Beware of bitter family disputes which can pass to the next generation

Beware of bitter family disputes which can pass to the next generation

Beware of bitter family disputes which can pass to the next generation

Has anyone seen ‘Succession’ on TV?

Succession is a drama about an absolutely appallingly behaved media dynasty family called the Roys.

How complex and emotionally charged succession planning can become couldn’t be more evident than in this series.

Billionaire media mogul Logan Roy is the controlling patriarch of the family, where he speaks to his adult children with profanities in meetings, as the norm, and siblings are constantly attempting to outmanoeuvre their fellow siblings in their bids to become the successor of the empire.

Unfortunately, disputes and disagreements are part of life, and none run so close to the bone than disputes amongst family members.

They can arise from a multitude of reasons, and undermine even the strongest relationships. Family disputes have far-reaching consequences in that the bitterness and resentment often passes on to the next generation.

Therefore, it is crucial that efficient and effective resolving of disputes be the first priority, before they get out of hand and emotions run too high.

Whilst some issues are easily resolved, many disputes cannot be easily straightened out, and require the assistance of a third party.

Whereas this is traditionally the legal route, the role of mediation is increasingly common.

It is arguable that mediation is well suited to most disputes, because it gives parties control of the outcome of a dispute, as well as being much faster and less costly than going to court.

One or more parties seek to mediate a dispute, and approaches the other party.

The mediator is appointed.

It is important to appoint a mediator with an in-depth knowledge of the area in dispute, that is capable of identifying and interpreting the issues at the heart of the dispute and assisting in arriving at a settlement.

The confidential and impartial role of the mediator begins here, and each party is encouraged to speak openly and honestly about the issue.

The mediation session is then scheduled, when all parties come together — sometimes in the same room, or sometimes in separate rooms — and the mediator commences the process of helping the parties to address their dispute.

Where the parties can find a mutually agreeable and workable solution, they sign a mediation agreement which, once signed, is binding on all part. The costs of mediation are always divided equally between all parties involved. This is critical to the balance of the process.

One of the significant benefits of successful mediation in a family situation is it can help to preserve a working relationship between the parties after the dispute has been resolved.

Other benefits are that it is held in private, is confidential, is more cost-effective than court, and it allows family members a degree of control over the process rather than leaving a judge decide on the outcome.

I advise my clients to consider mediation first, if at all possible.

In court actions, there are rarely any real winners, and the psychological and financial toll can be considerable on the parties in dispute.

Mediation offers a real alternative to court action and should be given serious consideration as a means of resolving disputes.

Karen Walsh 17, South Mall, Cork (021-4270200), and author of ‘Farming and the Law’.
Walsh & Partners also specialises in personal injury claims, conveyancing, probate and family law.
Email: info@walshandpartners.ie
Web: www.walshandpartners.ie

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