Disputes within Families
Family Business Mediation
Family disputes often arise in relation to the family farm or business, particularly when the time comes to pass the business on to the next generation. "Succession planning" considerations are usually mainly financial. The finances are important, of course, but thought also needs to be given to the personalities - and personal conflicts- involved. It is very sad to see families breaking apart through miscommunication and misunderstanding; especially when a few hours talking things through with a mediator can make a big difference to future happiness and prosperity.
Elder Mediation and other family issues.
When people think of family disputes they usually think of divorce, but as we all know family disputes can arise in many other contexts. Elder Mediation, for example, deals with inter-generational issues arising between families. Mediation can help families to resolve questions such as the future care of older family members, responsibilities of the children, inheritance and inter-sibling disagreements.
Sometimes the techniques used in mediating civil & commercial disputes can be helpful in resolving cases traditionally mediated using a different "family mediation"model:
In traditional family mediation, all discussions take place with the parties and the mediator together in the same room. In civil mediation, in addition to joint sessions, the parties usually have separate confidential discussions with the mediator enabling them to explore their options in private without fear that this will be relayed to the other side. The mediator can then help each party to identify their real interests and make sure that they are taken into account in any proposed settlement.
In civil mediation, parties are welcome to attend with their lawyers or other representatives.
Family mediation normally takes place over a number of short joint sessions which can be spread over a number of months. In civil mediation, the material is usually gathered together beforehand and any advisers are present or on hand so that the matter can be resolved in a day.
I usually encourage the parties to bring all the information and documentation they need so there is every chance of being able to resolve everything on the 1st occasion. The procedure is flexible, however, and can be adapted to the needs of the parties. Where appropriate I work together with a colleague who is an accredited family mediator.