For years, there have been many who settle their divorces quietly and easily, without the stresses and costs of the courts. They manage to have civil conversations with the ‘ex’ about the children, while changing the pick-up time is a simple phone call. Their teenagers barely sulk. The secret to their success – mediation.
Mediation brings disputing parents together to find a solution that works for both of them. Its flexible and creative approach allows parents to focus on the well being of their children. The goal is a win-win solution, in which both parties are happy and better equipped to cope with future conflict.
These savvies are now using elder mediation to help make the tough decisions that come along with aging. Using the same philosophy of working together, families discuss inheritance and estate planning, how to balance the safety and independence of the elder parent (i.e. when to give up the car keys), and make key decisions on general living arrangements and care options.
This practice is giving a voice back to the older parent; the family hear the wishes of the older adult. The mediator encourages siblings to work together to find the best solution for all involved and helps focus the family away from old rivalries and wounds. The result is an agreement that is tailored to the family’s unique situation, keeps the family away from time-consuming and expensive legal battles and promotes a more collaborative approach to future decision-making. Mediators who specialize in elder issues are perfect for helping families solve their disputes and preserve these important family ties.
Morna Ellis is a dispute resolution professional with substantial experience in both civil and domestic relations disputes. She has served as a neutral in more than two thousand cases, referred from both the courts and the private sector. Ms. Ellis has been certified as a mediator by the Supreme Court of Virginia since 1994 and is an approved trainer and mentor. She is a member of the American Bar Association, International and Family Law sections; Virginia State Bar; Virginia Bar Association; International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP); Virginia Collaborative Professionals (VaCP); Collaborative Professionals of Richmond (CPR); and Richmond Divorce Collaborative Professionals (RCDP). Ms. Ellis serves on the ABA Section of International Law Task Force on International Parental Child Abduction Mediation, the Virginia State Bar/Virginia Bar Association Joint ADR Council and has served on numerous Supreme Court of Virginia committees related to mediation, including the Training and Standards Committee. She teaches Collaborative Law at the University of Richmond, and is a frequent speaker on mediation and dispute resolution. Ms. Ellis was the founder and director of Commonwealth Mediation Group, Inc. (CMG), which provided ADR services, including mediation and training to courts, businesses and individuals for more than fifteen years. She is President of CMG Foundation, a non-profit organization founded to help resolve disputes amicably in our community by offering affordable alternative dispute resolution solutions and training. She is also a founding director of ACCORD Global, llc., incorporated in 2010 to provide ADR services to global families, addressing parental child abduction and relocation issues and training to professionals on cross border issues. Ms. Ellis is a partner in CMG Collaborative Law Offices, plc.