Mediation Posts by John Contini

You can trudge the long and arduous road of litigation, lawsuits, and lawyers on the one hand — or hit the pause button … and choose instead the faster and more affordable, healthier, and painless path of peace, ie, akin to a meditation-like makeover of all things legal, known by the experts now as the more effective, quicker and easier way of affordable mediation!

That’s right, mediation over litigation any day!

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Communication is the core of mediation.

Human relationships are influenced by the effectiveness of communication. Effective communication is the key to success in mediating conflicts.

Trials are about past wrongs, fault-finding and establishing who’s right and who’s wrong. On the other hand, mediations are about understanding, discovering, inventing, and future-focused agreements.

Whereas a lawyer will fight hard for only one party, a mediator will instead listen intently and work tirelessly on behalf of both parties to resolve the issues and make peace… If you connect with me as your mediator, I’ll work tirelessly to help you resolve your conflict in a much more peaceful way.

Allow me to help you solve your problem more quickly and affordably.

“The most basic human need is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – Ralph Nichols

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“You want to add ten (10) years to your life and go to the poor house?” … If you do, then the ole saying is the way to go:

“Sue the bastard!” … “I’ll show him, I’ll hurt ME!”

“Why litigate when you can Mediate?”

“Mediate, resolve it quickly, peacefully and affordably, and get back to living instead of litigating!”

3000 years ago Solomon (pretty smart guy?!) said in “Proverbs 25:8-9:

“Do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself …”

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I’ve been getting quite a few calls from folks and “couples” wanting to break up or divorce and perhaps mediate as their way out … and though there’s no money in it … I’ll share with you the same advice I’m giving them — “try to work it out and stay together for a time and dial in some counseling … as this quarantine health crisis is of course naturally going to heighten tensions in the home, and give anyone that stressful, lonely cabin fever of angst — and the strong desire to separate, run away and find your new normal.” “There is enough of a crisis in the world for yourselves and your kids without adding yet another huge crisis in your lives.” “Hang in there (!) and give each other the benefit of the doubt and just know that “this too shall pass,” ok? Keep the faith, always!”

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Keep this in mind if you truly do want to get your case resolved at mediation: It’s like that ole Rolling Stones song — it was Mick Jagger who said, “You can’t always get what you want but if you try some time … you just might find, you get what you need.”

It’s true — especially as to both parents fighting over “time sharing” of the kids (ie, what was once called “custody” or “visitation”) … when you successfully mediate and achieve peace, you don’t get “everything” you WANT … but you can get everything you NEED; and if you EACH get everything you NEED, then everyone wins — not just you, but especially the kids!  Most of us know this already as to anything else in life, ie,  there’s a difference between what we “want” and what we “need — It’s no different here. The Mom’s not getting everything SHE wants, eg, we’ll call that door number one (1)  …  and Dad’s not getting everything HE wants, ie, or door number two (2) … but the GOOD news is, there really IS a door number (3) … or everything that EACH of you needs and everything your children need! And to get there, you just need to get creative, think outside the box, color outside the lines, as we simply make it happen; and if we can just get outside our own little selfish interests and stay focused on the kids, we can get there.

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“Make Peace, Not War” — I’ll help your loved ones at no charge during this covid-19 crisis, as it’s truly the least I can do to help. Kids are being severely impacted, is this truth timely? South Florida — and no doubt the nation, has a huge increase in “custody” fights (called parental “time sharing” now) and domestic violence relating to “visitation,” and now again throughout this time of quarantine! We can stop this madness with a little education as to what this does to the kids, and why. So help spread the knowledge? “Why litigate when you can mediate?” Let’s get back to living instead of litigating.

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Most people who have been caught up in the court system, are quick to say that our judicial system is broken or truly in need of a major overhaul. As a former Circuit Court Judge in Florida, I can just as quickly agree with them. The system is overloaded with an average of 40 or more cases per judge per day, 200 per week … that’s 800 a month, about 10,000 per year; so sadly, the people and their families are simply NOT being truly heard — they’re just NOT getting that real audience or needed appropriate time or attention to help them. AND NOW with the Covid-19 coronavirus / “virtual” “shut down” of the courts, it will be broken even MORE … which is why MEDIATION makes so much more sense as a way of resolving disputes very quickly, and affordably. It’s a blessing to now be a mediator and be able to help people and families.

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“The coffee is so much better here at Pan e’ Dolce, than at Angelo’s — same with the gelato,” one guy loudly bellows across the bakery.

“Not true,” shouts back the other guy, who then piles on with, “but this bathroom’s a dump and you gotta pay to park … and the owner is a schmuck — Angelo’s gives you free coffee refills too, has a bigger bathroom, you don’t have to pay to park, sure better than this place!” [wow, It used to be … you could actually say something nice about a restaurant or any person, without feeling the need to trash someone else — it’s like in politics today — or when discussing religion, or any racial, gender or social issue … whichever side of the equation you’re on, it seems that people today can’t seem to lift up one guy without trashing the other.] The whole culture or climate today is becoming angrier and increasingly violent, as we all experience a greater polarization of our own people and the issues we care about. People are quicker to sue each other too, without first •attempting to resolve things peacefully. All the more reason we need peacemakers AND mediators today — now more than ever.  Call me anytime on my cell if you’d like my help peacefully resolving problems by mediation, as opposed to litigation. 954.937.3134 — True, you can pay the lawyers big $ money to fight over the problem, or you can pay small mediation money for a solution. I’d love to help you and your family!

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The war between the Trump and Biden camps — combined with the tensions we’ve all experienced since the Covid angst and the civil unrest across the nation, has created so much division and toxicity … so I’m hoping to do my part to foster some tiny scintilla of unity before the election results are even in. Pastor James Welch of First Baptist Ft Lauderdale preached a great message this morning about unity and us being united too, with specific references to the last recorded prayer of Christ. In the gospel of John, the 17th chapter, Jesus is recorded as praying to His Heavenly Father, knowing He was just about to be crucified — and I’m paraphrasing here, but suffice it to say, He was praying not for Himself but for His disciples, and not only for them, but for all of us today who would come later! He was praying that “they” (meaning all of us!) “would be one, as we are one,” referring to how He and the Father are one, so let’s all try to be answered prayer. Let’s all of us be peaceful and empathic and even loving toward one another from this day on, even if the other person (a Trump or a Biden person, a conservative or a liberal) is active in the opposite camp, as crazy as this attempt may sound. It’s worth it, since we’re all going to have to live with or alongside one another after the election results. And it’s the only way to peace, that peace which Christ was referring to when He thankfully said “Blessed be the peacemakers.” Let’s become part of the solution, instead of the problem. What do you say? 

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My background over 30 years as a former Judge and trial lawyer — and my history of ordination as a pastor speaking from pulpits throughout So. FL is a fairly unique contribution to peacemaking in any possible scenario you might imagine.

Christian mediation is helpful in resolving disputes involving:

– Pastors and Church Division

– Insurance

– Contractor / Home Improvement

– Addiction and Recovery

– Church Splits

– Counsel to Church Members

– Contracts

– Divorces / family

– Landlord – Tenant

– Lease Agreements

– Commercial Transactions

Be an example to your Christian community and show them that any conflict can be resolved peacefully.

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Mediation skills? Most people would agree that # 1 on the list would have to be: “empathic listening”

You recall that Stephen Covey line ...“Seek to understand before being understood.” Truth be told, more than just understanding, you need to know:

Only after you’re able to first articulate your opponent’s position — their entire case against you… with real specificity and to THEIR satisfaction, will they be convinced that you’ve TRULY “heard“ them… and only THEN, will they listen to you — and only then will you have a shot at persuading them on any level, to truly “hear” YOU, and consider the merits of your own position.

Example: Abraham Lincoln won many cases as a trial lawyer, by first telling the jurors of his opponent’s case, explaining “brick by brick” all of the “evidence” the other side would argue and present against his client — and he was so persuasive that his client would become nervous, thinking, “Why is my lawyer building a wall of sorts against me?”

BUT THEN… Lincoln would, “brick by brick,” dismantle that proverbial wall, convincing the jurors that these bricks were not really bricks after all — and he would then prove up his own case against his client’s opponent, showing them the real story, the evidence and testimony he argued to be the truth.

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Why is mediation less expensive than litigation?

It’s not even a close call — if you choose to file a lawsuit or decide to continue with that sort of litigation in court, the typical lawyers will charge you approximately $400 per hour, for each and every hour of the entire case… and common sense tells you, this is going to run you tens of thousands of dollars; whereas, the compassionate Mediators will charge only a fraction of an hourly rate, and like me, they will even work with the family to always adjust the small fee to make sure it is very affordable, consistent with the family’s financial plight or situation — and if that by itself was not great news… it gets better, insofar as mediation will quite often secure a wonderful and peaceful result very quickly, or within weeks, so again, far less money and much more affordable.

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I’m the first to agree that mediation won’t work in ALL divorce cases — some people are just so blinded by hate and resentment that they’d rather waste all their money fighting; but for the vast majority of you who are going through this ordeal, mediation can and has helped thousands of couples get on with their lives in a much more peaceful and less stressful way, a way that’s also much faster and less costly.

Please give yourself at least 15 minutes to talk with me. I will explain to you the process, ask you about the conflict, find out what outcome you’d like to see happen and get in touch with the other person or people involved to see if mediation would be agreeable.