What is different about Family Dispute Resolution?

We are often asked what is different about Family Dispute Resolution. The answer is - that it is the only dispute resolution where an ongoing relationship is inevitable.

The old maxim that you can choose your friends but not your family may or may not be true. What is definitely true is that the children in a family have no choice about the people who are in their lives - be they parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, siblings or any of the other people who may be introduced into their family by their parents when family relationships change such as step parents and siblings. Many of our children manage multiple relationships with various people who are in their lives, sometimes very briefly.

Families are always in a state of transition. The transition starts when two people from different families decide to form a union and start a new family. In doing so they link together their families of origin, so that new and often dynamic family relationships occur. When they have a child or children, the relationships transition again and again as the children go through the many stages of infancy, childhood, teens until they in turn form new relationships and have children of their own. There are also transitions as family members age and die.

One of the most important pieces of information for a family mediator comes from the child or children in the family. Children's perception of their family is easily portrayed in the pictures they draw about their family. Even in families who live apart these pictures, frequently include the mother and father. Some say this is wishful thinking on the part of the children; however it is how they perceive their family. Maybe it is true that a picture is better than a thousand words. Children mostly want to have both their parents in their life and do not want to be put in the position of having to choose.

Fair Way Resolution is committed to providing a dispute resolution service which recognises the multitudinous ways that families present and operate. By putting the needs of children at the forefront of the process, possibilities abound. Parents have a shared interest in their children, usually both want their children to succeed and be happy well balanced children. Equally parents want to be fully involved with their children. Helping parents find this shared interest is a powerful and very satisfying outcome of family mediation.

Mediators involved with Fair Way Resolution will not only be Family Dispute Resolution Providers accredited by the ADROS, they will also be a part of an environment which is focussed on training, support and development of mediation. Fair Way mediators will empower parents to find their capacity to make decisions and then use that capacity to make the hundreds of decisions which parents have to make about their children during the 18 years they are legally bound together as guardians; then as they manage significant events in the lives of their children, such as marriage and the birth of grandchildren.

One can only imagine the relief for the children as they attempt to manage the process of finding a life partner and having children of their own without the worry that the conflict between their parents will not become an on-going feature of their lives with their partners.

Family mediation is like the butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon - the ripple effect changes how people act and react for generations to come.

Fair Way Family Dispute Resolution wants to engage with you in discussion about Family Dispute Resolution and is committed to providing opportunities for thought development and sharing of ideas through these discussions.

Article written by Denise Evans, Consultant to Fair Way Resolution Limited