Divorce Mediator Standards
As a trained mediator and member of the network of collaborative law professionals, Darren M. Shapiro, Esq. has garnered a great deal of experience in the realm of alternate dispute resolution. Directed by the code of Professional Responsibility, like all lawyers within New York, Mr. Shapiro takes on the role of mediator with complete dedication and focus. Though he has the capacity to work as a family law attorney and a mediator at the same time, as a mediator he does not have to behave like a lawyer. Indeed, in order to guide mediators, the American Arbitration and American Bar Association adopted specific standards of conduct in 2005. In order to give his clients the most effective and successful representation and services for their needs, Darren M. Shapiro has developed a deep and pervasive understanding of these standards.
One of the most important primary things to consider in regards to mediation, is the principle of self-determination. This simply means that the decisions made throughout the process of mediation are determined exclusively by the parties within the case, and not the mediator involved. In mediation, it is not Mr. Shapiro's role to place blame or ascertain a victim, rather he works to educate and guide the parties involved about the different options they may use in settling issues. For instance, Darren M. Shapiro may inform the parties about the different routes available for child custody matters, such as sole custody, shared custody, joint legal custody and joint custody with specific spheres of influence.
The next standard determined by the code of conduct given in 2005, is the demand that all mediators should have the qualifications required to be considered capable of handling the mediation. The qualifications obtained could be from training, experience or education, and Mr. Shapiro is a trained, educated and highly experienced mediator. In relation to family law, all mediators are required to possess adequate knowledge regarding family and matrimonial law, as well as an understanding of how conflict can impact children and families, how the mediation process is conducted and how diversity and backgrounds can alter certain situations. In essence, any trained mediator should be able to guide their client through the process by answering questions and delivering the information that is requested of them.
As a professional mediator, Mr. Darren Shapiro helps to educate parties regarding the mediation process, evaluating the ability of the couple to effectively pursue mediation before an agreement is made. The knowledge that is relayed by Mr. Shapiro will typically include (but is not limited to): informing both parties of the voluntary nature of their decisions; explaining how mediation is different to alternative routes such as collaborative law and litigation; explaining that courts must approve ultimate agreements and that parties may seek assistance from other sources. Mediating indivicuals can access advice from their own sources throughout the mediation process, including individuals such as therapists, accountants and attorneys. As a trained mediator, Mr. Shapiro also respects his obligation to maintain confidentiality throughout the mediation process and results, and permits either side to stop the process at any time.
The next standard of mediation is the impartiality of the process. This simply means that there should no bias from the mediator towards either side, and conflicts of interest stemming from prior relationships must be avoided. Any possible conflicts should be disclosed during the initial meeting so that parties may have the opportunity to decide whether they are comfortable with proceeding. What's more, any information obtained during the process of mediation should never be utilized by the mediator for personal gain.
In order to support complete transparency the fee schedule and charges given by Mr. Shapiro will be explained fully, and an agreement will be given in writing. Any unearned portion of a retainer can be returned upon the termination of the mediation process, which itself will be structured to ensure the parties can make decisions based on sufficient information. The standards of conduct demand that accurate and full disclosure should be made by everyone, which can be helped with the use of the appropriate additional experts. Although the mediator involved in a case can show that they are qualified to provide based on experience, no mediator should give legal advice or therapy to participants in a case.
Confidentiality is the seventh standard of mediation, and participants working with Darren. M. Shapiro will be informed about the confidentiality policy of their mediation straight away. If Mr. Shapiro receives a subpoena, then he will immediately inform the participants of the case. No mediator should ever provide testimony in response to a subpoena without a court order if that action would be in contrast to the requirements of confidentiality.
It's important to note that the participants of any mediation should be encouraged to further the best interests of any children involved. Mr. Shapiro will help clients to explore all the various options available for parenting arrangements following a divorce, and may access the input of a child specialist. Programs and community resources that assist children to transition throughout family setups can be discussed. Decision making responsibilities, parenting plans and how those plans could be revised as well as dispute resolution processes for the future should be considered. Aside from within extraordinary circumstances, children should not be present in mediation services, and this would require the consent of an appointed court representative if one is involved, and the parents. Mr. Shapiro is highly educated regarding the laws surrounding neglect and abuse of children, as he also works as a family law attorney, and will always comply with child protection laws. No mediator should accept a mediation option regarding domestic abuse without the appropriate training, and if domestic violence is a factor, assessments must be made to ensure the case is appropriate for mediation.
The mediation process can be halted at any point by the mediator if they believe that one of the parties involved cannot meaningfully participate because of threat of abduction, safety issues, alcohol or drug abuse, illegal conduct, unfair gain, compromised impartiality or a belief that the agreement is unconscionable. As a trained and professional mediator, Mr. Shapiro will be consistently forthright in representing his qualifications, and continues to hone his expertise through education, training and experience.
To learn more about the process of mediation, family and matrimonial law, please contact us or visit our blog. If you are interested in using Mr. Shapiro as a mediator, call to schedule your free thirty minute consultation for you and your spouse together. Let us know what we can do to help you, it would be our pleasure to speak with you further.