Resolving Family Disputes in Guardianships

Guardianship can become a heated topic amongst family and friends. Many times involved parties disagree on the following: whether a guardianship is needed at all, whether a guardian is needed for all aspects of someone’s life, whether or not a guardian is acting appropriately, the duration of a guardianship, or who should be the guardian. These are very important issues and need to be resolved appropriately and to the satisfaction of the family. While not every single problem is solvable, it is important to create an environment most agree on and one that is the best for the person needing care.

Sometimes family members do not even fully understand the issue of guardianship and all it involves. Consulting with attorneys and health care professionals to truly understand what the guardianship will involve and how it can help can assuage the situation. They may be able to help families decide the most appropriate type of guardianship and even help decide who the most appropriate guardian is. Many factors might affect these decisions, including: health status of the person needing guardianship, available parties to become the guardian, willingness of someone to become a guardian, financial fitness of the proposed guardian, time available of the proposed guardian, and so on.

If further education on the matter cannot diffuse the situation, many families turn to mediation to clear up the dispute. Mediation has many benefits in guardianship cases of all types. Guardianship matters can apply to an incapacitated adult, a disabled adult, or a minor. SmithLaw has seen many cases where a mediation session greatly relieves tension when a guardianship case has become difficult due to disagreeing parties. As trained professionals, mediators are capable of dissecting problems down to the actual parts that are in dispute by lessening some of the emotional stress. Sometimes the issue is clouded by years of previous disputes or family turmoil; this can easily show itself when siblings and other family members need to take over the care of a parent. A mediator provides the focus that allows the involved parties to see what the true problems are.

The person needing guardianship is the most important party in these types of proceedings, so it is especially important not to allow outside issues to impede their care. Resolving family disputes is an important part of the process of getting them the help they need.


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