Each year we look back at our client population, seeking to uncover patterns, changes, and even trends. Clearly we have noticed a striking increase in the different kinds of issues that people bring to mediation. More and more individuals are aware of mediation as a process for resolving problems confronting families and businesses. Individuals are recognizing that litigation, or even legal negotiation, is not necessarily the appropriate or the best recourse for problem resolution. The slow and costly route to judicial justice is being questioned. Simply put, mediation is not only more cost and time efficient, it also offers each participant a voice, and an opportunity to shape the outcome of the settlement—all conducted in a confidential setting.
An increased number of siblings entering mediation to reach agreement on how to share vacation homes after the death of their parents;
An increased number of families struggling to separate financial entanglements when one sibling requires more assistance than the others;
An increased number of families where negative sibling interaction impacts on the children’s intent to care for an aging parent;
An increased number of clients who enter mediation to structure terms for the division of inherited property; and
An increased number of families who wish to work together to determine the division of the family estate, before rather than after death.
Mediation offers all participants the opportunity to express their needs, concerns, and priorities in a process based on creative problem solving. Thinking “out-of-the box” encourages each participant to voice his/her feelings and ideas and to take an active role in the final decision- making. Each one’s voice needs to be heard; each one’s thoughts need to be given credence. With the facilitation of a skilled, experienced and knowledgeable mediator, the end result should be fair and workable for all involved parties.