Divorce Mediation in the U.K./Martin Rosenfeld

Posted on June 21, 2016


There is a TV program in the UK that centers around divorce and mediation. At the current time, divorce mediation cases in the UK numbers 17,000/yearly. 90% of those cases will have a positive resolution.

The UK newspaper, The Telegraph,  described a progam entitled: “Mr V. Mrs: Call the Mediator” The show focuses on a mediator by the name of  Irene Jackson. Ms. Jackson and her work is summed up this way:

“But there is hope. In the shape of charismatic divorce mediator Irene Jackson. Calming and cheerful, every time, the couple appear at impasse, Irene coaxes them back into negotiation, ensuring each one not only is heard by the other, but feels they have been heard. She says: ‘’In all cases, there’s an element of emotion involved. An element of sadness. It’s our job to take the negativity out of the room.’ ”

A divorce has the imprimatur of impasse and sadness. But mediation can nevertheless cleanse the air from the negativity and toxicity. It can be done through a search for shared ground and through civility and listening. A mediator can help get the negativity out of the room, but it is not done without the cooperation of the two parties. Perhaps the best description of what can occur was once articulated by mediator Zena Zumeta of Ann Arbor, Michigan. This is what she said :”If the parties are motivated, the worst mediator in the world can lead them to a resolution. If they are not motivated, the best mediator in the world will not be able to do so. But as the article above states: “There is hope”. Mediate don’t litigate.”