Family Conflicts: Benefits of Family Mediation

Photograph of Emma Gaudern

Posted: 22nd January 2024
by Emma Gaudern

January is a time for new beginnings and resolutions, but for many families, it can be a month of potential conflict and tension. The hectic holiday season may have taken its toll, leaving unresolved issues simmering, and the prospect of returning to work or school can add further stress. Family mediation is a valuable resource for those seeking to resolve conflicts, and it may be particularly useful during the post-festive period.

Mediation is a process of communication and negotiation that involves a neutral third party who assists the parties in finding a mutually acceptable solution to their problems. It can be used to resolve family disputes such as child arrangements, support, spousal support, and property division. Unlike going to court, mediation is a voluntary process that depends on the willingness of the parties to negotiate and reach an agreement.

Minimising Stress

One of the most significant benefits of family mediation is that it can be more cost-effective than litigation. Court can be a lengthy and expensive process, involving legal fees, court fees, and other expenses. Because mediation doesn’t involve the formalities of a trial, you can save on legal fees and court costs which can reduce the stress caused.

Moreover, mediation can help preserve relationships by allowing the parties to work together towards a solution that works for everyone. Unlike litigation, where the parties are often pitted against each other, mediation encourages cooperation and understanding. The mediator can help the parties focus on their needs and interests rather than the legal positions they are advocating. By working together, the parties can find solutions that benefit everyone and build better relationships for the future.

Putting Children First

Putting a child’s interests first is also a key benefit of family mediation. When parents separate or divorce, children can be significantly affected. Mediation aims to put the child’s interests at the forefront of the discussion and to ensure that the parenting arrangement is in the child’s best interests. By working together, parents can develop a parenting plan that is tailored to their child’s needs and allows both parents to be involved in their child’s life.

Mediation can also be useful in resolving conflicts between grandparents and parents. Grandparents can play a crucial role in a child’s life, but disagreements with the child’s parents can limit their involvement. Mediation is a helpful tool in finding the balance of grandparent involvement while also respecting the parents’ decision-making authority.

Mediation can also help families avoid the negative emotional impact of going to court. Court proceedings can be a stressful and emotional time with the adversarial setting bringing out negative emotions. Because mediation is a cooperative process, it can help families resolve their disputes in a less confrontational way. This can preserve relationships and protect children from the stress of a long and drawn-out court process.

Family mediation is an essential resource for those seeking to resolve disputes in a less confrontational and expensive way. This can be especially beneficial in January, when holiday tensions and stress are high. Mediation can help put the child’s interests first, preserve relationships, and offer a more cost-effective solution to court proceedings. It’s a valuable tool for families to settle their disputes in a way that works for everyone.

Angela O’Neill, Family Mediator in EMG Solicitors’ Family Team said:

‘Myself and Sue McArthur who is the other Family Mediator in the team are experienced mediators who have seen the benefits of family working together to achieve arrangements that work for everyone involved.  This is a much more positive solution to a court order which directs arrangements no-one is entirely happy with.

Contact us today to explore the benefits of family mediation and start the journey towards finding common ground and building stronger relationships.