The Value of Mediation for Family Situations

Family Mediation, Divorce, child custody

Is Your Family Struggling? These Three Tips Will Help Your Family Navigate the Journey to Health and Happiness

If you and your partner are considering divorce or are facing a dynamic you feel is getting out of control, you shouldn’t feel shame. Struggles happen to the very best families — and your goal right now should be making sure all members can find resolution. A split can tear apart a familial unit — especially if there is a messy case that is played out in court. A disruptive teenager or an argument over child custody¬†can make home life difficult for everyone. If you identify with these situations,read on to learn how mediation could create a healthier and less stressing situation for you and your children.

Tip #1: What Can I Expect in a Mediation Session?

Mediation is a legal recourse that keeps you out of court to hash out the details of a separation or a child custody case. It also is beneficial for families working with their angst-filled teenagers or with members who are creating an unhealthy dynamic. In cases of divorce, both parents can meet with a neutral person to talk about legally-binding decisions such as property distribution and custody. In cases of disruptions and arguments, mediators can meet with all members. It’s important to know that a mediator cannot advise either party on decisions that will eventually be made, as he or she is a neutral listener. But one of the best things this professional can do is help all sides see a different perspective and understand it. This leads to mutually agreed upon decisions that are good for everyone.

Tip #2: What Are the Benefits of Mediation?

Separation cases in court can be messy and destructive. A split is difficult on everyone — and in some cases, it can lead to name-calling and angry episodes that alienate children involved. If you have a disruptive teenager or a child who is acting out, it often is because of an underlying issue that you haven’t been able to address. Mediation can help both of these situations — because all sides are brought to a neutral table to discuss their wants, needs and opinions of the current situation. This allows for the free exchange of each person’s thoughts and more open communication. Members cannot avoid one another in a mediation session and must actively work on a solution that benefits the entire health of your familial unit.

Tip #3: How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Mediation costs significantly less other types of recourse — including a court case in situations of divorce or child custody. On average, a court case can cost upwards of $15,000 and can become long and drawn-out, wreaking havoc on life and creating uncertainty in the minds of your children. Summit Conflict Resolution and Trainings welcomes you to one mediation session at a time, and usually can find resolution for you and your children between one and three¬†sessions, depending on the issues your family is struggling with. What we know is that the results don’t lie: Couples who go through mediation report feeling happier and more content with the results — feeling that they each were heard and got what they wanted — than couples who go through court proceedings. That’s not just good for the parents; that’s good for the children, who will sense the unhappiness of their parents. Children who go through mediation with their parents report having a happier and more content home life. This is the result with a professional mediator helping you and your children work through the issues you can’t communicate about on your own.

Mediation does not work for everyone. But, when families try it, they find that it can go a long way in helping both parties come to agreements on financial, custody matters and general communication that end up being good for everyone. Best of all, mediation teaches everyone involved that listening and trying to understand a differing viewpoint develops compassion, lessens anger and improves relationships — even the most contentious. Mediation also costs significantly less than court proceedings, saving the parties involved needed cash to continue providing a future good life for their families following the separation. If you’re ready to try something different than court — or having another argument at the dinner table — then consider setting up your mediation session today.

Changes In Mediation Culture


Three Ways Mediation Culture is Changing and Can Transform Your Business

By: Tonya Howe


Throughout the course of a company’s life, employees and employers may need to enter mediation sessions to work out issues related to work life, human resources and labor negotiations — among others. There are several different kinds of approaches in mediation culture — including what is known as evaluative and facilitative techniques. Learn the top three ways this interpersonal culture is changing and how the latter type of sessions can transform your business for the better.


Tip #1: The Evaluative Approach


The evaluative approach came about through the court system. Attorneys involved in a workplace dispute choose a mediator together and become active participants in the session with the involved parties. The mediator usually has substantive legal experience and has the job of pointing out the cracks in each party’s case. The mediator may then make recommendations — either formal or informal — about what he or she thinks a judge will say in court about the case. While this approach can be helpful, it also can be expensive and intimidating because legal counsel is involved. It could put the party’s on the defensive. There is a better approach that can achieve the interpersonal goals of a business, however.


Tip #2: Another Approach


That approach is called facilitative. This approach emerged in the 1960s and continued to be popular in the 1970s. It is now making a comeback. It involves a hired facilitator who creates a plan for both parties to come together to reach a resolution together. The mediator’s role is to ask questions of the parries and to try to provide context and normalization to each view so that all parties can arrive at some understanding. What is different about this approach is that the mediator does not give recommendations to the parties or express opinions. The meditator does not predict what a judge will rule in the courts.


Tip #3: Why Let the Parties Decide


The strength of the latter approach really is in the power it gives to the dueling parties to work out their issues, arrive at some understanding of one another and mutually agree on an outcome. This process creates a safe and welcoming environment for a disagreement and encourages active listening and partnership. Over time, this approach makes enemies into teammates and helps parties work toward the common good on behalf of the company. If you have a good facilitator who does not take sides but simply tries to listen and to articulate each party’s viewpoint with sensitivity and understanding — then you find that disputing party’s actually begin to understand one another and empathize. They may not agree with each other on every point, but they often to find a way to reach a resolution that is good for everyone involved.


If you are ready to create a happier and healthier workplace culture, then consider hiring a facilitator such as Summit ( and setting up facilitative sessions with your employees. This approach really puts the power back into the hands of the employees who are having a disagreement. By using a facilitator, they help ensure all views are heard and understood. They listen and direct, but they don’t make a decision for the involved parties. At the end of the day, it is up to the disagreeing members to reach a decision — and history shows that if they feel they are being heard, understood and respected, they will be willing to make a step toward one another. You’ll find a stronger and more effective workplace as a result.