EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION

Today, I’ll continue my series on the Alternatives in Alternative Dispute Resolution that I began earlier this summer after facilitating a workshop on this issue In July for the West Virginia State Bar. In September, I’ll be joining the Virginia Mediation Network to facilitate the workshop for that fabulous group of mediators. Today’s process is more common in Canada than in the areas where I practice, but Early Neutral Evaluation may save the parties a great deal of anguish, time and expense.

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TRANSFORMATIVE MEDIATION: A GOOD CHOICE FOR PRESERVING IMPORTANT RELATIONSHIPS

Transformative mediation was first described by Robert A. Baruch Bush and Joseph P. Folger in The Promise of Mediation.  They describe it that the transformative theory starts: “(…(F)rom the premise that inter-relational crisis is what conflict meant to people.  And help in overcoming that crisis is a major part of what parties want fro a mediator…In the transformative mediation process, parties can recapture their sense of competence and connection, reverse the negative conflict cycle, reestablish a constructive (or at least neutral) interaction, and move forward on a positive footing, with the mediator’s help. “ Transformative mediation is not therapy.  The mediator's goal is not to alter the relationship. Rather, the mediator strives to balance the parties' negotiation power while creating opportunities to address underlying issues, within the context of resolving the presenting dispute. 

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Evaluative Mediation: A Frequent Choice in Civil Litigation

Many of the attorney-mediators in civil legal cases trained in an evaluative style of mediation.  Bush and Folger in The Promise of Mediation sum it up as mediation that requires mediators to “steer them towards outcomes in substantive conformity with legal rights.” Kate Shonk, in Choose the Right Mediation for You observes, “Mediators are more likely to make recommendations and suggestions and to express opinions. Instead of focusing primarily on the underlying interests of the parties involved, evaluative mediators may be more likely to help parties assess the legal merits of their arguments and make fairness determinations. “

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Choosing a School When Parents Share Custody

When parents are sharing custody but live in different school districts, deciding the best school for the children to attend can be challenging. I’ve been involved in many situations when the parents disagree on where their child should attend school. Usually, we can’t find an easy answer, but with mediation or collaborative practices, we work together to evaluate the options and reach the best decision for the family. In reaching a decision, we often look at the following issues.

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On the Road Again! Presenting on Why Lawyers Need to Understand the Options in Alternative Dispute Resolution

Brenda Waugh will participate in a full day training sponsored by the West Virginia State Bar on July 24, 2019 in Bridgeport, West Virginia, “Resolution Beyond Trial.” Her topic will be “ADR is not Alternative Anymore—What Every Lawyer Should Know About ADR.” During her session, she will outline the practical and ethical requirements for lawyers to be familiar with ADR form so as to present them to clients. She will also lead the group in an interactive session to describe the various forms of ADR such as restorative justice, mediation and collaborative divorce.

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Thinking about "Collaborative Practices" for Mediators

This week I've been working with Marshall Yoder to prepare for a workshop where we will share our experience with mediators throughout the region.  The conference is scheduled for October 9, 2018, in Front Royal, Virginia. Front Royal is a wonderful town to visit in October, the location of the start of the Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains!

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What's the Difference Between Litigation and a Long Train Ride?

Last week, my daughter, my mother and I took a train ride together. Years ago, my mother added the ride from Toronto to Vancouver to her "bucket list."  After finding a great sale for winter trips, we planned the trip and departed on  January 29, 2018.  Little did I know that I was about to learn a little bit more about what it might feel like to be a litigant in the American legal system.

A friend and fellow mediator, Jeff Molenda, often quotes John R. Van Winkle's book, "Mediation:  A Path Back for the Lost Lawyer."   In the first section of his book, "The Litigation Train," Van Winkle claims that at the end of the twentieth century in the United States our litigation system is broken and has to come resemble a long, expensive train ride.  

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WHEN FILING FOR DIVORCE IS A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION

January is a popular month to file for divorce.  Why?  For many people, the new year is a time that they reevaluate their lives and decide to make changes.  Perhaps they have waited or tried to make a marriage work for some time and the new year seems like a good opportunity to go ahead and pursue divorce.  Others may want to wait until after Christmas to plan for their a divorce. Some people postpone divorce into the new year for economic or tax reasons.  Whatever the basis, if you have decided to divorce in 2017, should you file?

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