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Toolbox Series Part 2: Mediation

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This article is the second of a four-part “Toolbox” series. Each of these will briefly outline one of the four major approaches to handling a divorce, and how the Consilium process integrates the approach into its model.

I first learned to mediate while in I was in law school. I was trained with The Children’s Hearing Project in Cambridge, Massachusetts by a man named Patrick Phear, who had emigrated to the U.S. from South Africa and developed and was then teaching a new style of co-mediation. All mediations occurred with two mediators present, which provided a fabulous way for me, as a young mediator, to learn.  Therefore, while in school I was learning the rules of the Courtroom, at the Children’s Hearing Project (CHP) I was simultaneously learning the art of negotiation.

AT CHP our clients were primarily teenagers and their parents, and many of their issues involved cultural differences between immigrant parents and first-generation American children.  The typical tensions between adolescents and their parents were laced with cultural misunderstandings and language dependencies of parents upon their children.  I found myself being young enough to understand the adolescents and old enough to understand the parents.  I liked being the fulcrum in the sea-saw of the conflict, and I found it gratifying to help them find common ground.


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