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Is Mediation Right For Your Client?

Many divorces become a long and costly battle through attorneys. When the dust settles, the couple feels exhausted and embittered, and the children feel hurt and confused. Despite the fact that California is a "no-fault" state regarding divorce, the courtroom becomes a battle ground attempting to prove to the judge, or public at-large, who has been the worst spouse, parent, person, etc. Divorce is always difficult, but it doesn't have to be a battle. Mediation diverts the client from the adversarial process entirely and provides the client with a legally binding agreement consistent with the stated policy of the law. With Mediation, the couple, not lawyers and courts, controls the process.

Mediation is an alternative to litigation that should be considered before the case is filed, but Mediation can be introduced at any stage of the divorce process, including implementing modifications to an existing settlement.

It has been argued that Mediation only works with couples who are on friendly terms. To the contrary, researchers conclude that high levels of conflict do not preclude Mediation. Most experienced attorneys, judges and therapists will attest to the tact that the worst cases of hostile and extended litigation are fueled by unresolved conflict that has little relevance to the legal or factual issues dealt with in court. Mediation can be particularly helpful by providing a safe and private environment for the clients to express their feelings. Mediation works toward separating out feelings of anger, betrayal, grief and/or guilt from the decisions the individuals must make regarding their future and the future of their children.

Assess The Couple's Ability To Mediate:


Can they deal fairly with each other?
Is each person willing to identify and communicate their own views, interests, and needs and allow the other person to do the same.


Are they open to considering the Mediation process?
Assume that neither person rejects the idea out of hand. Arrange for both to consult with a mediator who will explain the Mediation process in detail and assess whether Mediation is appropriate.


Would one person tend to dominate or control the other?
The mediators have a duty to assure a balanced dialogue and attempt to diffuse any manipulative or intimidating negotiations. The structure of a team of mediators can best address both the psychological and legal issues. Mediation also levels the playing field and empowers the spouse who has not been primarily responsible for handling finances.


Are both persons able and willing to deal with subjects that need to be addressed?
Mediation enables the clients to be directly involved in reaching a lasting and effective settlement of all the issues pertaining to the dissolution of the marriage. Mediation has the potential for creating a cooperative relationship thereby reducing conflict. This is particularly important when children are involved, because the couple will remain co-parents for many years.

Besides specializing in Divorce Mediation, Dr. Lydia Glass also runs her own private practice in Pasadena, California as a Clinical Psychologist and as a Marriage & Family Therapist. Dr. Glass has also been providing psychotherapy for over 25 years... (more)


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