Mediation To Stay Married

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Mediation to Stay Married: A Commonsense Application of Conflict Resolution

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Mediation To Stay Married

  1. 1. Mediation to Stay Married A Commonsense Application of Conflict Resolution Laurie Israel Attorney/Mediator Brookline, MA © 2008
  2. 2. How I Got Started <ul><li>Divorce lawyer experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Fixable problems </li></ul><ul><li>Reverse engineer the divorce </li></ul><ul><li>Where to go if marriage counseling “doesn’t work” </li></ul><ul><li>Why can’t a mediator help? </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Mediation to Stay Married? <ul><li>Mediation to Stay Married or Marital Mediation? </li></ul><ul><li>What is in the word? </li></ul><ul><li>Do people know the terms? </li></ul><ul><li>If people don’t know about it, then how can they find it? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Why People Want to Keep Their Marriages <ul><li>Their problems travel with them into their subsequent marriages </li></ul><ul><li>Why should love turn into hate? </li></ul><ul><li>Life-long marriages are very special </li></ul><ul><li>Serial marriages are destabilizing </li></ul>
  5. 5. The “Bee in the Bonnet” Syndrome <ul><li>People unhappy in their marriages don’t know where to turn </li></ul><ul><li>Often marital counseling is unsuccessful </li></ul><ul><li>They become obsessed with thoughts of divorce </li></ul><ul><li>The thoughts become a self-fulfilling prophecy </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is Marriage? <ul><li>A set of personal and family relationships </li></ul><ul><li>A story, a history </li></ul><ul><li>Financial sharing </li></ul><ul><li>Disagreements </li></ul><ul><li>Conflict </li></ul><ul><li>Moral support </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing </li></ul>
  7. 7. How Mediation Can Help a Marriage <ul><li>Mediation is conflict resolution </li></ul><ul><li>Gives a couple a skill set to use </li></ul><ul><li>Models good behavior for couple </li></ul><ul><li>Neutral third-party, honest reaction to couple’s interchanges </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Difference Between Mediation to Stay Married and Marital Counseling <ul><li>The first question you will be asked </li></ul><ul><li>What is the difference? </li></ul><ul><li>Short-term, concrete </li></ul><ul><li>Develop practical solutions </li></ul><ul><li>Helps couple move forward in their marriage </li></ul><ul><li>They can solve deeper problems later </li></ul><ul><li>Couple may find that deeper problems actually disappear </li></ul>
  9. 9. Useful Mediation Techniques in Mediation to Stay Married <ul><li>Active Listening </li></ul><ul><li>Mirroring </li></ul><ul><li>Reframing </li></ul><ul><li>Brainstorming </li></ul><ul><li>Interests v. Positions </li></ul><ul><li>Powerful Non-defensive Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Testing and Understanding Assumptions </li></ul>
  10. 10. Gender & Same-Sex Issues <ul><li>What if the spouses have “classic” roles? </li></ul><ul><li>What if the roles are switched? </li></ul><ul><li>Stress of two-worker family </li></ul><ul><li>Difference between legally-married and cohabitating </li></ul><ul><li>Different cultural expectations & values in same-sex relationships </li></ul>
  11. 11. “ Contribution” to Marriage <ul><li>What is contribution? </li></ul><ul><li>Why is contribution important? </li></ul><ul><li>Differing perceptions of contribution </li></ul><ul><li>Probably the biggest problem in marriage </li></ul>
  12. 12. What Issues can be Dealt With <ul><li>Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Bickering </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding each other’s views </li></ul><ul><li>Financial behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Perception of other party’s contributions </li></ul>
  13. 13. Should Marital Mediation Result in a Written Agreement <ul><li>Are post-nuptial agreements enforceable </li></ul><ul><li>Difference between pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Written Memorandum of Understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Unwritten agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Should reviewing attorneys be involved? </li></ul>
  14. 14. Other Resources Available <ul><li>Workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Books on marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Internet materials on marriage </li></ul><ul><li>CDs & DVDs on marriage </li></ul><ul><li>Joint consultation with divorce or estate planning lawyer </li></ul>
  15. 15. How to Develop a Mediation to Stay Married Practice <ul><li>Include it in your advertising brochure </li></ul><ul><li>Include it on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Write articles and post them on your website </li></ul><ul><li>Link to other people’s articles on MTSM </li></ul><ul><li>Talk to people about it </li></ul><ul><li>If you build it, they will come </li></ul>

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