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Family Resolution

Relationships in Crisis

When a family or relationship is in crisis, it can feel like everything familiar has been torn apart. The longer a crisis continues, the harder it can be to move past the damage and repair broken relationships.

Dispute resolution mediation brings peace back to families by helping couples, parents, and children of all ages identify the underlying interests. Then, together, they develop creative solutions to improve communication, understanding and trust, and come to an agreement.

Sharon Dolak works with all types of families and relationships, helping members express their point of view, listen to that of others, and work together to create a solution that works for everyone.



Whether a couple is embroiled conflict and/or struggling to manage day-to-day household operations, dispute resolution can stop the arguing, unlock the doors of communication, and repair damaged relationships. Sharon can also help couple through divorce and custody issues, when the marriage just cannot be saved.

Although many couples may experience similar struggles or conflicts, each couple’s situation is unique and complex. Only the partners understand the nuances of their situation, so they are far better equipped to decide the optimal solution than any judge or counselor.

For example, Sharon worked with one divorcing couple in which the wife wanted to keep the house when the husband wanted to sell it. Calm discussion through alternative dispute resolution revealed that the wife was focused on keeping their son at the same school, while the husband wanted money to buy a new home for the child’s visits.

Through a guided discussion, the parents discovered that they both wanted the same thing: a stable life for the child in order to minimize the trauma of the divorce. Sharon led the couple through working together toward resolution, and they came to an agreement that didn’t require the child to switch schools.



When a couple comes together, each with their own children, everyone in the family can struggle. Dispute resolution can help the parents explore this new family dynamic and allow them to create a comfortable family environment for themselves and their children.

In one example, Sharon worked with the parents of a blended household that was struggling with balancing chores and responsibilities among the children, creating tension and arguments between the newly married parents. Dispute resolution mediation gave the parents an opportunity to express themselves and clarify their viewpoint, revealing that the father felt that the mother’s children were not doing enough to help around the house, while the mother felt he was not being fair to her children.

Once the issues were identified and tension was defused, Sharon guided this couple to the realization that they needed to create ground rules and present a unified front to all the children. The parents decided together how to restore peace, eliminate favoritism, and now use a consistent and fair management style for their household.


Elder Care

As parents age and children switch roles to become their caregivers, all relationships within a family can suffer. Conflict resolution through Dispute Resolution mediation allows each family member the opportunity to express their opinion, and the time to listen and understand the others’ viewpoints.

In these situations, siblings are often in conflict over what is best for their elderly parent. Some might worry about finances, while others might feel overwhelmed by their responsibility as a primary caregiver and feel that other siblings need to help more. Too often, the parent is caught in the middle or is unwilling to accept the possibility that they could lose their ability to live independently.

For example, Sharon facilitated dispute resolution sessions between a mother who had broken a hip and her daughter, who had decided it was time for round-the-clock nursing care. Through discussion, it was revealed that this made the parent feel hurt and abandoned, while the daughter was concerned about her mother’s ability to perform the tasks of daily living at home.

Further questioning revealed each of their motivations and opened a dialogue about the best solution to achieve their wants, needs and desires. Together, the two decided to install safety modifications in the home that would allow the elderly parent to live independently for a specific time period, with a doctor later determining when assisted living care would be needed.

Marriage Counseling Vs. Dispute Resolution

When couples get to a sticking point in their relationships, many assume that the next step should be marriage or couples counseling. But many couples are surprised to find that counseling may not actually be the fastest and most effective way to overcome a conflict and repair their relationship.

Read Brian’s story.


Counseling is a long-term, ongoing strategy designed to examine personal issues that may contribute to unhappy relationships. A counselor is trained to dig into the past, pinpointing and…

Read More


Saving a Marriage

For one blended family, mediation created harmony where once there was anger and hurt. After counseling failed, the newlywed parents came to Sharon Dolak. Together, they learned how to communicate and quickly disign a solution that created a peaceful home for both parents and stepchildren.

Here’s his story ►