Toronto Mediation services grew in popularity as a result of dissatisfaction with the courts in the 80s and 90s. In the beginning, families who wanted to mediate a dispute using Toronto mediation services were often warned that mediation may not serve women’s interests. The reasoning for this was that women were seen to be unable to stand up for themselves, and ask for what they want.
You may ask, what is mediation and why has it raised such a fear?
By way of background, here are statistics that I pay attention to when I mediate a dispute.
• Women experience more anxiety than men when they have to negotiate a settlement.
• Men describe that when they negotiate a settlement, it’s like going to a ball game. But for women, when they negotiate a settlement it’s like going to the dentist.
When people choose to mediate a dispute, (custody, asset distribution, or child or spousal support in Ontario), they effectively choose to take control of their destiny. There is no judge to redress any imbalance in power. What is mediation then in layman’s terms? Simply put, it is a private way of resolving disputes.
Men and women can rest assured that mediation training addresses how men in mediation and women in mediation negotiate. It also addresses many types of power imbalances.
Nowadays, when couples want to negotiate a settlement, women and men alike readily turn to mediation and collaborative law (which is another powerful method of resolving separations).
Toronto Mediation Services are safe, and protect how women in mediation and men in mediation approach negotiation.
To women in mediation, I support them through different methods including caucusing (each partner is in a different room and I go back and forth) and using “interest-based negotiation” (this is when we uncover the real motivations of the parties and integrate them in the outcome) to ensure that their interests and goals are addressed. I also support them by having them understand that a probable alternative to not speaking out is going to court, which is a much less desirable way of settling their affairs.
On the other hand, with men in mediation, I explain that if they negotiate too aggressively, they risk alienating their counterpart and will most likely end up in court; a place much less desirable. I also educate them about the concept of interest-based negotiation as a way of getting to an agreement that both parties can live with and feel good about.
What is mediation allowing families to accomplish? It provides a safe and client-focused environment. Legal issues, including spousal support in Ontario, are very complicated. If spouses can work together, especially when dealing with spousal support in Ontario, they will minimize the financial and emotional costs of their separation.
And what is mediation allowing for children? Children will experience their parents working things out to mediate a dispute and will learn that even in the most difficult situations, it is possible to achieve resolution.
The approach towards negotiation with women in mediation and men in mediation, as well as out of court settlements consistently offers more benefits for the entire family than more adversarial methods.
Toronto mediation services continue to be a very effective method of resolving conflict.
For more information please contact Nathalie Boutet.