Screening for Power Imbalances

In our work as mediators and educators, we see conflict from many perspectives. Two of our team members (Hilary Linton and Elizabeth Hyde) have studied conflict and process analysis in a Masters of Law (ADR) program.

Our practice emphasizes comprehensive conflict analysis and diagnosis. This helps our clients choose the best conflict resolution process.

Our work is not limited to family cases. The same principles of conflict and process analysis apply to all disputes. We provide consulting services for organizations seeking such expertise when designing processes for addressing internal or external conflicts.

Conflict Assessment in Family Law

In today’s challenging family law environment (see below) one of the most useful services we provide for counsel and their clients is a comprehensive conflict assessment. An enhanced form of screening that we do at the outset of all family mediation or mediation-arbitration cases, conflict assessment is an opportunity for the parties and their counsel to analyze what is driving the conflict, and, using that understanding, how best to resolve it.

We have been analyzing matrimonial and other conflicts for over ten years. We have developed strong experience asking the right questions, in the right way, to help the lawyers and their clients better understand the reasons for the dispute. The “reasonable reason behind the unreasonable position.” The long-buried injury that often explains why the parties get stuck. The patterns of communication that have become toxic, preventing meaningful dialogue and leading to negotiation impasse.

Our conflict assessment service will help the clients and their lawyers choose the conflict resolution process that is best for them… be it lawyer-led negotiations, mediation, arbitration, collaborative practice or litigation.

We also teach lawyers and other professionals how to better assess conflict themselves. Contact us if you are interested in a private conflict assessment workshop.

Process Assessment in Family Law

There are so many processes now available to parties and their lawyers. Negotiation; litigation; collaborative law; mediation; mediation-arbitration; cooperative law….. how can one be sure they are choosing the best process for them?

Many clients and even lawyers do not always fully appreciate the differences among the process options.

We can help. We understand the pros and cons of each process and understand them all well. We can assess the facts and circumstances of the case, and recommend the most suitable process options.

The Challenging Context of Family Law Today

With easy access to child support guidelines and advisory spousal support guidelines, and the proliferation of websites about the law, some aspects of separation have become easier. A new online service allows clients to do the support calculations themselves.

But the law is also more complex. Determining income for support purposes is often challenging. The law of spousal support entitlement and duration is in constant flux. With older children struggling to find work, some parents have conflict about continuing child support obligations. Pension valuation division issues are complicated. The rights of common law and same-sex couples are evolving. The rights of children to have a voice and participate in the negotiation or litigation between their parents are being recognized.

Separation itself is emotionally challenging and complicated; on top of that clients must choose the best process for them and find the best way to understand the ever-changing law. Conflict and process analysis can help make sure that precious resources– time and money– are used as wisely as possible.