Resolving Family Disputes in Guardianships

Tue, Jun 28, 2011


Florida guardianship lawyerWhen you think of a court proceeding, you may think of what goes on in court scenes on TV and in the movies. In real life, you get much more, especially when it comes to dealing with family disputes in guardianship cases. Sometimes those who are sitting in the waiting area in the courtroom get a soap opera unfold before their eyes: Two people arguing and many times airing their dirty laundry for all to hear, and it all goes down in the court record. Even with a good Florida Guardianship Lawyer on their side, the emotions of each party can interfere with doing what is best for the person who needs a guardian.

Guardianship may be a case of a minor who has lost their parent or parents, or it may be an adult who is no longer able to care for themselves or their property. A majority of parents don’t get around to making a will naming a guardian for their children, so it is up to the remaining family to decide where the children will live. Often times this becomes a battle that is fought before a judge in probate court. Many of these cases get nowhere because of the arguing, and the judge decrees that they attend mediation to work out their differences so the real point of the case can be reached: a permanent and stable home for the minor. A Sarasota Attorney may have a few names of mediators who are trained to be an unbiased third party who merely keeps the parties on track while working out the main issues preventing them from coming to an agreement.

Mediators will often meet with each party separately in what is called a caucus in order to get each of their points of view on the matter at hand. This way the mediator knows where the parties need to focus in order to work out their differences so an agreement can be reached that is in the best interest of the minor or incapacitated adult. These sessions can take hours over several days or weeks to reach a compromise.  Sometimes a resolution to the dispute is not reached, even with a Florida guardianship lawyer in attendance. In those cases, the judge has to wade through the name calling and naysaying to reach a decision that one or both parties may not like.

A mediator isn’t there to take sides but make sure that both sides act with civility towards each other and to make sure that each person involved gets a chance to air their grievances in a productive manner. The goal is that each side can see the others point of view so that an oral or written agreement is reached that the judge can take into consideration. Any Sarasota attorney can tell you that in these cases the only thing that matters to the court is protecting the rights of the minor or incapacitated adult and their property. If that end result is to place them with a court appointed personal representative or child services until the matter is resolved, then that is what will happen.

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