Friday, April 2, 2004

Children of Elderly Should Collaborate - Not Litigate

Children of Elderly Should Collaborate - Not Litigate

Many Baby Boomers resort to litigation in an attempt to settle issues with siblings over elderly parents' care or control of their assets. Winning in court can have far reaching consequences including permanent estrangement from siblings and parents. Attorneys who advocate an alternative to litigation called Collaborative Practice offer insights into this evolving family dispute resolution tool.

San Rafael, CA (PRWEB) February 2, 2007

With over fifty percent of US marriages ending in divorce, most Baby Boomers are aware that when the curtain drops on acrimonious court disputes, the play may not be over. Property is divided, assets parsed and financial terms set but, when children are involved, there is a second act - the warring parties still must coexist. Many Boomers are now on the threshold of an encore performance with elderly parents at center stage in these emotion charged disputes. Siblings in increasing numbers are resorting to filing lawsuits to resolve family clashes.

There is much evidence to indicate that, without a near term course correction, courts will soon be clogged with such cases. However two proponents of an approach called Collaborative Practice offer a non-litigation alternative to handle elder-related cases. Northern California attorneys William Andrews and Barbara Stagg suggest that "'Winning' by proving in open court that a parent is failing mentally, or that a sibling has taken money or improper control of family assets is traumatic, expensive and can wreck families."

In an article featured during February on the Parent Care (http://www. parents-care. com) website, the two Collaborative Practice advocates offer insights into this emerging elder-related family dispute resolution tool. They trace its roots to the mid-70's when a Minnesota attorney sought and developed a means to have divorce disputes settled out of court. Lately, the technique has been increasingly and successfully used in elder probate, property and guardianship matters. To be used successfully, "Attorneys must learn the vocabulary and methods of peace making, and discard the language and strategies of courtroom battle," the authors offer. Both Stagg and Andrews are active in California's Collaborative Practice movement which includes financial, mental health, estate planning and related experts. Andrews is working with several bar associations across the country as they ramp up their own practices.

"One doesn't have to read tea leaves to know that we're on a collision course," states Parent Care CEO William Gillis, "a cursory glance at burgeoning court dockets is sufficient." He added that understanding the advantages of Collaborative Practice over litigation and mediation could be invaluable to the millions of Boomers who act as caregivers to aging parents.

In addition to expert articles, subscription-based Parent Care (http://www. parents-care. com) provides reports on senior services in each of the country's 3,300 counties to help caregivers locate and evaluate local service providers. Daily tips, senior-related news, book reviews, safety checklists and videos complement an array of other features. Recent articles include topics from preventing slips and falls to reverse mortgages, maximizing doctor visits and relocating elderly parents. All are archived for future reference.

About Parent Care, Inc.

Parent Care is the leading information source for the country's seven million long distance eldercare providers and their employers. Parent Care, The Parent Care Report and The Parent Care Channel are registered trademarks of the firm.