Mediation can be particularly effective when disputes arise between family members or people in personal relationships. This is because it can help to repair the damage caused by the differences, and can find a compromise between the parties. Frequently apologies are offered at an early stage of a mediation. Often if family members go to court or arbitration they do not speak again.
I have extensive experience of resolving entrenched differences between family members. I bring a calm, patient approach to the discussions and help the parties focus and work out what they really want and need. If things become heated, I steer discussions back on track, and continue to look for solutions.
Disputes over a will, Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975, and the administration of estates are areas where disputes commonly arise. The benefit of mediating these disputes is there is a more flexible outcome available than at court, and the possibility to use effective tax planning, too.
The operation of a family business may cause tensions to rise. Succession planning is key, and if this is not done in a timely way, problems can arise – for example on the death, illness or relocation of one of the business partners. Family business and inheritance issues may together form a series of disputes that can be resolved in one mediation.
Unfortunately we are seeing a rise in claims by parents against their children for loans or other benefits advanced. Mediation is confidential and therefore allows dignity to be preserved. Also, payment plans can be agreed to take account of individual circumstances.
Division of assets following a relationship break up requires sensitive handling and a good grasp of figures. Mediation can be an excellent way for divorcing couples, co-habitees and civil partners to resolve issues between them. Usually it is better for parties to reach an agreement themselves in a calm environment rather than have a court decide the outcome. Equitable rights in property and the application of the Trustees of Land and Appointment of Trustees Act 1996 (TOLATA) are commonly raised.
Sibling disputes may arise for a number of reasons, for example as a result of a death in the family, commercial arrangements between the parties, or misunderstandings.