Adult Guardianship Mediation
Adult guardianship mediation – a facilitated, non-adversarial negotiation in guardianship settings that takes place in addition to, or in lieu of, formal legal proceedings. It is effective in helping disputing parties reach agreements. Elders increasingly find themselves in conflicts regarding their rights, which are often overlooked by family, social service organizations, and the legal system. The need for elder care and the necessity of preserving elder rights are often in conflict.
Guardianship cases often involve disputes among family members or caregivers, or between the person alleged to need a guardian and the person petitioning for the guardianship. For example, parents whose children seek guardianship over them may feel demeaned; or siblings may battle over who should be guardian or what is the best plan for the parent, when the real issue may be long-standing sibling rivalries. An adversarial proceeding resulting in the granting or denial of a guardianship is not equipped to ameliorate these types of situations. Disputes raised after a guardian has been appointed can also take a great emotional toll on families.
Mediation – the entry into a dispute by a third-party neutral facilitator without decision-making or reporting powers, in a confidential and informal setting- is a viable approach to maintaining autonomy of the elder by making him or her a vital part of the decision making process. The use of mediation can help families explore alternatives to guardianship and by including the older person, family and other interested parties in the decision-making process, it could potentially encourage consensus building and foster preservation of the relationships among family and friends. The mediation process can help ensure that the older person receives the best and most appropriate assistance possible. In addition, mediation can provide a vehicle for educating all parties as to what can and cannot realistically be achieved by appointing a guardian and what alternatives exist, for example, money management, bill-paying services, home care, durable powers of attorney, advance directives for health care, etc.
Please contact me if you would like more information about Adult Guardianship mediation.
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