For the Children

Emotions. We are all human, we all have them.

But the problem is that so often in relationships, past unresolved mistakes and injuries inflicted by words or conduct can lead to a sad, repetitive cycle of acrimony and resentment.

In time without a pathway leading to an end to the conflict, greater harm naturally follows leading  in many cases to overwhelming unhappiness. In those instances where such conflict causes one or both of the parties to feel that the relationship is irreparable, the couple inevitably ends up in drawn out, contentious Court proceedings.

The depletion of Court staff and resources over the past several years, combined with the ever growing volume of new cases filed in our Courts, has led to a judicial system that has become designed to implement Court efficiency, rather than the important personal needs of the individuals who come before our Courts. 

This reality has led to the inescapable recognition that Mediation offers a better way to deal with Family conflicts.

Mediation allows the cooperative exchange of information necessary for both parties to make well informed decisions in a non-confrontational setting. The process, when conducted properly, facilitates dialogue between the parties in a guided effort to assist them in determining both their individual and mutual interests, and to consider all reasonable options to reach a better outcome. 

Mediation offers the parties an opportunity to take a time out from the argument and to focus on the future.

As highlighted within my last post, these ideals embrace the fundamental principle underlying the Mediation process referred to by the term ,"Self Determination". Simply the recognition by Mediation professionals that the parties themselves should have the freedom to work cooperatively together to find an acceptable resolution of the issues between them which best satisfies their needs and individual interests, and that the parties have authority over the process, as well as ownership of the results. 

In cases involving conflicts concerning minor Children, decisions made by our Courts are made based upon reference to the phrase "Best Interests of the Child", an ill defined, and completely subjective standard. 

Who better to make such decisions?

A third party stranger, a Judge ?  Or, the child's parents ?

Importantly in Divorce, Parenting, or Separation cases involving children, our Courts recognize that parents should continue to be empowered to make the important decisions regarding their children's care and future upbringing.  

With these very important considerations in mind, I have included a number of articles on our Resources page which I believe offer invaluable information and insights with respect to the children who innocently become participants in the family dynamics triggered by the Divorce, or Separation, of their parents. 

I would especially recommend the following articles, which address these important issues: 

 - Using Child Development Research to Draft Parenting Plans

Insightful Article on Co-Parenting

-   Developing a Mutual Story of the Divorce

-   A Child's View of Long Distance Parenting

                                                                    Francis F Lane JD, CFM




Hanna Lane
Mediation Dynamics

Over the past decade there has been a sweeping cultural shift related to the traditionally accepted assumptions concerning divorce and separation, which has led to transformational changes to our system of family law.

The underlying policies propelling this trend have been implemented by the introduction of both new legislation, as well as court rules, with the stated purpose of promoting a cooperative approach to the resolution of conflict within families using alternative methods of dispute resolution, rather than high conflict litigation.

This new initiative evolved coincidently at the same that our courts experienced a critical depletion of staff and resources, in the face of an ominous growing caseload involving family issues.

The confluence of these developments gave rise to the natural and logical promotion of mediation, as the optimal method of conflict resolution in family related cases.

The fundamental principle of mediation in domestic relations disputes is the recognition that the parties themselves should be allowed to unravel and bring their relationship to an end on their terms, and that parents should continue to be empowered to make the best, long lasting decisions concerning their children's upbringing, following separation.

This concept, now promoted and referred to as "Self Determination,” is the guiding light in the mediation of disputes involving Family matters.

The mediation process, when conducted properly, is particularly well suited to attain these goals.


To broaden our understanding of the importance of "Self Determination and Empowerment"  in Family Mediation, in my next post I will focus on the Children of Divorcing and Separating couples, and the use of the phrase "Best Interests of the Child."

Francis F. Lane JD, CFM

Hanna Lane
Families and Divorce

Divorce, or the separation of a couple, is not an end but an event which may occur along the Pathways of our lives.

Statistics reveal that 50% of all marriages today will end in Divorce. The incidence of Divorce is even greater in second and third marriages.

A Divorce, or separation, will certainly have future ramifications in our lives.

In a Family with children, although the relationship between the parents may be ending the interrelationships between children and their Parents, and between the Parents as well as extended Family, continue and do not naturally end when the Children graduate from High School, or reach some predefined legal age of majority. Children may attend and graduate from College, marry and have their own children.

Avoidance of the insidious acrimony resulting from a High Conflict Divorce, or Separation, can assure that children will continue to have the support, love and guidance of both Parents, so critically important to their physical and emotional childhood development.

This past month I had the privilege to attend a Professional Skills training program offered through Pepperdine University Straus Institute For Dispute Resolution on Family Law Mediation.

The program, presented by two preeminent authorities on Family Dynamics and Conflict Resolution, retired Justice Irwin Joseph and Dr. Donald Saposnek, introduced comprehensive and invaluable information and insights into Family dynamics, and current trends and methods relating to effective Conflict Resolution in cases involving Divorce and Separation.

I have included here on our Resource page an article entitled 'Developing a Mutual Story of Divorce', in which Dr. Saposnek addresses the very difficult subject confronting Parents at the beginning of a Divorce, "What should we tell the kids?”

I look forward to sharing and highlighting additional information and references relating to the Meditation process and Conflict Resolution in future posts.

Francis F. Lane JD, CFM

Hanna Lane