Couples & Family

Conflict in families is normal and unavoidable, often getting resolved without outside intervention. However, over the past 30 years, we have learned that there are certain pivotal life stages of families which may benefit from professional neutral assistance. Over the lifespan of any family, there are events and transitions that lead to periods of relative calm and others with high stress and conflict. Like universal stages of human development (such as the “terrible twos,” adolescence, mid-life crises), family units, too, experience a normal ebb and flow of stress and conflict, and these high conflict periods often occur during predictable life stages and events such as the following:

Divorce and custody: Mediating the difficult issues that divorcing families often confront can preserve healthy co-parenting relationships, benefitting all members of the family.  Additional resources and forms can be found here.

Post-divorce: TMG mediators help divorced parents negotiate their children's developmental changes or other issues, such as step-parenting, that occur in the years after divorce.

Nontraditional family issues: Mediation is particularly well suited for resolving conflicts arising from gay or lesbian family structures, an area in which the legal framework is often poorly defined. 

Raising a special needs child: The stress and conflict that is a normal part of all families is often exacerbated in families with high-needs children. The Mediation Group can support parents to develop skills in perspective taking, advocacy and communication.

Parent/adolescent conflicts: Mediation can provide support to both teen and parent and can model respectful communication, boundary setting and negotiation skills during this often difficult transitional stage.

Adult sibling conflicts: Disputes over estate division, or use of family homes, are common after the death of a parent. The Mediation Group can help prevent these disputes from causing irreparable divisions within an extended family.

Family business: Tensions around navigating business decisions within the context of family dynamics can be very tricky, particularly when it comes to issues of succession. TMG's family mediators work with colleagues from both the legal and organizational practices to address the complex issues surrounding family business disputes, enabling families to work together productively through these challenges. 

Retirement: This period in life requires a continuous process of emotional readjustment.  TMG professionals can help the retiree and family members navigate this often difficult life transition.

Elder care and end of life decisions: Working through painful moments that come from an aging parent’s diminished capacity can be tremendously divisive for adult siblings, at a time when working together is so important for both the parent and the children. Mediation can be a valuable resource.

The Mediation Group has experience assisting family members as they encounter all of these difficult moments. 

Understanding that all types of family conflicts can be legally and emotionally complex, we have developed a unique model of co-mediation, in which we pair one mediator with mental health expertise and one with legal expertise. The complexities of family conflicts are profound.  Having a mediator who is trained as a therapist and understands family dynamics helps break through stuck moments. An attorney who is familiar with the law and skilled in legal problem solving is equally important to the co-mediation team.  A sophisticated understanding of the workings of the law can free up parties to explore a range of options and utilize creative solutions. 

Our Experts Specializing in Couples & Family