The Pitfalls of Private Mediation
The following are my conclusions about so-called " Private Mediation" and the Divorce Business
Dr. Sanford Braver spent eight years gathering data from couples going through Divorce and four more years analyzing and writing on what he discovered. He was the first researcher to actually interview both parents. And in his book, Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, Dr. Braver said the following with regard to mediation:
“Because mediation is such (an)… improvement over (litigation) … it should be … (made) mandatory… whether (the parents) agree or not.” P. 241
And while Braver’s comment may be true with regard to FCS or short-term mediation, allowing an unaccountable, dishonest, and/or money-grubbing private social worker / Mediator to attach themselves to your case may NOT be in your or your Child’s best interests. This is because – once attached – they will very likely WANT to keep meeting with you and your former spouse – one, two, three, or four times a month -- to discuss anything and everything that a contentious spouse or former spouse can think of to complain about. And this may go on for years, or until ALL of the Money is gone.
Therefore, the more you know about how Above the Law officials often operate -- on your bank accounts, credit cards, and/or equity in your home -- the better off you will be prepared for what these people very often do.
Q: What is Private Mediation?
A: Private Mediation is where you and your spouse, or former spouse, agree to allow a “Licensed Clinical Social Worker” (LCSW), Lawyer, or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), to "mediate" and/or cover-up for you and/or your spouse, or former spouse, by listening to every possible complaint that he or she can think of to complain about: for as long as possible: or until
- One of you runs out of Money to pay for their “services.”
- One of you walks out because the Mediation is being abused, and/or because you realize that the Mediator is more interested in looting your Assets, and/or your Credit Cards, than anything else.
Q: How much does Private Mediation cost?
A: Private Mediation often costs from $150- $300 per hour: and may require once a week, to once a month, meetings with an irresponsible and/or malicious parent, and that often goes on for years: and thus it can add up to many thousands of dollars each year: on top of legal fees.
Q: Are Private Mediators accountable for their actions or inaction?
A: Only when a parent fires them or sues them in Civil court: meaning that a Family Court judge will not hold them accountable for anything they say or do, nor for what they cover up or lie about: including their own resume and/or wall plaque credentials. Note also that Civil (or Superior) Court judges will also (often) cover for them as well.
Q: What good is Private Mediation?
A: Private Mediation can potentially save divorcing couples litigation costs if they are willing to work together to parent their children. However, it is this writer's opinion that is works much better IF NO LAWYERS are involved: with the exception of a single mediation attorney who is representing BOTH parents and whose services are over with in 1-2 days.
Q: What are some pitfalls of Private Mediation?
A: Private Mediation has many shortcomings, for instance:
- Private Mediators can simply side with the parent whom they know is creating trouble (and money for their bank accounts) by allowing them to nitpick and/or to tell lie after lie: including false accusations of abuse.
- Many of them lack integrity and are heavily influenced by the Money they charge for their "services.".
- The Less they do to fix an ongoing problem, the More Money they make.
- They are not required to sign their reports under the penalty of perjury.
- They have “Quazi-judicial” immunity, and will ask you to sign a “Release of Liability” form to further insulate them from any accountability for their actions, and/or inaction: for example, just in case they are caught telling: or covering up what's going on.
- They will allow a contentious spouse or former spouse to make all the trouble they want.
- Their “services” can go on for years and years.
- Private Mediation provides a contentious parent virtually endless opportunities to create trouble for the other parent and thus create financial hardship as time goes on and nothing is fixed.
Q: How can a parent hold a Private Mediator Accountable if they don’t produce results?
A. Since the Courts refuse to hold their own people accountable, it is up to parents to do so.
The following are some possible ways to do so:
- Let them know that if they don’t produce results, you will be shopping around for another Mediator. And that their services will not last longer than six months (max). If nothing has improved by that time, then switch to High Conflict Resolution: where all communication is done via email.
- Demand that all client sessions be recorded: stating the Time, Place, and Date of each session (on the tape) as it begins. If they refuse, then look for another Mediator. This will make them think twice about telling lies to the court.
- If they do something unethical, report them to the State Licensing Board, and file a complaint with the Family Court or write a letter to the presiding Judge.
- Write an opinion of them on an Internet web site, or in a local newspaper
One such site is www.courthouseforum.com.
- Ask to see their curriculum vitae (CV) in writing, via certified mail. Then check to see if they are who they claim to be, and/or who licensed and/or certified them, and whether or not they have taken any ethics courses: if so, obtain a copy of the course.
- If they refuse to release their credentials, drop them and/or file a motion with the court for them to release their CV.
- Walk out if they fail to produce positive results after 2-4 months: six months max
- File a Bivens Action and sue them in Federal Court.
The above conclusions were based on my experience with so-called "Private Mediation" that involved 30+ meetings with a highly contentious former spouse and two different mediators: one was a "Licensed Clinical Social Worker" (or LCSW) and the other a Ph.D. psychologist with an MFT.
Copyright 2009, Randy S. Berg
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