family mediation – equality of the parties

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FAMILY MEDIATION – equality of the parties. Assoc . Prof. Renata Mieńkowska-Norkien ė Mykolas Romeris University/ University of Warsaw International conference 23rd November, 2012 Lithuanian Seimas. THE TOPIC:. Šalių lygybė šeimos mediacijoje - standartai bei rekomendacijos Lietuvai - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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FAMILY MEDIATION equality of the partiesAssoc. Prof. Renata Miekowska-Norkien

Mykolas Romeris University/University of Warsaw

International conference 23rd November, 2012Lithuanian Seimas

1MEDIATION IN EUROPE - EXPERIENCE AND CHALLENGESTHE TOPIC:ali lygyb eimos mediacijoje - standartai bei rekomendacijos Lietuvai

Equality of the parties in family mediation standards and reccommendations for Lithuania1. Parties2. Dependent on each other

3. Understanding that they cannot realize some plans, use some resources because of the other party4. Acting to change their situationPotential conflict; structural levelHidden conflict; psychological levelRevealed conflict; behavioral levelMarriage and family perfect environment for potential conflicts

THESIS OF THE SPEECH:Family mediation has a big potential in Lithuania, however, it will not properly develop without strong legal support and high-level standards for mediators

It is important that, while strengthening family mediation in Lithuania, mediators are required to have undergone psychological and legal trainings to:

a/ recognize and fight with inequalities in mediationb/ properly secure childrens welfareLITIGATION VS. FAMILY MEDIATIONLitigation bases on adversarial principle and, very often, on proving one of the partys fault

Lithuanian society is lacking trust in institutions of the legal system (dissatisfaction with these institutions and their activities)

Family mediation is one of the least intrusive interventions into a family dispute

FAMILY MEDIATION-advantagesCouncil of Europe: mediation eliminates causes of conflicts arising in families, helps to improve communication between family members and significantly reduces negative consequences of breaking family ties (Recommendation No. R 98)European Union:agreements resulting from mediation are more likely to be complied with voluntarily and are more likely to preserve an amicable and sustainable relationship between the parties. These benefits become even more pronounced in situations displaying cross-border elements (Directive 2008/52/EC 2008)FAMILY MEDIATION-fearsRather big acceptance for conflicts in Lithuanian society in general, resulting from long communist experience under soviet authorityFear that confidentiality, impartiality and neutrality will not be securedGeneral lack of awareness and information about mediationFear of lawyers that they would lose their clients or even their jobs because of mediatorsFear that mediation will not secure equality between divorcing spouses to the extent the court procedure doesFAMILY MEDIATION-challengesSupport the parties in conducting rational and future-oriented negotiations but also in emotional reliefProtection of interests of the conflict parties, support of weaker parties, encouraging parties to look for various solutions to their disputeProtection of children rights, drawing parents attention towards situation of their children in their conflictProviding the parties with information about possibility to address their problems to other professionalsA BIT OF STATISTICS:A BIT OF STATISTICS:In Lithuania200520062007200820092010Were born8486899610098Died120123125120115115Got married555863665651Got divorced303131282527Imigrated192124251814Emigrated4335384760228REASONS FOR INEQUALITY IN FAMILY MEDIATIONwomen are less powerful than men in this society (...) women are economically dependent on the men in their families, both during childbearing years and when they are in the work force earning only three-fifths of what their male counterparts can

(Lefcourt 1984, Rosenberg 1991)REASONS FOR INEQUALITY IN FAMILY MEDIATIONThe fact that women are more risk averse than men may strongly endanger fairness and equity of decisions taken by conflicting spouses (...) womens risk aversion may lead to accepting unwanted conditions of final agreement if there is a risk of upsetting the husband and experiencing his aggressive reaction after failed mediation

(Cochran 1985, Brinig 1995)REASONS FOR INEQUALITY IN FAMILY MEDIATIONWomens altruism

As more soft and caring women may more often become victims of tough and requiring men used to generosity of women towards them

To keep good relations with their spouses women might devote more than menPROBLEMS OF FAMILY MEDIATIONIn Lithuania attorneys profit from spending hours on implementing strategy of fighting for their clients victory in the court

(they are paid usually for the time spent on the case and for visits in the court)

Therefore they are not particularly interested in quick achievement of divorce agreementA MEDIATORS ROLEClear facilitative mediation in a divorce case when one of the parties is visibly vulnerable and scared, there is a threat that the weaker party will not defend her or his interests

Fully evaluative or direct mediation may cause certain psychological discomfort of the parties and lead to breaking good future-oriented relations despite achieving formal agreement between the spousesA MEDIATORS ROLEKnowledge and specific psychological skills to recognize domestic violence Use of caucuses, empowerment and BATNAProper childrens involvement in mediationCooperation of mediators with childcare servicesTrainings, trainings, trainings... Practice, practice, practice...(to provide high quality of mediators work)

RAISING TRUST IN MEDIATION HOW?Assurance of high quality of mediators workProviding information about mediation and its advantages in the societyElimination of myths connected to mediationUnderlining mediation advantages for judges, the whole legal system, the societyProviding access to family mediation before spouses go to advocates