Families sometimes find themselves in situations that set family members against each other. Health-care decisions, residence and care of an elderly parent or mentally impaired relative, a behavioral contract with an at-risk teen, or division of family collectibles are the types of issues that families struggle with everyday. People do their best to resolve the conflict. But being inside the dispute makes this particularly difficult. Dissension can become so extreme that it splits families apart.
An adversarial legal process adds to the discord. The adversarial nature of a legal proceeding only adds to this inherent conflict. Disputes over a loved one's estate, major health-care decisions, and decisions over who is responsible for a relative that cannot be responsible for themselves can lead to court involvement. Attorneys are hired and ethically bound to argue zealously for their client only. Often legal strategy and winning points becomes the focus as conflict escalates. This conflict is costly. It is costly financially as each party pays his or her attorney for hours of discussion and legal paperwork at somewhere around $250 to $400 per hour, plus additional court cost. It is also costly emotionally as opposing parties become mired in accusations, bitterness, and a lingering uncertainty. The parties continue to strive for settlement because the failure to negotiate an agreement means that a judge - who knows only what can be reduced to evidence and legal arguments - will ultimately make the decision for them.
Families need help to plan for a different future. Families experiencing conflict need a process that focuses them on communication and agreement. An impartial third party changes the dynamics of a family struggling to cope with a dispute that they cannot settle on their own. Skilled and compassionate facilitation is needed.
Mediation is an efficient and inexpensive process designed to help people reach the best agreements. Mediation offers a safe and professional environment where the participants are guided by an impartial mediator to resolve family issues. Though participants are encouraged to retain an attorney to advise them on legal issues, mediation allows the participants to control the priorities set, the options discussed, and the final agreement produced. The trained mediator facilitates conversation that improves not only the likelihood of reaching an agreement but also increases post-agreement cooperation. Most participants find the mediation process rewarding and are pleased with the result. Let Johnson Mediation Services bridge the conflict in your family and improve the chances of a satisfying resolution.
Provided by Johnson Mediation Services