In recent years, mediation has become an increasingly popular method for resolving conflicts ranging from divorce to workplace issues. Mediators act as a neutral third party guiding the parties to reach agreement in a safe, non-adversarial setting so that all participants feel comfortable with the outcome. Disagreements do not need to be contentious. Here are some of the common types of mediation available for peaceable dispute resolution.
Divorce Mediation & Same Sex Unions
Divorce mediation is a sensible alternative to litigation. It is a voluntary and confidential process whereby both spouses and a mediator work together to negotiate their own agreement in a non-threatening environment. The mediator guides the parties through the decision making process, supplying them with the legal and psychological information they need so that they can make informed decisions about issues such as child custody, parenting and the division of their marital property.
The goal of family mediation is to help families re-build, maintain and strengthen their relationships. Mediation allows all of the family’s members to discuss and make difficult decisions together in a non-adversarial manner. Family disputes may include topics such as extended family responsibilities, excess spending, drug or alcohol abuse, parent-child conflicts, sibling rivalry, aggressive behavior, job responsibilities within the home or poor school performance. Step-family mediation cases often deal more with extended family responsibilities and relationships, money, how to set guidelines and limits with each other’s biological children, resentment and jealousy disputes.
Elder Care Mediation
Elder care mediation primarily looks at the responsibilities of the ‘sandwich generation’, children taking care of their own families while also caring for their parents at the same time. Elder care mediation can prepare family members for what to expect in the future and ease their concerns. Usually the entire family, via phone or in person, participates in the mediation when a parent/loved one is in the hospital or nursing home. Some typical concerns are: where parents will live, inheritance, getting the proper documents in order (e.g. power of attorney, healthcare proxies, living wills, DNR and wills), who will be responsible for speaking with the doctors or caregivers, calling and visiting the loved one, financial support and funeral arrangements. By discussing these sensitive topics together, families are better able to cope with the changes and fears associated with aging.
Workplace and business conflicts include sexual harassment cases, small business partnership break-ups, discrimination, compensation and work performance conflicts. Mediation provides a confidential and private forum where conflicts can be discussed and resolved quickly. This eliminates the possibility of the incident escalating into a public battle. Mediation helps to reduce personality clashes, improve employee satisfaction, increase teamwork and productivity and reduce absenteeism. It also reduces stress associated with litigation so that companies are able to maintain their good reputation.
In addition to helping members of a community solve their conflicts, community mediation unites the community. Key players in community mediation are landlords and tenants, neighbors and housemates. Community matters may include property damage conflicts, harassment, environmental and development issues, zoning conflicts and noise grievances.
Kathy Jaffe is the owner of Kathy Jaffe Mediation Services, LLC, located at Northside Plaza, 978 Rte. 45, Suite 107 in Pomona. She can be reached at 362-5047. For more information, visit JaffeMediation.com.