How can mediation help you navigate difficult family situations?

Date: 21/06/2023


See Sandra explain how mediation can help with family conflict in this video:

What is mediation?

The aim of mediation is to help parties involved in a dispute to reach an agreement acceptable to both sides.  Mediation can be a time-saving and cost-effective alternative to taking legal action to resolve a dispute. The process is voluntary, confidential, and impartial. Following a meeting where the mediator talks to the parties separately, a follow-up joint meeting is arranged. During the meeting all parties get the opportunity to tell their story.

The Mediator is neutral and encourages the parties to co-operate with each other to work out mutually acceptable arrangements. The mediator will encourage communication between family members, promote understanding, and attempt to identify possible areas of compromise by bringing attention to common areas of interest.

If an agreement is reached at mediation the Mediator can draw up the terms of the agreement, which is signed by both parties. The agreement is not legally binding but is based on good faith.

In what kind of family disputes can mediation be helpful? 

It is expected and normal for family members to face challenges that can sometimes lead to disputes. Sometimes the issues self-resolve, or those involved in the dispute come to an agreement amongst themselves. However, sometimes the dispute has gone past that stage and the family feels that they can benefit from having a neutral third party to ensure everyone is heard. This is where mediation comes in. Some of the family disputes that can benefit from mediation include:

Co-parenting relationships:  divorced or separated parents can face significant difficulties in figuring out how to build a working relationship as co-parents. Conflict can arise when there are different ideas on how to move forward on issues such as access, travel, education, and other related issues.

Difficult living arrangements: as Ireland faces a housing crisis, more and more families have had to start living together and sharing spaces. In some cases, even separated couples end up staying together to avoid either of them falling into homelessness. As can be expected these scenarios can lead to conflict. In such case mediation will help all parties involved come up with a mediated agreement on how to co-exist in a shared space and how to handle conflict as and when it arises.

The aftermath of the execution of a deceased’s estate: While the execution of a deceased’s estate is a matter to be determined by the law, this is a situation where conflict in families can often arise. Some examples of when such conflict can arise is when deciding what to do with a property that has been bequeathed to more than one person. Mediation can help families navigate the challenges that may arise in such scenarios.

Deciding on a sick loved one’s care: In some instances, health issues can cause conflict in a family, especially when there are differences in how to approach the issues. One such example would be when a parent has fallen ill, and a decision needs to be made by the children on whether to care for them at home or to send them to a care facility to be cared for. The financial and emotional toll that such a decision can take could no doubt lead to some conflict. Families facing such difficulty can benefit from a mediated agreement.

How can I arrange mediation?

Give us a call or email and our Project Officer Sandra will get back to you. Sandra will listen to your situation and advise if mediation is recommended. She will explain how we can go about getting the other person on board and how it will all work. Mediation with Ballymun Community Law Centre is a free and confidential service.


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