Family business mediation is your first port of call when a dispute arises in a family-owned business. Working with relatives can be hugely rewarding, but when a disagreement occurs it can be difficult to decide whose opinion matters most. Mediation is about finding a happy middle ground, not only to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, but to protect family relationships so that you can continue to work together in the future. The emphasis is on mutually beneficial outcomes - not on choosing one person's view while ignoring the other's - so that with the mediator's help, you can find a way forwards that takes everyone's opinion into account equally.
What is family business mediation?
Family business mediation is your first port of call when a dispute arises in a family-owned business. Working with relatives can be hugely rewarding, but when a disagreement occurs it can be difficult to decide whose opinion matters most. In many cases, coming to a mutual agreement is key to the businesses’ future.
Mediation is about finding a happy middle ground, not only to resolve the dispute as quickly as possible, but to protect family relationships so that you can continue to work together in the long term and avoid legal issues.
The emphasis is on mutually beneficial outcomes – not on choosing one person’s view while ignoring the other’s – so that with the mediator’s help, you can find a way forwards that takes everyone’s opinion into account equally.
We provide a range of financial mediation work, click here to read more.
Resolving family business disputes quickly, without allowing emotions to get in the way, goes to the very heart of the mediation process.
Experienced mediators not only have a background in commercial mediation and business dispute resolution, but also working with relatives to keep conversations flowing without becoming heated arguments.
For all these reasons, family business mediation is a hugely important specialism within the commercial mediation profession – and expert mediators have saved family-owned firms from catastrophic disagreements time and time again. In many cases, coming to a mutual agreement is key to the businesses longevity. Participants must work together to understand how negotiation can help resolve any issues they may have. Our trained mediators can help resolve these situations, benefiting the family and the business.
Small business mediation is just one way to resolve family business disputes – so why is it the best first option, compared with alternatives like litigation?
There are several good reasons, including:
Family business mediation aims to maintain open communication and take emotions into account, instead of attempting to ignore or suppress the emotional side of working with relatives.
The result is not only more positive in the short term, but can also help to produce longer lasting resolutions, reducing the risk of further disputes arising as you work to heal the family divide.
Mediation for family business disputes is a discipline all of its own, so it’s important to choose experienced mediators with a proven track record in this area.
As described above, specialists will not only offer knowledge of commercial mediation, but also specifically of resolving family disputes – and should be able to factor family dynamics into the mediation process.
This unique combination of qualifications is what allows experienced mediators to negotiate even complex family business disputes, without the issue becoming overwhelming for all involved.
Marcia Mediation’s business mediation specialists have dealt with a long history of commercial mediation involving family members, and we’ll always work to find a mutually agreeable outcome for all parties as quickly as we can. You can view our team here.
Common family business conflicts may arise directly due to family dynamics, but can also be the kinds of disputes that can occur in any other business.
For example, relatives may disagree over aspects of business planning including:
In the first instance, mediation is about sitting down in a room together, identifying the problem and working on an acceptable way forwards, without arguing or refusing to compromise – all of which can help to make rapid progress on a raft of common conflicts. Decisions such as new owners and restructuring can be difficult for emotionally involved participants, an objective mediator can transcend any personal issues and use their training to provide a mutually beneficial solution. Our mediators maintain control throughout the process, working to stop any problems arising. Profitability is key to any business, whether the issues arise from a divorced partner, siblings or something else. The key should be the sensible running or dissolving of the family business. Our trained mediators can use their expertise, looking into profitability, business viability etc, to provide the best possible solutions.
Mediation for family business disputes can be tailored to suit the conflict, but in general Marcia Mediation’s family dispute resolution experts will adopt a rigorous process to understanding what needs to be done:
We can work around specific problems e.g. family members refusing to talk to one another or to be in the same room, or busy schedules and other family commitments, to give you the support you need on terms that work for you.
Remember, mediation does not remove the possibility of litigation at a later date. However, once you go to court over a family dispute, it can be difficult to restore relationships with close relatives and is likely to have knock-on effects on your contact with family members who are not part of the business.
Because of this, it’s sensible to start with family commercial mediation as the first choice, and only proceed to litigation if our expert mediators are unable to help.
We find that in the vast majority of cases, commercial family mediation is able to resolve conflict faster, cheaper and with less emotional distress than litigation, if all parties are willing to engage with the process.
If you’re involved in a family business dispute or you’d like to know more about Marcia Mediation’s dispute resolution services for commercial conflicts, please contact us today.
We can help whether your business is fully family owned and operated, or whether your management is a mix of family members and non-relatives – which can otherwise make disputes even more complex to tackle.
Get in touch to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or a mediation information meeting where we can help you to decide whether family business mediation is the best way to proceed in your specific circumstances.
Marcia Mediation’s friendly and helpful team are always happy to hear from new and existing clients – so please don’t hesitate to call or email if you need our help.
A pioneer for mediation since commencing legal practice as a family solicitor some seventeen years ago, Marcia has worked exclusively as an independent mediator since 2004, focussing initially on family mediation, and latterly on work place mediation.
Marcia’s accreditations include Family Mediation and she is a qualified child consultant practitioner. Her associations include the Professional Mediators Association and Resolution.