This new 30-minute video presents a demonstration of a guardianship mediation, using actors to portray family members. Narrated by Academy of Family Mediators Past President Zena Zumeta, the video introduces viewers to mediation and its application in guardianship disputes. It is available from TCSG for $50, including shipping charges. Production of the video was made possible by funding from the Michigan State Bar Foundation. To order, print and fill out an order form from our Publications Page, or call TCSG at (734) 665-1126. TCSG accepts checks only.
The video tells the story of John Barton, a seventy-five year old man, who lives in his own home with his daughter, Ellen Hayes, and her two children. John Barton's son, Robert Barton, is concerned about his father's living situation and is worried that his father's money is being mishandled. He consults an attorney, who files a court petition for Robert to be named guardian and conservator of his father. When Ellen and John contest the petition, Robert discusses his options with his attorney. The attorney tells Robert that a contested guardianship hearing is likely to be destructive of family relationships, and suggests that the family try mediation. In the video, segments of the mediation sessions are shown. Each step of the mediation process, (introductory meetings, information sharing, issue identification, option generation, discussion and negotiation, resolution), is illustrated, to give the viewer an understanding of the mediation process, as it is used in a guardianship case.
This video has two primary audiences. First, it is useful for attorneys, social workers, and others who work with older persons and their families, to introduce them to the mediation process, so that they can make informed referrals of appropriate cases. Second, it serves as an excellent introduction to mediation for family members who are considering the use of mediation in a potential guardianship case. It can be shown by mediators, courts, attorneys, and others to people who are facing conflicts arising out of guardianship petitions and related matters. Although some Michigan terminology is used, the presentation is general enough to be of valuable use in other jurisdictions as well.
A brochure for family members, to be used in conjunction with the video, is available for download in Microsoft Word format. Click here to download a Macintosh or Windows PC version. The Center for Social Gerontology will grant permission to mediators and courts to modify this brochure for their own use when a written request is received, enclosing a copy of the modified brochure, which credits The Center for Social Gerontology and the Michigan State Bar Foundation.