Over the years we have found the balance of two mediators often makes each member of the couple feel more comfortable. We offer couples the choice of one mediator or co-mediation. Many couples prefer the balance of a male and female mediator and the added insights these trained mediators with legal and mental health backgrounds bring to the process. The greater understanding of psychological dynamics that a therapist-mediator brings to divorce mediation is very useful in overcoming blockages in the process. When custody issues exist, the input of the psychologist-mediator helps regarding children’s reactions to divorce and the potential impact of various custody arrangements on children. The modeling by mediators of a wife and husband and a father and mother help a couple. We can show how you can disagree with respect and understanding. Post a comment for more details or to tell us what you think of Co-mediation. Directions on how to post a comment are in the green column on the right or at the bottom of this page. WM 2/8/08
We encourage couples having trouble with marital issues to use mediation to reach a legal agreement addressing those issues, thereby strengthening the marriage. The couple jointly hires us to act not as a lawyer or counselor for either, but as a mediator. During a series of meetings the couple works with us to identify their issues and work out a mutually satisfactory plan to address them, including exchange of financial information and whatever sharing of responsibility they consider best for them. Both are free to consult with a lawyer, financial planner or other advisor at any time. The process is designed to help the couple strengthen their marriage by negotiating and then signing a legally enforceable contract.
Once an agreement is reached, we draft a Marital Mediation Agreement for each spouse to review with his or her legal advisor before signing. The Agreement may be enforced in various ways.
Marital Mediation works only if the couple is willing to make a good faith effort to reach agreement. There is no legal obligation to agree. Any commitment to mediation and to make the resulting agreement work comes voluntarily from the couple.
The process of negotiating and writing a legal agreement can change behavior in a couple’s relationship. Creating personal solutions enhances marital satisfaction allowing the marriage to continue. Marital Mediation also leads to a reduction in marital conflict, helping children.
We will be giving a talk at the Tucson Saguaro Rotary club on February 26, 2008. Post a comment for more details or to tell us what you think of Marital Mediation. Directions on how to post a comment are in the first blog comment. WM 2/7/08
While researching a theme song for the Divorce TV program I came up with the following list of divorce songs. Let me know what you think would be a good theme song and if you have any other suggestions. Directions on how to make a comment are contained in our first blog posting. WM 2/6/08
1. Love Stinks – J. Geils Band
2. Goodbye To You – Scandal
3. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
4. Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac
5. 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover – Paul Simon
6. Hit the road jack – Ray Charles
7. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
8. The Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King
9. Time For Me To Fly – REO Speedwagon
10. Release Me – Engelbert Humperdinck
11. Sail On – Commodores
12. Harden My Heart – Quarterflash
13. I Hate Myself For Loving You – Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
14. Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) – Doris Day
15. Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares) – Travis Tritt
16. Jive Talkin’ – The Bee Gees
17. Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off – Harry Connick, Jr.
18. Lonesome Loser – Little River Band
19. Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) – Journey
20. Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves – Aretha Franklin
21. I don’t Care About You – Fear
22. Happy Trails – Van Halen
See our article in the January Desert Leaf. WM 2/5/08
In times of conflict and trouble, one of the first qualities that we lose is our sense of humor.
Humor, injected into mediation in an appropriate way, can soften all of these attitudes and help the parties move forward. I know a mediator who, during the opening phase will sometimes note that the bathrooms are down the hall to the left, “but no one is allowed to go there until we have reached resolution.” This unexpected, and absurd, statement is most always appreciated by the parties as an effort to lighten the moment. It serves to ease tensions a little, brings on some smiles, and in a way reinforces the commitment to actually work hard toward finding a resolution. It underscores in a humorous way the “why” everyone has come to the table.
A good mediator is to be able to recognize when and how to inject humor, in a respectful way, into the process. This is not always easy, as it involves taking a risk that the humor won’t be well accepted. But mediating well is a process of risk taking, as Kenneth Close notes in “Mediating Dangerously.” Used with care and respect, humor can be a powerful tool in the mediator’s kit. And sometimes the participants in the process will rise to the occasion and inject their own healing humorous comments. Below is a cartoon I like about mediation and a joke about mediators. Do you have a cartoon, joke or story you would like to share? As always, post a comment with us. There are instructions in our first blog which tells you how. WM 2/5/08
How many mediators does it take to change a lightbulb?
Well, let’s unpack that shall we?
First of all, let’s be clear that it isn’t the mediator’s function to change the lightbulb.
The mediator will explore with the lightbulb how it feels about the on and off nature of its job, its unhappiness at always having to work nights, and its relationships with the other parties, including the new lightbulbs that it feels are a threat to its position.
The mediator will talk to the new lightbulbs, reframing and normalizing their observation that the principal lightbulb is completely out of its box, and identifying that their real issue is that being picked on one at a time constantly undermines their team spirit.
The darkness seems quite hostile to all the lightbulbs and keeps telling them to go and unscrew themselves. The mediator will allow it to vent its anger and express its distress at how it always feels unwanted.
The mediator will help guide the darkness and the lightbulbs, both new and mature, to a solution reflecting their new understanding of each other. Bright sparks will realise that you’ll have to be left in the dark now because the final outcome is confidential.
I have volunteered to work as a mediator for the Red Cross Disaster Relief program. You can find out more about the Southern Arizona Chapter of the Red Cross at http://www.redcrossarizona.org/site/PageServer. I agree with the Red Cross’ Fundamental Principles of Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence Services, Unity, and Universality and its Core Values of Accountability, Collaboration, Commitment, Results, Trustworthiness, and Humanitarianism. Becoming a volunteer requires a great deal of training. I have taken courses entitled Fundamentals of Staff Services, Fulfilling Our Mission: Translating Your Compassion into Community Action, Mass Care Overview, Introduction to Disaster Services, New Paid & Vol. Staff Orientation, Client Casework: Providing Emergency Assistance and will be taking Collaborating to Ensure Effective Service Delivery. What has been interesting is how many of the skills taught by the Red Cross are similar to those used by mediators. In fact the skills are common sense and social skills we should all use. Some of the skills include: welcome the person warmly, treat the person with courtesy; active listening which enables you to express in your own words what the client is saying; avoiding the listening challenges of not paying attention, interrupting, hearing what is expected; practicing good listening skills such as focusing on the person, paying attention to non-verbal language, asking questions that clarify what the person is saying; and finally empathy. Volunteering for the Red Cross is a rewarding experience and I highly recommend it. WM 2/4/08