Law Tips: 19 Tips for Breaking the Impasse in Your Mediations

The mediation process is profoundly expanding in many law practice areas. Lawyers are striving  continually to improve their mediation skills in order to provide clients the best services possible. It could also reasonably be said that there are times when even the most prepared and experienced mediator runs into an impasse.

Our Law Tips faculty participant, Jill Goldenberg Schuman, Cohen, Garelick & Glazier, Indianapolis, draws on her expertise as a mediator, arbitrator and lecturer in family law to assist practitioners in developing mediation skills. In her recent session during the ICLEF CME for Family Mediators Seminar, she shared her insights for “Breaking the Impasse.” Perhaps her suggestions will provide the spark necessary the next time you are searching for a way to kindle the fire in your mediation:

Mediation Impasse Suggestions For Family Law Cases:

1. Pay out property settlement as alimony.

2. QDRO retirement dollars to pay (a) marital debt or (b) attorney fees.

3. Sell assets.

4. Leave or rent a house to a spouse.

5. Have a side agreement on terms of sale of a house not to be introduced into court.

6. Joint legal custody (a) split issues by giving one medical and the other education or (b) spell out issues in the settlement agreement such as the children shall attend ** school or shall continue to use** as his or her medical provider.

7. If alcohol or prescription drugs or other damaging allegations are involved, consider a side agreement to be executed but held and not filed with the Court and only to be filed with the Court in the event of an alleged breach.

8. Adding oversight language for dealing with drugs and alcohol.

9. Adding stepped in or phased in parenting plans.

10. Adding time frames for review for certain issues.

11. If an issue cannot be resolved and is not ripe (such as where the child attends kindergarden the next year or should it be at age 5 or 6) – add in a clause for family law arbitration of the issue within a certain time frame.

12. Prioritize goals.

13. Allow a party to vent and show empathy.

14. Create enforceable plans to “earn” more time with the children.

15. Mediator’s suggestion – Even after the parties and attorneys leave.

16. Bracketing.

17. Lawyers only conference.

18. Temporary joint ventures.

19.  Apologies.

Are you thinking of #20 to add to these mediation avenues? If you’d like to contribute to this list, leave a comment below for your fellow Law Tips readers. Or, perhaps you’re interested in the Video Replay’s of CME for Family Mediators training session that includes Jill’s discussion and expanded training, along with 11 other expert instructors?

I appreciate Jill Goldenberg Schuman allowing me to share her expertise on Law Tips. And thanks so much to the faithful Law Tips readers for returning. I look forward to continuing to bring you the interesting educational input from our faculty in 2014.


About our Law Tips faculty participant:
Jill Goldenberg Schuman, Cohen, Garelick & Glazier, Indianapolis, concentrates in the areas of family law and alternative dispute resolution.  Ms. Goldenberg Schuman received her B.S. in business from Indiana University in 1990 and her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1993. She is certified by the Indiana Certifying Organization of the Indiana Bar Association as an Indiana Certified Family Law Specialist. She is also a registered domestic mediator. Jill is a lecturer in various family law and alternative dispute resolution topics for ICLEF.  And has been an author on several family law appellate decisions.

About our Law Tips blogger:
Nancy HurleyLaw Tips blogger, has long-standing connections with Indiana lawyers. She was formerly a member of the ISBA and IBF staffs for over 30 years. Nancy’s latest lifestyle venture is with ICLEF. We are utilizing her exceptional writing and interviewing skills while exploring how her Indiana-lawyer background fits with ICLEF’s needs. When she isn’t ferreting out new topics for Law Tips, her work can be found in our Speaker Spotlight blogs, postings on the ICLEF Facebook and Twitter pages, and other places her legal experience lends itself.

Thank you for reading Law Tips. You may subscribe to this weekly blog through the RSS link at the top of this page. Also, you are encouraged to comment below or email Nancy.  She welcomes your input as she continues to sift through the treasure trove of knowledge of our CLE faculty to share with you onLaw Tips.

ICLEF • Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum, Indianapolis, IN

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