Mediation's role in history
Long before there were courtrooms, tribal elders practiced mediation to develop workable, satisfying resolutions to disputes between their followers. The tradition of mediation has grown through the centuries and is recognized today in the laws and statutes of countries and states as a valuable means of resolving controversy.
While sophisticated in its approach, mediation gets back to the basics of inspiring creative resolutions of seemingly insolvable conflicts. It wasn't war or courts that ended the conflict in Central America during the 1980s between the Contras and the Sandinistas, or the years of conflict in Northern Ireland, it was professional mediators who facilitated peaceful, enduring resolutions that allowed the people of both regions to achieve stability and economic growth. Due in significant part to the implementation of the REDRESS mediation program by the United States Postal Service, the term "going postal" has almost disappeared from our vocabulary.
Mediation is a process of bringing an impartial third-party into the negotiation for the purpose of helping the parties get past their positions and expand their insights as to possible solutions. The mediator helps participants take a pragmatic look at the options for resolution, explore techniques to broaden opportunities, and understand the alternatives to a negotiated settlement. The subtleties of these time-honored techniques are often lost in the in-your-face courtroom battle.
At Strategic Resolutions, LLC we are experienced mediators, each with hundreds of hours of training and thousands of mediations to our credit. We work to broaden the range of opportunities for our clients.
Typical mediation procedures
- For mediation to occur, all parties to the dispute must agree to try the process.
- Mediation is voluntary and any party may terminate the process at any point. However, because of high success rates, early termination rarely happens.
- Mediation is also confidential. Matters discussed only in mediation cannot generally be recounted in subsequent court proceedings and most state law prohibits mediators from being subpoenaed. Unlike the public courtroom, disputes are dealt with confidentially.
- Mediation can usually be instituted within weeks and usually costs less in total than the retainer for a single attorney -- no years of waiting for hearing dates and the common repeated delays. Mediation is expeditious and relatively inexpensive. Disputes are often settled in terms of hours, not days, months, or years.
Particularly where on-going business or family relationships are involved, mediation offers a less combative atmosphere and builds guidelines for future working relationships. Because of the nature of advocacy, the legal system often frustrates parties and misses out on opportunities for mutual gain.
Our experience is that people, organizations, and businesses often leave mediation feeling more positive about themselves and their futures. At the same time, having developed positive skill sets rather spiraling into frustration.
Mediation is not only well suited for situations where the parties are working amiably from the start, but it is also particularly well-suited for participants who are highly combative and antagonistic. Our experience is that often people who could not civilly communicate with each other at the start of mediation, leave the process being able to talk rationally with each other and move forward in a concrete, positive fashion.
There is the classic story often told by mediators about two men on an isolated island who discover an orange on the beach. Neither has seen an orange in years and the two men end up having a vicious fight over its possession. Neither is willing to split the orange in half. Finally, in desperation and exhaustion, they take the orange to the island elder for a resolution. Both men argue their right to the orange. The elder then asks each man, what is so important about the orange to them. The first man replies, "I dream of drinking orange juice and this orange is a wish come true." The second man replies, "I love orange cake and need the rind of that orange to bake the cake." Case solved.
So often, controversy arises because of the positions that individuals or businesses take and their failure to understand each other's reasons behind the positions. One of mediation's great strengths is its ability to have participants explore each other's underlying reasons and to create innovative ways of fulfilling those needs.
Call us and join the thousands of people and businesses who have saved time, money, and emotional capital through mediation.
Family Mediation / Divorce Mediation
In nearly every listing of traumatic events in a person's life, divorce is among the top three. Divorce frequently produces feelings of anger, betrayal, sadness, and frustration. For most people, emotional levels run unusually high for a significant period of time after they realize divorce is inevitable. The desire for vindication and to regain self-esteem often intensifies the bitterness of a divorce proceeding. This bitterness plays out as a battle for possessions, possessions being defined as property and/or children.
The emotional harm of this battle to both spouses is catastrophic. Vibrant, social individuals can dissolve into a sea of bitterness where friends and relatives drift away. The fight leaves emotional exhaustion and financial ruin with each spouse spending tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees.
"What has been largely ignored in the literature is an explicit consideration of divorce as traumatic. Yet the psychological ramifications of the divorce process are considerable, and one cannot overlook the potential traumatizing effects of divorce on the children involved."
- Dean McKay, Ph.D., B.C.E.T.S., F.A.A.E.T.S.,
"The Trauma of Divorce: Reducing the Impact of Separation on Children"
Every day, children are destroyed in the courtroom; they are the ultimate victims of their parents' divorce battle. They are torn, confused, and afraid, often mistakenly believing that they are somehow to blame for their parents' plight.
Ways of reducing trauma and reassuring children during a divorce
- provided by Kristina Diener, Psy.D
- Assure your child the divorce is not their fault. They'll need to hear this one repeatedly.
- Find them a support system. Get them involved in after school programs, sports, a reading class, anything that will keep them occupied and absorbed in a constructive endeavor.
- Stop blaming each other. It doesn't matter to your kids who did what to each other, only that their parents are splitting up and the entire situation is painful for them. Make it clear that, while you and your ex do not love each other, you still love your child(ren) and will always be there for them.
- Make yourself available to talk, reassure, comfort, and assuage their fears. Answer their questions honestly without assaulting each other. Remember, you had children with your ex, so find it in your heart to at least respect that aspect of them.
Mediation is a tried and true, time-honored, and inexpensive approach that seeks to minimize the trauma to divorcing spouses and children. It is forward-looking, concentrating on each party's abilities and needs to create a better future. It takes into consideration children's needs to feel loved by both parents, to feel nurtured, and to enjoy the positive aspects of each parent.
The only legitimate definition of "best interests of the children" is where parents who, despite their negative feelings about each other, find ways to work together to ensure the happiness of their children. Mediation focuses on those results; courtroom battles focus on destroying this potential outcome.
We all want to feel:
- Good about ourselves
- Secure economically
- Free to make our own choices and decisions
- Good about how our children are raised and develop into adults
These are all forward-looking, positive feelings that are much more likely to be the result of mediation than a bitter courtroom fight.
Key Points About Mediation
- It is often accomplished for less than the retainer for one attorney
- It is private, so feelings can be expressed in mediation, but the divorcing spouses do not face the ridicule of accusations and innuendoes in a public courtroom
- Parenting relationships are built, not destroyed
- It offers the possibility of a much broader array of financial solutions than are available in the courtroom
- Decisions ultimately are your own; they are not the dictates of a judge who doesn't know you and may never see you again
Rates: Session time -- $175.00 per hour
Additional charges for out-of-area travel and accommodations
Phone: (414) 640-9750