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  1. #1
    SimplyMom is offline Member
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    What happens after mediation?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? AK

    My husband and his ex-wife have to go through mediation prior to going to court according to their joint custody agreement. Since they can't come to an agreement about their son's school the mother has requested mediation. Luckily, the courts here offer free mediation services as long as they make less than $100,000 a year.

    My question is: What happens when mediation doesn't work? My husband suspects that his ex is using mediation only as a stepping stone to go to court to modify custody, and doubts an agreement will be made during the mediation time. Although he will do everything possible to come to an agreement that works for both sides, and their son most importantly of all. Will what happens during mediation be taken into consideration in court? If his ex were to be unwilling to negotiate about any of the other schools other that the one she signed his son up for behind his back would the judge take that into consideration?

    What will the judge look at when determining a school location? Neither parent is designated primary, they have joint legal and 50/50 physical custody.

    Distance is the problem with the school situation, as is the poor quality of the mother's local school. My husband has brought up several options that are about 10-15 minutes away from both households for their son to attend school, but the mother (so far) refuses to consider anything that isn't immediately local to her. Our homes are 25 minutes apart.

    Thank you.
    Last edited by SimplyMom; 04-03-2009 at 06:39 PM. Reason: missed an "s"
  2. #2
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyMom View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? AK

    My husband and his ex-wife have to go through mediation prior to going to court according to their joint custody agreement. Since they can't come to an agreement about their son's school the mother has requested mediation. Luckily, the courts here offer free mediation services as long as they make less than $100,000 a year.

    My question is: What happens when mediation doesn't work? My husband suspects that his ex is using mediation only as a stepping stone to go to court to modify custody, and doubts an agreement will be made during the mediation time. Although he will do everything possible to come to an agreement that works for both sides, and their son most importantly of all. Will what happens during mediation be taken into consideration in court? If his ex were to be unwilling to negotiate about any of the other schools other that the one she signed his son up for behind his back would the judge take that into consideration?

    What will the judge look at when determining a school location? Neither parent is designated primary, they have joint legal and 50/50 physical custody.

    Distance is the problem with the school situation, as is the poor quality of the mother's local school. My husband has brought up several options that are about 10-15 minutes away from both households for their son to attend school, but the mother (so far) refuses to consider anything that isn't immediately local to her. Our homes are 25 minutes apart.

    Thank you.
    In most states, what takes place in mediation does not get presented to the judge unless the parties come to an agreement. So no, its not likely that the judge will know who was more or less stubborn in mediation.

    Your husband also needs to be absolutely certain that the child may be enrolled in the schools that your husband is proposing. Why? because most school districts do not offer a ton of flexibility...or only offer it on a first come, first serve basis, or under other specific conditions.

    Example: In my state, up until a couple of years ago a child could only be enrolled in the school district of the parent who was designated primary...at the assigned school for the parent's address...therefore even in a 50/50 situation one parent had to be designated primary. That has recently changed in my state, and now a child can attend school in either district. However, the child can still only be enrolled in the school assigned for the parent's address, unless the child qualifies for enrollment in another school, under special circumstances (magnet, special needs etc.)

    This is something that your husband should have taken into consideration from day one. Your husband should have realized that unless both parents were living in the same area designated for the same school, that this was going to be an issue.

    If your husband can demonstrate that there is free enrollment in the school(s) that he is suggesting...then he may get somewhere with a judge if mediation fails. If cannot, then he may not get anywhere. It may boil down to a judge deciding that one of them ends up being primary for school purposes. That may mean that 50/50 cannot be maintained if the non-primary parent cannot provide transportation back and forth from school during their parenting time.

    Therefore its extremely important for your husband to do his "homework" and make sure that whatever he is proposing is truly able to be done. Otherwise, its going to become more than just a decision about school, its going to become a custody decision.

    Personally, I would have made sure that the other parent and I lived in the same area for schooling purposes if I wanted to maintain 50/50. I wouldn't have lived 25 minutes apart.
  3. #3
    SimplyMom is offline Member
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    Thank you.

    I should clarify that techinically it is court ordered mediation, both parties have simply motioned for the mediation, does that make a difference as far as disclosure to the judge?

    Both parents are in the same district, just not the same school area. Our district does offer an open enrollment policy, so that children can attend other schools within the district as long as there is room and the parents provide transportation. The schools my husband is proposing are all at around 85% capacity except for one, so there is a lot of flexibility there thankfully.

    If mediation does not work and the judge makes a determination, can he modify custody if neither party has motioned for it?

    Thanks again.
  4. #4
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyMom View Post
    Thank you.

    I should clarify that techinically it is court ordered mediation, both parties have simply motioned for the mediation, does that make a difference as far as disclosure to the judge?

    Both parents are in the same district, just not the same school area. Our district does offer an open enrollment policy, so that children can attend other schools within the district as long as there is room and the parents provide transportation. The schools my husband is proposing are all at around 85% capacity except for one, so there is a lot of flexibility there thankfully.

    If mediation does not work and the judge makes a determination, can he modify custody if neither party has motioned for it?

    Thanks again.
    The judge could make a designation of which parent is primary for school purposes. However if you are in the same district and open enrollment is feasible, it may not go that way...assuming that both parties would be able to get the child back and forth to school.

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