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The Save at the Brink of Trial

December 15, 2016

It is always interesting when lawyers are frantic. In this case it was a good thing. They were wanting to stave off a several hundred thousand trial between separated parents that both knew would end in disaster no matter what the outcome. The challenge was getting their clients to enter mediation as the better alternative.

Given there were multiple other referrals for help that didn’t materialize, the issue becomes one of how to facilitate attendance. The answer, lawyer-assisted mediation and have the lawyers pick up and deliver their clients.

That was what I suggested. That is what they did and the lawyers remained for the entirety of the meeting, although sitting quietly to permit the mediation to unfold.

One has to appreciate that by the time parents are locked into a litigation stream, positions are hardened; each sees the other as evil; and there are likely many real and many alleged transgressions – much water under the bridge. Neither parent will have any faith in resolving matters reasonably nor will either believe the other will take any responsibility for their contribution to distress. In the worst of these scenarios there are often issues of violence, power and control and allegations of using the children as pawns.

Having the lawyers pick up, deliver and attend with their clients provides a measure of safety, both physical and emotional that cannot be provided without their involvement.

They all attended. Court was dropped. We are continuing with lawyer-assisted mediation. The style of mediation will be a combination of facilitative and evaluative and there will be room for the voice of the child.

Already a better outcome.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

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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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