At some point, all families will find themselves in disagreement about something. It is completely normal for people and family members to disagree with each other from time to time and can be part of everyday family life, especially in a multi-generational household.
It is always a good idea to try and respect other people’s points of view. However, sometimes disagreements can escalate into more significant arguments. While most family disputes can be resolved peacefully once tempers have simmered down, occasionally professional help may be needed to negotiate and find a peaceful resolution. So, what can you do if a dispute is ongoing and becomes damaging to the family and relationships?
Let’s look at common causes of family disputes and what can be done to find a resolution to disagreements within the family.
There can be many reasons for disputes arising within families, such as couples learning to live together for the first time, dealing with children (including everything from the birth of a child to starting a new school), to teenagers becoming young adults and moving out to start their own lives.
It could be the divorce of a family member that is causing friction, one member’s work commitments, or even the stresses of moving house, whether moving far away or only a couple of miles. Disputes arising from inheritances and property are also common causes.
Often it can be differences in opinion between family members, coupled with communication problems as different generations try to uphold their own standards and aspirations.
If these disputes are not addressed adequately, the escalation of the arguments can potentially become very damaging to the family. It is important to try and find a resolution sooner rather than later before disagreements become intractable. If the dispute goes through the court, any rulings may cause resentment and further the rift between family members.
If attempts to resolve the disagreements within the family have not been successful, then it may be wise to enlist professional help to seek out solutions that may not have occurred to you.
Family mediation is a formal process in which a family can work toward resolving a dispute. It provides a safe and neutral space for family members to open up a new dialogue, have productive conversations, and forge better relationships with the family.
All the affected parties will want to resolve the dispute. Agreeing to negotiate means they are willing to listen and open to finding a compromise that works for everyone, even if it is only to agree to disagree.
A family mediator is impartial and will not take sides in the dispute. They will develop the framework for the mediation so that all parties can engage in constructive dialogue that helps everyone reach a satisfactory conclusion. They will ensure that all sides of the dispute have fair representation, but it is up to the family to agree on a resolution.
While it may be a good idea to take legal advice, depending on the nature of the dispute, a family mediator will not offer advice or make suggestions. However, if the agreed resolution does need court consent, they will be able to advise you on whether it is likely to be accepted by the court.
Many of our colleagues within our family department are members of Resolution, an organisation founded in 1982 by family law professionals. The organisation believes in a non-confrontational approach to resolving family disputes and issues to ensure a better outcome for families and their children going through a separation.
You can find out more about Resolution on its website.
If you are looking for ways to help resolve a family dispute and want to talk to one of our family law experts or a family mediator, get in touch today.
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