Money and mediation: Patterns of conflict in family mediation of financial matters


  • Michael Benjamin,

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    • Michael Benjamin is a comprehensive family and commercial mediator in private practice, and on the faculty of the Family Mediation Institute, University of Toronto.

  • Howard Irving

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    • Howard Irving is a professor on the Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto; he is also in private practice and is past president of Family Mediation Canada.


Current treatment of family mediation involing financial matters portrays it as a complex but rotine area of practice based on legal principle and typically handled by lawyers. Little if any mention is made of the fact of that negotiation around money (assets) and its division can be a source of intense spousal conflict. In turn the literature offers pratitioners little or no guidance as to either the bases of such conflict or how best to deal with it in mediation. In describing five distinctive patterns of conflict around money, we address both limitation of the literature.