Mediation is designed to enable clients to feel they have a safe space (physically and emotionally) to work through issues pertaining to their relationship. It can be a dispute resolution “home” for the clients where rapport is established between the clients and the Mediator.
The goal for Mediation is not reconciliation (although on occasion, this result is accomplished). It is a process that allows for each party to be heard and understood, to identify questions, to develop options for resolution and to formulate a plan for how to get to get to an agreement on any given issue.
Most of the time, the process results in a settlement of the issues, which can become like a road map. The settlement includes overall intentions and details about what each party is to do regarding the cash flow, asset division, payment of debt, etc.
Sometimes there is an ongoing relationship or connection that requires the clients to continue to use the road map or even revisit the road map.
In the last couple of weeks, I have been contacted by several former clients in Mediation cases who have asked if they can return to Mediation. Facts and circumstances have changed regarding their parenting or support and they would like to discuss options for a new arrangement.
Even though the clients may have problems to be solved, they have comfort with the Mediator they worked with in the past. They also have confidence, because they previously resolved their issues in Mediation without going to court. As a result, they hope to successfully resolve their new challenges in the same manner.
If conflict can be managed, there is less likely to be a dispute that invades the lives of the clients, their children, and others closely related to the clients. Clients who have success in reaching agreements in Mediation are more likely to abide by their agreements, and when there is a need to modify their custody or support arrangement, to reach agreements in the future, out of court.
Especially for those with children, it is so important that the clients have a place that feels comfortable and safe to talk about their issues in a way that the children will be shielded from conflict and court processes. Eventually, these children will grow and prosper and, when they have an issue that needs to be resolved with another, they will be more likely to model their parents’ behavior to resolve issues out of court using a respectful and safe negotiation process. It is rewarding to work with clients who experience Mediation as a conflict resolution “home” and feel comfortable to return to Mediation – to develop or modify their road map – to serve them and their children in the future.