Does Mediation Work?
This fictional situation illustrates how mediation might work when divorcing parents are discussing custody of their children. This column will appear periodically to provide information about resolving disputes.
Casey and Sarah are getting divorced and disagree over where their two young children should live.
It makes sense for the children to live with me for the school week because I live three blocks from their school. I work in the mornings so I’ll be home when they get home, and I can take them to their activities. Sarah works full time and lives a 40 minute drive from their school. When they’re with me we read a lot. When they’re with her they watch TV. She can see them on weekends and we’ll split vacations.
I want the children to live with me during the week. They can transfer to the elementary school near me, and my mother can watch them after school until I get home. Casey can see them on weekends and during half their school vacations. He travels so much that he doesn’t know what it’s like to be a full-time parent. I need to know that the children are sleeping in the same bed every night and having nutritious meals.
Both parents are focused on what is good for the children, but they disagree about what “good” is. They each have fears and and concerns about the other having the children most of the time. In mediation I would get more facts, then help Casey and Sarah find options that would address both their concerns and the best interests of the children. If they can reach an agreement, Casey and Sarah may both avoid a possible loss in court.
Mediation. It Works!
For more information about mediation, call the Hawaii Judiciary’s Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution at 539-4ADR (4237) or visit www.courts.state.hi.us/cadr. You may want to see our handbook, Selecting a Mediator. Molokai residents may contact The Mediation Center of Molokai at 553-3844.