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Mediation Training at UNC Charlotte

Posted by Heidi Risser
on January 23, 2019

On Friday, January 11th, I had the opportunity to conduct a Mediation Training course, with Ketan Soni and Mark Riopel, for the department chairs of UNC Charlotte.  I was a little nervous to lecture in front of professional lecturers, but that nervousness was short lived.  The professors were very receptive to what we had to say.  I had a misconception going into this training that we family law attorneys deal with more serious issues and conflict than the department chairs of a university.  Was I wrong!  Given their reactions, I believe these department chairs deal with a similar level of conflict.  That means that this message about mediating conflict is more universal that I had believed.   

Mark, Ketan and I lectured for the first part of the day and conducted a few mock mediations at the end of the day, to give all the attendees some practice before tossing them back out into the world of conflict.  There are some very talented mediators among these professors.  Some are naturals, and some really incorporated our teaching into how they worked the problem.  As always, I was amazed at the various styles each person brought to mediation.  Some mediators used a bit of small talk to warm up the two sides.  Some used silence and observation to great effect.  I adore the fact that mediation is flexible to accommodate different styles and still be equally effective

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Collaborative Method

Posted by Heidi Risser
on October 16, 2014

The Collaborative method of resolving family law matters is very different from litigation. First, the Collaborative method involves signing a Collaborative Agreement. In the Collaborative Agreement, both parties and their collaborative attorneys agree to share information openly, to negotiate in good faith, and not to litigate. If the matter does not settle, both parties must find new attorneys. This way, both the parties and the lawyers have “skin in the game.” Next, both parties and their lawyers begin to meet. We call these 4-way meetings. The issues are discussed, information and documents are exchanged, and possible solutions are presented. Along the way, other professionals may be called in to help the parties resolve any differences, such as: financial advisors, tax experts, child therapists, or mediators. Once the issues have been resolved, final settlement documents are prepared and signed by the parties. Risser Law offers the Collaborative method to every case in which it is appropriate and prefers this method of settling family differences.

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Children Don’t Get to Choose

Posted by Heidi Risser
on September 18, 2014

Many people believe there is a “magic age” at which children can choose which parent they live with or whether they visit a parent at all.  The perceived age ranges from twelve to fifteen.  People think, “By fifteen, certainly my child can choose not to see my ex, right?”  Wrong.  In North Carolina, children do not have that choice until they are eighteen, in other words, until they are legally adults.  Until that time, courts generally encourage children to spend time with both parents.  Sometimes, when one parent is extremely resistant to the child seeing the other parent, a court will insist the child spend time with the other parent.

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