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Mediation To Stay Married


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A common sense application of conflict resolutioni.

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