Mediation is a voluntary method of dispute resolution that allows parties to craft their own solution to a dispute. A neutral third party (the mediator) assists the parties in identifying the issues, generating and evaluating options, and creating an agreeable solution. Mediators never impose decisions on the parties, but encourage the parties to find common ground and resolve the dispute on their own terms.
Mediation can be a safe and confidential process that addresses all aspects of the dispute — whether the issues are financial, legal or emotional.
Unlike a judge or arbitrator who listens to both sides and makes a decision for the parties, a mediator assists the parties to develop their own solution. Although mediators sometimes provide ideas, suggestions, or even formal proposals for settlement, the mediator is primarily a “process person,” helping the parties define the agenda, identify and reframe the issues, communicate more effectively, find areas of common ground, negotiate fairly and respectfully. A successful mediation effort has an outcome that is accepted and owned by the parties themselves.
A facilitated meeting is similar to mediation, but the goals may be less clear cut. There may be no definable “dispute” which requires resolution. A facilitated meeting may have the goal to clear the way for effective, non-adversarial communication, and create a process for future problem solving. A facilitated meeting can occur before or after legal proceedings have been started.
Elder Care Issues
Issues involving family disputes are especially suited to resolution through mediation. Disputes may include how family members will divide responsibility for the elder’s financial or personal care needs, where the elder will live, or how care will be provided. Mediation may be helpful in avoiding legal action to determine the validity of a Durable Power of Attorney, whether an elder has capacity to execute legal documents, whether guardianship is needed, or whether there is a basis for a restraining order to protect a vulnerable adult. When mediation is used to resolve a legal proceeding, the solution may be more durable and long-lasting.
Elder Mediation requires a very flexible approach. If we are retained, we will contact all of the parties in advance to work out an agreed process that will accommodate the needs and preferences of the participants.