The center of our world

“You are here feeling the world in the center of the earth where the stars sleep”.
António Augusto Menoso in Poems of Macao

A distant country. Different faces from the ones that usually surround us. An incomprehensible language. Different houses. Different tastes, food and drinks. Different exchange rates. Different ways of organizing public transports. And even different ways of leisure and entertainment.

This is the scenario of those who travel to a foreign country, passing through or on a more permanent basis. The daily life of a couple with the same nationality living abroad and of a couple with two nationalities in which one or both elements live in a different country from their home country.

When a family problem or conflict arises, these differences can magnify the problem or conflict or make them more difficult to solve. After all the cultural and linguistic differences are barriers that people face on a daily basis and that limit each one’s emotional capacity of dealing with the family problem or conflict that needs to be solved.

Many times there is the impulse of leaving everything without looking back, driven by homesickness and the memories of a life without these barriers in the home country, of a place that is not unfamiliar. As if the problem or the conflict would be solved by the trip itself and as if it wouldn’t worsen it, specially if there are children. Children that are sometimes taken or left behind by one of the parents without the acknowledge and the consent of the other parent and outside the law.

The complexities of the family conflict inherent to the condition of families where, at least one of its elements lives in a foreign country, make Cross-border Family Mediation an important legal mean of solving conflicts. ( In a foreign country it is essential that the parties can find accredited Cross-border Family Mediators with their own nationality or that speak their native language and know their culture, without the need of having an interpreter.

Speaking our language in a foreign land make us feel (more) at home. On the other hand, generally it is easier and more natural to express feelings in our mother tongue and addressing the conflict on the emotional level is essential for its effective resolution.

The Cross-border Family Mediator can live in the country where the parties are or go there specifically to conduct the mediation. If the parties involved in the mediation process have different nationalities or speak different languages, ideally the mediation is done by two Cross-border Family Mediators and each one of them knows the language and the culture of one of the parties. These Family Mediators do not represent their fellow citizens because they are obliged to be impartial and neutral towards both parties but their presence assures that the messages sent out in one language are received in another language, by everyone involved in the mediation process.

In Cross-border Family Mediation it may be agreed that the parties speak their native language and the Cross-border Family Mediators a third language or that everyone speaks a common language. In this last case, it makes all the difference that each party may use, at any time, expressions and words in their native language without having to make an additional effort to speak in a foreign language. And that each party has the safety of knowing that they will be understood when and if they speak about the conditions and the way of life in their home country.

Furthermore, using Cross-border Family Mediation may avoid the costs and the time associated to the complexity of solving an international conflict only through court proceedings. If time is an important factor to most of the people and for the resolution of most of the conflicts, in an international family conflict it is absolutely essential. For the parties involved, changing country and, at the same time, a radical change of life might be at stake.

In a more and more globalized world, the constitution and the relocation of families in different countries is more and more common. It is also common that family conflicts arise and desirable they are solved in a prompt, economic and less emotionally damaging way for the parties involved. Cross-border Family mediation is a strong and efficient mean available for families of travellers, of emigrants, of immigrants, of multilingual and multicultural families, at any stage of the family problem or conflict.

The center of the earth is here, there and everywhere. It depends on the world map we are looking at. Any country or continent can be in its center. Yet the center of our world and of our family’s world is wherever we want.