Role of Family Therapy techniques in overcoming barriers to success in Matrimonial Mediation
Role of Family Therapy techniques in overcoming barriers to success in Matrimonial Mediation

Role of Family Therapy Techniques in overcoming barriers to success in Matrimonial Mediation

Author: Shreya Pandey 

“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change”

                                                        ― Tony Robbins

  What is Matrimonial Mediation

Matrimonial Mediation is the process taken up by the parties to matrimonial disputes. In this process, parties were referred by the court to go through mediation instead of going through litigation.

Litigation is a lengthy process and it requires people’s time and patience. Matrimonial Cases run up to 3-4 years or more. Here in matrimonial mediation, a mediator, who is the third neutral party, facilitates the disputing parties to reach a unanimously agreeable solution.

Through this process, they decide for themselves. Mediator just helps to ease their viewpoint to arrive at a common decision.

Benefits of Matrimonial Mediation Over Matrimonial Litigation

Currently, a large number of the High Courts in India have set up their Mediation and Conciliation Centers to encourage mediation as an alternative to litigation. Bangalore Mediation Centre (BMC) is one of the thriving mediation centers in India.

It has settled approx. 31,441 disputes from the year 2011 to 2015. On average it receives more than 1000 disputes every year which is the highest among all the mediation centers across India.

Mediation is always beneficial for parties to the dispute. When it comes to Matrimonial mediation it is profoundly instrumental. It has many benefits whether it is related to time-consuming or less cost-effective. It covers a wide area helping the parties throughout their procedure.

When it comes to the outcome of mediation in matrimonial disputes the success rate is altogether high. Every party involved or interconnected with the proceeding gets the benefit of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanism.

Benefits that Matrimonial Mediation has over Matrimonial litigation are:

   •  Mediation proceeding is speedy, cost worthy, and efficient.

    • This process maintains confidentiality.

• In this process, a mediator is impartial and acts as a third party to conclude a case.

   • The process is chosen by parties voluntarily and the decision is taken unanimously.

     • It has binding nature.

Reasons for failure in a Matrimonial Mediation

Despite having proper mechanisms or procedures there are still chances that mediation may fail. Some of the reasons for the failure of mediation are:

  Parties not emotionally ready for mediation

Occasionally,  parties are not emotionally ready for mediation. It may be due to the reason that they have not yet come to terms or phase with the dissolution of their relationship.

Mediation is the process where both parties give their consensus voluntarily. But, if any party lacks their emotional interest after the procedure starts then it causes the failure of mediation.

There are high chances that either or both of the parties enter into mediation not by their choice but due to the circumstances or for the sake of the child.

But in an actual way, they were not emotionally ready to initiate such proceedings against each other. Due to this, mediation fails as parties were not able to overcome their emotions.

 Party wants to get every last penny from other

Another reason why mediation may fail is due to a clash of attitudes or egos where none of the parties is ready to settle down on each other’s terms and conditions.

It’s like each one had taken the vow to not release the other easily. In this way, the process goes on without concluding.

Mediation is about meeting both parties’ needs but if the party is thinking only of their self needs mediation is challenging. One or both clients are not confident to negotiate for him/herself.

Parties are not confident to negotiate for themselves

In mediation party, take big decisions for themselves which include financial terms, child custody, etc. Many a time parties don't feel confident to make the decisions on their behalf. It is required that parties should feel comfortable and take their own decisions with the support of the mediator.

  Lack of Communication between the parties

There may be chances that parties are unable to get the information about what the other party wants. It may be due to various reasons such that failure on the part of the mediator to convey the things, parties not showing interest, either of the party is avoiding the procedure, etc.

In this way communication, which is the prime requirement, the process will fail. If communication will not happen between the parties, they will not be able to negotiate the terms between them leading to its failure.

Focusing on self-interested rather than those of the children

Love, caring, affection and responsibility get diminish when one’s self-interest starts dominating. The court proceedings are difficult for the parties and their family, especially children.

But in their self-esteem to teaching lessons to other party or for any other self-centered reasons they don’t try to put halt to the case. They forget how children are badly affected mentally in such situations.

Belief in litigation and the myth of Mediation

Despite being a lengthy and costlier procedure people still believes that litigation is the only medium to get justice. Parties don't understand that litigation should be the last resort.

The mindset of the parties to take other to the court for any injustice creates a myth against the process of mediation.

Mediation is the process that is now grabbing the pace but still, there is no specific legislation relating to it. Therefore, people believe more in the decade-old procedure rather than accepting the new mechanism.

When one party behaves inefficiently and dishonestly

If during the proceeding one party starts behaving inefficiently and unacceptably then it is for sure that mediation will not have a conclusion.

Neither party should behave rudely to the other. This proceeding requires utmost honesty from the parties. Both of them should lay the facts and circumstances clearly and with honesty before the mediator. Otherwise, the procedure will be a failure.

Failure to understand and prioritize the interests of other

It is required to comprehend the underlying interests behind your and the other party's positions. 

If either of the party fails to consider and communicate their priority and interests, then they may find themselves at a dead end, with each of them embedded in their positions.

If they broaden the discussion to their interests, they may move beyond the deadlock to look for a conclusion to address their needs.

 Parties Unwilling to Compromise

In mediation, the mediator will only help the parties to the dispute to reach a common conclusion but it is the parties only who have to accept the terms even if it requires some compromise.

Both parties have to compromise on each other's terms at some point to settle the matter amicably. Otherwise, the mediation will have never ending effect.

 Highly Conflicting Personality

Every person has a different personality. And all have different characteristics to it. Common characteristics in personality help the couple to build up their relationship. While the straight way different personality ruins the relationship. In mediation, if a couple of high conflicting personalities start dominating the process this will lead to its failure. Mediators will not be able to help the parties in the conflict as they will not be ready to cooperate.

Parties not in “Same State”.

If there is a situation where one party has brought the case, it is a high chance that the other one defer from it. Where one party wants to work on the marriage to give it more chance the mediation will be a failure as another party will not agree to this. For mediation proceedings, it is indeed required that both parties must agree to a common point.

What is Couple/Family Therapy? And its Role in Matrimonial Mediation

Meaning of Couple therapy

It is a therapy that is designed to overcome and tackle the issues that impact matrimonial relationships.

Couple therapy is introduced in matrimonial mediation as it helps in building a stronger future for the parties by improving communications and managing conflicts which ultimately help them to decide for their own interest at the table of matrimonial mediation.

This Therapy ultimately helps in creating an environment that is better for the parties either by solving the issues or by helping to separate amicably.

In a process like matrimonial mediation, couple therapy is always best. It helps the parties to acknowledge the actual problem to discuss, to find the exact nature of the dispute or misunderstanding, what is wrong in a matrimonial tie, or who has the actual issues.

The motive for the introduction of this therapy in matrimonial mediation is to tackle significant power differences that exist between the parties.

It is required that the parties to the matrimonial mediation should be in a position of impartiality and they must be in an equal bargaining position which is believed to be nearly impossible.

o Outcomes of Counseling in Matrimonial Disputes

Counseling helps the parties tackle the problems or issues in a matrimonial dispute. Counselor assists and facilitates the parties to look into the matter and helps them to come down to a particular conclusion.

The outcome of counseling in matrimonial disputes are:

 Peaceful settlement

 Adjudication of problems relating to the communication;

 Resolution of issues relating to finance;

Figure out conflicts and disputes relating to child upbringing;

Counter infidelity

Compromise in relation to other matrimonial issues; etc.

Its Role in Successful Matrimonial Mediation- Clinical Mediation

Clinical Mediation is the process that provides clinically concentrated matrimonial mediation services intending to reach a fair and unanimously agreed upon object and division of property.

The question lies in how it makes matrimonial mediation successful. Clinical mediation plays a crucial role in successful matrimonial mediation because in this the mediator who is specialized in solution-focused brief therapy will be able to have communication skills that are necessary to reframe conversations that are related to past pain. This will further help to focus on the future where parties can amicably separate.

The mediator will focus on language and hold a variety of viewpoints simultaneously. This will help the mediator to align with both parties which will ultimately help in gaining a favorable outcome in the matrimonial mediation.

Further, clinical mediation will keep Emotional Intelligence as its key asset for the success of matrimonial mediation. This unique additional skill set in clinical mediation facilitates the ground for enhanced matrimonial mediation.

o Role of Clinical Mediator

Clinical Mediator have various roles in matrimonial mediation, such as;

  Understanding the crisp history of the mediation goals;

  Learning implicit barriers to goal acquirement;

  Directing emotions;

  Exploring potential solutions;

Reformulate conversation about previous pain to focus on amicable separation in the future.

What Couple Therapy techniques are useful in the successful outcome of matrimonial mediation?

There are various therapies used in matrimonial mediation. They have different roles and effects. Each and every therapy helps the parties in a different way. Parties may opt for any therapy which they think will be useful for them during their procedure.

These therapies are:

o Marriage Closure Therapy

It is a therapy that is helpful when couples have decided to end their marriage. The external goal of this therapy is to bring an end to the marriage with the help of reconciliation and dissolution. And, the internal goal of this therapy may be either co-parenting children, helping to overcome grief, overcome the process of the emotions that arise during the end of the marriage which helps the couples to move on and begin the new stage of life.

o Solution Focused Brief Therapy

This therapy comes under the purview of constructive therapy. It was developed by Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg. This therapy is future-focused and goal-directed, This therapy focuses on solution building rather than problem-solving.

o Cognitive Behavior Therapy

This therapy is a kind of psychotherapeutic treatment. It helps people to learn how to recognize and alter destructive or disturbing thought patterns which have a negative influence on someone’s behavior and emotions. The random negative thoughts in the mind have a harmful influence on mood. This therapy focuses on altering these random negative thoughts which will lead to difficulties in emotions, anxiety, and depression.

How useful are the techniques of Couple therapy in overcoming barriers in successful Matrimonial Mediation?

All three techniques are very useful and have their own use and benefits when apply to the procedure of matrimonial mediations.

In overcoming the barriers to successful Matrimonial Mediation, Marriage Closure therapy is useful as it helps in self-transition whether it is pre or post-divorce, it helps the parties to process the emotions that they encounter while ending the relationship so as to move on and begin their future and next phase of life.

Solution-focused brief therapy is useful as it doesn't waste time in analyzing the problems and past life incidents rather it focuses or concentrates on the future and resolution of one's issue.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is useful in overcoming the barriers in successful Matrimonial Mediation as it helps in combating the low self-esteem and other emotional tussles which parties encounter or experience in matrimonial mediation.

Overall, Couple therapy is helping parties to matrimonial mediation in various ways whether it is communication problems, divorce or marital conflict, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, etc. Its benefit in matrimonial mediation are-

⦁    It Strengthens the relations between parties;

⦁    It helps in overcoming emotions and grief;

⦁    Improves the lines of communication;

⦁    Develops and maintains the boundaries;

⦁    Identify the source of conflict;

⦁    Building empathy; etc.

Need of Hour to embrace Couple Therapy techniques in Matrimonial Mediation to spread Harmony in society

“In a civilized society, we humans are responsible for nurturing and sustaining the force of inter-relational harmony in our lives. - Gudjon Bergmann

Couple Therapy is the process that is designed to restore the balance in matrimonial mediation

Its involvement in the process will be truly helpful as it helps the parties to walk in with an open mind and willingness to address the issues that are affecting the relationship.

In matrimonial mediation where parties are deciding best for themselves, with the help of a third party, the couple's therapy will help them to easily counter the problems setting aside any self-interest or other issues.

Couple therapy should be promoted in matrimonial mediation as it identifies the source of conflict and eliminates it in the least confrontational way.

According to recent statistics, about 0.25% (i.e. about 1.36 million) of the overall married population in India are divorced. According to a BBC report of 2016, out of 1000 marriages only 13 end in divorce in India which is equal to approx. 0.24% of the married population and approx. 0.11% of the total population.

India had a low rank on the global divorce rate indexes, India is considered to be a land of ancient civilization and culture and in this culture, divorces are still somewhere considered to be taboo.

In such a scenario where marriages are considered to be a sacred ceremony, matrimonial conflicts are found to be the activities of social disharmony. To maintain this harmony and to lower the litigation, mediation is always the best option in marriages.

Couple therapies in matrimonial mediations fill the gap for the creation of harmony in society. It requires that we should change with time and adopt the mechanisms which are embraced by the new societal norms.

Therapies are those new mechanisms that will help to spread harmony in society when used in matrimonial mediation.