In an effort to help more people achieve an uncontested divorce, a counseling center is offering mediation services with additional facilitation by social workers.
Although referred to as Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the use of therapists and social workers really transforms mediation into an approach closer to collaborative family law.
This version of ADR is now being enthusiastically embraced throughout Ontario, Canada.
It is anticipated that only rare disputes among broken family members, including abuse and neglect situations, will be settled by a judge after a trial.
The facilitators also teach separating parents better interaction skills. Like parenting coordinators in Florida do.
Proponents trumpet that ADR is typically less damaging for children … and cheaper for parents.
It’s not a solution for every family. But it’s certainly worth trying in most cases.
(Palm Beach County mandates mediation prior to trial and Broward County judges routinely order it as well, in the hopes of residents having a Florida uncontested divorce.)
The addition of the mental health professionals and social workers are helpful in determining what is in the children’s best interests, but it pushes up the cost of ADR and complicates scheduling a mediation when all concerned are available.