As explained in earlier blogs, my husband’s ex-wife loves to go to court. Every time we turn around we’re getting a notice about appearing in court for something related to her. Our recent experience, however, is turning out to be a little different. I firmly believe the outcome will ultimately be the same, but the process is going a little differently. This time we went to court only to be ordered by the Judge to go to a mediator before coming back to court. Huh?? I thought mediation was to prevent you from going to court in the first place. Usually if mediation isn’t successful, you go to court, right?? Well apparently this particular Judge had a different idea.
Although I can’t go into detail about this particular issue, I will say that we are fighting because K (husband’s son) did something that was a definite cause for concern. As such, we (my husband and I) wanted him to attend counseling. Often times a child will tell a third party, who he doesn’t know, something that he won’t tell his parents. We just wanted to be certain that he could communicate his feelings without feeling embarrassed. His mother was completely opposed to the idea; stating that it would make him think that he’s crazy, thereby causing long-term damage to his mental health. However, we felt that ignoring (acting like it didn’t happen) the situation could result in long-term damage to his mental health. After 8 months of arguing about this, both in and out of court, what are 2 hours with a mediator going to do to drastically change the opinions of either party?? It’s a big waste of time and money!
What is mediation?
The mediator remains neutral between both parties. That means the mediator can’t give advice to either party, and also can’t act as a lawyer for either party.
What the mediator can do, though, is to point out in open session to both parties things that each of them should be aware (They are aware, but they just don’t care) of about what they’re trying to accomplish. That open and free exchange of information frees up both parties to negotiate with each other in confidence. Because both parties are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense to both parties.
Yeah, right! Whoever came up with this obviously doesn’t know my husband and his ex-wife. Mediation may work for some couples who are having issues with divorce and co-parenting, but it definitely isn’t a one size fit all approach to resolving these types of issues. That definition above mentioned that because both parties are working with the same base of information, it usually takes far less time to negotiate a resolution that makes sense. Are you kidding me?? The problem is rarely misinformation; it’s usually how the parties interpret that information that presents the issue. I just don’t think mediation works if both parties aren’t willing to be the least bit reasonable. The problem with most divorced couples is that unwillingness to let go of emotional baggage in order to resolve the real issues. Often times holding on to this baggage allows certain people to make every issue about them, instead of focusing on the real issue – co-parenting the child/ren. Therefore, if those individuals can’t let go of that baggage, then compromise can’t and often times, doesn’t exist.
I’m in no way suggesting that mediation doesn’t work. I am simply saying that it doesn’t work for everyone. I actually believe that mediation would work for me and my ex because our relationship isn’t and never has been as volatile as my husband’s relationship with his ex. He (my ex) definitely has done and does some things that I don’t agree with, but, at this point, we are both still willing to try and understand where the other is coming from. Additionally, we both know that being at each others’ throats IS NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF OUR CHILD. No matter how often we disagree and how different our approaches are to parenting, we know that we owe it to him to ALWAYS put forth the best effort that we can to communicate our issues in a civil manner. Children of divorce and blended families deserve parents that will always consider their best interest. They deserve parents that communicate with a level head, in a civilized manner. They deserve parents that will let go of the past in order to help their children move toward the future. They deserve parents who get along! I guess sometimes, even reasonable adults need a mediator to tell them that. For now, read my blog and save some money…LOL!!