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Mediation. Not just for lightweight situations.

February 20, 2016

I was chatting on Facebook about mediation. A colleague was saying how few of her cases resolved through mediation.

I advised that most of the folks I see for mediation do resolve their issues. She then wondered if that was because I choose my clients carefully and don’t accept those who are challenging.

My Reply:

No. Not true. I have a reputation of being willing to see and work with those folks whose situations are thought of as intractable by others. It is not uncommon for the folks I see to have drifted through multiple other service providers. No cherry picking here. These also include those folks who have burned through all their funds on litigation and seem to have no other recourse than mediation. Tough situations.

Where I am cautious though is in working with couples where there is a history of domestic violence. This is not to say that I don’t accept the referral, but that precautions must be taken to keep people safe in the process. This can include people arriving and leaving at staggered times and/or meeting in secure locations and/or having lawyers present during the process. The issue is more how to proceed than if to proceed.

While much has been written about the appropriateness of mediation in view of domestic violence and power imbalances, if left to court, the parties are still subject to the whim of the judge. At least in mediation, you still get to determine your own outcome and you can have the support of your lawyer or anyone else necessary in the process.

BTW –  If you happen to get along reasonably well with your former partner, it would also be my pleasure to work with you to help determine the plan for taking care of your children between you! Nasty situation or nice, experience and expertise in mental health, child development, parent/child relationships and facilitating parenting plans can go a long way to determining reasonable agreements.

If you think your situation is intractable, still do take a look at my many services for facilitating settlement. When you consider what you really do have to lose, the cost of trying something reasonable may be well worth the effort.

Just choose experience.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships.

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