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Mediation - It's not just for Divorce!

Most people are familiar with mediation as an alternative to the traditional adversarial divorce process where each side employs a lawyer to represent them. The traditional adversarial approach is not considered a win-win negotiating strategy, but rather win-lose. Someone wins and someone loses. Mediation, on the other hand is a form of dispute resolution that can be utilized in many diverse situations, whether personal or business. It is a form of dispute resolution that seeks to find a resolution to the issues at hand – not at the expense of one party over the other, not relying on a court to make a decision, but rather relying on the parties involved to work towards a mutually satisfactory solution. Studies have shown that mediated outcomes work better because the process promotes communication between the parties.

Today there are many people who share family and financial responsibilities and living space. This is true whether the relationship is a traditional marriage, a couple living together or an extended family living together.

As often happens in life, situations arise that cause a couple or a family member emotional pain or discomfort. This could be a married couple with children who have critical disagreements over child-rearing philosophies or an extended family in which an elderly parent or parents live.

As tensions build to a breaking point, some people think “splitting up” is the only solution. But how would one go about “splitting up” a family with elders? After all, you wouldn’t divorce your parent, would you? And, perhaps splitting up a marriage or an extended family is not what’s best. This is where mediation can be most beneficial. The mediator acts as a neutral third party to help the individuals involved in a dispute come to a reasonable, mutually satisfactory solution. This can be a step in keeping the marriage or relationship intact, getting a relationship with an elderly parent back on track, or even providing a roadmap for the family to move forward in a healthier manner.

In the hands of a skilled mediator, issues can be resolved. Individual points of view are heard and at the end of the process an agreement is reached. Studies have shown that mediation works because the process promotes communication and collaboration. As a result, both sides have a vested interest in reaching an accord and abiding by the terms of their agreement.

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