Can there be a “Mediation Friendly” Attorney?

A recent article interviewed a family lawyer in California.  In the article, the attorney addressed poorly thought-out settlement agreements, an issue in every state.   He also described a certain brand of family law attorney:  a “mediation-friendly” attorney.

What is a mediation-friendly attorney?  Many Georgia attorneys’ websites proclaim their practice as cooperative or collaborative (though they are not certified in “Collaborative Law”).   While there probably is no perfect definition of this term, the sentiment appears to be that there are attorneys who are more willing than other attorneys to advise clients to be open to resolving family law disputes through mediation, negotiation, etc.

Is advising a client to be open to a negotiated settlement a breach of an attorney’s ethical duty to be a zealous advocate?   If so, when does that occur (and does it make the attorney “mediation friendly”)?   Comment here.

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Is Divorce Mediation for You?

Mediation is a process.  It is a journey.  It is not a journey that is for everyone…until they are ready.

A recent blog hits on three “red flags” that divorce mediation may not be a process that is right for you.   Sometimes mediation is a process that is right for couples once the individuals “are ripe” for resolution.   What does that mean?   Parties that succeed in mediation often have these characteristics, among others:

  • A desire to get out of the current state of affairs and move forward to something that is more certain.
  • A firm awareness that reconciling the marriage will not occur.
  • A strong interest in having some control over the outcome rather than awaiting a trial court’s decision, which may not be favorable or that does not best fit your family’s needs, culture, etc.
  • A sufficient measure of confidence in what the legal landscape of divorce entails for their particular case.
  • Strong preparation in budgeting, inventorying assets and debts, and making decisions about the children that are for the children (vs. the wants, needs, desires of the parent).
  • A willingness to accept change.

In the context of divorce, not every party in the marriage attains these qualities at the same time (or ever).  However, when both parties reach a critical point of acceptance, mediation indeed may be a process that serves them well.

Divorce & Parenting

Most parents facing divorce are in uncharted territory on how to co-parent well with their soon-to-be-ex.  With having to become an instant expert in this kind of parenting, many parents will seek out advice and counsel from parenting coaches, parent coordinators, and child therapists.  It only makes sense to get a tutor on such an important matter.

Many divorce coaches and consultants blog about the typical challenges that face individuals.  One recent blogging coach hit on a quick and potent list of co-parenting tips that are worth repeating.  Click here for more… 

Mediation at the EEOC: A Management Attorney’s Advice

Workplace disputes are complicated, whether they involve legal liability, typical politics, or what initially appears as an ongoing debate on who drank the last bit of coffee without putting on a new pot.  When the dispute involves matters of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, the matter may involve the employee and the employer spending time with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The EEOC is the federal agency charged with enforcing certain civil rights laws in the workplace.  Annually it publishes the number of charges it has received and the kinds of claims that were made.  Tens of thousands of charges are made each year.  As part of the processing of these charges and investigation of the claims, the EEOC has the opportunity to offer the employer and employee mediation in which it – the EEOC – will also be a party (albeit sometimes a silent party) to the mediation session.

Mediation is a time where the parties may be able to work out their differences, set things back on course, or otherwise resolve the dispute.  A recent article from a management-side attorney offer employers advice on whether to mediate through the EEOC’s process and the prospect of “settling.”  The article begs the question of whether mediation is a useful prospect if the employer (or perhaps any party) is not willing to do something, give up something, or say something as a fixed and unmovable position.

Mediation, however, sometimes is the place where information may be obtained early enough in the process to re-evaluate staunch positions…and make informed and wise decisions before further damage occurs or dollars, time, and resources are spent…on either side of the “v.”

Quick Primer on Different Types of Divorce Processes

The vocabulary and jargon of separation and divorce can be intimidating.  For individuals attempting to figure out how to get a divorce, it usually boils down to getting a lawyer.  Then, there is the sticker shock of what a lawyer costs to retain for litigation and few individuals are aware of the various ways that they can utilize legal counsel or of the various ways that they should not use legal counsel.  As a starting point, a recent article tackles a few of these items in user-friendly terms.

What is Elder Mediation?

Helpful, timely information about elder mediation.

Mediation and Collaborative Action Group

Originally published in Long Island Woman magazine

Elder mediation recognizes the voice of older and disabled adults in the decisions that
impact their quality of life. Because most major life changes involve the whole family,
decision-making rarely involves just one issue. Mediation provides an opportunity for
families to come together to discuss these issues in an open and supportive environment
that fosters creative solutions that are best suited for them.

As baby boomers age and government resources diminish, families will face many difficult
choices concerning how they handle transitions during their elders’ declining years. Families
will have to be able to evaluate resources and options and develop ever changing strategies
to support their elders. This will require communication and problem solving skills that will
need to be increasingly sophisticated. Elder mediation is a first step for families to help them
address their changing needs. It gives them a forum to…

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