What is Family Dispute Resolution?

Family Dispute Resolution is a non-adversarial way of resolving arguments and conflicts that arise in family disputes without involving authorities such as the court system. It can be used to resolve many types of dispute provided the nature of the conflict does not break the boundaries of the law.

Types of family conflicts

Families get into conflict over many different topics. Here are some examples:

  • Divorce and Separation issues. This could be over property, finance or child contact and can occur at any time particularly when a relationship breaks up or later down the line if circumstances change or one person breaches the terms of a court order or wants to vary the terms of a court order.
  • Couple Relationship Issues. Where a couple actually want to improve or save their relationship, we can use our therapeutic mediation model to help strengthen the relationship or recover from a crisis.
  • Parenting
  • Grandparents Rights
  • Inheritance
  • Elder care
  • Extended family conflicts
  • Family business and partnerships
  • Estranged family members

How to resolve family disputes

Nobody expects to find themselves in a dispute especially within the family.

Issues can escalate if disagreements become intractable and other family members take sides or fuel the dispute behind the scenes. The sooner the parties realise they are in a dispute the earlier they can begin to resolve the problems.

There are many things you can try yourself but if these things don’t work, it is wise to get support from someone who can help you work through the issues.

It is not always necessary to bring everyone to a meeting. Sometimes working through it yourself with professional help can enable you to find solutions you hadn’t thought of. Sometimes a dispute needs a legal ruling, such as child contact in families where there has been a history of violence and even then the legal ruling will not solve the conflict. It will just create an order which must be carried out by law and there may be residual resentment.

Sometimes the parties really do want to sort it out but they have exhausted everything they know how to do and in those cases getting support from a suitably qualified and experienced mediator can unlock the problem and help everyone find a way forward.

What is Family Mediation?

Mostly, the term ‘Family Mediation’ refers to a formal process which helps people to decide on property, finance and child contact issues in divorce and separation.

Mediation is a very broad term and can work in all kinds of dispute. The key thing to remember is that the mediation room is a place where people who have a dispute can attend a safe, confidential and neutral space to work through differences and arrive at a solution they can both agree to. This differs from the court process where a judge will impose an outcome.

Mediation is voluntary, impartial and self-determining. This means that the people in the dispute negotiate the terms of their agreements with the help of a mediator.

What does a Dialogue Road Map Practitioner do?

At Peaceful Solutions our trained and experienced Practitioners support people in a dispute to communicate in order to make agreements that resolve the dispute.

We create the conditions in which a constructive dialogue and principled negotiation can take place. The Practitioner uses a process called Mediation to ‘hold’ the space and address the issues that are creating blockages to resolution. The Practitioner does not take sides, give advice or make a judgement. They also take into account any power imbalances to the conversation is fair and equitable. By allowing the parties themselves to decide on the outcomes, it is possible to explore options in a ‘without prejudice’ and confidential setting.