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Elder Mediation

by Jeff Thompson
March 2010

From Jeff Thompson's Enjoy Mediation Blog

Jeff Thompson

Not sure if anyone saw this in the Wall Street Journal, but recently there was an article in it on Elder Mediation in California.

Some tidbits:
For years, divorcing couples have hired mediators to avoid court battles. Now, some mediators are starting to specialize in resolving disputes that relate to older adults, such as those over inheritances and caregiving.

"Elder mediation has started to take off over the past couple years," says Dana Curtis, an attorney who mediates disputes and trains elder mediators at Elder Mediation Group in Sausalito, Calif.

Families who hire an elder mediator often do so to save money. To work with a mediator in private practice, a family can expect to spend from $100 to $500 an hour. A national network of nonprofit "community mediation" services charge little to nothing.

In contrast, if a family opts to pursue a lawsuit, each party must retain an attorney.
And unlike court proceedings, the mediation process is confidential...

...Don't confuse mediation with group therapy, however. "To the extent that a mediator needs to deal with family dynamics, we do so. But the purpose of mediation is not to heal the relationships," says Ms. Curtis.

And if you are wondering if Ms. Curtis uses caucus often, keep reading:
Mediators also may provide information families can use to make decisions. For instance, when one family hired Ms. Curtis to referee a dispute over a child's request for an early inheritance, she helped them calculate how much they could afford to give the child -- after setting aside enough to cover the parents' needs and inheritances for the rest.

Read the entire article [HERE].

Biography


Jeff Thompson, Ph.D., is a professor at Lipscomb University, researcher, mediator, and trainer. He is also involved in crisis and hostage negotiation as well as a law enforcement detective. His research includes law enforcement crisis and hostage negotiation in terrorist incidents. He received his doctorate from Griffith University Law School having researched the impact nonverbal communication has in conflict situations with respect to developing rapport, building trust, and displaying professionalism.

Dr. Thompson has presented and trained on the topic of conflict, mediation, (crisis and hostage) negotiation, communication and nonverbal communication internationally for a variety of audiences including police personnel, government officials, judges, attorneys, physicians, sales people, business professionals, and both graduate and undergraduate students. He has also been published in numerous professional and academic publications.

He is the co-chair of ACR's national Crisis Negotiation Section, and he is an ad-hoc reviewer for multiple academic journals. He received his MS in Negotiation and Dispute Resolution from the Werner Institute, Creighton University School of Law.

(All posts by Jeff Thompson represent his personal reflections and opinions and not that of any organization.)



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