As a mediator, I’m particularly interested in how I can support a client to get clearer about their conflict situation (in the transformative mediation framework, empowerment) as well as about how the other person sees things (recognition). As a conversation between the parties proceeds with these objectives firmly in the mind of the mediator, the parties will confront issues both of a process and substantive nature that are for their decision. Ultimately, they sometimes reach a decision to settle and other times not, but outcomes other than decision are often of value in clarifying understandings about the conflict and insights about the other. But sometimes, parties to a mediation can’t even get to the mediation table, or if they do, their case can’t be mediated.
It was with these thoughts in mind that I read a post from Toronto family lawyers Andrew Feldstein & Associates. The post summarizes the situation of a couple with a very volatile relationship who separated in 2007. The mother was seeking sole custody of their child while the father was requesting joint shared custody. “[A]s pointed out by the Ontario Court of Appeal in Ursic v. Ursic, ‘one cannot be the instigator of high conflict and then argue in favour of sole custody’.” Read the post in its entirety here.