When problems arise in the family environment, it can be a difficult time for everyone involved and mediation offers a positive method of resolving these problems without having to involve the courts. Family mediation is a process of resolving conflict between couples and family members who have decided to separate or divorce or who have experienced conflict between different family members due to property, finances or custody as well as family abduction, domestic violence and cultural disputes between family members.
There are various situations that could benefit from mediation and this is particularly relevant to families where the relationship between parties needs to be preserved beyond the proceedings. Due to the informal and confidential nature of mediation, both parties can enter negotiations and continue to co-operate with each other whilst maintaining their dignity and being able to remain respectful to each other and still having their chance to voice themselves.
In family mediation, the mediator is responsible for :-
- Assisting family members to settle their differences.
- Creating an environment where each party has a chance to voice their case without power plays coming into effect.
- Maintaining the equilibrium of the proceedings and ensuring that emotions are controlled.
- Assisting in reaching an agreement between the parties that is amicable, equitable and functional.
Additional Family Mediation Services
Other areas where mediation can assist in family matters include dealing with elderly family member issues such as health care, retirement, housing and living arrangements and financial concerns as well as medical concerns, caregiver responsibilities and family business issues. Finally elder mediation can also deal with end of life decisions, guardianship and estate planning.
Child Custody Mediation
In the event that parents are unable to agree on who shall retain “custody” of their children after a separation or divorce, it may be recommended by a judge to engage in mediation to try and resolve the conflict in a more informal environment where both parties can discuss options and perhaps find creative solutions that would not normally be in the realm of court proceedings.
In addition to not having to appear at multiple court dates and working to a schedule that is suitable for both parents, the atmosphere between the parents during these sessions is far less confrontational and can lead to a mutually agreeable custody schedule.
Family Business Mediation
Whilst working with your family can be extremely production, the emotion connected to dealing with family members when problems arise can result in problems. Mediation is an excellent method of bringing all parties to the table to discuss and clarify the issues at hand. In addition to dealing with business decisions, mediation can also be used to clarify and resolve estate issues with relation to wills and trusts.
Family Law Mediation
Many private alternative dispute resolutions centres around the world offer a selection of family law mediation with three distinct fields:-
- Family Counselling Divorce Mediation
- Legal Issue Divorce Mediation
- Moderate Divorces
In addition to the above mentioned mediation types, it is important to note that family conflict mediation is generally used as a means to avoid divorce and to work through the conflict to save a marriage, whilst other types of mediation are utilized to clarify issues when divorce is inevitable. For an in-depth look at the individual types of family law mediation mentioned above read our guide to family law mediation.
Various other mediation services include:-
- Adult Children Mediation – on issues of estate planning, inheritance and care of elderly parents
- Open Adoption Mediation – on issues of birth parent information
- Parent Teen Mediation – on issues of house rules, behaviour and schooling
- Step Parenting Mediation – on issues of house rules and relationships