Mediation offers couples, families, and businesses a confidential forum for confronting their differences, a forum in which constructive and collaborative problem solving is key to reaching agreements acceptable to all participants.
Changing trends affecting our mediation population indicate an increased awareness of mediation as an alternative not only to litigation, but also to the resolution of issues that separate, divide, and injure families and businesses. As a problem-solving process, mediation is being recognized and heralded as a way to confront differences without destroying relationships.
Even in divorce, where separation is the end product, relationships may be maintained, even strengthened, as parents seek to collaborate in raising their children, and former spouses communicate as individuals with a history to be preserved.
In looking back at our clients’ situations, some trends emerge that couples and individuals, business colleagues, and/or families considering mediation may find helpful.
From Our Business Clients:
An increased number of business partners seeking mediation to resolve internal company disputes prior to considering the break up of the business partnership;
An increased number of small business owners seeking mediation as a means to address differences in work ethic, the reconciling of business and personal demands, and present and future commitments to the corporate entity;
An increased number of small business owners entering mediation to structure organizational changes affecting their employees; and
An increased number business partners mediating the sale of their business and/or the exit of one partner.
From our Separating, Divorcing, and Divorced Clients:
An increased number of couples seeking to mediate terms for a separation, rather than a divorce;
An increased number of couples seeking divorce prior to the change in tax law as it affects alimony payors and recipients;
An increased number of post-divorce clients seeking to deal with the financial impact of 2018 changes in tax law;
An increased number of couples with prenuptial agreements entering mediation to reach a divorce settlement;
An increased number of divorcing couples with special needs children, hoping to provide in their Agreement for the long-term well being of their children;
An increased number of couples, dealing with the future of the family-owned business after divorce;
An increased number of couples divorcing after long-term marriages;
An increased number of couples divorcing after both have retired; and
An increased number of couples structuring postnuptial agreements in the event of a future divorce.
From Family Mediation Clients:
An increased number of families electing mediation as a means of dealing with relationship disputes and communicating differences;
An increased number of siblings working together with an elderly parent to arrange for new living situations and individual care responsibilities;
An increased number of families entering mediation to discuss division of estates prior to drafting of Wills; and
An increased number of family mediations seeking to resolve different interpretations of Wills.
Mediation, like the law, responds to changing social norms and practices. Living and working arrangements that were once unacceptable, even unimaginable, have now become the new “normal.” Mediation offers a problem-solving approach for structuring agreements that fit the work and lifestyle habits and preferences of the participants. With the facilitation of a skilled and knowledgeable mediator, the end result should feel and, indeed be, fair and workable.