Mediation Works North believes:
- That divorce and separation does not have to destroy children and that children can successfully be raised by parents that are divorced or separated when provided encouragement and resources to do so;
- That a civil divorce or separation is possible when parents are committed to respecting one another and working towards fair resolution.
Mediation Works North began in 1996 offering legal assistant and mediation services to low income parents through Legal Aid. In 1998, Mediation Works North added co-parent education meeting the requirements for court ordered parent education in Minnesota. It began the online Impact Parent Education program in 2010 to meet the needs of parents across the State of Minnesota.
Mediation Works North specializes custody, divorce and parenting time scheduling, online parent education and divorce without attorneys providing legal drafting services upon request. It is not a law office and does not provide legal advice. It is a family mediation and educational intervention service with legal drafting capacity.
Lois Warner: Mediator, Parenting Time Coordinator, and Parent Educator
Strong communities are formed by strong families. Divorce and separation does not end a family; it transitions it. It ends the love relationship, but the parental relationship continues. It is not the divorce or separation that destroys people and children; it is continuing, ongoing conflict.
Unless there is a history of domestic violence or other situation that prevents contact between parents and/or children, with time, education, resources and appropriate intervention services, most parents in most circumstances can develop a good working relationship regarding their children; most parents can minimize conflict after the divorce and legal processes end; and most people can bring healthy closure to the love relationship. However, not without effort; not without good support, education, intervention and resources; not without commitment and patience; and not without the tenacity to refuse to give up when the going gets tough.
It is important to remember that parents will go through a transition of different stages in their co-parenting as their lives change and as the children grow older and their needs change. The important basic keys to parents remaining flexible through these transitions are as follows:
(1) Parents respect one another right to relationship with their children and are able to place the needs of their children above their own;
(2) Parents treat one another's needs to be as important as one's own and respect the right to disagree;
(3) Parents have developed the ability to resolve conflict when they disagree on issues regarding their children and know where to get help if they are unable to reach agreement;
(4) Parents develop a means of communication regarding their children that is not intrusive in their personal lives; yet communication is regular, personable and respectful.
It is important that parents address conflicts responsibly and do not allow conflict to escalate. Conflict has levels; the first level being the conflict is a minor annoyance and is a one time thing; the second level is the issue reoccurs and is having a negative impact; and the third level is when conflict is increating in intensity and involves a number of negative interactions.
The most effect method in ensuring that conflict does not become intense and complicated is to address conflict at the second level. In other words, if an issue happens once and has no impact it is prudent to let it go. However, if an issue reoccurs it is wise to take progressive and appropriate steps to resolve it before it becomes intense and complicated. If a conflict reaches the highest level, it might be wise to seek the services of a mediator to find peaceful resolution before it causes long term damage.
My mission in providing services to families is to not only mediate a divorce or parenting time issue to conclusion or to provide legal drafting services to lessen litigation expense, but to personally encourage people through conflicts and to bring peace.
Background: I worked as an official court reporter for ten years, mostly in the family court system. I have an A.A.S. degree in legal assistance from the Itasca Community College. I studied family dynamics and crisis management through Bemidji State University. I have advanced training in mediation, communication and conflict resolution, working with difficult people, and basic and advanced parenting coordination through the Association of Family Conciliation and Courts (AFCC). I am a trained Early Neutral Evaluator.
I was trained in divorce mediation and domestic violence mediation through the Erickson Mediation Training Institute in Minneapolis and have training in advanced mediation, family group conferencing, workplace mediation and restorative justice. I have been a parent educator since 1999 and developed an online program approved by the Minnesota Supreme Court in 2010.
I believe that with the power of prayer, good co-parenting education, and the right intervention, that families can remain strong through the most trying of circumstances if given encouragement and hope; that peace within conflicting circumstances is possible as long as there are willing hearts to try.