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Here’s a Gateway to Mediation

March 28, 2016

Mediation is a process that enables people in dispute to settle their differences between themselves with the help of a trained facilitator. However, some people are of the view that the other party would either not attend or for whatever reason, deliberately kibosh the process. Given this believe about the other, the former then dismisses the consideration of using mediation.

What people don’t realize is that once working with a mediator, the process most often unfolds in a way that resolves the issues of dispute. In other words, getting to the table may pose the bigger challenge than resolving the actual difficulties. So how do you get a resistant person to the mediation table?

Courts on both sides of the Atlantic are now sending messages to litigants that in the absence of trying to resolve matters outside of court, the court will take a dim view of the situation and one or both parties may endure a penalty. That penalty can be the reticent party being ordered to bear the cost of litigation for the party that appeared more willing to settle outside of litigation and/or the penalty can be a matter of shaming by virtue of the public court record. Either way, one best be warned about provoking the wrath of the court.

However, what if there was a way that didn’t involve penalty?

The Closed Single Session Consultation is that way.

Being a closed meeting, whatever is discussed cannot be used in court or arbitration. Neither party has to be concerned about the content of discussion spilling into the court arena. To add, if a party is that fearful about meeting, the meeting can include the lawyers. The only commitment is to a single meeting.

Being a single meeting, there is often a sense of being less overwhelmed and a sense that the parties have greater control of the subsequent process. If you find the experience reasonable, then agree to continue. If you don’t find the experience reasonable, then you can choose to return or continue with the litigation stream.

As someone who provides mediation, I find that giving more power/control to the parties in dispute provides greater comfort with the process. I am happy to take it one meeting at a time. You decide.

So you say you are game to try mediation but don’t believe your former partner is open to it, then consider the Closed Single Session Consultation. Yes there is a cost, but the upside is engagement in a resolution process that can be far more time effective and less costly both financially and emotionally than litigation. Consider the cost of the alternative.

To my colleagues who may not have considered offering this service, please feel free to do so. I hold no patents on helpful strategies and would be pleased to see people better served through more helpful processes. Use the Closed Single Session Consultation freely and at your discretion.

Know someone who might benefit from this information? Please scroll down and share this article. To view my list list of peacemaking strategies to facilitate settlement, check this out.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker.

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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