Preventing Divorce Wars and Protecting Children: Mutual Goals and Shared Techniques of Professional Counselors and Family Mediators
Divorce wars continue to ruin families and cause serious harm to children. Decades after Wallerstein and Kelly’s (1980) original research demonstrated the extent that high conflict divorce damages children, custody battles and divorce wars still rage on in our court system. Many people considering or in the middle of a divorce remain unaware of healthier ways to accomplish family reorganization while stabilizing family dynamics and preserving relationships. In divorce mediation, a neutral mediator helps spouses respectfully reach mutual agreements on all divorce issues – dividing assets and debts, spousal support, and all parenting issues -- without fighting or ever going to court. Spouses who resolve their divorce or custody issue in mediation reduce relationship conflict and resolve divorce issues respectfully to the great benefit of their children. By lowering conflict, spouses significantly lower the time and cost of the divorce process, as well as reduce emotional stress for all involved. This approach lays a foundation for healthy co-parenting after divorce. This energetic, highly interactive program that encourages maximum audience participation, will describe how the divorce mediation process works – from beginning to end – and how mediation supports healthy family system evolution during and after divorce. Participants will understand how mediation compares to litigation in court. Essential Arizona divorce and child custody law will be covered for the benefit of Counselors to whom the law may be unclear or misunderstood. Participants will understand the “client-centered” mediation process including mediation research, mediation neutrality, confidentiality, ethics, and the concept of “interest-based negotiation.” Participants will learn parallels between therapeutic and dispute resolution interventions (normalizing, reflective listening, reframing, face-saving etc.) and additional skills and strategies to help Counselors manage conflict. Participants will also learn normal child coping behaviors during separation and divorce which can help therapists diffuse child custody battles when this information is shared with parents.
- Understanding the Divorce Mediation Process Compared to Litigation in Court.
- Understanding How to Apply Skills for Managing Conflict.
- Normalizing Common Child Coping Behaviors to Prevent Divorce War.
Michael Aurit is a nationally recognized professional divorce and family mediator, Arizona attorney, and Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona. Michael is a Professor at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law, where he teaches family mediation. He is currently President of the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM). He has achieved the prominent status of Advanced Practitioner with APFM. He holds his Juris Doctorate degree from Pepperdine University School of Law and Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution from the prestigious Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine Law. Under Michael’s leadership, The Aurit Center has been voted “Best of our Valley” for Family Law in Arizona Foothills Magazine for the past four consecutive years, 2016 – 2019. Michael is a Certified Member of the Maricopa County Superior Court Mediation Roster. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors and as Ethics Chair of the Maricopa County Association of Family Mediators. Michael is a former American Bar Association Dispute Resolution Fellow. He has served as faculty and presented mediation trainings and workshops at numerous national conferences. His work has been published by prominent local and national media outlets. He is a contributor to The Huffington Post, NBC 12 News, ABC 15 News, and FOX 10 News in Phoenix, Arizona as an expert on divorce mediation and co-parenting solutions.