Divorce Arbitration: When You’re So Close To An Agreement

Many couples in the throes of separation and divorce often agree on quite a bit on how they will move forward.  However, there often are a handful of issues on which they simply can’t agree.  So, they give up and wait for a judge…and they wait, and wait, and wait….

In this economy, “The House” frequently is one of those issues that isn’t easily resolved.  Can’t rent it.  Can’t afford it.  Can’t sell it.  So, the couple waits for a judge to handle it…but, the economy may have recovered by then!

Arbitration is a process that divorcing couples should look to as a tool to move efficiently to their divorce.  Where there are a handful of outstanding issues to be resolved, couples can choose to wait for the court or they can look to an arbitrator (or a panel of arbitrators) to hear the dispute and make a decision (usually called an “award”).  If the couple agrees that the arbitrators’ decision will be binding, then the award can be submitted to the court for approval (hopefully, in conjunction with a complete settlement).    ADR is flexible enough to deal with these trying situations – but knowing the options is not always the case.

At One Mediation, a Divorce Arbitration Program will be rolled out in April 2011.  Through this program, couples can choose to arbitrate some or all of their divorce issues to a panel of two arbitrators.  Each spouse selects one of the two arbitrators from One Mediation’s panel of arbitrators and mediators who will jointly hear the couple’s case and issue an award.  It’s quick.  It’s efficient.  It’s cost effective.

Call One Mediation for more details: 404-720-0599.


Family Vacations Post-Divorce

Most families with young children will vacation at times dictated by their children’s school calendars.  For children of divorce, Mom and Dad’s co-parenting skills may not be ready for a vacation where they both are there, no longer for each other, but for the kids and sharing the experience with their kids.   On the other hand, some celebrity families have been highlighted for their ability to co-parent while on vacation – yes, it is somewhat extraordinary!  However, it also highlights the possibilities when the kids truly are put ahead of the discord, past or current, between the parents.

10,000 a Day!?! The Aged Caring for the Aged.

In America, the population is incorporating new 60 year-olds at a rate of 10,000 per day.   These Baby-Boomers are receiving renewed interest for their impact on Social Security, but for mediators…the attention is on them for their impact on the parents!

Baby-Boomers increasingly are having to face their own aging issues at the same time that they are having to face the aging issues of their own parents.   Most thought that they’d be carefree, not caregiving.

Many Boomers are facing the realities of caregiving for parents who are in their 80s and beyond.   It’s tough work, even in the best of circumstances.   In the worst of circumstances, the ugliest of human frailties are highlighted.  Somewhere in between these extremes are most families.

How can families create circumstances that will best ensure that their aging loved one is respected and well-cared for?   Communicate frequently!

One Mediation established its Elder Care Decisionmaking Program for families earlier this year.  In this program, a mediator facilitates a family meeting to create a Care Plan for a loved one, often including a communication plan.   These facilitated family meetings are a great first step to successfully caring for a loved one, where hurt feelings, anger, confusion, suspicion, and avoidable disagreement can be short-circuited.  In the best situations, the parents instigate the meeting.  In less ideal situations, the loved ones (often adult siblings) call the meeting.

In any event, with 10,000 Americans aging into the senior strata every day, the need to plan and plan early WITH your family becomes ever more important.  Schedule your family’s appointment today.

Love to Fight More than Live?

We’ve probably all had that moment where we realized that the problem that is ticking us off, irritating us, or preoccupying us is not worth it.  You know, the “stolen” parking place, getting cut off in traffic, vanilla instead of chocolate.   However, there are some times to battle for what is right, and the journey may be long(er than you expected).  Sometimes, being right or winning (not in the Charlie Sheen way) becomes the fight rather than what the problem is (or was).

Many mediators see “fighting just to win” or “fighting to make the other side lose” take precedence over the dispute itself – particularly in the divorce setting.

A recent article highlights that phenomena – where resolution is plagued by the parties’ need to win or, perhaps more accurately, the need for the other side to lose (preferably to them).  What is a mediator to do when being able to claim victory (or to claim credit for decimation of the opponent)?

Where the reality of the love of the fight is more important than the value of stopping, resolution may be impossible.  However, and as debated heavily by mediators about its appropriateness, a mediator’s proposal may be warranted.  A mediator’s proposal is the offer, by the mediator to both parties, of a potential resolution that does not originate with either party.  Often such a proposal is coupled with a “double blind” – the mediator will not disclose the parties’ responses unless all parties agree to the proposal.

The reason for a mediator’s proposal (which could be – you agree to flip a coin as to who receives the blender), is that it removes some of the triggers to the love of the fight or desire to win at the other’s expense.  Does a mediator lose his or her neutrality by becoming part of the solution?  Maybe.  Is it effective?  Maybe.  Is it worth a try?  Probably, but as a last resort to impasse.


Marital Fight Patterns & Mediation

Of interest, a recent study found that how couples disagree can have an impact on the likelihood of divorce and whether mediation is likely to be productive.

Sexual Harassment: What to do!

Sexual harassment claims in the workplace often grip the headlines because of the sensational (and sordid) details of who, what, when, where and how.  Interestingly, if employers treated complaints, rumors, and rumblings of sexual harassment with the vigor of a journalist’s basic questions, some “good things” could happen to stave off real problems, identify (and solve) problem areas, and promote morale.

In addition to these benefits of following up on workplace concerns (and outright complaints), employers also may reduce their legal liability risks when they ask these “journalistic” questions of who, what, when, where, why and how.  A California law firm recently published a tidy “Do and Don’t” list when dealing with harassment concerns in the workplace – it’s great advice!

Employers do need to take workplace concerns seriously and document those efforts when they choose to address the issues internally.  However, employers also need to evaluate when they need to bring in a third party investigator – like those at One Mediation – to review the situation and provide an impartial analysis.  Many investigations of this nature cost under $5,000.00 and may be covered by an employer’s EPLI policy.

All in all, employers need to know what to do (and why) when dealing with harassment and discrimination claims in the workplace.

Required Reading: Mandatory Mediation (for Separating Couples)

It’s a global phenomenon…courts across the planet are sending many feuding couples into mediation to take care of their own problems, rather than allow them to make problems for the courts.   Interestingly, exasperation is not the key ingredient for requiring parting parents to mediate – the benefits to children and families to forge agreements have lasting effects.  Click here for more!