After a divorce or break-up happens, something is bound to go wrong in communication. This eventually leads to a custody dispute. The typical route is to file for custody of any children that the couple had in common. Many states have defaulted to court ordered mediation before a court date is set. Many people feel that it is just an attempt to get them in the same room, and force them to talk to each other. In a way, this is true. A judge does not want to tell you how to run your life, any more than you want them to tell you how to run yours. The best way to handle it is to let the parents attempt to figure it out between the two of them.
Before court ordered mediation, there are several documents you will receive in the mail. Do not take this lightly because they are court orders and the directions to them should be taken seriously.
The First Document
The first document you receive in the series is the papers showing you what grounds the other parent filed for custody under. It will have the children’s name, the reason the other parent has filed for custody, and the means to which they are willing to go to prove they are the most fit parent. It will also contain any special consideration that they would like to be heard in the case. This consideration can be whether they wish to have an intermediary to deliver the children, or any other things that they feel are important.
The Second Document
The second document you will receive is one explaining scheduling. It does not have much leniency in the methods, it is pretty set in stone. A telephone number to mediation personnel will be written on the document. This person typically works for the court, so make sure to hold a professional demeanor and do not ridicule the other parent. Typically the schedule is made by whatever corresponding times you can work out in a short notice. In order to make it work, you may have to make some adjustments to your schedule.
The Third Document
The third document you will get is an order to schedule classes. This class basically teaches you get along with the other parent. How effective this class is, depends on how you look at it and how well you use the tactics it teaches you.
These classes are a series of classes. Your hours are logged and if you fail to show up, “bodily attachment may follow.” Meaning you can be thrown in jail. These classes are scheduled for several time periods during the day and evening. You will not be in the same class as the other parent. This tactic is in an effort to allow open question answer sessions without feeling that the other parent can use them against you. Mind you, you still cannot trash talk the other party.
The Fourth Document
The third document you will get is a court order to show up on the days you are scheduled. This is not something you will want to miss. If you do, chances are you will be arrested for violating a court order. It will tell you when, where, and with whom. Most of the time this is scheduled in a law office or the mediators office.
What You Will Do In Mediation
Mediation is set up for you and your ex to civilly work out the bits and pieces of a custody agreement. The main idea is that these are your children, it is your responsibility to come to a compromise. Even if you can work out part of a custody agreement, it is better than nothing. The judge typically reverts to a standard agreement, it is best for you to personalize it to your particular needs.
For example: My family celebrates Christmas, his family does not. His family holds Thanksgiving in extremely high light, my family celebrates it, but not as through as my ex’s family does. The best thing for both of us was to have him spend Thanksgiving with our children, and me have them for Christmas.
Rules of Mediation
The rules of mediation are pretty straight forward. No yelling, no insulting, no name calling, and unless you want to be kicked out of mediation, don’t say the words afraid, scared or any word that can be related in the thesaurus. If you do, that is the end of mediation.
After eight hours of wasting my time, and my money. My ex slipped and stated that he was afraid of me yelling at him. That was the end of mediation and a waste of my time and money.