what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

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Latest post 11-30-2012 2:09 PM by Mother in Florida. 25 replies.
  • 11-21-2012 5:57 PM

    what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Hi!

    There is a court ordered mediation coming up where both parents have to meet and mediate.

    I'm feeling afraid and intimidated to meet the Father in an upcoming mediation. He has threathened me in the past, harassed over the phone and keeps leaving me messages with name calling on our child's phone. As I have mentioned before, he keeps dragging me into the court with motions where I come up witrh proof and his allegations fall through. I don't have any resources to fight to our son in a court system. I have a proof of his phone calls and messages.

    What can I do if I'm afraid of the opposite side (physical, emotional bully) in a mediation? Any tips how to handle the intimidation?

    I feel that this (being afraid and intimidated) is an extra task for me to go through on the top of the fact that I have to mediate on many topics when I will be challenged by the Father who is not paying any child support, there is no parenting plan worked out, no health insurance paid etc. 

    The father is a big and muscular guy with the domestic violence history (with me and our son).I have the documentation.

    The mediation is going to be in one of the court house rooms with the mediatior, parents and (maybe) parents' lawyers present.

    I have to make the mediation work so that at least something gets work out for our son. But I'm feeling afraid of the Father and I'm not sure how well I'm able to handle sensitive topics when there is an additional fear and pressure on me. 

    Thank you!

  • 11-21-2012 7:23 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Mother in Florida:

    The mediation is going to be in one of the court house rooms with the mediatior, parents and (maybe) parents' lawyers present.

    Have you asked your lawyer whether they will be permitted to attend?  Ask and find out.  Let your lawyer know about your feelings and see what they advise.  Pretty sure that the mediator will not let Father get out of hand.  If he gets abusive, you should let the mediator know that you will be leaving the hearing unless they get him under control.  If they can't control him, do it.  Leave the hearing. 

    What type of mediation is it and is it binding?

     

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-21-2012 7:57 PM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Thank you!

    I will meet with my lawyer next week to answer about the binding option. But I don't think it's binding. Nevertheless, I'd like to resolve as many outstanding issues as possible in our custody case to avoid future court and legal fees. It was my request form the court to mediate, the Father just files motions with the court and I don't have means to go to the court.

    The issues are child support what the Father has not yet paid (our child is 8 y), Father's violence while being with the child, no contibution towards child's health insurance, theraphy (after meeting his father he became suicidal) and no parenting plan from the Father. Father refuses to pay CS and demands full custody of our child. There are some other smaller details that I'd like to solve to just being able to provide safe and peaceful life for our child.

    My lawyer's comment about the outcome of the mediation was that it's not going to solve probably anything taking into the account Ftaher's behaviour so far. But we'll try anyway.

    I will have my lawyer there to give me some legal advice (the fees just are destroying me but what can I do, I have to try).

    I guess I have to show the mediator my proof of harassment to make them understand that I'm not making this up?

    I'm just afraid of the intimidation. I know how the Father is bullying, he has done that also in a court room and the Judge has not stopped him. He is so peaceful and just smiles and makes baseless allegations. It just hurts. My  mind goes blank and I just feel so hurt. Then his lawyer comes in and interrupts me and my lawyer. The Judge has asked already the Father's lawyer once to stop interrupting. But then the start again when they find a pause in a ruling or in a statement.

    You see, I have to solve the custody issue. The Father does not stop dragging me to the court. I don't have resources to fight. I have to either give in or try to mediate. But even in the court corridors when we (Father and I) have to pass each other, it's me who is stepping aside to make room the Father to pass buy. He would just otherwise step on me or push me. I try to avoid everything. He has been violent as long I remember him.

    I'm afraid being even in one room with the Father. But I have to go to the mediation and solve at least something. Otherwise it never ends.

    Should I tell the mediator about my feelings?

  • 11-21-2012 10:06 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Mother in Florida:
    I know how the Father is bullying, he has done that also in a court room and the Judge has not stopped him. He is so peaceful and just smiles and makes baseless allegations. It just hurts. My  mind goes blank and I just feel so hurt. Then his lawyer comes in and interrupts me and my lawyer. The Judge has asked already the Father's lawyer once to stop interrupting. But then the start again when they find a pause in a ruling or in a statement.

    Then your lawyer needs to get more agressive or have the judge take care of the problem.  Unfortunately what you are describing may just be courtroom theatrics and there might not be anything that can be done.  In other words, the other lawyer has the right to make his case and as long as he doesn't cross cdertain lines, then he will be allowed to continue.  If he/she truly crossed the line, I believe that most judges would handle the situation in short order.

    Mother in Florida:
    I'm afraid being even in one room with the Father.

    Unfortunately what you are describing is not a legal issue, it is an emotional issue for you.  You are the only one that can control your feelings.  As long as you let your ex affect you inthis manner, he will continue to "push your buttons" and it likely isn't illegal.  Not nice, but not illegal.

    Mother in Florida:
    Should I tell the mediator about my feelings?

    Why not, can't hurt.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-22-2012 8:27 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Thank you!

    Yes, it will be a challenge.

    I'll prepare myself as good as I can.

  • 11-22-2012 8:36 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    There is no binding mediation in FL. 

    and regarding your question...when you speak to your attorney, you can request that during mediation that only the parties involved are there AND more important, that because of his history of domestic violence and your fears, you would like him to be in a separate room. I had to do the same thing and they did this with no problem.  I am not sure everyone would accomodate this, but it seemed to be fairly common.   They will do this and the mediator will go back and forth between the two rooms.  You won't have to see him at all.  Mediation is the best way to work things out for what you want but you don't have to agree to something simply because he is there.  Stay strong.  Best of luck to you.

  • 11-22-2012 8:49 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Thank you a lot!

    The separate rooms seems a good idea to keep things civilized and peaceful. I have to concentrate on a mediation and handling Father's bullying takes lots of energy.

    My lawyer is as peaceful as I am, she is not agressive nor interruptive. We just would like to get things solved. Even under tremendous pressure. Separate rooms makes lots of sense.

    Thank you!

  • 11-22-2012 10:33 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    splum1 is correct.  I am trained as a mediator, and that is exactly what mediators do when there's hostility.  Neither party even has to see each other.  The mediator talks to the parties separately, addressing the same things that would be addressed if you were together:  1)  the issues; 2) possible solutions; and 3) the agreed-upon decisions, if any.  If the mediator doesn't offer to talk to you separately, then ask for it.

    It would be a good idea if you would write the issues and possible solutions out before you go.  It will help you clarify your own thoughts before you are presented with a different perspective.

     

  • 11-22-2012 11:16 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Separate rooms sounds like a good idea.  With my ex wife, it would be separate buildings.

    But we have had to do that.  Sadly, at some point, violence or not, people can't even stand the sight of each other.  I think it makes the negotiation go more smoothly if you request that.  It sounds like a great idea!

     

  • 11-22-2012 8:55 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Discus with your counsel what topics make sense to address in mediation and what ones are best not addressed and don't allow yourself to get baited into wrong topics..

    At least as far as I understand things the back sums due for CS are established item, known numbers. To me it makes no sense to cut an inch of slack as to past sins / violations of current order that need to be cured. You can mediate all day long about things in the future --but in my mind even if you agree to some lesser CS that abatement should not go into effect until all the past arrearages are paid up in full.

    Now if Dad owes say $15,000 and he shows up with $13,000 in cash I might listen to a modest private discount for back payment in full --but I'd not jump w/o discussion with my counsel--in some jurisdictions if person has failed to pay and court action is required, you added legal costs might well be tacked on the his duty to pay.



  • 11-23-2012 9:19 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Thank you all for the answers and support!

    Separate rooms sounds very suitable idea.

    Thank you!

  • 11-23-2012 10:22 AM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Yes, Dad owes more than $15,000.00 by now back in CS. My councel knows the exact numbers but I know from the brief talk to my councel that the number is way bigger than $15,000.00. Not to mention legal fees.

    The problem is, Dad doesn't want to pay and finds every kind of excuses to not pay. I have not applied for any sanctions, wanting to solve things peacefully. What I get back from the Dad is bullying and allegations and being brought back to the court about petty things that are baseless.

    The negotiation during the mediation is important for me. I'd like to settle for less for CS but the problem is, the other party wants to settle for no payment at all (I have got this from previous court dates, it has been stated in court by Dad).

    The different rooms can help me to consentrate on mediation but the satisfactory solution takes 2 parents to get to the agreement.

    Is there a possibility that we (parents) can go back to the mediation if we didn't find a solution during the 2 hours that court gave us for the mediation?

    How many times we can go and mediate through the court mediation?

    Thank you!

  • 11-23-2012 12:23 PM In reply to

    • DPH
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    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Mother in Florida:
    The problem is, Dad doesn't want to pay and finds every kind of excuses to not pay.

    Of he doesn't want to pay.

    Mother in Florida:
    I have not applied for any sanctions, wanting to solve things peacefully.

    And what has this accomplished?  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  If you continue on this course of action you will continue to accomplish nothing, nada, zip.  If mediation is your best shot, then you and your attorney need to dig in your heels and get what is owed.  If you cave in mediaition and give up too much, things likely will continue in the same fashion in the future. 

    Mother in Florida:
    The negotiation during the mediation is important for me. I'd like to settle for less for CS but the problem is, the other party wants to settle for no payment at all (I have got this from previous court dates, it has been stated in court by Dad).

    Again, of course he doesn't want to pay and he won't unless and until he gets slapped down by the courts.  If you can't accomplish this is mediaition, then your only other recourse will be taking him to court.  Either that or roll over and play dead.

    Mother in Florida:
    Is there a possibility that we (parents) can go back to the mediation if we didn't find a solution during the 2 hours that court gave us for the mediation?

    While I am a fan of mediaition, why would you think that if you don't get the desired results in the first mediaition that it would be any different during a second or third round?  You are either going to have to get tough in mediaition, get tougher in court, or roll over.  Your choice.

    I don't mean to sound harsh, but that's the reality of your situation.  If your current attorney cannot get aggressive, maybe you should consider hiring another attorney that will take your ex to the mat.   Again, your choice.

    Good luck.

     

    "Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."  -  Mark Twain

     

  • 11-23-2012 12:48 PM In reply to

    Re: what to do if being afraid in a mediation?

    Thank you!

    I have considered hiring a new attorney but I don't have resources to do that. I'm just trying to get by with my very limited resources and just to have an attorney who doesn't charge too much. I don't have a knowledge or strenght to go alone through this case.Our custody case (plus CS) has been dragging along for 2 years and I try to keep things outside of the court. But I end up there anyway thanks to Dad.

    You are right, even my councel doesn't have faith in our upcoming mediation solutions. Then I just have to go the court, there is probably no other way around. I still would like to save some money and try to mediate.

    There are many facets in our custody case. One is that Dad wants a full custody of our child and tries to show that I don't have resorces to raise our child in a decent manner. For me it seems very contradictory where he doesn't want to support our child and then claiming that I'm not proper parent to raise our child due to dire financial means I have( yes, I'm practicly broke due to custody battle).

    The pressure is there. I'm sometimes hopeful maybe the Dad gets tired of this all and mediates on our issues to move forward because our child grows up and doesn't deserve a childhood like this.

    But can I still ask a new mediation from the court if Dad doesn't agree to mediate or is there a limit of times we can mediate?

    Just trying to save some money.

    Thank you!

     

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