Our Approach to Mediation in Baltimore for Families

January 11, 2013    Family Disputes

Mediation and Baltimore Mediation’s Transformative Approach

WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Mediation in Baltimore is a voluntary and confidential process that uses an impartial third person, the mediator, to facilitate meaningful conversation between two or more people about difficult issues. The goal is to help people constructively engage in conflict and make informed and thoughtful decisions. The mediator does not offer legal, financial or psychological advice, nor does a mediator tell parties what to do. Instead, the mediator invites the parties to speak about their concerns, helps them to hear information and each other in new ways, provides legal, financial, and other general information when requested to be considered and checked out as the parties see fit, and drafts written summaries or agreements as made.

For couples and families, mediation in Baltimore can be used to sort out the details and make decisions about legal, financial, and emotional issues surrounding a separation and/or a divorce. Couples and families struggling through difficult times also use this type of mediation to stay together, as do families facing complex issues who need a third party neutral to facilitate quality interaction and decision making. Mediation often saves parties both time and money and, most importantly, it allows parties themselves to retain control over the process as well as the outcomes, including possibilities and terms of agreement. This is a transformative approach to mediation which Baltimore Mediation mediators practice and have helped to develop nationwide.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF FAMILY MEDIATION IN BALTIMORE FROM THIS APPROACH?

  • Fosters a higher quality of interaction and experience with the other
    person
  • Allows more meaningful possibilities and requests to be made because
    of the benefit of a third party neutral facilitator
  • Promotes thorough and informed decision making
  • Restores personal integrity
  • Promotes communication and clarity
  • Benefits children and others by reducing conflict
  • Promotes cooperation or respected boundaries for parents
  • Allows people to control the decisions that affect their lives
  • Is less costly than litigation
  • Is more satisfying than litigation or avoidance
  • Is private and confidential, avoiding public disclosure of personal
    matters*
  • Can often be completed in less time than litigation, so parties can
    move ahead with their lives

*There are limits to confidentiality in situations with abuse or violence.

HOW DOES FAMILY MEDIATION WORK?

Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation help people identify the issues they want to discuss from the past, present and future and, where necessary, to gather relevant information for quality financial and property decision making such as budgets, business records, tax returns, property valuations, prices and costs of alternate places to live or work, mental health information and financial, legal or other guidance from any outside sources chosen. If the participants wish to have their decisions or agreements summarized in written form, the mediator will draft this. In the event of a decision to separate or divorce, the mediator will also prepare a Voluntary Separation and Property Settlement Agreement, if so chosen.

ARE THERE DIFFERENT MEDIATION STYLES AND APPROACHES?

Yes, there are a variety of mediation styles and approaches. Some mediators are more oriented toward helping parties to communicate and clarify their issues and priorities. Others are more oriented toward helping parties reach agreements. Assuming the latter approach includes helping parties reach informed and workable agreements that may be unique for each family, the Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation are interested in both. This is what is called a “Transformative Approach.”

Our Mediators believe in promoting quality interaction which will bring about fair, responsive and satisfying decisions and agreements. Louise Phipps Senft is nationally known as a pioneer of the transformative approach to mediation and has helped bring the approach to families, courts and the practice of law.

ARE BALTIMORE MEDIATION MEDIATORS CERTIFIED OR QUALIFIED FAMILY MEDIATORS?

Yes. Louise Phipps Senft and Baltimore Mediation are elected members of the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (ISCT), and Louise Phipps Senft is also certified as a Transformative Mediator™ and as a Transformative Mediation Trainer by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation (www.transformativemediation.org). Mediators of Louise Phipps Senft & Associates/Baltimore Mediation are also certified by the Maryland Council on Dispute Resolution (MCDR), a Maryland state practitioner organization, and one of the first to develop and implement a performance-based measure of competence (www.mcdr.org). Louise Phipps Senft is also one of a few hundred Advanced Practitioner (AP) members of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), Family Section, which is a nonprofit professional association with more than 6000 members in the United States, Canada, Europe, South America, Australia and Africa. ACR provides support, training and guidance for practicing mediators and information about mediation for the public. The ACR Family Section has established training and ethical standards for professional mediation practice of which Louise Phipps Senft has played an integral role over the years, and ACR also provides a referral service for Advanced Practitioner (AP) family mediators (www.mediate.com/acrfamily).