Is Mediation Culturally Sensitive?

In Southern California, specifically around San Diego, we come in contact with a vast diversity of cultures and practices amid our “normal” experience (whatever that is?). The courts have to process a large volume of claimants through an ever tightening system. When you ask is mediation culturally sensitive, you need to first examine the other option.

 Is Mediation Culturally Sensitive? The Alternative:

The alternative to mediation is the court system. Many times I have watched the system, unwittingly, trample over litigants rights in the name of efficiency or lack of understanding. They often don’t have the time to investigate patterns of behavior they deem odd. They relegate behaviors, legitimate and desirous in your culture, to the land of manipulation and fairly tales. The courts have to cater to the center of the bell curve.

Is Mediation Culturally Sensitive? The Nature of Mediation:

Mediation, by its very nature is set up to allow the parties bringing a dispute to the mediation table to construct the mediation as they wish. Mediation is your time to explain nuances of behavior and reasoning behind things that may seem inexplicable in a bureaucracy. Mediation is your time to get ALL your needs upon the table. The mediators at Pacific Coast Mediation are trained in divorce mediation. They are knowledgeable about the variety of cultures in San Diego and are always eager to understand another person’s viewpoint and lifeways.

Is Mediation Culturally Sensitive? Take Out the Middle Man

That is the funny part of the law, often the pieces of the  puzzle that are a strong part of a person’s cultural milieu, get negotiated at the end of the day  in a settlement agreement of some sort. It would be difficult for a justice to order a practice he or she has little expertise in. An example I often think of is a Get. In Orthodox Jewish communities a husband must give his wife a religious divorce, called a Get, above and beyond the divorce they receive from the courts if she is to remarry in the Jewish community. That a husband grants his wife a Get is, very often, the fodder for a negotiated settlement.

You are going to run into trouble on every side litigating your case that requires cultural sensitivity. When all is said and done, the places that require that sensitivity are very likely to be mediated and negotiated in some fashion. Save the contention. Save the time. Save the money…..cut out the middle man and start with mediation. You will be happy you did.

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