NEWS, VIDEOS, INFORMATION AND TESTIMONIALS

Dueling neighbors: It’s time for mediation in a Shadyside bed-and-breakfast dispute

Zoning battles in residential neighborhoods have been a fact of life as long as there have been property rights. The Mansion at Maple Heights, a bed and breakfast owned and operated in Shadyside by former Steelers lineman Chukky Okobi, has generated a protracted battle with some of the neighbors. Despite legal actions by both sides that have resulted in advances and setbacks over four years, the dispute at its heart is very simple. Mr. Okobi has a large tent on the property that he would like to continue offering for social events.

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Secrets of a Successful Divorce Mediation

As a former litigator turned mediator, I'm frequently asked why divorce mediation works. My response is a list of benefits: "faster, costs less, resolves conflict, calms emotions instead of amping everyone up." But today, when reading Teri McCowen's blog on ChickChainWalkingClub.com about the power of listening, I realized I haven't been answering the question of why mediation works. Teri hit the nail on the head in her description of what it feels like to be with a master listener:

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Conflict and the Mediator: Peace Within – Redefining Interpersonal Conflict

Introduction
This article introduces a feminine (emotional-relational) approach to interpersonal conflict, the mediation process, and the role of the mediator. In this article, I will redefine interpersonal conflict as a mental representation, and as a basis for defining inner peace Essential Elements of an Interpersonal Conflict Definition According to Coleman and Ferguson, "scholars suggest that the lack of detailed attention to emotions and relationships is the biggest gap in our understanding of conflict today"

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Domestic Violence Finding Overrides Agreement to Mediate

A case in the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court stands as a reminder of the complexities of family mediation when domestic violence is involved. Indeed, the court found that a finding of domestic violence can trump a requirement to mediate. The parties, O.P. and L.G-P. (names kept confidential by the court) were a divorced couple with one child. In their property settlement agreement they had agreed to continue communicating about their child, and to use mediation in case of disagreement. However, after the divorce judgment a final

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Always Expect the Unexpected

As an attorney and mediator for many years, I have learned the most important lesson for mediation: always expect the unexpected. Whether the parties send formal, lengthy briefs, replete with numerous citations to both facts and legal authorities, or whether they simply show up at the mandated start time, there are always surprises. A good mediator must be ready to handle any situation that arises, with patience, flexibility and a good sense of humor. And, the participants in the mediation must also exhibit these qualities to insure a successful outcome.

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Family Mediation In The Digital Age

Twenty-first century technology will continue to impact family life and mediation. The family mediator’s awareness of the possible positive and inflammatory influences of the internet, may be instrumental in effectively identifying and resolving the modern family’s disputes. Social media, cyber abuse, the child’s computer voice, the use of a forensic computer expert and the futuristic divorce are factors to be considered in the practice of family mediation. Divorce mediation should possibly include discussion of internet, computer and smartphone usage.

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Getting on the Same Page Regarding Mediation in the Future

To think about the future of mediation brings so many thoughts to mind as the field continues to grow and evolve.  The war stories from mediation practitioners who have been in the field for so many years makes you realize how much mediation has advanced in their hands, and due to their hard work.  This can only mean we will leave the future of mediation in the hands of those we educate and train, and we should make sure all participants of mediation are on the same page going forward.

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Enormous hike in court fees - will we see a rush to mediation?

Mediation (a negotiation managed by a neutral mediator) has been with us for many years but, perhaps surprisingly, many more disputes are resolved through the courts than through mediation not withstanding its clear benefits: speed and low cost. Earlier this month the Ministry of Justice implemented massive increases in the fees the courts charge to those parties who commence proceedings. Claims for more than £10,000 now attract an issue fee of 5% of the value of the claim up to a limit of £10,000, so, for example, a claim for £200,000 will now cost £10,000 to issue in addition to lawyers’ fees.

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Fox’s ‘Empire’ Copyright Lawsuit Best Moved To Mediation, Says Judge

With demands for millions on one side and the seeking of a court declaration that Empire isn’t violating any “purported trademarks rights” on the other, this lawsuit seems to have taken the expressive lane to a sit-down before it could blow up. Just one day after the broadcaster of blockbuster series Empire filed a complaint for declaratory relief against music label Empire Distribution, the federal court today said it wants the parties to work out their problems in mediation before going to trial. Maybe not the way Lucious Lyon does business on the fictional Empire but the ways of real-life busy courts.

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TESTIMONIALS

Connie Theron, Practising Attorney - UCT Law Clinic
“While working at the University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic and later at the UCT Law Clinic, I found the pro bono mediation services of Gerrie van der Watt of the Mediation Centre to be highly professional and extremely effective in our divorce matters. It is fantastic that our clients, with little or no financial means, can benefit from such an excellent programme.

The mediators are able to provide a non-threatening environment in which the clients are able to talk openly about issues that matter most to them, but which the Court in a divorce matter may choose not to entertain. Through the mediation sessions, the clients are able to reach an agreement together which ultimately they are both happy with. In cases where mediation did not yield the result of a settlement, the process was still extremely valuable, giving the parties better perspective and highlighting the key issues in dispute.”