Career and Honors

Beliefs about Counseling and Coaching


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Most Recent Paper:

After Separation: Reflections on the Plight of the Alienated Child

SERVICES | Mediating Divorce and Custody Disputes

We live in a society in which the rates of divorce and the rates of marriage are roughly the same. In point of fact, almost one marriage out of every two is going to end in a separation. The transition into and through divorce is one of the most destabilizing life experiences imaginable, and when children are involved, the potential for experienced human distress increases markedly. Unfortunately, even though the Family Court was designed to be a compassionate venue for attending to the complicated and emotionally loaded decisions that must be made in the aftermath of a separation, the legal system by its very nature is one built upon the playing out of adversarial relations. If the members of a couple are in emotionally distraught states and if there are serious and heated differences of opinion about property disposition, post-separation support arrangements, custody, or visitation possibilities, recourse to lawyers and to the court process is likely to inflame what is already a very pained set of interactions, to lead to increased acrimony, and to proceed to create much additional emotional distress and extensive legal costs. And in the end, a Court Commissioner or a Judge, with all of his or her biases and human limitations, is going to make a set of decisions that may shape lives for years to come.

Anyone contemplating separation or who has recently separated and is experiencing difficulty arranging post-separation property, custody, or visitation arrangements should consider mediation. Mediation is a process whereby the parties themselves are aided in working out their own understandings and coming to their own agreements about their futures. The costs of some hours of consultation with a psychologist/mediator and the achievement of a successful resolution of conflict is only a fraction of what would be the eventual legal expenses resulting from a disputed divorce. And even the most intractable and inflamed post-separation relationships can, with wise mediation attention, be transformed into a working set of arrangements that will:

  • Put the separating couple fully in charge of creating their own post-separation understandings
  • Establish patterns of visitation that take children’s needs and developmental stage requirements into account
  • Build structures of understanding that can be flexibly altered as needs change without recourse to litigation
  • Encourage habits of dialogue and problem solving rather than endless cycles of unyielding bitterness
  • Leave the separating pair in a better emotional state as they must contemplate the creation of new lives apart from each other.

IF YOU ARE ABOUT TO BEGIN OR HAVE ALREADY BEGUN ANATTEMPT TO REACH A SETTLEMENT WITH A SPOUSE, CONSIDER SEEKING A CONSULTATION ABOUT MEDIATION. In the supportive, understanding, non-adversarial mediation relationship, you can be empowered to design your own future, and you can be led to overcome the hurt, guilt, hostility, and bitterness that may currently characterize your relationship with your former spouse. Should children be involved, as you begin mediation, you will also have the opportunity to be educated about patterns of custody and visitation that will keep the experienced distress of your children to its minimum. You can also avoid turning your life over to lawyers and the court. Please consider using one of the links provided below...