Property Dispute — Family Rights

A father of four - one daughter, three sons - left land and property to each of his children to be divided equally. The land was split into two locations: one piece of prime real estate in a market district, and one good piece of real estate in a residential district. The young daughter, financially secure and wishing for a smooth process, waived her rights to the inheritance, as a  sign of goodwill to her brothers. Tensions rose among the three brothers as they attempted to divide the properties, unsure of how to do so. Eventually, tensions reached a breaking point and a fight ensued, resulting in the case coming to the mediation center. At first, the brothers refused to speak with one another, each harboring bitter feelings for the others. Only their advocates spoke. The mediator requested that they bring in an additional neutral third party from their family to help facilitate the process. Each had great respect for their younger sister's husband, and over the next several sessions, they brought their brother in law to mediation.

In a tight room packed with three brothers, their advocates, their children, aunts, and uncles, it was a difficult task at first for the brother in law. It wasn't until several sessions in which all grievances - even those unrelated to the case - were aired that the relationships began to cool. As the tense emotions surrounding many sibling relationships were released, the bitterness the brothers held for one another began to ease, and they began to cooperatively look for solutions to their problems with the help of their brother in law and mediator. The two acted as a team, creating an environment that felt less like negotiation and more like a family discussion. Conflicts still rose, as they do in any family, but each was dealt with in time.

Each brother wanted a piece of the prime real estate as they felt it was the most valuable. The mediator and brother in law were able to get the brothers to move past money and focus on their interests, getting them to explain what they wanted out of life. One of the brothers disclosed that he simply wasn't interested in starting a business, and was open to letting the other two keep the prime property so that he may move into the residential property with his wife and two sons. However, he didn't want to be given an unequal share. The other two sympathized with this, and offered that they would split the market property and agree for their brother to receive a greater share of the material goods their father had left behind.

The entire group - brothers, sister, children, brother in law and mediator - traveled together to view the stock the father had left behind, to cooperatively work through who would take what; the settlement was drafted, and the relationship among the brothers repaired. They had cast aside sibling rivalries and bitter pasts to look towards the future.