One of my goals as a mediator is to help people discern what is in their best interest – what is authentically right for them at this stage of their life and this stage of their relationship, and help support them in next steps to further that. Some people might identify that they need to be divorced. Others may discover that they want to work on the relationship. I am trained to listen closely and support couples in what they believe is best for them, whether or not that aligns with what I think is best.
Being a neutral does not mean I have no independent thoughts or values. It means I strive to be clear regarding what comes from me, and distinguish that from what belongs to my clients. It means I listen to my clients closely, even over the noisy din of my own opinion. It means I aim to know myself, and be transparent about who I know myself to be.
With that said, the following are some of the principles and beliefs I bring to the mediation table:
- People have the right to strive for fulfillment and to feel valued and loved.
- The healthier the adults are in the relationship, the healthier the family will ultimately be.
- Those who are responsible for caring for themselves are most equipped to care for others.
- A functional, loving family is well worth protecting and fighting for.
- Remaining under one roof is not always the most loving thing to do for your children.
- Being in a relationship that is inauthentic can be unhealthy, not only for those in it, but for those subjected to it (and asked to pretend that it is other than what it is).
- It’s courageous, freeing and calming to develop “a profound relationship with what’s so.”
- Children have the right to have parents who are healthy and happy.
- If a relationship isn’t working for one person, it’s not working.
The client’s objective is to be honest and intrepid; to first what is in his best interest, based on his values, needs and beliefs; then follow where that leads. The mediator’s job is not to streamline couples into any particular solution, but to help people discover what is right for them. If it is to get a divorce, I’m going to take them all the way through that. If it is to stay together, I will encourage that goal with all my efforts.
Some people feel they can’t call a mediator because they first must decide whether they want a divorce or not. In fact, a mediator can help you decide, and then help you explore the options.