Divorce Mediation Works!
We settled a post-decree dispute over child support with divorce mediation. The agreement was elusive for 7 years! Meaning every mediation the parties tried, approximately 15 times over the last 7 years there was no resolution and the parties went to court to have a judge decide.
There was no coercion, duress applied at any point to any parties. We are facilitators at SB Mediation Center. Additionally, we use all of our tools in the mediators’ toolbox including transformative and evaluative. Pushy is definitely not our approach to settlement, at all.
Both sides emoted at various points throughout the process, intake, actual mediation, mediation won’t result in an agreement. We hardly ever think mediation is a waste of time or resolution is impossible. We are committed to your family staying out of court. They both wanted a shuttle mediation. That means both parties are in separate rooms. We did this mediation through Zoom.
What were the issues at hand? On the surface, it was a motion to terminate child support. The oldest child had turned 19 years old and that is when child support for most cases is terminated. The moving party, the party that filed the motion was the payor. The payee had no issue with the termination of the child support. Mom’s attorney agreed. Dad was unhappy with mediating, yet again. Tired of the conflict he said. Dad wanted to bring up many other issues that were bothering him. Some of those issues were. Mom’s withholding of parenting time. The most important issue he was upset about was paying for child healthcare. Dad was ordered at the permanent orders hearing to pay for the insurance. According to mom, there was a history of not following through with the order. Because of this history, mom had begun furnishing Medicaid. Not needing dad to provide the coverage. He began a policy in July 2020 a family plan including coverage for the child. He did this without conferring with mom. It is considered to be a major decision for the child.
We began to ask about who has decision making he insisted it was joint. We asked him to provide a court order that supported his claim. He shared a minute order. We read through it, didn’t see the language of his claim. I read that mom had been granted sole decision-making for all decisions. We highlighted the text in the order and asked him to read it. He agreed he was incorrect in his decision-making recollection. We questioned dad, should he be credited for the insurance coverage without discussing it with mom? He agreed it would not be okay to have the credit for the coverage. Throughout the entire process, we used the EAR method: Empathy, Attention, Respect on both sides of the mediation, we employed the above technique. We believe it was a method that helped the parties achieve an agreement they could live with. Hopefully, we set a seed for this family that they will be able to resolve more of their disputes in a collaborative manner!