Intra- and Inter-family facilitation is a type of larger group mediation. In intra-family facilitation, children may be unable to agree on decisions regarding an elderly parent, or family members (including extended or non-biological “family members”) or may be concerned about decisions a family member is making. Family facilitation is oftentimes useful when family members need a more structured setting to discuss gay/lesbian and transgender issues, where family members are experiencing questions or concerns they have not encountered before. In inter-family facilitation, various families may have a dispute.
Mr. Baum was one of 24 top mediators in Maryland chosen by the Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office of the Maryland Court of Appeals for Court approved facilitation training. He was one of a few family law attorneys in that group.
In family facilitation, Mr. Baum may talk with each group having positions on the issue before convening the entire group. Sometimes the participants have several different positions, so that the list of options for the group to consider may be lengthy and diverse. Through use of issues and options identification put on large “flip charts” the participants are come to a preferred option which they agree to try.
Facilitation differs from mediation primarily in form. Break out sessions are more common in facilitation, so that the facilitator can privately explore matters with the participants. With larger groups, there is a more formal organization so that everyone has ample opportunity to talk. At the end of the process there may not be a signed agreement: the parties will have heard each other, come to an agreement, and may not feel the need for a formal document.