Dr. Coughlin melds her mental health expertise with her training as a Collaborative Family Law Facilitator to create an effective and transparent mediation practice.
Worldwide and throughout many states in the US, mediation occurs with all parties and their attorneys in one room with the mediator facilitating a resolution of the issues. However, in most parts of Florida, mediation occurs with the parties in separate rooms and the mediator carrying offers back and forth between the rooms.
Dr. Coughlin finds that having everyone sitting around the conference table sharing ideas and alternatives to resolve family law matters is more practical and efficient. So while she will use the separate room format if the parties or their attorneys request it, she recommends the single room format if at all possible.
There will always be the need for an individual to consult with their attorney privately; that’s what caucusing is all about. During the mediation process the individual may caucus with their attorney whenever necessary.
On occasion, Dr. Coughlin may request the parties caucus to allow her the option to speak privately with each person. When this occurs, Dr. Coughlin may help an individual explore options, provide information about child development if the parties have children, simply take a timeout to settle emotions, or even suggest issues be tabled if there does not seem a likelihood of resolving the conflicts.
Dr. Coughlin is a mental health expert, she is not an attorney. When she mediates and settlements are reached, one attorney will write up the agreement for both Dr. Coughlin and the other attorney to review and sign. The signing of the agreement signifies the end of the mediation.
Mediation is a confidential process. Whatever happens in mediation, stays in mediation if no agreement is reached. This criteria allows for everyone to offer options and consider resolutions they may not realistically be able to support if an agreement is not able to be finalized in mediation and litigation begins. Dr. Wendy assists all parties involved to exercise creativity and collaboration in putting all options on the table. In this safe environment, all ideas are welcome and one idea can inspire other ideas. The final crafted resolution has a higher probability of lasting in the long run because it was created through full participation and consideration of both spouses.
Conflict begets conflict; when a mutually acceptable agreement cannot be reached, people “lawyer-up” and more strictly define their positions. Agreements that were once acceptable around the mediation table are no longer acceptable if the war continues. This “war” not only makes the entire process take longer, it is incredibly stressful and expensive. For this reason, Dr. Coughlin is 100% committed to helping individuals find solutions and reach agreements during mediation.