Mediation is increasingly popular in today’s litigation. Nobody likes a fight. After all, by the time lawsuits make their way to court, they’ve often become messy, emotional, and expensive. Mediation sidesteps some of that frustration by focusing on less formal, less combative means of conflict resolution.
People usually talk about mediation in the context of contractual disputes, personal injury lawsuits, or divorce proceedings — all potentially contentious quarrels that stand to cost their litigants a lot, regardless of the outcome.
Did you know, though, that mediation can play an important role in elder law too?
Ohio’s Columbus Dispatch recently featured an interesting story that really illustrates just how valuable mediation can be for elderly Americans and the loved ones who sometimes spar over their estates and affairs.
An 89-year-old woman called her out-of-state daughter with slurred speech and incomprehensible sentences. She had just had a series of small strokes. The hospital later determined she was experiencing the simultaneous onset of dementia as well.
Clearly, the elderly mother of two was in no position to care for herself any longer. But with one daughter hours away and the other overwhelmed by a busy career, the family’s only affordable choice was a home-care agency.
The sisters agreed on that much. It wasn’t long, though, before the two began to sow the seeds of sibling discord. Before long, as the Dispatch puts it, they were in an “all-out war.”
Messy legal battles are never fun to watch, but they are especially disheartening when loving family members and an ailing, elderly parent are involved. Mediation helps to ease the sting and improves the likelihood of a patched relationship after the flames of war have extinguished.
In mediation, each side is represented by an attorney, but with neither judge nor jury present. Instead, an objective third party (“the mediator”) presides over the proceeding, doing his or her best to help each litigant understand the other side’s position. You might think of the mediator as a professional in compromise and civility.
Your attorney is always there to make sure your best interests are advanced, and in many cases, the mediated outcome is in your best interest. The whole proceeding has proved remarkably effective in helping families navigate difficult waters without sailing toward a formal trial. As an added bonus, mediation is often a lot more affordable than a trial too.
If you’ve found yourself in a family dispute and need someone to fight for your rights without tearing the family apart, the Canton elder law attorneys at Bixler Moore, LLC can help. We have a wide range of effective strategies that could prove very useful in your case. Contact us today.