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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Mediation Doubts

    My question involves a child custody case from the State of: Washington
    My husband is going to go to mediation at the end of this month and we are having some doubts on what to say. We know the standard "don't be rude, let the other parent talk, be polite" its what he wants as visitation and how to word it.
    Right now my husband has "temporary physical custody pending outcome of mediation" from what we have been told that will help him keep primary custody. He wants to ask for joint legal but wants "primary physical custody with reasonable visitation to the mother."
    Here's the problem. We have been told that mediation is basically haggling only more polite. He doesn't mind giving the mother the weekends but nothing more than that because every time we get him back after three days we have to fight the child to dress himself(she does it for him and he's five perfectly capable of doing it himself) and other problems. Anyway, if it is supposed to be like haggling should my husband ask for every other weekend and "compromise" to every weekend or should he just say she can have every weekend and see what happens, my husband has expressed extreme concern of his child being with her for extended periods of time because she tries to keep the child in a constant two year old state and he will start kinder-garden in Sept. and we are attempting to teach him more independence which is pretty much undermined every weekend but he child is learning.
    Any information that you can give would be helpful, thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Somewhere near Canada

    Default Re: Mediation Doubts

    You're talking about a parenting difference - and that's really not actionable. Mom is free to dress kiddo, and your husband is free to let kiddo dress himself. Is it consistent? No. But it's also not actionable.

    Another point might be your involvement - does Mom feel threatened by you, and your consistent use of "we" and "us"? She can actually bring that up in mediation and that can truly damage Dad's stance. Too much of your involvement could eventually result in Mom becoming primary custodial parent.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Default Re: Mediation Doubts

    Under the circumstances I would stop far short of even suggesting that your involvment as a step parent is anywhere close to negatively impacting the fathers standing as a custodial parent. That said, and legally speaking, this is not a WE thing, and you need to understand that. And it would most likely be best for you to not be present at mediation, which could only serve to fan flames and increase the likelihood of mediation failing completely.

    When mediating visitation schedule, dad should start with what is considered ‘standard possession’ in his state, and go from there. And if he feels mom is being unreasonable, he does not have to acquiesce, and can ask the judge to make the call. Most CP’s would consider giving up their child EVERY weekend to be most unreasonable, and not in the childs best interest. Agreeing to extended summers and other holiday concessions is more reasonable.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011

    Default Re: Mediation Doubts

    Although as a step-parent I am involved in my husband's child's life, I know that I am not allowed to be in mediation and that I cannot effectively change anything in the custody proceedings. That being said, I am pretty much doing this for my husband. He is the one that is confused and wants the help. He sits with me on this site because I like to think that I am a good wife for my support in all matters that I can help with.
    Otherwise, years ago when the child's mother had primary custody my husband got the weekends and wanted to be fair and offer those to her.
    My husband has been told that with a request upon the judge I could possibly be allowed in mediation but my husband and I agreed that this is his "fight"
    Logically speaking, it is pretty insane to think that when a parent going though custody proceedings happens to be married to a third party that the third party isn't going to be concerned for this. I have been on this site for a little while now and there are many step-parents that are on here attempting to get information and support for their spouses. I see no issue with the use of the language of "we" or "us" and when I do happen to go to court with my husband I am quiet and just listen because I know the courts don't recognize it as my place but it does happen to effect my life.
    To answer the question of whether or not the mother feels threatened by me, I have no clue. I try to have as little interaction with her as possible. The last time that she has said anything about me was when the child told her that he calls me mom. It was the child's decision to call me that and after a little conflict she got over it. Other than that, she blames me for the court proceedings but that is simply because she likes to point the blame on anyone but herself. My husband wanted to file and I supported his decision I never forced him to do anything.
    Anyway, I'm sorry if it seems that I'm ranting but this is how I feel about it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: Mediation Doubts

    Quote Quoting mnolson
    View Post
    the child told her that he calls me mom. It was the child's decision to call me that
    The child, his father and his mother need to be in family counseling together. There may also be a role for you in this counseling if the counselor feels that is appropriate.

    His mother is still in his life. You are not his mother. Allowing him, a 5 yo, to "choose" to call you mom is not emotionally healthy for the child.

    Your husband and his ex-wife need professional counseling regarding how they should co-parent their child given the divorce and what the appropriate role for a step-parent is.

    I am sure you are providing parenting to this child given the amount of time the child is in your home. But you are not the child's mother and it sounds like he is confused and his parents and you do not know how to appropriately deal with his confusion. Having him call you "mom" is not how to appropriately deal with the child's confusion.

    Quite frankly, you sound very controlling. You don't like how his mother parents him down to the point that you don't want her to dress him and it sounds like you are pushing the father to try to reduce her visitation to give you more control.

    Actually, I think you should try to show up for the mediation and keep using words like "we" and "us" and let the mediator know that the child calls you mom and that it is the 5 yo child's "choice" so that the mediator can get the full picture as to what is going on here.

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