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Family Dispute Solutions opens doors in Hastings

Last fall, three Hastings women were brought together by their common background in family law. Melissa Remick and Jaime Miller became paralegal interns for Martha Sullivan, who runs a law practice in Hastings. The three connected over their desire to make things easier for families undergoing legal disputes and together, they saw a need for a new business in Hastings specializing in alternative dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a method of settling disputes while reducing the amount of time spent in court. Families may choose to participate in mediation services prior to or during a divorce in order to resolve issues outside of court. Resolving issues with mediation gives both parties more freedom over the outcome and saves in legal expenses.

After deciding to form Family Dispute Solutions, all three women underwent training to become Rule 114 qualified neutrals, and the business opened its doors in June.

The company provides different services to settle disputes. Mediation is their most widely used service. It involves sitting the disagreeing parties down with a neutral mediator who helps the parties to reach their own solution. Often, couples seek mediation during divorce. Sometimes, the judge will even order that couples seek mediation before proceeding in court. Even if mediation doesn’t completely resolve the issue, often the parties are able to reach a partial agreement on their own terms outside of court. This saves the trouble involved in an expensive court battle.

Family Dispute Solutions also offers Parenting Counseling, a service offered for parents who are unable to agree on issues such as child custody. In some cases the child will even help to come up with a solution.This service is typically only used when the court orders parties to do so.

Remick says she’s excited to be opening this business in Hastings because they are satisfying the need they saw in the community.

“(We) are unique in that we are the only family law focused ADR organization in Dakota County... as far as I know,” she said.

Remick said the company’s goal is to have a positive impact on those seeking mediation by combining their training in mediation with their legal expertise.

More information about Family Dispute Solutions can be found at