Tools of the Peacemaker 1- Multiple Perspectives

March 13, 2018

We know it’s important to see things from the perspective of another.  In conflict, this is a critical step.


But in divorce there are additional perspectives to consider - not only the legal but the emotional, financial and long term relationships.


Equal attention is given to all of these. The result is a matrix that will support the family in the best way possible.


That means information sharing about all these topics and targeted use of other professionals as needed.  


A financial neutral (CDFA), divorce coach or child specialist is considered in each case.  That may be in the form of an actual team, advisers on call for consultation or expertise of the mediator or collaborative attorney.


Most of us are cross-trained in the various areas.  We work together in practice groups and teams with other professionals who add to our knowledge base and skill level by debriefing cases, giving advice, sharing materials and conducting trainings within the group.  We regularly attend trainings given by experts as members of statewide, national and international organizations. Some of us train others.


This is called multi-disciplinary practice.  It’s a hallmark of peacemaking. Collaboration, interconnected support, thorough preparation and empowerment are keys to a common sense, well informed and efficient outcome serving the family and the individuals involved.


A child specialist is frequently suggested for the parenting plan and any other issues involving the children. With knowledge of family systems and age appropriate awareness they help parents and children understand and normalize their experience and see what is possible.  


There are mandatory parent education classes in each county.  These help frame the mindset for creating parenting plans that are the best for all concerned.  


It’s sometimes helpful to have a neutral put together the financial information and help the parties negotiate.  


Divorce coaches show the parties how to navigate the communication difficulties and hot buttons to be more efficient at the negotiating table.


The mediator may be prepared to handle these needs.  However, he or she will also give the parties a list of referrals to buy an hour of time here or there for additional support.  This includes collaborative or mediation-friendly consulting attorneys for legal advice or ideas on proposals or to review final documents.


A peacemaking process is problem solving.  Putting all the information on the table in a neutral, informative way, organizing it and answering questions. Empowered by full understanding of their bounty, parties can offer suggestions about settlement that would work best for themselves and the whole.  They can be creative and personalize the outcome to align with their visions for the future.


This doesn’t happen easily in all cases. But the goal is there. When parties get stuck they can go to their attorneys for advice and ideas.  


Sometimes cases are already filed. The time and expense of court often becomes uncomfortable and parties seek a mediator to see if they can work some things out themselves. This often is a good balance, with legal representation for security while at the same time attempting to work together to reach settlement based on understanding, not positions.



More on positions and interests in the next post.

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