After having discerned over “fairness” as the object of mediation, let us approach methodology, particularly in the realm of marital relationships.
I rest marital mediation on the basic distinction between marriage and marital life. Here lies a tremendous potential of finding life solutions. It would be very difficult to prove me wrong that marriage is an infallible invention. Present debate does not disclaim marriage but rather revolves about its understanding. Marriage has been present since the first records of humankind and no outstanding civilization can be counted as such without the presence of it. C. Dawson, The Dynamics of World History (Isi Books, 2002).
And let us say from the start that marriage is above all a natural design, regardless of our beliefs or actions, culture or laws. Not even reason could attain an explanation of its successful design throughout history. Rabbi Daniel Lapin, The Originand Destiny of Marriage and Family, II Inter-American Conference on Family, Toronto, 1996).
If for many marital life is failing (or has failed) we must then conclude that it is due to the couples’ shortcomings rather than to marriage. And it is from comparing marital life to marriage that, as a mediator, I find the true issues at stake and the alternatives to settle them. Likewise, from comparing filial and adoption relationships to fatherhood.
So many are “married” without being in marriage. For them, the release of a false bond will be liberating. For others, learning about their shortcomings will also be liberating because so many couples fall short of living their marital commitments although they sincerely wish to live them through and through. If they only knew where they are failing. They can find the answer in discovering what marriage is. It is a convention but its effects go beyond our convention; the offspring being a plain evidence of it.
The goal of mediation is to achieve the cooperation of the parties towards disposing of problems which involve the parties’ dignity. Usually, running parallel to or allowing for the relief of therapy and the solutions of the law. Again, as we have said before, the object of mediation is the “measurable” value of fairness (not emotions, not equality).
The typical expression of a mediation will be a “Settlement Agreement”, and these can include a wide variety of issues, among which the least tend to be assets distribution, custody and visitation, child and spousal support, tax management.
There’s so much that can be done with mediation. Don’t hesitate to refer your relatives, friends or yourself to it.