What is Mediation? What Can I Expect?

What is Mediation?

How do I know what to expect in mediation.                             

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While medi­a­tion is becom­ing more com­mon, most peo­ple who have not actu­ally par­tic­i­pated in a medi­a­tion still have no idea what it is.  Mediation is often con­fused with arbi­tra­tion.  Clients expect that they will meet with some­one who will, at best, help them con­vince the other party to give them what they want or, at a min­i­mum, make a deci­sion for them about the out­come, i.e. tell them what they should do.  So clients usu­ally believe that the best way to be suc­cess­ful in the process is to con­vince the medi­a­tor that their side of the story and what they want is right.  But going into medi­a­tion with these expec­ta­tions will make the expe­ri­ence frustrating. 

Different Approaches

There is no sin­gle approach to medi­a­tion. What one medi­a­tor may do in the room can end up look­ing VERY dif­fer­ent from another mediator’s approach.  In fact, what one medi­a­tor does with dif­fer­ent clients can vary depend­ing on the type of case and the facts of the case.   

While there is some con­sis­tency amongst medi­a­tion edu­ca­tion pro­grams, not all medi­a­tors have the same back­ground, edu­ca­tion and train­ing.  Some medi­a­tors have received their train­ing through law school medi­a­tion courses.  Some are lawyers or judges who have been in prac­tice for many years and went to law school before medi­a­tion was ever part of the cur­ricu­lum.  They may or may not have taken post degree pri­vate courses in medi­a­tion, rang­ing from one to five days, or may or may not have com­pleted a medi­a­tion degree pro­gram through a uni­ver­sity. Then there are non-​​lawyer medi­a­tors who may have come from a coun­sel­ing back­ground, or may have received some kind of inter­dis­ci­pli­nary degree in con­flict res­o­lu­tion.  At this time, there is no licens­ing require­ment in most states for hold­ing one­self out as a medi­a­tor. 

Finally, there are vast dif­fer­ences in medi­a­tion approaches that are taught in medi­a­tion train­ing pro­grams. You may have heard terms bandied about such as “facil­i­ta­tive” ver­sus “eval­u­a­tive” ver­sus “trans­for­ma­tive” medi­a­tion.  These terms are often mean­ing­less to clients, and some­times even to medi­a­tors who are sup­posed to know what they mean.  Approaches used often depend on what kind of case is being medi­ated.  Personal injury and employ­ment cases almost always will include attor­neys in the room.  Depending on the medi­a­tor, the attor­ney may do all or most of the talk­ing for the client, or the attor­ney may just sit in as an advi­sor for the client who speaks for him/​herself. In these kinds of cases medi­a­tors may be cho­sen specif­i­cally to engage in a more eval­u­a­tive approach.  In divorce or other fam­ily law cases (includ­ing pro­bate) par­ties usu­ally attend medi­a­tion ses­sions with­out their attor­neys, and medi­a­tors are more likely to take a facil­i­ta­tive and/​or trans­for­ma­tive approach.  

I like to say that medi­a­tion is a con­tin­uum of dis­pute res­o­lu­tion processes.  It is a tool box that a knowl­edge­able and skill­ful medi­a­tor can pick and choose from depend­ing on the kind of case that is involved, the indi­vid­ual facts of the case, and what the par­ties want and need.  I have found though the years, that this view is by far the most com­mon amongst expe­ri­enced medi­a­tors.  Therefore, the best place to begin is to make sure that YOU under­stand what kind of medi­a­tion is tak­ing place, what approach the par­tic­u­lar medi­a­tor you are uti­liz­ing will take, and what will work best for your client’s situation.  

 What to Expect?  Common Features of Mediation

So, given all this, how do you know what to expect in medi­a­tion?   

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There are two fea­tures that should be present in all medi­a­tions.  First, medi­a­tion is com­pletely vol­un­tary and a client should be advised that it is his or her deci­sion whether or not to par­tic­i­pate in medi­a­tion, and whether or not to end the medi­a­tion and/​or reach an agree­ment in that process.  Mediation is best defined as a process in which an impar­tial facil­i­ta­tor assists two or more par­ties to reach a mutu­ally agree­able res­o­lu­tion of the con­tro­versy.  A good medi­a­tor encour­ages and helps each party to make their own deci­sions regard­ing the process and the terms under which to resolve the controversy.  

 Secondly, the beauty of medi­a­tion is that the par­ties get to decide what is on the table for dis­cus­sion and what options for res­o­lu­tion can be con­sid­ered.  They are not bound by what they can or can­not legally get in court.  In fact, medi­a­tion allows par­ties to talk about what they really want or need in order to walk away feel­ing like their posi­tion was heard and acknowl­edged.  Sometimes that means that a sin­cere apol­ogy or agree­ment to take steps to learn how to change future behav­ior might be a more sat­is­fy­ing term to a set­tle­ment agreement. 

 

 

 

Posted in Choosing a Mediator, Divorce & Child Custody, Family Conflict, Mediation Tagged with: , , , , ,

Workplace Conflict and Mediation

Mediation is an extremely good option to con­sider for work­place con­flict and related issues.  Workplace con­flict can dev­as­tate a work envi­ron­ment, result­ing in employee dis­sat­is­fac­tion and absen­teeism, unhappy cus­tomers and decreased sales and income, or, for ser­vice orga­ni­za­tions, inef­fec­tive pro­vi­sion of client ser­vices.  While super­vi­sors and HR are sup­posed to han­dle such sit­u­a­tions, it is often more cost and out­come effec­tive to bring in an unbi­ased trained neu­tral to eval­u­ate and medi­ate the issues.

Why Consider MediationWorkplace Conflict

A medi­a­tor is a trained neu­tral.  He or she has no vested inter­est in the out­come of a given dis­pute.  Because of that, the medi­a­tor is able to look at a sit­u­a­tion more objec­tively to help employ­ers and employ­ees iden­tify what the under­ly­ing causes of the dis­pute are and to come up with cre­ative solu­tions for deal­ing with those causes.  A good medi­a­tor will spend a good deal of time inves­ti­gat­ing what the issues are and iden­ti­fy­ing all of the rel­e­vant issues and par­ties.  Studies have shown that medi­a­tion can more quickly resolve work­place con­flict, reduce lev­els of employee griev­ances and is far less expen­sive than other options.

What Kinds of Disputes in the Workplace Lend Themselves to Mediation

  • Disputes between indi­vid­ual employees
  • Disputes between groups of employees
  • Disputes between super­vi­sors and employees
  • Disputes between employ­ees and cus­tomers or clients
  • Difficult employ­ees
  • Workplace bul­ly­ing
  • Disputes about work conditions
  • Disputes related to per­sonal problems
  • Disputes involv­ing mat­ters which could ulti­mately lead to law­suits (such as sex­ual harassment)

If you are get­ting the idea that just about any kind of work­place issue can be appro­pri­ate for medi­a­tion, you are right!

When to Retain a Mediator

Really, the sooner the bet­ter.  The longer the dis­pute goes on, the more likely that one of the involved par­ties will decide to leave and/​or seek costly legal redress.  Early involve­ment by a medi­a­tor keeps par­ties from becom­ing too entrenched and  esca­lat­ing the con­flict.  When you get a medi­a­tor involved early in the process, all of the par­ties will be inter­viewed and feel like they are heard and val­ued.  Valued employ­ees are loyal hard­work­ing employees.

 

Posted in Business Disputes, Mediation, Organizational Disputes, Workplace Conflict Tagged with: , ,

DOMA Overturned. Should You Get Married Now?

The big news of last week was the Supreme Court’s deci­sion in United States v. Windsor which essen­tially over­turned DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act).  Same sex cou­ples through­out the nation have been cel­e­brat­ing the news.  But what does it really mean? Should you get mar­ried now?  Even if that means going to another state to do so?DOMA

What the Decision Does and Does Not Do

The Windsor deci­sion is a big step towards legal­iz­ing same sex mar­riage.  But, it does NOT actu­ally give any mar­i­tal rights to gay cou­ples.  It merely states that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment can­not refuse to rec­og­nize a same sex mar­riage which has been legally entered into under a given state’s laws.  Currently, only 13 states (includ­ing California which was just rein­stated as a result of another Supreme Court deci­sion last week) and the District of Columbia allow same sex cou­ples to get mar­ried.  The rul­ing really only applies to any rights or respon­si­bil­i­ties offered by fed­eral law.  If you live in a state that does not rec­og­nize same sex mar­riage, you still can­not get mar­ried in that state.   The rul­ing does not strike down any states laws which cur­rently exist that might dis­crim­i­nate against gays.  The ram­i­fi­ca­tions of the deci­sion are com­plex and evolv­ing on a daily basis.  One of the best resources for get­ting the facts is the Human Rights Campaign Fact Sheets which can be accessed here.

For a full overview of what the deci­sion does and does not do, go here.

So We are Legally Married–Do We Get All Federal Benefits Now?

Unfortunately the answer to this ques­tion is not a defi­nate Yes or No.  It really depends on the cir­cum­stances of your mar­riage and the fed­eral ben­e­fits involved.  This video gives a good overview of the issues that need to be addressed.   Some fed­eral ben­e­fits, for exam­ple the right to file joint tax returns, depend on whether or not you are liv­ing in a state that rec­og­nizes gay mar­riage.  So, if you got mar­ried in Washington, but live in Idaho, you may still not be able to file a joint fed­eral tax return.  However, the IRS might change this position–which is why this is a con­stantly evolv­ing process.  For more infor­ma­tion, read this fact sheet.

What About Civil Unions or Registered Domestic Partnerships?

Depending on the fed­eral ben­e­fit involved, the Windsor deci­sion may give you the right to cer­tain fed­eral ben­e­fits if you live in a state in which you entered into a same sex Civil Union or Registered Domestic Partnership.  For exam­ple, social secu­rity ben­e­fits are linked to inher­i­tance laws, which are deter­mined by state law.  But a num­ber of states that allow Civil Unions or Registered Domestic Partnerships grant the same inher­i­tance rights  to same sex cou­ples under the Civil Union or RDP sta­tus as mar­ried cou­ples have.  Based on that, there is a good argu­ment that such cou­ples would qual­ify as mar­ried cou­ples for social secu­rity.  See this fact sheet.

Should We Get Married Now?

This pri­mar­ily depends on whether or not you live in a state that rec­og­nizes same sex mar­riage and/​or only are con­cerned about cer­tain fed­eral ben­e­fits that you might get any­way if you live in a state that has Civil Unions or Registered Domestic Partnerships.  Marriage is a big step, both emo­tion­ally and finan­cially.  Before you rush off to another state to get legal recog­ni­tion you need to look at what your options are and what you want to accom­plish.  It might be pru­dent to wait until more guid­ance is given by var­i­ous fed­eral agen­cies about what they will require to rec­og­nize same sex cou­ples.  Once you are mar­ried, you then have to con­sider that you will have to use the legal sys­tem if you later decide to sep­a­rate from your part­ner, which can be an expen­sive and com­plex process, par­tic­u­larly if you mar­riage occurred in a dif­fer­ent state than where you live.

 

 

Posted in Divorce & Child Custody, Estate Planning, In the News, Inheritance, LGBT Legal Rights, Probate, Same Sex Relationships, Uncategorized Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Is Mediation Less Expensive Than Going To Court?

Is medi­a­tion less expen­sive than going to court?  Yes and No.  And should cost be the deter­min­ing fac­tor in decid­ing whether or not to use medi­a­tion?  Again, Yes and No.

Is Mediation Always Less Expensive?

While medi­a­tion is often less expen­sive than going to court, that is not always the case.  It often depends on the issues that you are fight­ing about.  A full blown lit­i­gated divorce case which includes issues of how to split assets such as retire­ment accounts, real prop­erty and busi­ness assets, along with issues of cus­tody and par­ent­ing time and child and spousal sup­port can eas­ily end up cost­ing $15,000 or more by the time the court case is done.   It would be rare for a full blown medi­a­tion to cost any­where near that sum even if you are using attor­neys and other pro­fes­sion­als such as finan­cial advis­ers dur­ing the medi­a­tion process.  However, if you are involved in a high con­flict fam­ily rela­tion­ship, a good medi­a­tor will need to spend a lot of time devel­op­ing a safe and effec­tive process to assure that the par­ties at the table get all the infor­ma­tion they need to make fully informed agree­ments and to do it a way that is safe and empow­er­ing to every­one involved in the process.  Read more ›

Posted in Choosing a Mediator, Divorce & Child Custody, Domestic Violence, Family Conflict, Mediation Tagged with: , ,

I Need A Mediator: How to Choose A Good Mediator

You and your spouse are get­ting divorced.  You both agree that you want it to be as ami­ca­ble as pos­si­ble or you go to a lawyer who says that you should try to work things out in medi­a­tion.   So now what?  Then you ask your­self:  “How do I find a good mediator?”

Mediators Are Not Generally Licensed

You should know that, unlike attor­neys, medi­a­tors are not gen­er­ally licensed and reg­u­lated.   Some states have reg­u­la­tions for medi­a­tors who are asso­ci­ated with state or court pro­grams, but gen­er­ally any­one can hang out a shin­gle, start a web­site and call them­selves a medi­a­tor.   No degree is required.   When you see some­one call­ing him or her­self a “medi­a­tor,” that per­son may have a law degree, coun­sel­ing or social work degree, a degree in con­flict res­o­lu­tion, or she may have taken a 32 hour train­ing course from a medi­a­tor who trains mediators–or he may have no spe­cial train­ing or edu­ca­tion at all.

How to Choose a Good Mediator

A good medi­a­tor should have a blend of skills and expe­ri­ence.  Not all attor­neys make good medi­a­tors.  Not all coun­selors or ther­a­pists make good medi­a­tors or have the knowl­edge base nec­es­sary to do divorce or other spe­cial­ized forms of medi­a­tion.   A skilled medi­a­tor knows the law that applies to your sit­u­a­tion thor­oughly, but she also needs to have the kind of skills that assures that effec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion takes place and both par­ties feel heard.

Things to know about a medi­a­tor before you hire him or her:

  • What is their back­ground and training?
  • Are they on any state or court medi­a­tion refer­ral lists?
  • What pro­fes­sional orga­ni­za­tions are they a mem­ber of?
  • How long have they been medi­at­ing and how many cases have they handled?
  • What kinds of cases do they spe­cial­ize in (a labor medi­a­tor isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a good divorce medi­a­tor and vice versa)?

But the best rec­om­men­da­tion for any medi­a­tor, as for any other pro­fes­sional, is what their prior clients say about them.   Ask around from your friends and col­leagues about rec­om­men­da­tions.   And don’t be afraid to ask for this infor­ma­tion before you hire a mediator.

Find a Comfortable Fit

Finally, per­son­al­ity and demeanor are major fac­tors in find­ing an effec­tive medi­a­tor that you can work with.  A medi­a­tor may have all the legal and com­mu­ni­ca­tion knowl­edge in the world and have writ­ten a plethora of arti­cles.  But you need to feel that you can per­son­ally trust your medi­a­tor and that she is being impar­tial and fair to both sides at the table, even when she tells you things you may not want to hear.  If you don’t feel com­fort­able with a medi­a­tor the process will not work and you should find some­one else.

Posted in Divorce & Child Custody, Family Conflict, Mediation, Uncontested Divorce Tagged with: , ,

Probate Mediation, Estate Planning and Elder Issues

Mediation may be par­tic­u­larly attrac­tive for Probate, Estate Planning and Elder issues.  Factors that are usu­ally present in these mat­ters that can be addressed more ade­quately in medi­a­tion are:

  • Parties have a need to main­tain an ongo­ing famil­ial relationship
  • Parties want to avoid using up assets and funds with the time and expense of lit­i­ga­tion (remem­ber Charles Dickens’ Bleak House!)
  • Parties want to keep fam­ily mat­ters confidential
  • Strong emo­tions are involved that court lit­i­ga­tion would not address
  • The impor­tance of involv­ing myr­iad fam­ily mem­bers and giv­ing them the oppor­tu­nity to have their say face to face and to be validated
  • Assuring the the elder party gets to have input in the process and a sense of self determinatiion
  • Parties can come up with cre­ative solu­tions that a court would not be able to order

Often a skill­ful medi­a­tor can help fam­ily mem­bers address dif­fi­cult issues that would not be resolved by a court rul­ing.   If Mom left sec­ond son out of her will, all a Judge can do is decide if she was com­pe­tent when she wrote the will.   If she was, sec­ond son is out of luck.  In the same sit­u­a­tion, a medi­a­tion could bring all the fam­ily mem­bers together to dis­cuss the rea­sons behind this clause.  Maybe it was writ­ten 15 years ago when sec­ond son was sow­ing his wild oats and wasn’t com­mu­ni­cat­ing with Mom.  But those con­di­tions no longer existed by the time of Mom’s death  and he and Mom renewed their rela­tion­ship.   Mom just never got around to chang­ing her will.  By bring­ing the fam­ily into medi­a­tion, the other heirs and fam­ily mem­bers could decide to share their part of Mom’s inher­i­tance and/​or make sure that sec­ond son at least gets some­thing of sen­ti­men­tal value from his Mother.

There are many more sit­u­a­tions where medi­a­tion would help fam­i­lies resolve these kinds of dis­putes.  We will dis­cuss them more in later entries.

Posted in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Family Conflict, Guardianships & Conservatorships, Inheritance, Probate Tagged with: ,

Do It Yourself Divorce–Is Self Help For Me?

More and more peo­ple are opt­ing for the DIY approach or Self Help Divorce in order to avoid both con­flict and the huge expense of attor­neys.  However, there are some things that you need to keep in mind if you are think­ing of tak­ing that approach, even if both you and your spouse seem to agree on everything.

Do I Really Have the Time and Ability to Do Self Help Divorce Properly?

Before you make a deci­sion, take a look at your state’s court web­sites to see if they have forms and processes avail­able for you to do this and to deter­mine how com­pli­cated it will be.  In Oregon, you can look get forms at

http://​courts​.ore​gon​.gov/​O​J​D​/​O​S​C​A​/​c​p​s​d​/​c​o​u​r​t​i​m​p​r​o​v​e​m​e​n​t​/​f​a​m​i​l​y​l​a​w​/​f​a​m​i​l​y​l​a​w​f​o​r​m​s​.​p​age

Be sure that you really look the forms and instruc­tions over care­fully.  For exam­ple, Oregon’s self help forms con­tain over 20 packet options and while some are self explana­tory; oth­ers are not and include forms that sup­ple­ment other pack­ets.  You may find that many forms and instruc­tions are far from user friendly and that you will need some help to com­plete them.

Do I Really Know What All the Issues Are That Need to Be Covered in the Divorce Judgment and How to Handle Them?

Even if you use court sup­plied forms, you may not know all the issues that have to be cov­ered in the Judgment.   What impact will it have on your taxes to pay more or less child or spousal sup­port (alimony)? How do you put a value on per­sonal prop­erty or a per­sonal busi­ness?  How do you han­dle a home that is worth less than you owe on it?  How do you divide retire­ment accounts?  The last ques­tion requires you to know the dif­fer­ence between var­i­ous kinds of retire­ment accounts and, again, how their value is deter­mined.  The most com­plex retire­ment funds to deal with are Federal and State gov­ern­ment accounts and mil­i­tary retire­ment funds since they often include other ben­e­fits that should be addressed.  Often addi­tional paper­work needs to be filed with the court and/​or retire­ment plan to assure that the retire­ment account hold­ers give the money to the right person.

What Options Do I Have to Get Help With a DIY Divorce

Some courts have fam­ily court assis­tance offices to help you fill out paper­work.  See, for exam­ple, http://​courts​.ore​gon​.gov/​L​a​n​e​/​F​a​m​i​l​y​a​n​d​C​h​i​l​d​r​e​n​/​P​a​g​e​s​/​A​s​s​i​s​t​.​a​spx.  However, the staff mem­bers in these offices are lim­ited in the kind of help they can give—usually only telling you what forms you need and what you need to fill out in each They are not able to tell you what issues need to be addressed in your indi­vid­ual sit­u­a­tion or answer the kinds of ques­tions listed above.  You can also hire the ser­vices of a Paralegal.  But, again, they are not able to give advice about options and legal questions.

The best options to assure you get all the infor­ma­tion you need to com­plete the divorce prop­erly are using “lim­ited” attor­ney ser­vices and/​or the ser­vices of a mediator

More and more attor­neys are offer­ing what is referred to either as “unbun­dled ser­vices” or “lim­ited rep­re­sen­ta­tion.”  These lawyers will meet with you to review your par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion and give you advice on what issues you need to address in your divorce and how to address them.  Usually this involves one or two meet­ings with the attor­ney.  You often have the choice of hav­ing the attor­ney pre­pare the paper­work for you, or doing it your­self, and hav­ing the attor­ney just review what you have done.

Finally, you could hire the ser­vices of a medi­a­tor.  While an attor­ney would meet with only one of the par­ties to a divorce to give advice—usually from that par­ties’ per­spec­tive, a medi­a­tor meets with both par­ties to address all the nec­es­sary issues in a way that meets both par­ties’ needs.  Again, the medi­a­tor may or may not pre­pare paper­work for fil­ing court or help you with the DIY forms.

As with any Do It Yourself Project, you want to be sure you are not tak­ing on more than you can han­dle and that you get the advice and help to do it prop­erly.  Hiring some­one to fix some­thing after it is done wrong is much more costly.
Posted in Divorce & Child Custody, Family Conflict, Separation Agreements, Uncontested Divorce Tagged with: ,

Lax Gun Laws are Killing Women

As the national spot­light has turned to gun vio­lence in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. mas­sacre, in Congress, there has been some dis­cus­sion of how gun reform can help domes­ti­cally abused women. Last week, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-​​Vt.) — chief spon­sor of the Violence Against Women Act, expected to be recon­sid­ered this week — made the con­nec­tion between gun vio­lence and domes­tic vio­lence. Leahy tes­ti­fied in a hear­ing that in states that require back­ground checks for hand­gun sales, 38 per­cent fewer women are shot by their partners.

Yet oth­ers have argued that more firearm reg­u­la­tions would make it harder for women to pro­tect them­selves — that guns make women more safe, not less.

The evi­dence paints a much dif­fer­ent picture.

According to 2010 FBI data, firearms — and specif­i­cally hand­guns — are the most com­mon weapons used to mur­der women. In the U.S., 64 per­cent of women who are mur­dered each year die at the hands of a fam­ily mem­ber or inti­mate part­ner. In sit­u­a­tions involv­ing domes­tic vio­lence, hav­ing a gun in the home makes a woman eight times more likely to be killed.

Excerpted from the Huffington Post. Read the full arti­cle here.

 

Posted in In the News

Same Sex Couples, Inheritance and the Need to Dissolve a Domestic Partnership

Did You Know? If you entered into a reg­is­tered same sex Domestic Partnership in Oregon you have the same rights of inher­i­tance to obtain your partner’s estate as a mar­ried per­son does. Oregon’s Domestic Partnership law gives reg­is­tered DP’s the same rights as a mar­ried per­son under any applic­a­ble state laws.  The prob­lem is that this can lead to unex­pected results.  It is very impor­tant for same sex cou­ples to LEGALLY DISSOLVE their Registered Domestic Partnership if they split up.  For exam­ple, if you don’t dis­solve your RDP and you do not have a valid updated will, your “ex-​​partner” may be able to inherit all of your prop­erty as a sur­viv­ing spouse.  Even if you do have a valid will nam­ing some­one else as your des­ig­nated heir.  your “ex-​​partner” might be able inherit a por­tion of your prop­erty against the wishes spec­i­fied in you Will.   

In April and May 2007, the Oregon state leg­is­la­ture passed leg­is­la­tion to make vir­tu­ally all of the rights afforded to mar­ried cou­ples avail­able to same-​​sex cou­ples. The new sta­tus is referred to in Oregon law as a domes­tic part­ner­ship, avoid­ing the use of the terms mar­riage or civil union. The law went into effect February 1, 2008. Oregon’s leg­is­la­tion has no cer­e­mony require­ment. In Oregon cou­ples are only required to reg­is­ter their domes­tic part­ner­ships through the sub­mis­sion of a paper form.

Because of this sim­pli­fied process, many Gay and Lesbian cou­ples became legally rec­og­nized by reg­is­ter­ing with­out think­ing about the full extent of the con­se­quences of this reg­is­tra­tion.   And, more impor­tantly, many reg­is­tered cou­ples do not under­stand the impor­tance of get­ting the reg­is­tra­tion dis­solved if and when they split up.  The inher­i­tance issue is just one of many that Gay and Lesbian cou­ples could inad­ver­tently end up with results against their wishes or desires.

Posted in Estate Planning, Inheritance, LGBT Legal Rights, Probate, Same Sex Relationships, Separation Agreements Tagged with: , ,

The Violence Against Women Act

Today, President Obama signed a bill that both strength­ened and reau­tho­rized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Thanks to the bipar­ti­san agree­ment, thou­sands of vic­tims of domes­tic vio­lence, sex­ual assault, dat­ing vio­lence and stalk­ing will be able to access resources they need in their com­mu­ni­ties to help heal from their trauma.

Posted in Domestic Violence, Family Conflict, In the News

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