involved in the mediation field for 15 years, started out with a course in divorce mediation, and am immediate past co-president of the Family and Divorce Mediation Council of Greater New York, I have only dipped my big toe into actually practicing divorce mediation. Mostly, I have concentrated on custody and visitation, workplace and other relationship types of mediation. Why have I steered clear of divorce mediation?
How It Is
Brook D. Olsen 01/10/2011
I woke up this morning and checked my email. There in one of the emails was this inspirational quote of the day. The notion that our desires overshadow my ability to actually see what is right in front of me is somehow surprisingly revolutionary. I thought how appropriate this quote is as it pertains to the area of high conflict divorce and custody cases. It seems to me that the family law community, the courts and the professionals that support the clients are having a difficult time getting away from the way they think the parents in high conflict cases should behave and what the reality of their plight actually is.
Your Divorce Mission Statement
Diana Mercer 01/10/2011
Creating a divorce mission statement at the beginning of your divorce will help you keep your actions in line with your values and goals for who you want to be during and after your divorce.
Marrying Rich? Why We Read Advice For Hefner’s Bride-to-Be
Victoria Pynchon 01/03/2011
Why is Negotiation Advice for Crystal Harris poised to take over the day’s top spot as’s most popular post as LeBron James’ advice for the NBA fades into obscurity (as my item will tomorrow)?
A Productive Mediation Can Pay Untold Benefits
Diane Cohen 01/03/2011
Sometimes in the course of a mediation, a party will express a concern about the nature of the communications with the other party in their ongoing lives. In general, my approach is to let the parties figure it out themselves, just as I would any other issue in the mediation. This has the benefit of not only avoiding “blame” by the mediator, but it also allows for the party to reflect upon how they are hearing the dialogue. I am often reminded in such mediations that my ear for their dialogue is different than theirs. This is especially so if they have a long relationship: they may in fact share a common shorthand and because of their experiences with one another, make certain connections which I would not make.
She Negotiates For Crystal Harris ~ About That Pre-Nup
Victoria Pynchon 12/27/2010
The question why Hugh Hefner is marrying his 24 year old girlfriend Crystal Harris has been raised around many a post-Christmas table since Hef popped the question along with the diamond on Christmas Day. Jeez, my 85-year old mother doesn't even have a computer, but the ever-young Hef tweeted his proposal. Still, Hef can't have more than a decade of active life left in him while Crystal's got six or seven decades.
Hey, How Would You Feel If I?
Vivian Scott 12/27/2010
Usually blurted out in a moment of frustration, “How would you feel if I…?” is often a last ditch effort by the speaker to be heard, validated, or understood by the listener. I admit I’ve said it myself when I’ve fumbled around for the right words to express the hurt or disappointment another person has caused me. Hearing myself or anyone else utter something akin to, “How would you like it if I did that to you?” or “If I treated you that way, you wouldn’t be very happy!” almost always makes me wince because I know the question rarely moves a conversation forward. In fact, it frequently does just the opposite—and here’s why:
The Power Of 'And'
Dale Eilerman 12/27/2010
The word 'and' is short, but powerful. It connects as well as includes. It adds, rather than negates. The word 'and' provides energy in collaboration and contributes momentum toward synergy. This word enables people with differing perspectives to find common ground. This tiny word is one of the most important communication terms we can use when doing mediation.
Adoption Mediation
Erica Becks 12/06/2010
Individuals all around the world choose to adopt children for various reasons. For those who have been unable to conceive on their own, it is a wonderful opportunity to realize their dream of becoming a parent. For others, there may be a desire to bring hope and love to a child who may otherwise who have grown up in a less than ideal environment. Many adoptive parents undergo the adoption process with ease and are able to raise their children as planned. However, for those who choose to partake in what is called “Open Adoption” the experience isn’t always as smooth.
10 Things I Hate About Prenuptial Agreements
Laurie Israel 12/06/2010
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for prenuptial agreements in second marriages, especially where there are children of the first marriage. But many of the prenuptial agreements I see are for first marriages and are unfair, badly conceived, and very destructive.
The Psychology of Mediation (II): The IDR Cycle, A New Model For Understanding Mediation
Elizabeth Bader 11/29/2010
This is the second article in a series based on Elizabeth Bader’s article, “The Psychology of Mediation: Issues of Self and Identity and the IDR Cycle,” 10 PEPP. DISP. RESOL. L. J. 183 (2010).
Why Do People Get Married? (And Why Do They Get Divorced?)
Diane Cohen 11/22/2010
Pairing up for life is the ideal in our society. We take it so much for granted that we don’t question why people do it and are saddened when the marriage ends. Yet, in order to understand why marriages end, it may be important to first look at why people get married in the first place.
Getting On With Your Life, And Sleeping More Soundly, With “Constructive Divorce”
Cynthia M. Fox 11/15/2010
“Sweetheart, who’s in bed with us tonight?” It's one o’clock in the morning and it’s my husband, Patrick, asking. Now, before you start thinking we have that kind of marriage, you need to know that this is my sweet darling’s way of asking which of my clients’ divorce cases is keeping me awake.
Dealing With The Pains Of Divorce Through Meaningful And Complete Apology
Dina Haddad 11/01/2010
If you are contemplating divorce, in the midst of a divorce, or already have a divorce decree in hand, you know pressures of the legal process do not compare to the emotional turmoil you are experiencing. The emotional pressures can be quelled when you give a meaningful and complete apology. It has the effect of freeing you from the weight of the divorce, help heal you and the person you offended, restore your relationships, and even provide you direct legal benefits to your case.
Wedding Planning: The Ultimate Exercise In Mediation
Jan Frankel Schau 10/18/2010
After a 14 month engagement, our little girl got married last weekend to a wonderful young man. During that time, we both came to learn about ourselves and one another in ways that no other exercise in parenting has served to do.
Using The Aikido Philosophy With High Conflict Divorce
Bruce Derman 10/11/2010
Divorce is not an easy life passage in the best of circumstances, since it involves making crucial lifetime decisions about marriage, children, money and property at a time in which we all feel very vulnerable and fearful. Things become even more challenging when we add to the mix intense emotional agendas and personality disorders such as narcissistic, borderline and passive-aggressive, or an overall refusal to cooperate, trust, and participate.
Fault Or No Fault: It’s Not A Mediation Question
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 09/27/2010
The question of fault or the reason for the demise of the relationship is not germane to the mediation process. Mediation is a problem-solving approach; it focuses on designing settlements that are fair to all involved family members. It is not a process for looking backward.
Legal System Slammed For Failing Families
Arnold W. Zeman 09/20/2010
The failings of Ontario family law seem to be the flavour of the week in this province. Far from wishing to denigrate this attention, I simply wish to underline that this area needs sustained focus and, even more, a wide-ranging action plan.
“Grey Divorce”: Make Sure It's Not “Grave” Mistake
David D. Stein 09/13/2010
Apparently there is a nationwide upswing in divorce amongst an older demographic. This phenomenon is being called “Grey Divorce”.
Launching A Child Of Divorce
Nancy Caplan 08/23/2010
The pain of contentious divorce or post-divorce disputes is a pain that keeps on giving, and young adult children are not exempt from the negative effects. Consider the young adult child who is going off to college for the first time. The packing list? Clothes, bedding, desk lamp, the burden of worry for the parents left behind in a state of fear, anger and agitation due to the vicious back-and-forth of the adversarial process and the uncertainty of outcome guaranteed by the judicial system process.
Conflict Resolution Through Speaking The Truth In Love Not In War
Mary Aderibigbe 08/01/2010
Divorce, separation, family violence, perennial disputes rocking many homes, ever so often stem from minor misunderstandings, which were inadvertently left to escalate due to neglect or improper management. Marital relationships are strengthened when differences are afforded early attention and amicable settlement. The contrary is the case when disagreements between couples are left unattended, or devoid of effective management.
On Non-Alternative ADR
Arnold W. Zeman 07/26/2010
To a considerable extent, family law is about family breakdown and the disagreements that follow. No one thinks that courts of law are the ideal place to deal with these matters. But though the concept of alternative dispute resolution has been in currency since the 1980s, many of the attempts at it have still been very much inside the court context – what might be called “non-alternative alternative dispute resolution.
Reconciliation: Moving Past Divorce
Dina Haddad 07/26/2010
After separation and during the divorce process, you likely have become angry, resentful, and hostile towards your spouse. When our relationships become threatening, such as a damaged marriage relationship, we protect ourselves by forming a negative image of the other person. This negative image helps us live on with our lives, without experiencing psychological disintegration.
Marital Agreements Upheld in Massachusetts
John Fiske 07/18/2010
The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on July 16, 2010 answered in Ansin v. Craven-Ansin the long-deferred question of whether a marital agreement should be recognized. The answer is "yes." Their reasoning centers around the spouses’ freedom to contract, "permitting the parties to arrange their financial affairs as they best see fit.”
Ireland- Lawyers Urged To 'Buy Into' Mediation
Jeff Thompson 07/12/2010
he Chief Justice and many other judges have expressed their support for the wider use of mediation in family law – and, indeed, other – disputes, and provision now exists in the Commercial Court for cases to be adjourned for mediation. The Legal Aid Board has taken steps to increase use of mediation by its solicitors. Yet the proportion of family law cases being mediated remains low, partly because of lingering suspicion of the process among lawyers.
Learning To Forgive In Divorce
Dina Haddad 07/12/2010
Often overlooked, divorcing spouses struggle to forgive their spouses and themselves. This inability often prevents them from being able to reach an optimal settlement, whether in mediation or litigation. Dina Haddad sets out a guideline for divorcing spouses to begin the forgiveness process in the context of the divorce setting.
Why Biased Mediators Are Essential In Child Custody Disputes
Erica Becks 07/05/2010
Let’s face it; most humans are hard-wired to be somewhat self-interested. In many ways, self-interest is a survival mechanism, which ensures that our needs are met first. However, the purpose of this article is not to decide whether we as humans should or should not be self-interested. What I would like to explore, is what happens when self-interest begins to hijack the child custody mediation process?
“Happy Wife, Happy Life” and Mediation
Laurie Israel 07/05/2010
Did you ever hear the expression “Happy Wife, Happy Life”? This overused adage seems to help some people (generally husbands) focus on their wife’s happiness in order to secure a peaceful, happy marriage. Surprisingly, the concept may have some academic support.
Divorce Mediation: A Tool For Empowerment
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 06/13/2010
Why do individuals choose to mediate their separation, divorce, or post-divorce issues? For twenty-eight years, we at the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution (CMDR) have been tracking the responses of our clients. Here’s a sampling of what they tell us:
Divorce Presents Many With The Opportunity For Fresh Start
Cynthia M. Fox 06/07/2010
Divorce is, quite literally, a termination point. A union of two lives, whether over several years or just a few months, comes to an end. At that moment, one road travelled together ends and two new roads must be built and navigated separately.
The “Accidental” Mediator
Phyllis Pollack 05/31/2010
Sometimes, the goal of a mediator is not to settle the case but simply to prevent the dispute from escalating into all out war. I was reminded of this recently by getting into the middle of a dispute between two friends who have been separated for many years and now wanted to finalize it by a divorce. The only issue was the property settlement. To be noted well, I am not trained in family law, am not licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction in which my friends lived and being close to both of them, I have a huge conflict of interest (“Disclaimer”).
How Celebrities Divorce Is A Choice. Mediation Offers Them A Better Option
Lee Jay Berman 05/03/2010
One of this week’s most talked about legal issues is whether or not Larry King will divorce his wife Shaun Southwick. Last week the media speculated about the state of Tiger and Elin Woods’ marriage. The week before it was all about Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, and the week before that Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller. Next week another couple with a marriage in crisis will take the spotlight amid accusations of cheating, disclosures of prenuptial agreements, divisions of millions in assets and child-custody battles. Like many failed marriages, however, when the focus goes away the discussion about those matters will remain toxic.
Divorce Mediation: A Tool For Empowerment
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 05/03/2010
Why do individuals choose to mediate their separation, divorce, or post-divorce issues? For twenty-eight years, we at the Centre for Mediation & Dispute Resolution (CMDR) have been tracking the responses of our clients. Here’s a sampling of what they tell us.
Child Custody Litigation - How Winners Become Losers
Nancy Caplan 04/26/2010
To "win" a child custody litigation case is usually a dubious achievement. From the moment the winner parent is hugging his or her successful trial attorney with gratitude, the "loser" is making plans for future litigation. And that's the good news. The bad news may be that the child's "losing" parent may simply give up on parenting.
Mediating A Divorce Sometimes Leads To Saving A Marriage
Cynthia M. Fox 04/26/2010
In this and my next article, I will tell you of two situations where the mediation worked so well that instead of ending their marriages, the couples involved recommitted themselves to preserving their marriage.
Divorce Mediator's Toolbox
Debra Synovec 04/19/2010
Last week in an effort to keep up on the trends and developments in the dispute resolution profession I attended the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution 12th Annual Spring Conference held in San Francisco.
Separation & Divorce Mediation In The "Great Recession"
Nancy Caplan 04/12/2010
A whopping number of formerly financially solvent people are feeling more than a pinch from the economic downturn in this country. It has been dubbed the "Great Recession" in the news. We all know that Wall Street has rebounded from its lowest point. Unfortunately, both the jobs market and housing market lag far behind that rebound. This means that many people remain negatively affected by ripple-effect of the Wall Street crash of 2008.
High Conflict Mediation As A First Intervention With Intractable Couples
Nan Burnett 03/29/2010
Therapeutic high conflict mediation is an approach to the engagement of conflict that aims to develop more effective and preventive skills with reactive couples. It is short term and goal directed.
“We Do” Are The Magic Words In Conflict Amongst Couples
Steve Mehta 02/15/2010
In honor of Valentine’s day, I thought we might look at conflict resolution between people in love. New research has found that despite the fact that people often dislike when other couples use the royal “we” to describe themselves, those couples are actually using tools to help resolve conflict.
Valentine's Day: Hearts & Flowers Or Darts & Revenge
Jeff Murphy 02/07/2010
Valentine's Day serves as a reminder of broken relationships. Divorced people are often angry and want revenge. Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to vent while allowing them to preserve the relationship. This is especially important if children are involved. This article includes comments from a divorce attorney and a therapist on how to handle divorce and Valentine's Day.
A Great Weight Can Be Lifted: Another Advantage Of Marital Mediation
John Fiske 01/04/2010
This article focuses on the benefits of marital mediation as an alternative to trying to deal with “Antenuptial Agreements” presented to you two weeks before the wedding during the Christmas holidays!
10 Ways For Divorcing Families To Enjoy The Holidays
Linda Gryczan 01/04/2010
All families experience additional stress during celebrations and holidays, but divorced families can be pushed to the limit. We are headed into a time when everyone is expected to be happy and full of good cheer, and maybe your heart is in shreds, the kids are fighting, and you are flat broke. 10 Ways for Divorcing Families to Enjoy the Holidays offers suggestions on how to agree on a schedule; simplify celebrations; keep conflict to a minimum; plan for alone time and incorporate new traditions.
Psychological and Emotional Aspects of Divorce
Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran 03/05/2011
This article summarizes many of the common psychological and emotional effects divorce has on men, women and children. The divorce rate in the United States is the highest in the world. Over fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. Welcome to the majority.
Preview: "Views from the Eye of the Storm Family Edition" - 2 DVDs
This is a preview of "Family Mediation Edition" from's Video Series "Views from the Eye of the Storm" with this DVD featuring 27 of the most experienced family mediators in the world. Full information and ordering are available at
Elder Mediation Matters: Probate, Guardianship and Family Care-giving
Susan Curcio M.A. 10/26/2009
Conflict associated with estate matters, adult guardianship and family care-giving can tear families apart. Present decisions regarding an aging family member can be influenced by past history. More families will be faced with difficult choices as the population ages in growing numbers. Elder Mediation offers the opportunity to avoid going through the court system which can be costly, time-consuming and divisive. A skilled Elder Mediator can help participants focus on the future and arrive at creative solutions.
Care-Full Conversations: Elder Mediation And Family Decision-Making
Susan Curcio M.A. 05/18/2009
Elder Mediation is a tool that can be used to facilitate difficult decisions for aging adults and their families. Issues regarding the health and safety of a loved one may involve legal and financial considerations which can cause family tensions. The role of the mediator is to assist families in arriving at their own solutions while preserving or improving relationships among the members. Opening the channels of communication may make the job of an attorney or financial adviser easier and more cost-effective.
Marital Mediation For Family Mediators
John Fiske 04/07/2009
If you are a family mediator, you might expand your practice to offer mediation to help couples stay married. The process, called “marital mediation,” uses the specific settlement focus of mediation to preserve a marriage in ways not attempted by family therapy. The process uses your family mediation skills to help couples negotiate new terms for their marriage. Couples may use mediation to enter into a written post-marital contract defining their own solutions.
Five Characteristics of Successful Family Law Practitioners
Elizabeth Ferris 09/08/2008
I have been coaching and working with family lawyers, mediators and collaborative practitioners across North America and Europe for the past 8 years and have observed the characteristics of highly successful practitioners . Here are the five characteristics that I’ve found that work for practitioners who have succeeded in building a family law practice.
Report from the Wingspread Conference on Domestic Violence and Family Courts
In February of 2007 the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts brought together a working group of thirty-seven experienced practitioners and researchers to identify and explore conceptual and practical tensions that have hampered effective work with families in which domestic violence has been identified or alleged. Five central sets of issues were raised at the conference and are discussed in this report. These include the following: differentiation among families experiencing domestic violence; screening and triage; participation by families in various processes and services; appropriate outcomes for children; and family court roles and resources. The report emphasizes the need for continued multidisciplinary collaboration in order to better serve families affected by domestic violence and it includes an appendix of consensus points as well as suggestions for formation of ongoing work groups.
An Impromptu Blog Review- Theraputic Family Law
Dina Beach Lynch 01/28/2008
Recently B. James Stinson, author of Theraputic Family Law blog, sent a comment and some link love my way. As a small token of thanks, I offered a suggestion or two for improving his site, which has good content but a few design issues.Here's what I had to say:Hey James, thanks for the terrific comment and the 'link love' to year we did a teleseminar on websites and blogs with Lisa Welles. If I were channeling her now, she might offer suggestions like:Ease...
Family Negotiations
Phyllis Pollack 01/08/2008
       When asked the question, “are you a negotiator” most people answer, “no.” They do not realize that they are, indeed, negotiators and that they negotiate every day of their lives. They negotiate with their friends, family and strangers every day, about such mundane things as who will walk the dog, who will make the coffee, where and when to go to lunch, or dinner, what to bring to the party, and/or  who will drive et cetera.         Rather, most of us think of “negotiation” in terms of...
Turning Parents Into People
Michael Jacobs 11/30/2009
In the world of family mediation, the ‘best interests of the children’ often take central stage. There is much to argue for in this position. While not ignoring the voice of the child, we may also need to spend time reflecting on what it might mean to also work in the ‘best interests of adults’.
Co-Parenting After A Divorce—Tips From A Mediator
Brian James 07/13/2009
Co-parenting starts the day the decision is made to divorce has been made. Even the most amicable divorces need a plan for future co-parenting. Putting your children's best interests first, no matter how much you may dislike their other parent, is the key to co-parenting.
How To Resolve Parenting Disputes
Arnold W. Zeman 06/22/2009
We recently featured a video clip of an interview with Justice Harvey Brownstone of the North Toronto Family Court in which he brought to life the principle of acting in the best interests of the child. Here now are his 10 tips for success in resolving parenting disputes from his book, Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court:
Concurrent Mediation Of Parental Disputes And Of Parent-Teen Conflicts
Cory Mathews 03/30/2009
The article examines the dilemma for parents facing disputes over parenting arrangements for teenagers. It describes the complex intersection of teen development and parental decision-making. It can be particularly difficult for parents to resolve the disputes between themselves while teens are asserting their own independence. Parents may be faced with increasing conflicts with their ex-partner and with their teen at the same time. The article suggests that mediators explore the opportunity for concurrent mediation, in which parent-teen mediation is offered at the same time as domestic relations mediation between parents. The article suggests that the combination may yield positive results on both conflict-laden fronts.
Mediation House Calls For Divorcing Couples
Diane J. Levin 01/19/2009
Although I hate to admit it, I’m actually old enough to remember the days when the family doctor made house calls.
Preview: "Improving Parent Child Relationships" 10 Hour Parenting Education Course - 5 DVDs
Carol Lynn Morse 08/22/2009
This is a preview of the in home parenting training video, "Improving Parent-Child Relationships" with Carol Lynn Morse, Ph.D. There are 20 half-hour episodes on 5 DVDs. Full information is available at
Divorce And The House
Debra Synovec 10/12/2009
Divorce is usually difficult. Emotions run high and at the same time divorcing couples have the added problem of figuring out the property distribution. This is particularly challenging when the market is down.
Texas House Bill And Bad Faith Mediation In Balance Billing
Holly Hayes 08/10/2009
As discussed in my previous post, Texas House Bill 2256 was signed into law on June 19, 2009. The bill provides a procedure for mediation of “balance billing,” which is the practice of billing insured patients for amounts or balances not covered by the insurer.
When Not To Negotiate: My Tree, My Neighbor’s House
John DeGroote 06/22/2009
How do you negotiate with your neighbor as your tree sits on his roof? The subject line only read “Tree Down,” but I began to wonder. The irony wasn’t lost on me as I scanned the rest of the message. A storm, our tree, our neighbor’s house, and a scramble to respond — all as I sat in a seminar on advanced dispute resolution techniques two time zones away. I was soon reminded of a valuable lesson in negotiation that most people never get: Do you even negotiate at all?
In House Counsel's Viewpoint
Kristina Haymes 06/17/2008
As a mediator or conflict resolution specialists who may work with in-house counsel in mediation, it is important to understand what in-house counsel is up against. When you understand the in-house attorney’s problems and situation, you can better serve him or her with your mediation and conflict resolution services. In this article, Avoid Quick Fixes and Control the True Cost of Litigation, Joseph F. Speelman contends that taking cases to trial will reduce a company’s...
Preview: "Mediating Divorce Agreement" 15 Hour DVD Course
Jim Melamed 10/22/2009
This is a preview to "Mediating Divorce Agreement," a 15 hour divorce mediation curriculum with Jim Melamed. Full information and ordering are available at
Mediating A Custody Crisis Can Be Better Than Going Back To Court
Cynthia M. Fox 12/21/2009
When professional mediation can’t bring the disputants together, then the last and least attractive option is going back to court.
Divorce Mediation: Tackling The Division Of Retirement Savings
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 12/15/2009
Who gets what in a divorce action is rarely an easy question or a foregone conclusion. Interestingly, of all the holdings acquired during a marriage, psychologically and financially, the assets most difficult to divide are retirement funds.
Tiger Woods’ Mediation Of His Prenuptial Agreement Post Affair
Steve Mehta 12/07/2009
I saw an article by sports writer Kevin Hench about a hypothetical mediation with Tiger Woods and his wife about their prenuptial negotiations, with Wedding Crashers as the backdrop. I thought it was interesting, and thought you might enjoy.
Simple Mediation Methods Can Help Children Resolve Disputes
Michael Lang 12/07/2009
Ah, the joys of parenting. Did we sign up for this? Who said we would need to be referees? Parenting was supposed to be about loving, nurturing and educating our children. I can’t tell you the number of times my three children would squabble about food, toys, space or (most contentious of all) control of the TV remote. So, when these arguments happen, and they will, what’s a parent to do?
Mediation As An Alternative To Therapy
Diane Cohen 11/30/2009
I was drawn to mediation because of what I saw as its unique ability to create greater happiness. I saw it as an alternative to therapy in many ways that was more suitable for people who were not mentally ill and who did not feel they needed to be diagnosed and treated, but to be understood and have their needs and desires addressed.
How Not To Kill Your Relatives This Thanksgiving
Victoria Pynchon 11/23/2009
I kicked off a recent Thanksgiving holiday season by having an argument with my friend and neighbor the rocket scientist about extraordinary rendition and the effect of immigrant workers on the economy. I knew I'd lost all sense of perspective around midnight as I continued searching for and emailing Tony articles that proved me right, while Mr. Thrifty snored softly beside me, intermittently awakening to say "I thought you said you were going to go to sleep?" Embarrassing, but true.
Divorcing Couples Can Save A Lot Of Money With Mediation
Cynthia M. Fox 11/23/2009
One of the hardest things about divorce is its cost, not just emotionally and psychologically, but in cold hard cash. A typical scenario is a husband, wife and two attorneys. Add the expense of outside experts if there are disputes over who can better parent their children or the valuation of an asset such as a business that one or both owns, and the bottom line is fees well into five figures for each party.
‘Bad Dad’ Emerges As Better Dad’
Arnold W. Zeman 10/19/2009
The text below is taken from vol. 1 issue 2 of”Conflict Chronicles” of October 15th, an email newsletter published by the Conflict Resolution Center of the University of North Dakota:
Divorce Mediation: Is Separate Always Better?
It is our experience that the vast majority of divorce mediators in Middle Tennessee conduct all divorce mediations with the parties in separate rooms from beginning to end. This seems to be true regardless of whether the parties have children together, their ability to communicate effectively, or the general level of conflict they are experiencing. This article challenges the premise that “separate is always better” and asks whether automatically separating the parties in divorce mediation serves the parties well, especially long-term.
Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction
Phyllis Pollack 09/14/2009
Late last year, I mediated a “family” dispute involving facts that were stranger than fiction. It seems that Jane Jones (fictional name) had a relationship with Joseph Smith (again, a fictional name). They had two children together, although they never married. They, then, went their separate ways.
The Big Picture
Phyllis Pollack 08/31/2009
In late May 2009, I flew back to my childhood home to help my siblings move our mother into an assisted living facility. As she had been living in the family home for close to sixty years, it was the move from *!!##*##!!*, to say the least.
Don't Get Lassoed!
Debra Synovec 08/24/2009
You are the best alternative to a litigated solution. Traditional litigation can make you feel like you have been hung out to dry.
Run Toward Fear
Debra Synovec 08/17/2009
People in the midst of divorce are often extremely overcome with fear caused by the overwhelming change in their life. Pressure from fear of the unknown, triggered by questions such as: “How will the divorce affect the children?” “How will I survive financially?” “What will people think?” “Where will I live?”, coupled by anger and raw emotions, drives people to run away, looking for a place to “solve” the questions and expunge the fear. In their flight, divorcing clients regularly run to attorneys, hoping to be saved by the courts, only to find out that the situation then spirals even more out of their control, magnifying the fears, stress and trauma.
What is Marital Mediation or Mediation To Stay Married?
Angela Ioana Green 08/13/2009
Mediation to Stay Married (also known as Marital Mediation) is a mediation process for couples who are experiencing marital problems or difficulties and who would prefer to stay together, work through their issues in a constructive way, who are willing to learn to resolve conflict and who wish to avoid divorce.
Governor Sanford – Give Marital Mediation a Try!
Laurie Israel 07/07/2009
Like many mediators, I am pained to read accounts of celebrity brethren who struggle with their marriages. The media is insistent. The lights are glaring. Celebrities experience their marital problems under a microscope of public view. Yet, the problems they face are the same as many clients. The big issues are infidelity, money, perceptions of lack of contribution, boredom, lack of respect, spending no time together, and issues raised by children and in-law families. Divorce is not the inevitable end. Governor Sanford, I encourage you and your wife to give Marital Mediation a try!
The Best Interests Of The Child — Peace More Important Than Being Right
Arnold W. Zeman 06/15/2009
Justice Harvey Brownstone serves on the North Toronto Family Court and is the author of Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court. Below is a 16 minute video clip of an interview of him on TV Ontario’s The Agenda – With Steve Paikin.
When Divorce Means Re-Entering The Job Market
Laurie Israel 06/01/2009
In working with divorcing couples, reemployment of an “at-home” spouse is a recurring theme. This is usually (but not always) the wife, who needs to enter the job market after the divorce. An analysis of the finances of a divorce case generally leads to the stark truth that the family unit (now divided into two households) cannot live on the earned income that was being brought into the household prior to the divorce.
Asking The Questions
Debra Synovec 05/25/2009
Choosing your divorce mediator is personal. Think about it. You’ll be discussing and making decisions about the things you care about most…..your children, your home, your money, your future, your security, your life. Interview the mediator, ask questions, and make sure they are knowledgeable, dedicated and compassionate. If they will not talk with you before you start, don’t hire them. I have never met a dedicated, compassionate, knowledgeable mediator that is unwilling to talk with a potential client.
Marital Mediation: An Emerging Area Of Practice
This article describes the process of “Marital Mediation” as a relatively new field of family mediation, designed to keep couples together using established family mediation techniques. Previously many of these techniques were used solely in divorce mediation. We begin by describing what the process involves, how it differs from both couples counseling and divorce mediation, and why we believe it often works for couples when counseling has not. We also discuss suggestions for promoting the development of Marital Mediation using both research and marketing techniques.
Addressing The Imbalance Of Power In Elder Mediation Cases
This chapter is devoted to the complex process of identifying where a power imbalance exists in mediation and dealing with those situations in a productive and compassionate fashion.
Mediation As Sales And Niche Mediation Practice With Jim Melamed Of Mediate.Com
Victoria Pynchon 04/27/2009
I traveled to the ABA DRS conference in New York City last week with my new video camera. I apologize for my lack of skill with it and with Mac's iMovie. Below, Jim talks about's services; its commitment to the further development of the profession; and,'s commitment to negotiated resolutions in the political sphere.
Book Review: The Healthy Divorce: Keys to Ending Your Marriage While Preserving your Emotional Well-Being
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. 04/10/2009
This book is an updated version of Between Love and Hate: A Guide to Civilized Divorce, originally published in 1992. At that time, I was troubled by the continuing portrayal by the American media and movies of American divorces as destructive, poisonous, hateful processes and behaviors reminiscent of War of the Rose, and widely recommended Lois Gold’s book to mental health and legal professionals and separating partners and spouses to educate them about a better way to separate and divorce.
Top Ten Ways To Protect Your Kids From The Fallout Of A High Conflict Break-Up
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. 03/23/2009
Joan B. Kelly, Ph.D. is a groundbreaking clinical psychologist and researcher who began studying the impact of divorce on children in 1968. Joan is an author, therapist, mediator, and parenting coordinator with four decades of experience working with high conflict parents who are separating.
A Glimmer of Light: Divorce & Breakups May Not Feel As Bad As You Think
Rina Goodman 03/16/2009
In the beginning, there is disbelief and fear. Questions such as, "What am I going to do?"; "How will I live on my own?"; and "How can I sleep without holding someone?" come spilling forth. The caller continues to speak, but I am not expected to answer. So I listen.
Don't Use "Force"
Bill Eddy 03/09/2009
“I won’t force the children to go with the other parent,” is one of the statements I hear sometimes from parents going through a separation or divorce. This statement has become so common (three times in one day recently), that a short article on this subject may be helpful.
Mediation Steps
What are the steps involved in mediation?
Saying Good-bye!
Tip: Remember to NOT fall in love with a particular asset. It may be best to simply say good-bye.
Relationships Matter
Phyllis Pollack 02/16/2009
Every mediator can tell the tale in which the parties are discussing possible mediators for a mediation and because one party has used a particular mediator before, the other party refuses to agree to use that mediator.
Key To The Puzzle!
Divorce mediation is a client centered, transparent, flexible process that allows clients to create a plan that meets their unique needs and goals based on their circumstances. But what if the divorce clients do not have the information and skills they need to make decisions?
Chose Your Future!
Money Talk!
Most people don't have piles of money to burn....especially when they are getting divorced!
Working Together after Divorce – The Mediated Road to Success
The world of divorce is a place with an infinite number of stories that play out as a short list of common themes. The biggies: the well being of the children, how to divide assets, who gets the marital home and the complications of a parenting plan. We also know that divorces are rarely the end of the relationship in the sense that once they are final you never have, or need to have, contact with the other party again.
Sharon Pickett - A Remembrance
Carl Schneider 01/05/2009
Sharon Pickett, 58, died of breast cancer on August 30, 2008 in Bethesda, Maryland. Here is a remembrance of Sharon and her contributions to the field of conflict resolution.
They Started To Fight When The Money Got Tight
Richard Sharp 12/29/2008
This article asks must differences over scarce and limited financial resources be determined by divorce court room battles? In answer it suggests that choosing the right method in the beginning could save separating and divorcing couples, time, money and tears in the long term.
Stocking Stuffer!
Holidays are a busy, stressful time of the year whether you are in the process of getting divorced or not….so why add stress by bringing up taxes? Because taking a little time to do tax planning may save you substantial tax dollars!
Peace and Joy!
Holidays can be a sad and stressful time for people in the midst of divorce... but you do have a choice about how you celebrate the holidays! Most people want to have peace and joy in the Holiday Present rather than being haunted by the Ghost of Holidays Past! Here are some ideas.
Keep Kids Out Of The Middle!
Do you want your children to thrive after divorce? First, learn to communicate respectfully and stop saying negative things about the other least when the children can hear. Keep your children are out of the middle and take steps to prevent parental alienation. Mediation can help.
Happy Thanksgiving!
Holidays can be a stressful time for many families, divorce adds even more complexity because of the changes to routines and family traditions. The most important thing to do is to be civil with your former spouse and keep your children in mind so that they can enjoy the holiday and the turkey….no matter how you feel. Here are some tips!
5 Realities About Prenuptial Agreements -- Why Having One May Be a Bad Choice for Your Marriage
Laurie Israel 11/24/2008
Recently many articles have been appearing on the internet extolling the virtues of entering into a prenuptial or premarital agreement prior to your marriage. I offer the following reflections from my practice of law and work as a mediator to strongly counter the idea that prenuptial agreements have no “cost” and provide only benefit to a marrying couple.
A Glimpse into the Separation of Two Gay Couples
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 11/24/2008
Gay couples, not unlike straight couples, have different stories to tell, different issues to resolve. Yet since Massachusetts’s legalization of gay marriages, the “divorcing” population can be divided clearly into two distinctive sets: one group “living together outside of marriage” and the other “married.”
When To Start Mediation
It is in your hands… can contain the flames by choosing mediation. You can start mediation anytime, but the best time to start is in the beginning of the divorce process.
Telling The Children
Keep your children from feeling they have to choose! How parents tell their children about the divorce sets the stage for how the parents will co-parent in the future and has a significant impact on whether the children thrive………no matter what you do legally, both of you will continue to be parents.
The Best Interests of the Children
Nancy Hudgins 10/27/2008
We encourage parents during divorce to put their children first. This can be hard to do when you are in the middle of conflict. It reminds me of a cartoon in which a guy is standing on a sidewalk and there’s a sign above him with an arrow pointing down to where he’s standing which says: “In the Thick of It.”
Wild Ride!
Debra Synovec 10/21/2008
The stock market’s been a wild ride over the past year and unlike rides in amusement parks the ride is NOT amusing! The situation increases anxiety for divorcing couples who are already stressed out and feeling the pressure of financial shortage….and it creates havoc for asset valuations.
No Dukes
Nancy Hudgins 10/14/2008
I liken litigation to duking it out. There are three main drawbacks to litigation. (Yes, this blog has a bias.)
Open The Door To A Better Future!
Isn’t mediating in the same room only for couples who are cooperative?
Blended Families: Protecting Children The Second Time Around
Dr. Lynne C. Halem 10/06/2008
Second marriages are a time for new beginnings, dreams of romance and adventure may abound. Then, too, there are the concerns. Most disturbing of all are the worries that center around entitlements of children.
John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award Presented to Peter Salem

Peter Salem, Executive Director of the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, was awarded the John M. Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) at its Eighth Annual Conference, September 24-27, 2008 in Austin, Texas.
Contemplating My Navel and Conflict Resolution
Laurie Israel 09/14/2008
At my age, I find my thoughts wandering backwards in time, with long-lost memories bubbling up occasionally. I ponder these memories and cherish them. I parse them for meaning, like dreams in the night remembered suddenly the next day, with a jolt of recognition into their inner meaning.
Sidetaker lets bickering couples submit disputes to court of public opinion
Diane J. Levin 09/10/2008
If you seek proof of civilization’s decline, look no further than Sidetaker, a site that lets the public be the judge in spats between quarreling lovers. Don’t bother to seek nuance or middle ground here; there’s plenty of blame and fingerpointing for couples bickering over everything from toilet flushing habits to illicit affairs. Sidetaker (slogan: “let the world decide who’s at fault”) of course is in this for the greater good: …far too many...
Seven Ways to Improve Your Working Relationships
Victoria Pynchon 08/24/2008
Thanks to Kevin's Remarkable Learning Blog (a fellow Forbes Blog Network member) for his  Seven Steps for Mending Broken Business Relationships.  Each of the seven steps can help litigators de-escalate the conflict inherent in litigation before all-important settlement negotiations, whether they are conducted with the assistance of a third party neutral or not.  One or more of them might also help ease tension in the law firm -- a very tense place these days given the ...
Mitigating High Conflict Divorce Disputes
Brook D. Olsen 08/24/2008
High levels of parental conflict have consistently been shown to be among the most destructive factors in both intact and divorced families. Currently, we have an epidemic of children caught up in the chaos and turmoil of parental conflict.
Betty Manley, 65, Squeezed So Much Life Out of New Heart
A tiny spitfire of a woman, Betty Manley was known as the grandmother of Georgia mediators — a pioneer who zipped around the world teaching others how to peacefully resolve conflicts.
Calling all divorce mediators: inside the mind of a divorce lawyer
Geoff Sharp 07/21/2008
When next at mediation a jaded divorce attorney collapses in the chair nearest to you, remember this has been their journey; 'Dear client, I am pleased that you have hired me to represent you in your divorce. I'm pleased because I need the money you and others like you pay me. I'm tired of working with people like you who are always fighting and never happy, and often unhappy with me, but I feel trapped now and don't know how I could change my practice at this point in my career without a ...
Frequently Asked Questions about Children and Divorce
Paula Levy 07/07/2008
This article addresses the challenge of communicating with children about a divorce.
The Four Faces of Face
John Ng 05/15/2008
This paper investigates the relationship between maintaining face and mediation and its effects on parties.
An Improbable Fairy Tale Of Alien Romance
Deborah Sword 05/12/2008
On a small lovely planet with a magenta sky and cinnamon flavored water, at least three social groups interact successfully.
The Client-Centered Process: Common Ground for Mediators And Collaborative Professionals
Chip Rose 02/25/2008
In his “Letters to a Young Poet,” the Czech poet, Rainer Maria Rilke counsels a young man who sent some of his work to the aging artist seeking his opinion. In one of the most memorable portions of the correspondence, Rilke encouraged his young artist friend to find comfort by “living in the question”—trusting that to do so was a far more productive endeavor than obsessing about the answers. I cannot think of a more appropriate point of professional departure for those of us who work with interpersonal, relational conflict than to practice the art of “living in the question.”
Resolve conflict in your marriage, live longer
Diane J. Levin 01/28/2008
A recent study shows that the upside of marital fighting is not just the makeup sex afterwards. Researchers at the University of Michigan followed 192 couples over a 17-year period and discovered something interesting: Couples in which both the husband and wife suppress their anger when one attacks the other die earlier than members of couples where one or both partners express their anger and resolve the conflict… The study results suggest that good conflict resolution skills may be...
Of War and Negotiation: Part 2: The Passion Play - Tolstoy’s War and Peace
Robert Benjamin 01/21/2008
“Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Bonapartes. But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist----I really believe he is Antichrist---I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend....”/ (1805 Book One, Chapter 1. Anna Scherer’s soiree, War and Peace, L. Tolstoy, p. 3.) So begins Tolstoy’s masterpiece with Anna Pavlovna Scherer remarking to Prince Kuragin at her soiree in Moscow in 1805, her view of the then current Napoleonic rampage through Europe that was soon to be directed toward Russia. The tone of that conversation was not so different from one I had with ‘Anne’, a modern day stand-in for Tolstoy’s Anna, at a /petite soiree---/a holiday open-house--- 202 years later and half a world away in Portland, Oregon. Most conflicts, regardless of the circumstances or context, follow the same script, be they personal, geo-political, or business disputes. In one way or another, their substance is about money, property, power and control, or truth, honor, and justice. The character casting, drawn from the original passion play, are, of course, clearly drawn between the hero/victim and the antagonist evil-doer, or Antichrist.** As a negotiator....probably not unlike an entomologist’s fascination with the behavior of ants under attack, I began to listen more closely; not so much with the particulars of the storyline, but for clues about how, if at all, it might be possible to shift and re-direct her anger and frustration.
Tips For Parents Engaged In The Collaborative Family Law Process
Gay Cox 10/29/2007
You are to be commended for choosing Collaborative Practice as the means to solve any problems that you and your children’s other parent might have because you decided to separate. It is evident that you want the best possible outcome for your children and see this as a means of achieving it. Based on experience with families who select this method of problem-solving, it is apparent that they tend to have some very important common values and goals. It may be helpful to you to learn what parents who have been successful in accomplishing these goals have used as their strategies.
When Giving to World Peace Is No Longer Peaceful: Mediation and the Seven Principles for Managing Conflict in Family Foundations
Management of family foundations going through a generational transition can be more complicated than almost any enterprise. When money is involved entrenched relationships coupled with repressed resentments can make for difficult conversations that frequently end in lost tempers and the opening of old wounds. As conflicting issues come into play, giving away money, which seemed like a nice, altruistic, socially responsible thing to do, can become fraught with discord. Mediation is often a helpful tool for families looking for peace.
New Jersey Family Mediation Gets A Boost
As reported in the latest issue of NJAPM’s quarterly newsletter, “Family Law Attorneys Must Tell Clients About CDR” by William H. Donahue, Jr., Esq., the New Jersey Court rules were amended to require attorneys to tell their clients about CDR. New Jersey uses the term “CDR” for Complementary Dispute Resolution instead of “ADR” under the belief that mediation, arbitration and other non-judicial conflict resolution tools should complement the judicial process not be viewed as alternatives to ...
Mediating In Your Own Backyard: Family Mediation Without Divorce
Jan Frankel Schau 09/11/2006
Summertime can be trying when you’ve got a house full of teenagers at home, and this summer, mine was no different. Conflict abounded and reached a peak one hot August evening when my daughter’s puppy got into my son’s room, destroying his favorite wallet, sunglass case and a $20.00 bill! What’s a mother to do?
The Family Law Education Reform Report Completed
Andrew Schepard 02/13/2006
Does the law school’s family law curriculum adequately prepare future family lawyers for the challenges of practice? The Report’s answer is “not well,” a conclusion that requires reconsideration of the nature and purposes of legal education in an area central to the welfare of thousands of children and parents.
Mediation: Reaching Its Potential In Family Law Cases
Nimfa Vilches 01/23/2006
Family law case mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in a private forum before a case is filed in court or a court-annexed one that is discussed in this article whereby an impartial person, a professional, or a judge in a two-court system helps parties define issues and have a plan to deal with them. A family case mediator sits down with people to discuss options and develop proposals to resolve a dispute. The mediator does not take sides. Every party attends the process and they make all the decisions. Mediation sessions are confidential.
Working with One Party: A Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Approach to Family Conflicts
Ike Lasater & Julie Stiles
This article presents a case study using Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a mediation tool with only one party in a conflict. Based on a family conflict situation between a woman and her brother, this case study shows how working with the basic elements of NVC helped the woman gain clarity and understanding about the conflict situation, allowing her to see options she was previously unaware of. This individual session can be seen as a stand-alone contribution to her and it might evolve into additional sessions that would include her brother in a more familiar two-party mediation format.
Parent – Teen Conflict, Managing it Constructively
Bob Blyth 03/28/2006
“Parent – Teen Conflict, Managing it Constructively” deals with managing the conflict inherent in parent – teen relationships, why managing this conflict constructively is important and some tools that parents and teens can use to manage their conflicts constructively.
Divorce-proof your Marriage with Mediators
Dina Beach Lynch 12/31/2007
December is the most popular month for popping the question, which fills this mediator with loads of holiday cheer. Why? A skillful family or marriage mediator can build a practice by assisting couples to answer the second big question: I will, then what?According to a Boston Globe article, couples, who were once surrounded my family and friends who could offer marriage advice, now need a different kind of support system to navigate the challenges of learning to live together and be happily...
Families in Conflict: A Holiday Super-Challenge!
Jan Frankel Schau 12/31/2007
The holidays present an extra special time of family conflict for so many of us. Children don't grow up expecting this as adults, but as I age I learn that our family is not alone in this dynamic. It's a time when expectations run high and memories deep. Last weekend, I took on an informal mediation between my husband and his mother to see if I could orchestrate a truce or at least change the dynamic between them so that next year may bring a less stressful holiday season. What I am...
Making Referrals To Divorce Mediation
Georgia Daniels 12/31/2007
Frequently, marriage and family therapists may sense that a couple is headed toward divorce, but feel unprepared to recommend divorce mediation because they are unfamiliar with the potential benefits of mediation for their clients. This article introduces the referring professional to the benefits of divorce mediation, gives an overview of the process, provides criteria to look for when making referrals, and discusses how to best support clients who continue in therapy while the mediation is in progress.
Take this Idea, Pls: Wrap up the 'Sandwich Generation'
Dina Beach Lynch 11/27/2007
34 million people in this country are getting squeezed- and we can help.Called the 'sandwich generation', these folks wrestle with the huge task of caring for both their children and their aging parents while working full-time, according to a recent MSNBC article. This is a growing trend, folks, that bears watching. The US Census predicts that the elderly population will double to 70 million by 2030. I can imagine a plethora of opportunities to assist families to make decisions, explore...
Collaborative Law – The Magic of Counterpart Counsel
Laurie Israel 11/26/2007
At some point during a divorce process, everyone meets -- there is a four-way meeting of the divorcing parties and their attorneys. In a litigated case, the first in-person four-way meeting might be at a court hearing on a motion, or at the pre-trial conference with the judge. This meeting might occur after many negative experiences with the opposing side. These include depositions, discovery of documents, letters by opposing counsel (forwarded by a party’s own counsel) and reports of negotiations between counsel and/or demands and ultimatums on very painful points. There may be no history of collaborative work between the attorneys on behalf of their parties, and there is no guarantee that this first four-way meeting will be anything but unpleasant.
Using Email In Couples Counselling
Colin Rule 11/20/2007
Great new article from ADR pioneer David Hoffman on today. From the conclusion: "Because email is such a new medium {...}the techniques for successful communication via computer may be less intuitive and require more conscious attention...   Experience suggests that there is considerable potential in email communications for both misunderstanding and enhanced understanding. As Collaborative Practitioners, we have the added benefit of working on cases with colleagues who join ...
Forget Harmony, Settle for Peace
Gary Direnfeld 11/19/2007
An oft-common mistake working with high conflict separated parents is to move them towards getting along and working cooperatively for the well-being of their children. It is a lofty and noble goal unfortunately far beyond the grasp of folks who would likely prefer to see the other disappear for a more immediate and permanent solution to the conflict. The more they are pushed together, the more intense the conflict.
A Practical Process for Reciprocal Negotiation
Trip Barthel 10/29/2007
Reciprocal negotiation is a practical process that allows each party to recognize more deeply their role in the situation, the needs of the other party and their mutual obligations. Reciprocal negotiation is based on empathy, options and reciprocity. It is a process that allows parties to explore their future in a more complete way and identify areas of agreement and areas of concern in a more focused approach. This process has aspects of problem solving mediation, with its ability to generate options, and transformative mediation, with its ability to recognize and empower the parties.
Jim Melamed is 2007 Recipient of ACR John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award: A Tribute and Lament on the Field of Mediation
Robert Benjamin 10/23/2007
Writing this tribute to Jim Melamed is an honor, even if a troubling one. On the one hand, there could not be a more fitting recipient for this particular award, named for John Haynes, than Jim Melamed, the CEO and co-founder with John Helie of The work for which both the recipient and the namesake of this award are known highlights what has been most compelling and important about the field of conflict mediation. On the other hand, this award can also not help but highlight the ebbing of the energy that first gave rise to mediation practice and a falling away from some of the first principles. What John Haynes was, and Jim Melamed continues to be, is a tireless entrepreneur doing the critically important work of selling mediation in a culture that does not exactly welcome the idea of negotiating differences with open arms.
FAQs About Mediation To Stay Married
Laurie Israel 10/07/2007
Mediation to Stay Married (also known as Marital Mediation) is a method of helping couples who are experiencing marital problems and would prefer to stay together rather than get divorced. This article answers common questions about the process
How to Save Your Marriage – How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help a Marriage
Laurie Israel 07/23/2007
One of the most interesting and fulfilling parts of my law practice is to assist people who are contemplating divorce or in the midst of divorcing. I consider this work in helping people though a very significant transition in life quite meaningful. An attorney applies all of his or her legal knowledge in dealing with divorce issues – financial, real estate, pension, and tax law. In addition, all the attorney’s personal experiences, plus knowledge gained through his or her practice are used to address the personal issues in a divorce – anger, grief, fear, and issues involving children.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Brian James 07/09/2007
Divorce mediation is about you and your soon to be ex-spouse deciding your own divorce and what is best for the both of you and most importantly, your children. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, and with their help, you work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as amicably and cost effective as possible.
Mediation to Stay Married – A Technique with Promise
Laurie Israel 06/24/2007
There is a veil of silence that surrounds every married couple. Spouses express loyalty by not complaining about their partner or their marriage. People feel ashamed if other people know there are problems in their marriage. People often feel that they are the only ones with an imperfect marriage. The truth is that every marriage is complex and every marriage is a blend of the imperfect, the perfect, and everything in between.
Parables For Divorce Mediations And Negotiations
Sharon Lowenstein 05/21/2007
If one picture is worth a thousand words, an appropriately told parable may be worth even more than a thousand words. A simple story that conveys an obvious teaching can gently evoke an “ah-ha” powerful enough to illuminate clouded thinking or to pry open a locked mind.
Mulford Mediation Pioneers Communication Alternative To Divorce Litigation
Gretchen L.H. O’Brien 05/21/2007
Attorney Philip Mulford offers full-time dedication to divorce mediation. He estimates 90 percent of the couples who go through mediation successfully create a mutually acceptable agreement.
Domestic Violence and Mediation: Concerns and Recommendations
Anita Vestal 05/14/2007
This article synthesizes recommendations of several researchers and studies conducted during the 1990's to develop a mediation protocol that addresses concerns about the efficacy of mediating with couples who have a history of domestic violence. In addition to suggested techniques and procedures, the article concludes with insights into the societal issues of violence and a long-term strategy for reducing the incidence of domestic abuse.
Negotiating Custody with High Conflict Couples
Divorce litigation, especially when there is contested custody, is rarely a straightforward negotiation process. Issues of divorce and custody can be negotiated out of court when certain conditions are present to move the couple to resolution of the issues. Mediated settlements are increasingly popular with both divorcing spouses and the judicial system. However, couples who cannot communicate with one another, and who have engaged in behavior that is threatening, coercive, manipulative and deceptive are usually not in a position to negotiate a settlement with each other. This essay suggests a model that allows a couple to attempt to negotiate a custody agreement taking into consideration the needs of the children and spouses for safety, expediency and firmness in the decision-making process.
Mediation Survivor’s Handbook: A Practical Guide to Mediation for the Parties (Book Review)
Sharon Lowenstein 11/20/2006
I highly recommend this concise and easy-to-read book for newcomers to mediation. Directed specifically to those who, whether represented by attorneys or not, can expect to be the principal participants in family, probate, victim-offender, peer (school), small claims and other mediations where attorneys, if present, generally remain in the background. Filled with practical advice and tips, it takes readers step-by-step through the mediation process in each such venue. Professionals will want to recommend it to clients about to engage in mediation for the first time.
Contemplating Divorce? Consider Mediation
Philip Mulford 08/13/2006
This article gives an overview of the benefits of mediation vs. divorce litigation.
Taking The High Road
Nancy Kramer 08/07/2006
The man and woman who came to me for a divorce mediation were both in their 50’s, attractive and successful. She was a reporter for a prestigious newspaper and he a prominent local TV newscaster. They had been together for 20 years and had two children, ages 10 and 13. His income and future income potential was very high and hers above average and secure. In addition, they expected a substantial inheritance in the future. Their lifestyle was very comfortable, if not lavish, of which they were both aware.
Premarital Mediation Checklist
Diana Mercer 05/29/2006
More couples are adding "prenuptial agreement or premarital agreement" on their wedding planning checklist. Many people have found that prenuptial agreement mediation can be the friendliest approach to an often uncomfortable topic. This article covers important topics and questions that couples and mediators should think about when entering into premarital agreement mediation.
Yes, Everything and the Kitchen Sink! - Six Rules for Establishing a Successful Postnuptial Agreement
The purpose of a postnuptial agreement is first – to identify those things that are making the relationship difficult and, second – to be sure both parties understand what they are, why they are problematic, and what specifically can be done about each discrete issue. The beauty of this kind of mediated agreement is that it allows you to include those things that have become important to you now that the honeymoon is long over. Mediation provides a safe forum to explore imaginative ways to deal with the issues with a view to developing alternative ways to approach them.
Interview of Stephanie Coontz
Robert Benjamin 03/05/2006
This is an interview with Stephanie Coontz on the role of negotiation in marriage, family and divorce. Stephanie Coontz is a Professor of History and Family Studies at Evergreen State College in Evergreen, Washington, and the Director of Public Education for the Council on Contemporary Families. She is the author of "Marriage, A History" (2005), "The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalga Trap" (1993) and "The Way We Really Are: Ending the War Over America’s Changing Famliies" (1998).
Imagine... A Collaborative Approach To Divorce
Gary Direnfeld 05/01/2007
There is a movement in family law whereby divorcing couples can sign agreements with lawyers to not go to court. More specifically, the process is known as Collaborative Family Law (CFL) and the agreement to not go to court is binding upon the lawyers, not the couple. If one or both clients are unsatisfied, either may still march the dispute to court. They will however have to find new lawyers.
Mediating Divorce Agreements
Matthew McCusker 01/30/2006
When looking at the multitude of contexts where mediation is now being utilized, divorce mediation stands out as one of the fastest growing fields. The courts have decided to place an emphasis on providing couples with the opportunity to fashion their own agreement, rather than asking judges to deduce acceptable terms.
Family Law Education Reform Project Initial Draft of Findings and Recommendations
This memorandum is intended as an initial draft of what we hope ultimately to shape into a final report of the The Family Law Education Reform Project. Interim drafts are designed to mark the on-going status of the project, and to furnish an opportunity for the many stakeholders and interested parties in this process to provide input.
Family Caregiver Mediation
Karen Rice 05/17/2005
This is the sequel to the my previous article on elder mediation. It explores family caregiver mediation. Caregiving is a rapidly increasing role for families, but it has been a popular topic of research for years.
Parent Teen Mediation - A Family Systems Perspective
Suzanne VM Petryshyn 12/20/2004
Parents and Teens often find themselves in conflict with each other. Parent Teen Mediation is a helpful alternative that promotes healthy communication between Parents and Teens about their issues. Parent Teen Mediation offers a family system faced with conflict with an opportunity to promote understanding in order to resolve the issues within the system.
Resolving Family Business Conflicts
Douglas Noll 05/20/2005
In this article, I want to share a story about a family business conflict. This is not based on any real family business, but is so common, it could be.
Representing Clients Effectively in Negotiation, Conciliation and Mediation in Family Property Disputes
John Wade 08/02/2004
This paper argues that a major task for lawyers in family disputes, negotiations, conciliation and mediation, is to assist clients make wise decisions in the face of uncertainty. A short preparation model of five humble hypotheses is set out. This model is then applied to a fact scenario as an illustration.
Mediation Vignettes: A Parent's Horror
John R. Van Winkle 11/28/2005
This is another in a series of vignettes, culled from mediations conducted by the author. They reflect on the practice of mediation and the privilege it really is for mediators to be invited into people’s lives. In this vignette, a young mother faces the fact that a second child has a birth defect that will likely cause death at a young age.
Are you thinking of MEDIATION to settle a parenting dispute?
Gary Direnfeld 07/11/2005
Whereas in court the parents are bound by the decision of the judge, in mediation the role of the mediator is to help parents communicate and determine their own solution to the parenting of the children – a mutual agreement.
Mandatory Mediation: Implications and Challenges
Jeff Rifleman 12/19/2005
Divorce Mediation. Mandatory Mediation. Good Faith Medation. Alternative Dispute Resolution. Arbitration. These are all terms and programs that contemporary judicial systems are using in attempts to reduce overfilled court dockets, costly trials and the time it takes for parties to resolve their differences. Are these programs just another way to resolve conflicts, or are they restricting access and rights to traditional court lititgation?
How Children Contribute To Custody Disputes (Part II)
Donald T. Saposnek 10/16/2005
Children's limited comprehension of the meaning and implications for them of their parents' breakup creates terrible confusion and emotional upset and generates characteristic attempts to cope with the disruption. However, the limited means they have for expressing their needs makes it difficult for their parents to accurately recognize and address those needs.
How Children Contribute To Custody Disputes (Part I)
Donald T. Saposnek 10/17/2005
Children's limited comprehension of the meaning and implications for them of their parents' breakup creates terrible confusion and emotional upset and generates characteristic attempts to cope with the disruption. However, the limited means they have for expressing their needs makes it difficult for their parents to accurately recognize and address those needs.
Build Rapport to Facilitate Teen Behaviour
Gary Direnfeld 09/19/2005
When the relationship is spiraling out of control and parents find themselves at their wits end, the challenge is to rise above the animosity in favour of rebuilding the relationship. Harsher, more restrictive consequences will not bring the teen “under control”. Slowly and deliberately practicing rebuilding strategies can rekindle the relationship through which the parents may find increased influence to provide direction and guidance as opposed to “control”.
Who Started It Doesn’t Necessarily Matter!
Gary Direnfeld 08/15/2005
Sitting between parents in a high conflict situation with regard to custody and access issues is like watching the scarecrow in the Wizard of OZ. However, with separated parents they are both pointing at each other, each blaming the other for initiating and maintaining their conflict. In many instances, both have contributed to their mutual conflict and hence both feel justified at incriminating the other. Regardless of who started it, in many instances it is clear, they both maintain it. As a concept this is known as circular causality.
Conflict Resolution Tips for Divorcing Couples
Oran Kaufman 05/02/2005
Mediation provides clients with a safe venue to discuss their divorce. Mediation however will not automatically undo years of ingrained behavior. Mediators and therapists can offer clients tools which will help them mentally and emotionally for the divorce process. Below are a few suggestions. At the end of this article, I have included a Conflict Self-Assessment tool as well as an outline of this article which you can give to clients engaged in the divorce mediation process.
Beyond Blame
Lynn Duryee 03/21/2005
When I became the Marin County family law judge this year, I expected to rule on child custody issues, disagreements about visitation, and disputes involving payment of child support. What I didn’t expect to rule on were fights between parents over whether their child should play soccer or lacrosse; study piano or violin; receive orthodontic treatment with Dr. Gonzalez in San Rafael or Dr. Falkow in Mill Valley; be bat mitzvah’d at the temple or confirmed in the church.
If You're Divorcing, Consider Mediation
Ellie Stoddard 01/12/2005
If you or someone you know is considering, or in the process of getting, a divorce, there's something you should know. There's a way to go through the process that could contain hostilities, save spouses lots of time, and money, and leave the parties more intact when the process is done. That way is mediation.
Obituary: Sarah Childs-Grebe Mediation Specialist
Sarah Childs-Grebe, 57, a Kensington resident who was an authority on conflict resolution and divorce mediation, died Dec. 3 at the Washington Home. She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
ElderCare Mediation
Karen Rice 04/25/2005
As families begin to confront the decisions involved in how to best care for a loved one who no longer is able to live alone, who requires assistance with daily living, or requires medical care, family relationships are becoming increasingly strained. This is the first in a two-part series on mediation. What mediation means and how the parties in the mediation process resolve conflict.
Elder Decisions in Elder Mediation
Elder mediation brings family members and professionals together to address the major life changes inherent in the aging process. In these mediations, the issues most families raise involve housing transitions, financial control, and new and difficult conversations between parents and adult children. Through skillful mediation, seniors and their families can gain control of what is important to them and protect family relationships in the process.
Elder Mediation: New Role In Healthcare
As nurses, professional caregivers, and mediators we can all regale ourselves with accounts of family conflicts that seem to reach new heights as they unfold before us. We are amazed by what people say, at their behaviors in front of strangers, and to what levels they will go to hold fast to fiercely held beliefs and positions.
If You Must... Divorce Lovingly
Timothy J. Mordaunt 08/16/2004
Divorce Lovingly, are probably two words you thought you would never see used together. Mediation (not meditation) presents a viable alternative to litigation for couples who are separating and divorcing.
Tough Elder Decisions: The Mediation Option
Rikk Larsen & Blair Trippe
There is a new field developing in the mediation world – Elder Mediation. Elder mediation is proving to be an effective way for families, dealing with complex emotional decision processes, to efficiently and safely make tough choices. This is especially true at the beginning of the decision process – when families are fact finding, struggling with options and discovering feelings about their parents or adult children that well up and make clear thinking difficult.
Coming to Grips With the Financial Fear Factor
Donna Smalldon 04/19/2004
One of the biggest sources of stress between spouses is money. Particularly if the couple is breaking up, a lack of familiarity with family finances and financial planning can cause anxiety levels to go off the charts. In mediation, that anxiety can present itself as tears, withdrawal, temper, or any of a host of emotions that aren’t very conducive to the process.
The Psychology Of Divorce
Donald T. Saposnek, Ph.D. & Chip Rose, JD, CFLS
In helping couples to successfully negotiate the ending of their marital relationship, it is vital for the divorce professional to understand the underlying dynamics of the family as a system and of the divorce process; the professional must grasp how the divorce crisis influences and is influenced by both family structure and family process.
Tipping Points - Reasons Why Mediation Works in Complex Family Disputes
Rikk Larsen 09/29/2003
Timing is everything. In complex family disputes the simple fact is that mediation can be the forum for positive change, the tipping point, but it needs a number of preconditions to be successful.
Collaborative Family Law: A Path Beyond Winning
Gay Cox 06/17/2002
This paper is written in furtherance of the goal of increasing the number of practitioners willing to engage in the practice of law collaboratively so that the pool of attorneys available to the ever-increasing number of clients seeking the service is adequate to meet the demand.
Mediating Family Disputes in a World with Domestic Violence: How to Devise a Safe and Effective Court-Connected Mediation Program
The ultimate goal of this Paper is to make suggestions in order to maximize the safety and effectiveness of court-connected programs. Part I of this Paper will examine some of the arguments against utilizing mediation in the domestic relations area. Part II will highlight some of the arguments in favor of utilizing court-connected mediation programs in the area of family law, as well as rebut the concerns discussed in Part I. Finally, Part III will explore some of the options available to courts to set up a safe and effective court-connected domestic relations mediation program.
Eldercare Mediation: A New Way To Make Decisions Regarding Aging Parents
Janet E. Mitchell 09/15/2003
The article describes how families can work together in making collaborative decisions regarding the care of elderly parents. It defines and explains family mediation, noting the kinds of topics that can be discussed.
How the Web Can Help Children of Divorce (and their parents…)
JP Stonestreet 06/23/2003
Research conducted by Hofstra University shows that it’s not the divorce that hurts the children, but instead, it’s the ongoing hostility between their parents that is most harmful. One alternative is to use web-based collaboration software designed to improve communication between divorced parents and to help them regain or maintain control of their busy and stressful lives.
Parent Child Mediation
Communication is an extremely important part of a psychologically healthy family. Lack of communication can be extremely detrimental to a family. When communication breaks down, especially between a parent and their child, troublesome situations may arise. What can be done to repair and resolve these situations? Parent/child mediation may be the resolution.
Michael Scott 11/18/2002
There are many threatening and frightening things that happen to individuals whose relationship ends up in separation or divorce. A successful divorce is one in which the parents divorce each other but do not require the child to divorce one of the parents, either as a result of parental conflict or by one parent not being available to the child.
Children’s Reactions To The News Of Divorce: What They Need From You
Donald T. Saposnek 12/14/2003
The discomfort of parents talking to children about their upcoming divorce is often exaggerated by worries about how the children will react. Parents frequently worry that their children will not be able to handle the news, will fall apart, will be sad or angry forever, or worse, will hate the parents for life. While children certainly do not generally take kindly to hearing that their parents are splitting up, they initially do respond in fairly typical ways that are in accord with their developmental stages.
Student/Peer Mediation: A Multi-Purpose Tool
After reviewing several articles regarding student/peer mediation, one thing is clear: student/peer mediations have several benefits, many of which are long-lasting.
Mediate, Don’t Litigate
Jean Brasel 04/28/2003
How often do we hear these laments in the workplace: "I wish I knew how to get along with so and so," or, "Why is she/he so dogmatic," or "If only he/she could learn to get along things would be so much more pleasant around here," or "I find it difficult to complete tasks because of rumors and innuendos," and "I hate coming to work because of all of the infighting and remarks being passed around!"
Mediating a Key Estate Settlement Issue - Dividing Personal Property
Rikk Larsen 03/31/2003
Mediation with its “structural requirement” that parties focus on and value the dynamics of their relationships and interests before grabbing at specific options can be a powerful process tool for families struggling with difficult personal property distribution issues.
Do You Have A Picture Of Jamie? — How And Why This Works In Mediation
Nancy Kramer 02/10/2003
There is a technique that I have developed to help the parties to focus on the relationship and their need to nurture it. This is a simple technique, and it seems like no more than ordinary social chitchat.
Neutrality and Power: Myths and Reality
Although the theory on the concept of neutrality acknowledges its difficulties, these theoretical musings have not filtered adequately to impact sufficiently on the practice of mediation. On the contrary, most mediators continue to claim that they are neutral, even though some also claim that they are able to do things that fly in the face of an asserted neutral persona. One of these claims is that mediators can redress power imbalances between the parties.
Mediation in Estate Planning: A Strategy for Everyone’s Benefit
How much better would this world be if we all believed that most disputes could be avoided? Mediation is offered as a tool to reach agreement, but the hard work of mediating a dispute requires a knowledgeable, experienced professional. These authors offer observations and strategies based on their expertise and successes in the field.
What Should We Tell the Children? Developing a Mutual Story of the Divorce
Donald T. Saposnek 10/21/2002
One of the most typical questions asked of me by parents who are beginning the divorce process is, “What should we tell the children and how should we tell them?” Most parents, understandably, feel awful in having to tell their children about their pending divorce and how all their lives are going to be permanently changed.
Mediation in Today's Estate Settlement World
Rikk Larsen 09/30/2002
The estate settlement process has many areas of potential conflict that mediation can often handle far more effectively than ad hoc family negotiations and traditional legal proceedings. Why is mediation effective in this complex emotional field and what can we do to promote its use more broadly.
Divorce Mediation: Participant's Exercises
Lois Gold 07/22/2002
The following exercises have been excerpted from the book BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE: A GUIDE TO CIVILIZED DIVORCE by Lois Gold, M.S.W. These exercises can be used in conjunction with mediation or the parties can work with them on their own.
Collaborative Concepts
Chip Rose 03/11/2002
As the Collaborative Family Law model moves into its second decade of expansion, we can observe how far it has come and how far it has yet to go. The two most frequently expressed frustrations I hear while training around the country and across Canada are, the difficulty in getting cases, on the one hand, and the difficulty in keeping the case collaborative, on the other. As was true for mediation in the decades of the 80's, the desire of the professionals is out pacing the consumer demand.
Mediator Neutrality: How is it possible?
Rachel Fishman Green, Esq. 03/11/2002
How could a mediator be neutral about your situation when you are getting divorced? Surely one of you is right and the other is wrong! If you know in your bones – and all of your friends agree – that you are right, you may think that mediation would not make sense for you, because you don’t want to compromise.
How Are The Children Of Divorce Doing?
Donald T. Saposnek 02/04/2002
A recent Time magazine article asked “Does Divorce Hurt Kids?” and presented the conclusions from the two longest term studies of children of divorce. These two authors came to very different conclusions about the long-term effect of divorce on children. Which of these authors has an accurate handle on the effects of divorce on children?
Divorce Mediation and the Internet
Jim Melamed 05/08/2003
The Internet is changing the way divorce mediation is practiced and experienced. Learn how the Internet is becoming an ever more integral part of effective and affordable divorce mediation services and programs.
Estate Planning and Family Business Mediation
Laura Bachle 09/17/2001
Unlike J.R. Ewing in Dallas, controversy arises among families and business owners more often as a result of misunderstanding than malevolent motives. When people get beyond the resistance and begin working together on an estate plan MOU or partnership charter, they discover that openly dealing with issues lessens the likelihood of misperception, builds trust and confidence, and improves their chances for long-term success.
Foreword to The Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation
Association of Family & Conciliation Courts
The Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation are the family mediation community’s definition of the role of mediation in the dispute resolution system in the twenty-first century. They are the latest milestone in a nearly twenty year old effort by the family mediation community to create standards of practice that will increase public confidence in an evolving profession and provide guidance for its practitioners.
Model Standards of Practice for Family and Divorce Mediation
The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
These Model Standards have been adopted by AFCC, ACR and and aim to perform three major functions:
1. to serve as a guide for the conduct of family mediators;
2. to inform the mediating participants of what they can expect; and
3. to promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving family disputes.
The Model Standards are aspirational in character. They describe good practices for family mediators. They are not intended to create legal rules or standards of liability.
Family Section Editorial Winter 2001
Donald T. Saposnek 03/03/2001
Family Mediation has found a new home. The Academy of Family Mediators, which, for the past 20 years, has been the premier international professional organization for family mediators has, as of January, 2001, merged with the two other national organizations for alternative dispute resolution – SPIDR (Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution), and CREnet (Conflict Resolution Education Network). The new amalgam organization, called the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR) is now the largest membership association in the conflict resolution field, and has as its mission, “ promote peaceful, effective conflict resolution.”
Family Section Editorial Fall 2000
Donald T. Saposnek 09/29/2000
I am delighted to serve as Editor for the Family Section of the MIRC collection of informative articles. Thank you for visiting this site. I hope that we provide you with useful information and ideas that you can immediately use in your life and work. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.
In Family Law, How is Mediation Different from a Settlement Meeting
Norman Pickell 04/17/2000
I arrange Settlement Meetings for clients. My success rate of settling the case at or shortly after the Settlement Meeting is pretty good. Therefore, I don't need to worry about Mediation ! Besides, Mediation would just add more cost to my client's separation/divorce.
How Language Shapes our Thinking: Towards a “Parenting Plan”
Donald T. Saposnek 07/06/2001
There certainly are many couples who still will fight through their divorces, and, wars around the world will still occur. However, this simple change in the language within family law has optimized the good will and cooperation of many separated and divorcing parents, thus assuring more protection of their children from inter-parental discord. And, thus, another major benefit of mediation over litigation is realized...the shift from war to peace.
Merit Systems Protection Board Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 2001 (Introduced in the House)
To clarify the Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996 to authorize the Merit Systems Protection Board to establish under such Act a 3-year pilot program that will provide a voluntary early intervention alternative dispute resolution process to assist Federal agencies and employees in resolving certain personnel actions, and for other purposes.
Between Aging Parents And Adult Children
Jack Hamilton & Elisabeth Seaman
Picture a middle-aged woman who is very worried that her elderly father is continuing to live in the family home when, in her view, the time has long passed since he was capable of living there by himself. Next, visualize a widower in his eighties who is feeling pressured by his adult daughter to leave behind all that is familiar to him--his home and his neighborhood--and to move into an "old folks" home.
Mediation Can Bring Peace to Elderly Parents, Adult Children
The American News Service
Independence is a hard habit to break, and for many older Americans in declining health, changes and adjustments are often made harder by well-meaning children, advisers and health care workers pushing their own opinions of what's best.
Mediation of Guardianship and Elder Law Cases
Robert Grey 11/12/2001
Mediation provides an ideal opportunity for the parties to air their differences, feelings, opinions, perceived slights, etc., giving the parties the opportunity to hear, consider and respond to each others’ perspectives and possibly change their own position accordingly. This could result in a measurable reduction in the inefficient use of court resources.
Mediator's Introduction to the GET (Jewish Divorce)
Adam Berner 10/22/2001
Many experienced family and divorce mediators are familiar with the term "Get" and are aware of its relevance when a Jewish couple seeks a religious divorce. But as often is the case with religious concepts and procedures, the Get, for many, is shrouded in mystery. It represents an aspect of divorce that many professionals tend to refer to outside experts for answers, explanations and arrangements. In truth, there is no need for all the mystery.
Negotiating The New Health Care Minefields
Steven P. Cohen 10/15/2001
What are we doing if the old issues have not gone away? It is a universe of entitlements - patients consider themselves entitled to excellent care, professionals feel entitled to rewards for their years of preparation, and executives feel entitled to a little respect.
The Not So Gentle Art of Letting Go
Barry Simon 08/08/2001
As our marriages or domestic partnerships break apart, we make demands, expecting our soon to be ex-spouses to behave the way we wanted them to behave during the relationship. Unfortunately, waiting around for these unrealistic expectations to occur is a losing proposition.
Mediation of Gay/Lesbian Marriages Not Found in Court
Richard Gordon 08/08/2001
Straight couples can use case law and statutes to untangle their relationships and property. Gay and lesbian couples cannot. The most they can hope for from the law is to be treated as a failed partnership: a business entity. One solution for this problem is Mediation.
Divorce American Style
Mediation might soon be the new $9 billion market niche in the American divorce industry, says mediation cheerleader, Woody Mosten. Hillary Johnson examines this booming legal trend.
Factors Predictive Of Divorce Mediator Style
Sarah Childs Grebe, DSW 07/16/2001
The specific hypothesis tested in the study was: family mediator style is associated with and can be predicted by several factors: profession-of-origin; various aspects of interpersonal behavior, (interpersonal style, personal conflict style and leadership style); and socialization. By demonstrating the association between profession-of-origin and mediation style, the study has helped to clarify the theory base of family mediation, with implications for the training of mediators and for the delivery of mediation services.
Domestic Violence and Child Abuse: Neglect Screening for Domestic Relations Mediation
The development of this Model Protocol was a project of the Michigan Domestic Violence Prevention and Treatment Board and provides Screening Resources for Courts and Mediators. The full protocol and screening resources are available in pdf format.
Super-Optimizing For ADR Disputes
Stuart Nagel 05/24/2001
Super-optimizing or win-win analysis involves resolving disputes (especially policy disputes) whereby conservative, liberals, and other major viewpoints can all come out ahead of their best initial expectations simultaneously. This article applies that kind of analysis to five types of citizen-to-citizen disputes, and five types of disputes that involve governments.
How Mediation Can Help Same Gender Relationships
Barry Simon 04/20/2001
Since same gender couples cannot legally marry yet in most states and foreign countries, how can they formalize their relationships? By using a "Living Together Agreement." In this way they can couple consciously in an attempt to create a solid foundation on which to build their relationship. It's the perfect tool for sweeping away false expectations and building honest, authentic communication.
What is Collaborative Law?
Maury Beaulier 04/07/2001
Collaborative law is a new way to resolve disputes by removing the disputed matter from the litigious court room setting and treating the process as a way to "trouble shoot and problem solve" rather than to fight and win.
How To Represent Parties Who Choose Private Divorce Mediation
Michael Becker, Esq. 03/19/2001
As private mediation becomes an accepted method of resolving the issues presented in a divorce, increasing numbers of clients are asking lawyers to provide a new kind of service, as “consulting counsel” for them in the mediation. Since most clients in mediation choose to confer with legal counsel at some point in the process, this has created a new area of practice for family lawyers. And it has raised significant questions concerning how to practice in this new field. The purpose of this article is to help family lawyers to define this new role.
Can You Have a Mediated Divorce If You Are Angry At Your Spouse?
Rachel Fishman Green, Esq. 03/07/2001
Anger is a normal feeling to have during a divorce. In fact, if you didn’t feel angry there would probably be something very wrong. Usually, one person has been unhappy for a period of time preceding the divorce, and was angry during this time. When that person tells the other that he or she has decided to leave the marriage, the other is in shock and has to deal with lots of emotions – sorrow, fear and certainly anger.
Decreasing Violence Through Conflict Resolution Education In Schools
Jeanne Asherman 02/15/2001
In an effort to address the fear of parents, “Zero Tolerance Policies” are being applied in schools in such a way as to penalize minor conflicts. Research has consistently shown conflict resolution training to be a far more effective means of decreasing violence. This article concludes that schools can not avoid being involved in teaching children methods of conflict resolution and have a responsibility to consciously insure that appropriate methods are being taught.
Talking With Kids About Violence
Talking with Kids 02/13/2001
Research shows that children, especially those between the ages of 8 and 12, want their parents to talk with them about today's toughest issues, including violence. Even when they reach adolescence, they want to have a caring adult in their lives to talk about these issues.
Sample Stipulation For Collaborative Law
Chip Rose 01/08/2001
Petitioner SUSAN SMART and Respondent SAMUEL SMART, and their respective attorneys, enter into the following stipulations with respect to the above-captioned Family Law action now pending before the Court:
Tips For Naive Negotiators: How to improve your chances of getting what you want
Lois Gold 01/18/2001
This is the third in a series of articles by Lois Gold, author of Between Love And Hate: A Guide To Civilized Divorce(Penguin USA 1996). In this article, an excerpt from Chapter 12, Lois provides negotiation tips. Although it is written for separating or divorcing couples, the principles are applicable to any disputants who have had or will continue to have a relationship.
Accessing Your Resources As A Negotiator
Lois Gold 01/18/2001
This is the second in a series of articles by Lois Gold, author of Between Love And Hate: A Guide To Civilized Divorce(Penguin USA 1996). In this article, an excerpt from Chapter 12, Lois focuses on recognizing different negotiating styles and accessing your resources as a negotiator. Although it is written for separating or divorcing couples, the principles are applicable to any disputants who have had or will continue to have a relationship.
Getting Ready To Negotiate
Lois Gold 01/18/2001
This is the first in a series of articles by Lois Gold, author of Between Love And Hate: A Guide To Civilized Divorce(Penguin USA 1996). In this article, an excerpt from Chapter 12, Lois focuses on preparing yourself to be at your best as a negotiator. Although it is written for separating or divorcing couples, the principles are applicable to any disputants who have had or will continue to have a relationship.
Would I Prefer Mediation For My Divorce?
Rachel Fishman Green, Esq. 01/11/2001
Mediation is a process where you and your spouse will sit down with a neutral person who will help you, sometimes with and most often without attorneys present, to negotiate the terms of your divorce. Attorney/Mediator Green reflects on her personal practice to answers some of the common questions about divorce mediation: do mediated divorces reflect the law?, is my case appropriate for mediation? , and what are the benefits of mediation?
Trustee - Beneficiary Mediation
John A. Gromala & David F. Gage
Mediators can provide a critical service to both trustees and beneficiaries. Being independent, with no stake in the outcome, they can meet with the parties together and separately to help them focus on a search for a solution that meets the needs of all.
Why Collaborative Law?
Maury Beaulier 01/10/2001
Collaborative law is a process that was created by lawyers as a bloodless alternative for resolving family law and divorce issues.
Child Support And Mediation
Norman Pickell 12/14/2000
Perhaps the most important benefit of mediation in child support (and family law) cases is the preservation of the relationship that must exist between parents after separation. Once you are parents, you are parents forever!
Elian-Now Is The Time To Mediate
Forrest (Woody) Mosten 04/23/2000
Has the time for mediation passed? Or, is this the time when mediation can still have a real impact on the lives of all involved. Could the seemingly unresolvable positions and conflicting values in this case benefit from the structured dialogue, creative futuristic problem solving and healing that mediation could offer?
Choosing A Divorce Mediator
Julie Denny 07/03/2000
Finding and selecting a mediator can be easier if you follow some simple steps. In the best of circumstances, divorce is an uncomfortable process. Take the time to assure you have a mediator whom you like, respect and believe to be qualified to help both of you negotiate that equitable settlement.
Family Mediation: Research Facts
Forrest (Woody) Mosten 08/28/1998
This article organizes family mediation research facts in a manner that provides insight into who chooses to mediate, what makes the mediation process effective, and how participants rate outcome and satisfaction.
Spirit of Friend to Family Alive
We've lost a peacemaker. Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran was no jet-setting diplomat settling hostilities of global proportions. Her turf was the smaller but no less scorched earth of child custody battles between divorcing parents.
European Principles on Family Mediation
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe
On January 21, 1998 the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted a recommendation Number R(98)1 entitled Family Mediation in Europe. The text of the recommendation and principles of family mediation follows.
Parenting After Marriages End
John Reiman 04/06/1999
The divorce may soon be final, but even before the dust has settled, parents will discover that one responsibility hasn't changed in the slightest: Parents are still accountable for the well-being of their child
Mediative Solutions For Parents And Children At Impasse
Matt Kramer 12/20/1999
Pouting and crying, tantrums and yelling, stealing and running away. It seems as if there are an infinite number of ways in which children can express their displeasure to us. Exactly what displeases them or what we as single parents can do about it is seldom clear amidst the decision making, catching up and scheduling that we struggle through in our day to day lives.
What Parents Can Do to Help Children with Divorce
Kathleen O'Connell Corcoran 09/14/1998
A well-known psychologist offers suggestions for what parents can do to support their children's comfort and adjustment to the many realities of divorce.
Turn Down the Volume When it Comes to Divorce
Barbara Stark 10/29/1998
There are options for couples who share the goal of ending their marriage in a constructive way, minimizing hostility and damage to all family members. There are three paths to divorce: the conventional adversarial process, a mediated settlement, or a collaborative approach to the process.
Conflict Resolution Available to Families With Out-of-Control Teens
The Community Mediation Program, which typically shied away from family conflicts and instead concentrated on lanlord-tenant disputes, neighborhood squabbles or harassment charges, decided to expand its focus and address the issue of juveniles involved in domestic disputes.
The Use of Mediation in Estate Planning: A Preemptive Strike Against Potential Litigation
John Gromala 05/15/1999
Use of an independent mediator during the planning process can help estate planners improve client satisfaction, reduce the probability of family litigation and avoid malpractice claims.
Getting A Divorce? Why You Should Not Just Fight It Out
Mimi E. Lyster 04/05/1999
Many have traveled the adversarial road, and probably for many of the same reasons. Constant fighting, arguing and blaming in a marriage or similarly committed relationship generally leads to more of the same while dissolving it. Unfortunately, the consequences of continuing this behavior can be dramatic, including protracted litigation, escalating costs, a dramatically reduced standard of living and significant damage to your children’s emotional well-being.
Same Sex Divorce Mediation.
Jonathan Crane 01/01/1999
The Gay Community has, to date, not been as well served. Same sex separations are, of course, every bit as emotionally charged and messy as heterosexual divorces. Property division is far more messy.
Collaboration and Conflict Resolution In Education
Since most of us grew up in a culture that treats negotiation and conflict resolution as forms of competition, we have much to learn about how concerned parents and school officials can better communicate and resolve conflict.
Proposed Standards of Practice for Lawyers Who Conduct Divorce and Family Mediation
American Bar Association Family Law Section Task Force 07/30/1997
These model Standards of Conduct for lawyers who serve as divorce and family mediators are intended to perform three major functions: (1) to serve as a guide for the conduct of family mediators; (2) to inform the mediating parties; and (3) to promote public confidence in mediation as a process for resolving disputes.


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