What is “Custody”? And Why Do Mediators Need to Know?

This week we are teaching our online 30-hour course in Family Law for Family Mediators, Parenting Coordinators and Arbitrators. It is a comprehensive overview and is good training for anyone who wants to know more about family law. We start the course discussing what comes first; changes in law or changes in society? For example, there is a social and …
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How Can Mediator-Arbitrators and Parenting Coordinators Maintain Their Neutrality?

It can be challenging for FDR professionals to maintain the perception of neutrality in when working in dual functions as mediator-arbitrators and parenting coordinators.  There is an inherent tension in the various roles encompassed in the process. Mediators often engage in tactics that might be seen to show their assessment of the situation.   Even where parties have consented to …
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The Efficacy Of Parenting Coordination

A PC seeks to protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships. Parenting coordination is to help co-parents who are unable or unwilling to jointly make parenting decisions comply with parenting agreements and orders. MORE

Do No Harm: Should I Move Fast or Slow?

Whether you have left an unhappy situation, or are heartbroken about being left by someone you love or need—anxiety around the prospect staying connected to your separated spouse is visceral. For children, the frustration and despair is multiplied.  Children have no control over the decisions of their parents, the spread of the coronavirus, nor the conditions in which they find …
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Best Practices for Addressing Power Imbalances and Safety in Family Dispute Resolution Processes: Research, Protocols and the Law

Introduction With courts, for now, restricting services to all but emergency matters due to COVID-19, the demand for alternative dispute resolution services is growing exponentially. The need is greater than ever to ensure that those processes put issues of power imbalance and safety of clients and children first. Private mediation or adjudication is not appropriate in all cases. Professionals should …
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Top Ten Questions about Screening for Power Imbalances and Domestic Violence in Mediation and Arbitration

1.What is “Screening”? Screening is a triaging process that has been used by mediators for years to help them provide safe and balanced mediations. The mediator meets separately with each party, before agreeing to take the case, and elicits specific information that will help the mediator “diagnose” their complex relationship dynamic. The main purpose is to ascertain whether bringing the …
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Family Mediation in Cape Town, South Africa

In late September, the Family Mediators’ Association of the Cape (FAMAC) hosted its third bi-annual conference and I was honoured to be a returning international guest speaker. This year I spoke on “Empowering Parents Through Interest-Based Mediation and Facilitative Parenting Coordination”.   (Note: all the conference presentations are available on the FAMAC website) The Conference was opened by my wonderful …
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The (Unique) Perils of The PC Process

The parenting coordination process is a difficult one for both clients and PCs. Invariably there is one parent who is more committed; or is driving the process. In addition, once the arbitration phase of the process has been utilized, the losing parent usually disengages altogether. Throw in the fact that many parents have not been fully educated on the process …
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