Experienced business attorneys in Florida know that business divorces are often emotionally draining for the parties involved. When a business divorce occurs in a family business, however, these business divorces can further escalate and become even more tense and hostile. As an attorney, how can you help your clients resolve their dispute as painlessly as possible?
These cases are the type that are well suited to mediation: there are many emotions involved and the parties’ relationship needs to be preserved. Although the attorneys have explained the possible outcomes of taking a case to trial to their clients, some clients simply cannot imagine that they might not prevail or that a jury might not be sympathetic to their position. After these clients lose a case, they are angry with their attorneys. Additionally, after going through the litigation process, the parties may not even be on speaking terms—which can permanently damage family relationships.
If your client is involved in a family business, and that business is experiencing some sort of dispute between its owners, encourage your client to consider mediation. Mediation is especially beneficial for such emotional disputes because the mediator serves as an objective neutral who can bring realism and adult supervision to the dispute. When a mediator explains the strengths and weaknesses of a party’s position, it is often just what is needed to convince that party to compromise.
Additionally, business owners in a family business have two relationships: their business partner relationship and their family relationship, whether it is husband-wife, father-son, or any other type of familial relationship. Since mediation focuses on bringing the parties together to craft their own settlement agreement, the parties are not as adversarial as they would be if they were going to fight the case in a trial. When the parties work out their differences through their own efforts, they experience less hostility—saving their relationship.