Examples of disputes within families that are well-suited to mediation are grandparent access, inheritance disputes, teen-parent disputes and disagreements among siblings who jointly own a cottage.
These disputes often involve several parties with different interests. Communication among the parties is usually not very effective, if it is happening at all. And the very fibre of the family is often at risk of being torn apart because of the dispute.
Families often think that they should be able to solve their own problems; yet those involved in the dispute are often so close to the problem and so emotionally involved in the subject matter that they are unable to find a resolution on their own.
Litigation is a profoundly destructive process which offers little of real help to family members facing such a crisis.
Mediation in this sort of dispute gives each party a safe place to say their piece on equal footing with everyone else. It allows the family members to explain to each other why certain things are important to them, hopefully creating better understanding and trust.
It allows a non-confrontational way of inviting necessary and neutral third parties into the dispute, such as therapists or counselors or property appraisers. And it offers the opportunity to find common ground, creative solutions and renewed relationships among the family members.