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Family Disputes about Their Elders & Mediation

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Parents that require care can cause serious conflicts and stresses in families. In some cases, misunderstandings and disagreements over inheritance or elder care issues can cause families to break, impacting descendants for many years. To steer clear of such issues, mediation is considered the ideal solution for resolving family disputes that could go unaddressed, resulting in traumatic and costly litigation. Successful resolution is the only way to preserve a family’s ties.

Possible Situations Where Mediation May be required

Situations in which mediation may be the ideal route for preventing families from falling apart include the following:

  • One or even both parents starting to need help and family members not being able to decide the most suitable living arrangement: move in with one of the son or daughters, moving to an apartment, staying at home with nurse, opting for assisted living.

  • One of the children leaving work to take care of parents. Should they get paid for it? If yes, what would be a reasonable amount?

  • Parent moving in with son and his wife, increasing their monthly expenses. Who should pay for the added expense? If the parent passes away soon, will the other siblings get compensated?

  • Son taking care of parents, visiting them every day, taking them to doctor’s appointments, paying their bills. He resents that his sister living elsewhere is not helping out, which is why he doesn’t share any info with her. The sister feels relived and guilty that her brother takes care of the parents, but also questions his decisions. Parents telling their children what they want to hear to steer clear from arguments. However, it only ends up creating more conflict between the children.

  • Dad wants to give his divorced or handicapped daughter a higher amount compared to his successful son. However, he is afraid of making him feel unloved and hurt.

  • The parents have a vacation home that they do not want to sell and prefer being used by the family. However, some children utilize that home more than others. Should the siblings not using the house be compensated? If so, how much?

  • Siblings and other family members fighting over the deceased parent’s belongings for their sentimental importance rather than monetary value.

  • After the mother dies, the father begins dating someone younger and the children fear their inheritance could go to her.

While some families are able to resolve issues like these on their own, many cannot. Unfortunately, the disagreements either break out or fester into open conflict, which occasionally results in litigation. Mediation can be helpful in such situations, bringing in favorable results.

What is Mediation and why do Families choose it?

Elder mediation offers families a forum to make decisions. It is confidential, private and entirely non-compulsory. Mediators help facilitate a directed and purposeful conversation where family members get the chance to express their concerns and interests. These meetings are completely informal and mostly conducted in places like senior living facilities, mediator’s offices and private homes.

Mediators are highly skilled neutral facilitators and conflict resolution experts. These professionals don’t take sides or provide advice in these discussions. Mediation has two main goals. The first is to give families the opportunity to create mutually acceptable and workable solutions to complex disputes. Secondly, mediation helps create communication strategies for helping families work together, allowing them to make important decisions.

Why do Families Opt for Mediation?

In mediation, families deal with issues and problems privately and in a timely fashion. As mentioned earlier, it is a cooperative process instead of an adversarial one. Therefore, it often allows participants to mend their tense relationships. Since family members tend to form their owns solutions that reflect their unique situation, the outcomes in mediation processes are usually satisfactory, workable and most importantly, long lasting.

In some cases, family disputes tend to reach a point where parties threaten each other with litigation proceedings. Opting for mediation, however, helps families ensure their conflicts do not reach the courtroom. One of the main problems with courtrooms is that they take away control from people who are there to come up with a solution. What’s more, courts aren’t charged with forming creative option to satisfy all parties. Since a judge makes decisions according to their interpretation of the applicable laws, the decisions made by court are not usually satisfactory for family members.

In addition, because of how adversarial litigation can be, courtroom proceedings often destroy relationships that are already fragile to begin with. So, whenever families go to court, sometimes, even the winners feel like they lost. With mediation, on the other hand, family members have the freedom of controlling the process as well as the outcome instead of leaving it in the hands of judges and attorneys.

This means that every family member will get the chance to express their concerns and issues. What’s more, since the parties are in control of the process, mediation doesn’t cost as much compared to litigation, financially and emotionally.

Final Thoughts

When seniors go through a major transition in their life and their adult children get embroiled in unrelenting and painful conflict, problems like health and safety concerns, distribution of estates and will, care giving responsibilities etc show up. These issues can divide families for years and in some cases can even cause things to become ugly. This is precisely where mediation can come in handy.

An effective mediation lays the groundwork for a non-confrontational and collaborative problem-solving approach and preserves your relationships. If your family is facing disputes concerning the elderly, hiring a mediation expert can help you save time, money, and hatred in the process. We at TriDialogue Mediation Inc. can help you in such cases. We have years of experience in elderly related family disputes and can help resolve your conflict through mediation. Call us on 772-714-1194 speak to our expert today!

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