Marital Mediation Training Schedule

Laurie Israel, Marital Mediator, Presenter


8:30 a.m.
Each trainee introduces him/herself, describes background and mediation practice and interest in marital mediation

9:20 a.m.
– Mediation as helping people resolve conflict in ongoing relationships.
– Are mediators are permitted to work with married couples?
– How does marital mediation differ from divorce mediation and marital counseling.

9:40 a.m.
– Hear from participants who have used mediation to help people with their marriages.
– What contexts, what types of problems dealt with. Success rate?
– What question does each trainee have about marital mediation?

10:10 a.m.
– Examination of literature and websites:
– The Relationship Handbook, George Pransky.
– and, etc.
– Taking the War Out of Our Words, Sharon Strand Ellison.
– Quick look at the many web resources.

10:30 a.m. –
– Break

10:50 a.m.
– Should marital mediation include caucuses, and if so when?
– How to deal with infidelity, actual or emotional.
– Gender and sexual orientation issues.
– John Fiske’s theory that all marital issues involve control and acknowledgement.
– PowerPoint: Driving Your Spouse Crazy, Literally.

11:30 a.m.
– How to start the first session.
– Discussion
– Techniques
– Zen Mind Beginners Mind
– Fishbowl role play

12: 15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
– Lunch

1:15 p.m.
– Marital Mediation PowerPoint aimed at new practitioners, and discussion.

1:45 p.m. The Postnuptial Agreement.
– Is a written agreement necessary?
– Transformational mediation.
– What do postnuptial agreements contain?
– Review samples in materials.
– Various uses of Postnuptial Agreements:

  • As estate planning tools.
  • To correct prenuptial agreements.
  • To set the terms of possible divorce.
  • To set terms of personal behavior.
  • To set terms of household finances, and economic behavior.

– Is a written agreement a necessary part of marital mediation?
– What happens when lawyers get involved.
– Is a postnuptial agreement enforceable, and does it matter?

2:15 p.m.
– More discussion of marital counseling v. marital mediation.
– How to respond to questions from psychotherapists and others.
– PowerPoint on marital mediation v. marital counseling.
– Practicing the “elevator talk” when you are asked that first question: “What is the
difference between marital mediation and marital counseling?”

2:50 p.m.
– Marital Mediating in the shadow of the law. Is the law important?
– Informing clients about what happens if they divorce.

3:15 p.m.
– Screening factors predicting marital failure or success and why they might be important
for the clients to know about.

3:30 p.m.
– Break

3:45 p.m.
– Helping clients conceptual their problems as “normal” marital issues and conflict.
– How to help marital mediation clients communicate better.
– Misunderstandings are rampant, even in long-term marriages.
– Using the mediator’s tool box.
– Fishbowl Role Play

4:15 p.m.
– Helping marriages with estate planning and real estate issues.
– Helping marriages with asset protection.
– When to refer to a specialist and what kind of specialist to refer to.
– What can you do without referring to a specialist.

4:45 p.m.
– How to start and promote your own marital mediation practice.

5:00 p.m.
– Complete evaluations.


About Laurie Israel

Laurie_edited-1 copy for ivkdlaw website

Laurie Israel began practicing law as a tax lawyer in 1987, and began practicing divorce law in 1991. She is the founding member of Israel, Van Kooy & Days, LLC in Brookline, Massachusetts. Her interest in marital mediation (also known as  “Mediation to Stay Married”) originated in her practice of divorce law. As a result of her writings on marital mediation (on-line and print) clients started searching her out as someone who they felt could help them in their marriages. Aside from marital mediation, Laurie’s practice includes divorce mediation, collaborative law, divorce, prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements and estate planning. Laurie developed this website and another website, to assist practitioners and couples seeking information on marital mediation.  She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and .   You can also find her articles on her law firm website.