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