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Manatory mediation

Started by bobcat, Apr 27, 2006, 05:53:02 AM

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bobcat

Dear Socrateaser,

I divorced my ex in 2002, I had joint custody of our son who was 4 at the time.

In July of 2003, my ex claimed that our son didn't want to see me. She told me that he had a nightmare about me, that had scared him. When I talked to him on the phone, he said he was scared to see me.

I belived her, and requested that he go and see a counselor.
She set up a meeting with a counselor. We had to see her indvidually before she would meet with our son. Altogether we went to see this counselor three times, her on one day, me on another, and then we went together at the last meeting.

At this last meeting I dicovered that the reason my son didn't want to see me was because my ex. was accusing me of being an alcoholic, being depressed, and it was me that was causing him to not be doing well. This was news to me because I was unaware of him having any problems, and I was seeing him every day.

When I found out that I was being accused of these things, and it wasn't my son that didn't want to see me, but my ex'es plot, I walked out of that meeting with this counselor.

The day after this last meeting with the counselor she 'revoked' my visitation with him, via email.
When I protested she stoped answering the phone, I went over to her apt. and she wouldn't even let me in to see our son. Instead she called the police and told them that I threatened to kill her, (I didn't) no witnesses...her word against mine.

I was arrested for meancing, this was on August 3rd. She took out a restraining order so I couldn't see our son. This was in place before I bailed out of jail 3 days later. It took me 6 months, but I got the charges dropped.

According to my lawyer the DA dropped it 15 minutes after he found out that she just returned from a cross country trip to spend the weekend with her new boyfriend, and she hired a lawyer before my arrest.
She claimed the reason we went to see the counselor was to work out 'new' changes to the parenting plan.

I requested that the restraining order be modifyed, or droped so I could see our son in October, I filed it in both the criminal court and the family court. Both judges said it wasn't their jurisdiction leaving my request in limbo.

I also filed contempt charges, for my ex. not allowing me to see our son. This hearing was at the end of October. She walked into this hearing and claimed that I was refusing to see our son! To my amazement the judge dismissed the charges and admolished me for changing the parenting plan without putting it in writing, and submiting it to the court!

At about this time my ex wanted me to go into counseling with her. She said that it was all a big mis-understanding, and she wanted to communicate some things to me. I agreed to do this, but refused to use the counselor she used to project her issues onto me with, the one above.

When I insisted that we use a different counselor, her lawyer quoted some statue that said, if one of the parties claimed abuse, then there could be no forced counseling. They threatened, but never produced, evidence from an email I sent her, that I was abusive. We never went to counseling.

The one thing that this judge did do for me at the contempt hearing, was she got a hearing for my request of a modification to the restraining order set with the criminal judge. At this hearing in November my ex. requested, and was granted that I be in monitered visits with the counselor that we had used prior to my arrest. She told the judge that our son was afraid to see me.

I started seeing my son again for 1 hour monitored visits, once a week in December.

In November I also requested that a speical advocate be assigned to our case, which was set up at the restraining order hearing. The meancing charges were dropped in Febuaury 2004, and the advocate started her investagation in March.

I had 3 monitored visits before my ex changed her mind on the monitered visits. I took a camera, and a tape player to these visits, and recorded all of the smiles, fun, and laughing we had together. This visitation agreement was up for review after my 5th visit, and I was getting a lot of evidence that she was lying about my relationship with my son.

A temporary visitation schedule was drawn up. I was seeing him again 5 days a week for a total of 13 hours, no overnights, this started in January of 2004.

The special advocate finnished her report in April. I lost custody of our son, due to the 'conflict' between my ex and I. The counselor that I only saw for a total of 1 hour, claimed that I was depressed and using my son to fill a hole in my own life!

Another temporary visitation schedule was drawn up to the end of July 2004.
The judge requested that we use a mediator/arbitrator to resolve any of our future disputes, rather than going to court. I was pro-se for this hearing, and I agreed to this........

Having said all of that, my questions have to do with this forced mediation requirement.

Right now I am only seeing my son 5 hours a week. Our temporary visitation schedule has expired.  My ex is still letting me see our him for these 5 hours on Saturday, but we have no written agreement. According to the parenting plan that was written up at the special advocate hearing, we have to go through a mediator prior to any motions being filed.

1) If my ex. has refused to be in mediation with me because she says I am abusive, how can we be required to be in mediation now? Seems to me as though the laws change depending on what my ex. wants, or doesn't want.

2) Can I fight this requirement, if so how?

3) I don't want to use a mediator because I don't think I will get a fair shake. In your opinon is this idea true or false?

4) I can't afford the mediator we have, it could be a couple of years before I have the money for this.
Can my money situation be used to prevent me from seeing my son?

5) Since we don't have a legal visitation schedule, can I petition the court outside of the mediation requirement?

We all live in the same town in Colorado.

Thank you.....very much!
Robert

socrateaser

>1) If my ex. has refused to be in mediation with me because
>she says I am abusive, how can we be required to be in
>mediation now? Seems to me as though the laws change depending
>on what my ex. wants, or doesn't want.

That's nice. Try to stick to the facts, ok? I'm not really interested in your opinion of the legal system. Everyone knows that it sucks, so get over it.

>
>2) Can I fight this requirement, if so how?

If both of you are court ordered to mediate prior to bringing your dispute to the court and the other parent refuses, then you set up the mediation provide her attorney with notice, and if she doesn't show, then you file a motion for contempt, and let the judge sanction her for not showing up.

>3) I don't want to use a mediator because I don't think I will
>get a fair shake. In your opinon is this idea true or false?

Mediation is non binding. The only "shake" that you will get is the one you agree to. You just said that your ex doesn't want mediation. Now you say that you don't want it either. If both parties don't want something then you should be able to agree to waive mediation on stipulated motion to the court. Send a letter to opposing counsel stating your understanding that your ex doesn't want to mediate and that you agree, and ask them to stipulate to moving the court to waive mediation in favor of litigation.

That's how it's done. However, I think you may get a better "shake" in mediation than you will from the judge. But, it's your call to make.

>4) I can't afford the mediator we have, it could be a couple
>of years before I have the money for this.
>Can my money situation be used to prevent me from seeing my
>son?

I don't know. Frankly, after reading this post so far, you seem to believe that the world is conspiring against you. This is usually not the case, and it suggests that you may not be objectively viewing your situation.

However, the bottom line is that you can either try to represent yourself in court or hire someone to do it for you. If you can't do either successfully, then you will not get very far with making a case. Sometimes the best thing to do is simply whatever the other parent asks if it gets you time with your kid. Where a father and a son are concerned, maintaining a decent relationship can cause the son to want to live with the father when he gets into his early teens, and you may eventually win your case without spending any money. Meanwhile, you will likely have to eat crow at every turn. So, it sort of depends on your patience.

At the moment, this post strongly suggests that you aren't a very patient person, so I doubt that this is an avenue you will be able to take. But, it's a definite possibility, so I'm mentioning it.

>5) Since we don't have a legal visitation schedule, can I
>petition the court outside of the mediation requirement?

I suggest that you go to mediation and try to show the judge your willingness to cooperate and that your ex refuses to do so. That's your strongest case. As long as you continue to fight the system, you will be perceived as uncooperative and, as you may have noticed by now, this works against you.