The short answer to the question is clear: Yes.
Here’s a summary of the current research on divorce mediation…
Researchers have conducted more than 50 studies since divorce mediation first appeared more than two decades ago. As one researcher puts it, the easiest research has already been done, i.e., comprehensive research on the outcomes of mediation. Enough data has been collected and enough analysis conducted to begin drawing clear conclusions about whether mediation works. Along several key axes, the answers are encouraging.
Divorceinfo.com – Does it Work?
Last year I became a Florida Mediator. Effective mediation is needed in so many areas of our legal system but particularly within the
family arena. As an attorney I participated in many family mediations which usually ended up at an impasse – probably because “family mediation” within the court system has become simply a procedural step prior to or during the trial of a matter. Parents come to mediation locked up, hurt, angry and with no real incentive to work things out. Neither their lawyers nor the system do anything to nurture these hurting families. Instead the legal system expects these families to be able to resolve their differences in a one day, three hour mediation setting which usually spirals into fighting or one parent simply giving up and relinquishing everything. The “best interest of the children” becomes simply a tag line used but not truly put into consideration.
Currently, nothing within the family law system focuses on healing the family. Nothing focuses on giving a voice to the family unit. Nothing focuses on appealing to the conscious – to the heart. It is cold without any recognition for the beauty of the family as a gift from God.
My business partner, an LCSW, and I, both Christians, have formed a Mediation firm with an emphasis on mediating marital conflict/crisis situations, parent/child issues, divorce/custody issues and and other family issues. We are Sanchez and Baietto. We see mediation in this arena as a process as opposed to a one day settlement day. We are firmly rooted in being solution oriented as opposed to counseling. Our goal is to help families by reminding them of the benefits of family, our innate call to marriage and family, our roles within the family and in particular by not only recognizing the dignity of each member of the family but recognizing the dignity of the family unit itself.
This is a new, bold option that we believe can fill a desperate need in our society. Furthermore, we both know in our hearts that as Jesus is a mediator between us and the Father, we too must mediate for families through Christ to remind them that family life is sacred and it is perfect for us because it comes from our Loving Father. Our society degrades the family and we want to uplift it and respect it in the manner it deserves. The family is the root of society and of the world and, most importantly, it is a gift that our Father gave us to cherish and protect.
Brenda A. Baietto, J.D.
The Family and the workplace are the two places in most people’s lives where their identities are played out to the fullest. In each of these places the individual asserts himself or herself in ways which continue to redefine them as people causing them to grow and forcing them to understand themselves in a social setting. The family and the workplace can make our lives joyful or miserable in a big way depending on how we fit in, react, socialize, and partake.
Family life is the core circle for so many of us. It is where we seek and receive love, give love and process love by and through others within the family. As individuals within the family unit, if we do not respect, cherish, and love the others within our family the unit does not prosper and moreover, we as people do not prosper. The family is our first test ground for understanding how to deal with others and understanding how others deal with us. Continuing to run away from family or continually seeking out new family can be indicative of an inability to function with people in a productive way. That kind of behavior often demonstrates a person who is selfish, stubborn, unable to compromise, and tunnel-visioned because of an inability to look outside self. Respect is so key in familial relationships because it accords all members with dignity and when any human can see and feel that the other believes them to have dignity, their trust increases, their willingness to compromise increases, and their love increases.
Respect for others is equally needed within the workplace. This arena, like the family, allows for so much growth and opportunity to become the person you are meant to be precisely because it requires each individual to respect others and himself in a way that ensures the growth of all the people within the workplace. Here is where so many key parts of any person’s identity is released not only because you achieve value monetarily but also because you become valuable to the workplace family and those clients who need you. Continued conflict in the workplace can be equally telling of someone who refuses to grow, is locked up within him or herself or simply does not believe his fellow man should be accorded dignity whether that is due to racism, arrogance, classism, sexism or a host of other internal issues. When respect is present in the workplace, as in the family, the relationships take on a stability that can handle differences or disagreements in a more productive way that ultimately allow for individual growth which, when unleashed, brings so much joy to life.
Mediating in these two arenas is so important to me as a mediator. I consider these two arenas sacred space and know how effective mediation as a tool is in strengthening these core arenas to society. The more people understand how important these structures are to all of us as people, the more we will look away from courtrooms as our solutions and will look at mediation as the natural answer to conflict.
Zena Zumeta is an amazing person I have read extensively about and believe has her finger on the same pulse of mediation as me. She sees the spirituality in the mediation work she does as do I. We are all connected as brothers and sisters in this world. Until science finds other life, we only have eachother. Staying connected is one of the keys to happiness. Have a listen.
by Brenda A. Baietto
Benefits of Divorce and Post-Divorce Mediation:
Divorce mediation has three very important advantages to remember. First, you are in control. Throughout the mediation process you will be in charge of the outcome. You are not handing your family’s well-being over to lawyers and a judge who have no stake in the the resolution of this matter. YOU DO. While communication may be difficult at first and the amount of conflict high a skillful mediator will get you past these roadblocks whereas the court system, lawyers and even the judge will undoubtedly only increase the conflict and you will lose sight of your family’s best interest. Learning to communicate is important and you will feel empowered knowing that your fate rests in your hands.
The second advantage to mediation is cost savings. Hiring individual lawyers, experts and other services throughout divorce litigation becomes overwhelming to the point where one or both parties often “give up” because of a lack of control and outrageous expenses. Again, these outsiders do not care about your family personally. They are there to do a job YOU should be doing on your own. With mediation, you are paying the mediator(s) but the parties share in the cost proportionately to their income levels. Instead of individual costs and arguments over attorney’s fees, couples are in charge of the cost together and the savings are often significant even where there are complex issues and outside services are required.
Another advantage to mediation is learning to communicate. Divorce is traumatic under any circumstances. Coming together to get married was a big decision; divorce is a big decision as well and carries a lot of emotional “baggage” that often has to be worked through. Litigation only encourages you to continue fighting and to not communicate tying those emotions up and leaving them unresolved. Those emotions will come out whether it is during a long and protracted and expensive litigation that ends with you losing everything or after the divorce in vengeaful spiteful conduct with children or money. Mediation is a process that helps people find solutions without feeding into or adding to the already hefty emotional weight of a divorce. A skillful mediator can help you start that process early on. You will feel great knowing that you and your spouse have worked through your divorce yourselves and it will empower you for the future.
Brenda Baietto featured in the new book: