According to family communication research, 50% of couples in the United States end up in court asking for a divorce. In matters involving family situations, mediation provides an excellent means to help people deal with these difficult and emotional issues. In most domestic, family, and divorce mediations, an ongoing relationship exists in which parties must communicate (to some degree) in the future. Dr. Z reminds people that communication is possible and teaches them tools for doing so effectively.
Legal terms like child custody, visitation, and property division are not pleasant to hear and even more uncomfortable to discuss. Attorneys are great at laying out legal options for navigating the complicated court system, but what they often fail to do is unpack these terms. Dr. Z reframes these legal terms into normal language that people can understand. He recognizes that both parents want the best for their children, and he uses his communication expertise to help them share these thoughts with one another. More important, people who use mediation realize that they can talk through their differences, which is often the best possible result when children are involved. Dr. Z helps people “talk to rather than through,” that is, he facilitates a direct dialogue rather than having people speak through attorneys. The additional parties always complicate things because we all bring different needs and wants into a situation. In times of conflict, direct communication is difficult but important because it avoids many misunderstandings.
Dr. Z does not have children yet and believes that this is an irrelevant issue for several reasons. First, he believes that people should have the right to self-determination, or in other words, people should be in control of their own lives. He does not understand why people want to give away their parenting control to a judge that they have never met. In mediation the parties are in control of how parenting decisions are made, and Dr. Z simply facilitates this conversation. He does not assume he knows how your family works or that he knows how to better parent your children. However, what he does bring to the table is communication expertise. His Contextual Mediation style builds on your beliefs for how children should be raised and helps you create a Parenting Plan for the future. This plan is a useful communication tool for when things change — just like when an appliance breaks down you pull out a manual to troubleshoot. The parenting plan is no different.
Nonetheless, if you choose not to mediate with MCS for this reason, Dr. Z can suggest other excellent St. Louis mediators who do have children if this will give you peace of mind.