Divorce Mediation and the Military

7 Mar

The other day, I received a training solicitation for “Mental Health and the Military,” and I perked up right away. Having lived in Hawaii for 9  years and having a husband who covered the military beat for the News, I’ve started to become really interested in how to help our military men and women–and their families–deal with divorce, conflict, and reunification.

imagesAs many of you probably know, many military personnel who return from deployment suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and it can manifest itself in many ways–feeling withdrawn, depression, numbness, nightmares, panic attacks. You probably also know military couples have a substantially higher rate of divorce than other populations. So, how can we, as mediators understand and manage the special needs of military families in the divorce mediation process?

One thought–perhaps the military should provide a mediator who has special training in PTSD and has an understanding of military life. That way, the mediator can manage the process so the deployed spouse won’t be retraumatized. For example, if arguing “sets off”  the deployed spouse and triggers a panic attack due to something that happened while he/she was deployed, a military-trained mediator could set some ground rules to minimize heated verbal exchanges between the spouses. Or, maybe the military-trained mediator could recommend shuttle mediation in the case of a spouse who suffers from PTSD.

Even in non-military divorce mediations, tensions tend to run high, to say the least! And, when one party suffers from PTSD, that tension can retraumatize him/her and make mediation all but impossible. So, maybe mediators who specialize in military divorce could be helpful to those men and women who do so much for us!



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One Response to “Divorce Mediation and the Military”

  1. Jene Cerrano May 2, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Divorce causes major issues with health insurance benefits. Many families have employer provided and/or paid for health insurance benefits that cover the entire family. It is not uncommon to see situations where the other spouse is a stay at home parent, with absolutely no access to health insurance benefits, or employed at a job with either no health insurance benefits available or those benefits available at a substantial cost. After a divorce, the spouse with the family health insurance coverage can no longer cover the other parent. They are no longer “family” members who can take advantage of one health insurance policy. How to then ensure that everyone stays insured does become an issue for negotiation and/or divorce litigation.”..

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