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Mediation – Allow the Child to Love the Other Parent

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on June 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

The message is: allow the child to love the other parent.

How and Why the UK Ministry of Justice ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Mediation. Summary Report to the Legal Services Commission’ showed failure in mediation programs and why mothers, the “primary parents” were allowed to continue to keep the children away from the father:

She tells the class: “If parents are cordial and businesslike in taking care of the children’s needs, the children will do fine. But if there’s conflict, using the children as pawns, putting them in the middle, no communication or inappropriate communication, what you’re doing is beating on the children’s wounds. You’re not allowing the child any opportunity to heal.”

Armed with that information, parents go on to a mandatory session with a mediator, usually one and a half hours, to try to reach agreement on a parenting plan.

The mediator sees both parents together, then each separately, and finally together again to try to hammer out a final parenting-time schedule. They have a 10-day cooling off period to change their minds before the agreement is turned into an enforceable court order.

There is a presumption that the children will spend substantial time with each parent, although the final plan will depend on the children’s ages, how close their homes are to each other, and their parents’ work patterns. A “normal” plan for school age children would have them with their father for alternate weekends – Friday to Monday morning – an after-school meeting once a week and half the school holidays.

Programmes for early intervention to divert parents from the court process have been common throughout the US for more than 20 years. Legislation in California and Florida was introduced in the early 1980s in response to research showing that children from broken homes need both parents to go on playing a significant part in their lives.

Unlike in Britain, the right of children to have access to both their parents until 18 is written into statute. In both states, mediation is mandatory and in Florida no parents, including those who have been models of parental cooperation from the beginning, can divorce without taking a four-hour parent education course.

Gap in law

As in England and Wales, about 90% of parents manage the difficult transition to post-separation parenting without involving the courts. But where cases do go to court, the English experience is radically different.

The resident parent, usually the mother, holds all the cards. There is a presumption that the other parent will spend time with the child, but no presumption written into statute that contact will be “frequent and continuous”.

Absent parents, usually fathers, are left to apply to the court if the resident parent denies contact. Fathers can spend years making dozens of court applications, with many months between them, to little effect.

Last year a high court family division judge, Mr Justice Munby, delivered a blistering attack on the system when a father left his court in tears after being driven to abandon a five-year battle to see his daughter, which had involved 43 court hearings.

He called for sweeping changes and suggested that the way the English courts dealt with contact applications might even breach the European convention on human rights, which guarantees the right to respect for family life, the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time, and the enforcement of court orders.

The judge said he could understand why there was disappointment that the family resolutions pilot scheme, then just announced, only encouraged mediation rather than making it mandatory.

Nine months after the pilot started in three English courts last September, the latest figures – showing that only 47 couples entered it, against an estimate of 1,000, and that only 23 completed the programme – seem to fulfil the prophecy by fathers’ groups that making it optional would doom it to failure.

Although ministers estimate that 90% of separating parents work out their own arrangements for the children without involving the courts, some 40,000 took cases to court in England and Wales in 2003-04. Half were repeat applications and 7,000 applications were for enforcement of contact orders which were flouted by the resident parent.

In Florida, by contrast, very few cases now go to court, according to Judge John Lenderman, a circuit judge on the state’s sixth circuit. He said: “I’m totally con vinced mediation should be mandatory. Every judge that I’ve talked to around the United States says mandatory mediation is the way to go.”

Nor is there anything peculiar to the US about the mandatory schemes: disputes over contact in Norway are dealt with a similar way. “There are distinct cultural differences but people in western civilisation are the same,” said Judge Lenderman. “[Parents] love their children worldwide.”

Senior judges in Britain agree that parents need more support to resolve their cases outside the courts if possible. The retired high court family division judge Dame Margaret Booth told a conference which was trying to get a Florida-type scheme off the ground three years ago: “It is a shame that our country does not easily learn from what other jurisdictions have done successfully for so long.

“In this matter we are years behind. I believe profoundly that the time has come to remove our blinkers.”

Two couples, two sessions with the mediator

Juan and Kelly

At the superior court in downtown LA, Juan, a plumber, and Kelly, an underwriter, have come to court for their mediation session. After an 18-month marriage, they separated six years ago, before the birth of their second daughter, now five (her sister is seven).

Both work long hours. For years after their separation they shared parenting time, with Juan having the girls on alternate weekends and a big input from Kelly’s mother.

Now Juan has filed an application with the court, triggering the compulsory mediation session. “The whole reason we’re here today is the situation where she left the girls with me for three months,” he says.

Kelly says she was “overwhelmed with bills and responsibility” and asked her ex-husband to look after the girls for a time. He had just moved in with a new girlfriend who “didn’t really agree to it but had no choice”.

She agrees to go back to the alternate weekends schedule. But the mediator proposes that the girls also see him one night a week for dinner, drawing on psychological research suggesting the gap between alternate weekends is too long at their age.

He resists, saying he can’t guarantee his boss would let him leave the job early enough. That one issue will go to the judge to decide. “If the judge says I have to do it, I can give it to my boss,” he says.

Marie and Jack

Marie, from France, and her English-born former husband, Jack, have their mediation session by telephone conferencing because Jack, a record producer, is working in Australia. He is due to return to LA the following month after three months away.

This is a “high-conflict” case and the couple, separated for a year but not yet divorced, have been ordered to take the basic parenting class – which should happen before mediation, but which they have not yet taken – and an extra “parenting without conflict” course.

Marie, who gets $5,000 a month child support, and Jack are arguing over whether she should take their daughters, aged six and three, on a previously agreed month-long holiday in France.

He was upset when he came back to LA on a visit and his younger daughter did not recognise him. He had the girls with him for four days then and “could see some serious problems.” He accuses Marie of arguing in front of the children.

Marie and Jack reach an agreement that she will allow the girls to talk to him on the phone every day at 7pm while he is away, but the other issues will be left for the judge.

· Clare Dyer sat in on several mediations at the LA superior court at the downtown and Santa Monica locations. The couples’ names have been changed.

For the original article:

http://eventoddlers.atspace.com/contents.html

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