In the earlier times of joint family setups, the elders of the family would act as mediators. Now, society has branched out, and with everyone living separately, there are no elder mediators to keep the peace.
This is negatively affecting the family atmosphere and familial disputes are spiking in intensity. To keep such conflicts in check, there is a pressing need for an expert conciliator to arbitrate between alienated families and restore peace among them. A lawyer would make for the perfect candidate.
Types Of Family Disputes
There is no limit to the reasons due to which disagreements and conflicts can arise between spouses, siblings, parents and children. The most common reasons for such clashes are:
- Child custody battles among separated couples
- Financial support conflicts between separated couples
- Disagreements on parenting
- Property settlement disputes
- Parental care disputes
- Breakdown of spousal relationship
- Children’s health, education and welfare
- Lack of reliance and trust among family members
Such disputes can create huge divisions between families that can last for years. When it gets to the point that communication becomes strained and it is difficult to decide on critical matters, it is prudent to involve a skilled arbitrator and mediator. Such lawyers specialise in family law and help alienated family members talk out their differences in an attempt to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.
What Family Mediation Involves
Sometimes when family problems escalate, mediation is the only option. This is a comparatively simple and basic way to overcome disputes with the help of mutual communication. It involves family members talking at length and in all honesty about the issues and problems they feel are hampering their relationship and striving to develop their own solutions that both parties are agreeable to.
Mediation sessions usually involve a professional health worker or lawyer who helps in bringing both clashing parties together for passive and non-violent communication.
The mediator tries to steer the discussion in a way that will be most effective in helping family members come to terms with their respective feelings and emotions. Conciliation is similar to mediation, except that the conciliator takes a more interventionist approach in bringing both parties together and getting them to talk out their problems. Mediation involves a neutral arbitrator stepping in to negotiate between clashing parties.
In general, both conciliation and mediation attempt to get the disputing parties together and get at the root cause of the disagreement and work on them so as to arrive at all-round acceptable solutions.
It is a common assumption that all disputes are handled at the court. However, the truth is such disputes should be settled peacefully before things escalate to the point of requiring a court-appointed lawyer. The difference between court proceedings and mediation is that in the second case, it is easier to reach a settlement that is to everyone’s satisfaction.
In a litigation process, however, cases are handled on basis legal obligations and rights and there will be winners and losers. Mediation creates a win-win situation, whereas litigation creates a win-lose situation.
Angus Bankes is a leading family rights lawyer with over 15 years of experience handling all sorts of familial dispute situations. He is affiliated with DJP Solicitors.