What is family mediation?

There are emotion-charged issues in family systems that can create a permanent relational impasse if not addressed. Why are they so difficult? They provoke the fight, flight, or freeze response from one or more family members. Out of concern for as self-protection, one of three things happens:

  1. supercharged anger is vented in a way that further damages relationships
  2. someone bolts – fleeing to safer ground
  3. relational paralysis stops the action like the deer staring into headlights till it is too late

If the relationship is worth saving, isn’t it worth investing in making it the healthiest and most positive experience for those involved? Mediation is a valuable resource for navigating difficult family issues.

Mediation works for couples and families wanting to preserve their relationships and needing to face conflict, difficulties, or complex circumstances where decisions need to be made. Mediation is a method of negotiation that helps defuse the communication. It focuses on the issues at hand and moves toward creating workable solutions that benefit the relationship.

When couples or families that desire to stay together are faced with difficult circumstances challenging their relationship… mediation can provide a breath of fresh air for the situation. A facilitated meeting with a neutral third party in a safe environment will promote more positive and better quality interaction. The interaction can be slowed down, articulated, or summarized, allowing time for the parties to think and respond more thoughtfully about sensitive and important matters. Decisions can be formulated that are responsive to each person’s unique situation and needs.

Such mediation may be accomplished in a one-time meeting or a series of meetings as mutually determined by the parties involved. An important element to these meetings is that they are confidential and private. They cannot become a part of any court proceedings.

Family mediation is a way for you and someone with whom you have a conflict or dispute to:

  • Work with a neutral facilitator in a confidential way
  • Sit down and talk about a conflict/dispute
  • Define problems and issues that need to be decided
  • Identify your needs and hear the needs of others
  • Identify common interests
  • Propose options for the best way to meet needs and interests
  • Address and/or resolve problems
  • Decide certain issues
  • Encourage communication so you and the other person will be able to solve future problems on your own
  • Resolve the conflict and create an agreement (that when appropriate becomes part of a court order)
  • Family mediation is an alternative to trial for family disputes

Common Participants in Family Mediation:

  • Spouses
  • Significant others/non-traditional couples
  • Parents and their teenagers/young adults
  • Adult siblings
  • Adults and their aging parents

Common Family Concerns

Mediation is a great tool to help you work out issues related to:

  • Financial matters
  • Loss of a job or income
  • Sickness or injury
  • Educational decisions about children
  • The needs of challenged children
  • Step parenting and blended families
  • A child entering college
  • Alcohol or substance use
  • Marital breaches
  • Moves or transfers
  • Pregnancy
  • In-law relationships
  • Births
  • Care-taking of elderly parents
  • Inter-generational conflicts
  • Dispersing an inheritance or estate

Minnesota Web Design