2014 Track: Divorce & Family

March 28-29, 2014
21st Annual Northwest Dispute Resolution Conference

Workshops on mediating and collaboratively resolving divorce, separation and other family matters. 

To see the full conference workshop lineup click here to return to the 2014 Workshops page

2.1 The Uses and Misuses of Apology in Mediation
Presenter: Peter Robinson, Managing Director, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, and Professor of Law, Pepperdine School of Law, Malibu, California

This workshop will explore the variety of meanings and purposes of apology, which can be used for healing or manipulation. We will discuss complex apology dynamics, when and how to encourage apology, and when to intervene to discourage a manipulative apology. This session will culminate in a discussion about a list of proposed variables affecting this analysis.

3.4 Heartfelt Communication and Conflict Resolution Systems Design in Marital, Couple, and Family Conflicts
Presenter: Kenneth Cloke, Center for Dispute Resolution, Santa Monica, California

Marital, couple, and family conflicts are often cyclical, chronic, and systemic. For this reason, they are amenable to systemic analysis and resolution by altering them at their chronic sources and by applying the preventative methodology of conflict resolution systems design. 

The central difficulties with traditional forms of systems design are that they do not recognize the emotional significance of conflict within the relationship, are not grounded in the heart, and do not address the intimate, relational aspects of marital, couple, and family conflicts. These are deeply sensitive, highly complex emotional relationships that require systems design methodologies that are informed by the heart.

Systemic emotional issues are difficult and dangerous to mediate because they lie at the heart of what holds the relationship together. Simply discussing, let alone negotiating or resolving them, contains the possibility of greater divergence, separation, and loss; yet also the possibility of understanding, renewal, and transcendence.

4.7 He said, She Said: A Mediator’s Approach to Memory Errors
Stephanie Bell, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University school of Law, Malibu, California

Einstein, observing what recent memory research has shown, said, “Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events.” Mediators also could have reported that memory errors play into the calcification of conflict narratives and influences negotiation themes and rhetoric. This interactive workshop is a brief overview of the emerging science on memory (misattribution, transience and suggestibility.) Understanding how we remember is a critical tool for mediator neutrality. In addition, this interactive session explores new mediation models and interventions to defuse conflict that emerges from discrepant recollections.

6.2 From Angry Spouses to Successful Co-Parents: Insights and Strategies
Presenters: Karen Bonnell,MS, Bellevue, Washington; Kristin Little, MA, Seattle, Washington

Mediators understand the value of a team. Two unique and important roles, Child Specialist and Divorce Coach, offer mediators options for preparing divorcing couples who need guidance to have successful follow through post mediation. The divorce process offers guidance on the “what,” but can be different on the “how.” We fill in the blank. Karen and Kristin teamed up to write a handbook scheduled for publication summer 2014 for both professionals and parents on implementing the post-divorce parenting plan. The presenters will openly share the “tricks of their trades” that strengthen co-parents, make the divorce transition more constructive and intentional, and ultimately prepare parents up for successful implementation of their parenting plan -- a functioning co-parenting relationship.


6.7 36 Mediation Techniques
Presenter: Professor Bob Collins, Director, Cardozo Law School Divorce Mediation Clinic, New York, New York

While good intentions are necessary, they are not sufficient in becoming a truly professional divorce mediator; skills matter…and can be learned!

This session will introduce participants to thirty-six essential techniques that Bob Collins has distilled from his thirty-plus years of practice as a divorce mediator - explaining and illustrating the interventions and "moves" that he's discovered to be most helpful, and assisting participants to incorporate them into their own repertoires. The goal of the session is to understand how to become a reflective, rather than a merely reflexive, mediator by adding specific, concrete "tools" to the professional's skill set that can help smooth the path towards progress when the mediator - or the couple - are feeling stuck. After explaining the derivation, use and purpose of each of these mediation interventions, Bob will lead the group in exercises crafted to teach the artistry of selecting - and the skill of applying - these interventions in predictable mediation moments.

7.7 Scrivener’s Dilemma: Mediators Who Draft Settlement Agreements (WSBA Advisory Opinion 2223)*
Presenters: Leslie Grove, Attorney for Collaborative Law, Spokane, Washington; Professor Bob Collins, Director, Cardozo Law School Divorce Mediation Clinic, New York, New York; Don Desonier, Counselor at Law, Mercer Island, Washington
Moderator: Stephanie Bell, Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution, Pepperdine University school of Law, Malibu, California
Session Organizers: Leslie Grove, Attorney for Collaborative Law, Spokane, Washington, Rina Goodman, Transforming Conflict PLLC, Seattle, Washington

Washington State Bar Association Advisory Opinion #2223 cautions that by drafting Property Settlement Agreements and other documents for unrepresented parties, attorney mediators are practicing law and representing adverse parties in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. The panelists, who are all lawyer-mediators, will discuss the impact of this Advisory Opinion on all mediators and the general public. In particular, they will address the complex issues that are implicated, including traditional mediation training and practice, party self-determination, standards of practice, party economics, and access to justice. Bob Collins, who trains mediators all over the country, will offer a national and historical perspective. Don Desonier will trace the evolution of his own thinking on the topic throughout his career. Leslie Grove will chronicle how the interaction of rules, customs and opinion can dramatically affect both lawyer and non-lawyer mediators, their parties, and the integrity of the profession. Moderator Stephanie Bell will facilitate the discussion.
*1.25 Ethics Credits


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