Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Parental Alienation, Malicious Mother Syndrome, dealing with the ex, and various other non-legal concerns throughout the process.

Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby Texas3Step » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:44 pm

A quick recap. Some of you have been helping on my previous posts:

Never married, daughter is 5. We have ben sharing 50/50 virtually her entire life (with no support), and still share it as of this writing. NJ filed for custody and temp orders seeking EOW and $400/m support. She's upset because I moved into a place I can afford, which is a manufactured house. It is brand new and very nice, but she doesn't like the fact I moved there.

Her reasoning for filing for custody is that "It's better for my daughter that I have her more because you're unstable and can't afford to take care of her." So she wants me to pay more money, naturally. She then claimed I did drugs, so I took a drug test that came out negative on 14 panels, filed it with the court. Judge ordered mediation a few days ago. A trial is also set for July 17.

I have a previous CS obligation that runs me $1100 a month. I am trying to live off of half my salary and am barely surviving. I can't afford to sit in a mediation for an entire day and pay $1000 fee. I've never experienced mediation before. Am I just screwed because I can't afford it, and just go straight to trial?

I feel like we have a firmly established status quo for my daughter's entire life that would be hard for her to prove should be changed. I just don't think a judge would alter it. From what I understand, status quo is very important. Any advice?
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:51 pm

It's all about the money for her. I got me an ex like that too.


I don't remember but is your 50/50 parenting time court ordered or is it just what you have been doing?
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby a dad » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:56 pm

Is this "$1000 fee" for private mediation or for your attorney while using the courts mediation services?
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby whatever_works » Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:58 pm

Court ordered mediation if free in my state. Depending on the state you may be able to get the mediation done at no cost to you.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby spritom » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:15 pm

Sounds like a rough patch and sorry to hear you're going through it.
But she's got a few cracks going on...

Child Support
CS calcs usually have a "calculation" based on some chart.
Many states have an online web site to help calculate it, but usually it can be calculated by hand if you need to.
Remember that CS "income" is not the same as IRS income, so it will be specifically how your state spells out the CS rules. And every little detail matters, so learn those details that favor you. An hour of reading might save you $300/month.
Many states also calculate in as part of CS any other CS obligations you have (like the $1100). In fact, however this one turns out, you can on your own, recalculate the $1100 thing to see if it needs to be altered too.
Just learn the CS rules, they're not real hard, just some odd details.

Custody & Parenting Time
Custody is decision-making for school, medical, and church (kinda church anyway)
Parenting Time is the schedule with each parent
Most states say they need a "significant change of circumstances" for the child before a change can be claimed. The NJ having sour grapes doesn't meet that.
So you can tirelessly pound the message that the child's circumstances are the same, child's well-being of being with both parents best serves the child...
The child
The child
The child...
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
You never talk about yourself to the court (or your Ex). They hate you anyway. You only talk about what's the awesomest thing for the child.
And part of that is the status quo you mentioned...so yeah, you're on the right track there. It's one of the important ingredients.

She then claimed I did drugs,

Ah, one of those that will readily commit perjury.
Yup, ya gotta watch those criminals a little closely.
They get creative sometimes...claiming sexual allegations, that you have guns and are dangerous, claiming you came over to their house at night and threatened them (that last one is another thread on here...the dude was home sleeping all night and the Ex is claiming he was committing felonies).

Mediation:
Mediators have one job...try to cut a deal.
They may not care if it's a fair deal or if the Ex is lying.
So just remember you're the only one that has your back in there and just prepare and stay true and you'll be fine.

You got this.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby Texas3Step » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:01 pm

lovingfatherof2 wrote:It's all about the money for her. I got me an ex like that too.


I don't remember but is your 50/50 parenting time court ordered or is it just what you have been doing?


It's not court ordered, just voluntary agreement. There are no court orders in place, we had been agreeable on this 50/50 for about 5 years and were working on a parenting plan.

When NJ lived in my home, she moved out and then back in 3 times, during those times we still did 50/50.

She moved out for good the last time, and now wants full custody.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby Texas3Step » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:02 pm

a dad wrote:Is this "$1000 fee" for private mediation or for your attorney while using the courts mediation services?


The mediation firm called me today and wanted to schedule an appointment. I asked her how much and she said it was $1000 an hour, which is what they charge for holding mediation. This is without my attorney.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby Texas3Step » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:04 pm

whatever_works wrote:Court ordered mediation if free in my state. Depending on the state you may be able to get the mediation done at no cost to you.


I'm in Texas. It seems as if the mediation firm has already been selected without my input. The firm called me today to set up an appointment and I asked for details and how much it costs. I asked her "Who pays for this, because I can't pay for it." and she said "The parties involved do". That's all I know.

Seems to me the petitioner (NJ) should foot the bill for this.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby Texas3Step » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:06 pm

spritom wrote:Sounds like a rough patch and sorry to hear you're going through it.
But she's got a few cracks going on...

Child Support
CS calcs usually have a "calculation" based on some chart.
Many states have an online web site to help calculate it, but usually it can be calculated by hand if you need to.
Remember that CS "income" is not the same as IRS income, so it will be specifically how your state spells out the CS rules. And every little detail matters, so learn those details that favor you. An hour of reading might save you $300/month.
Many states also calculate in as part of CS any other CS obligations you have (like the $1100). In fact, however this one turns out, you can on your own, recalculate the $1100 thing to see if it needs to be altered too.
Just learn the CS rules, they're not real hard, just some odd details.

Custody & Parenting Time
Custody is decision-making for school, medical, and church (kinda church anyway)
Parenting Time is the schedule with each parent
Most states say they need a "significant change of circumstances" for the child before a change can be claimed. The NJ having sour grapes doesn't meet that.
So you can tirelessly pound the message that the child's circumstances are the same, child's well-being of being with both parents best serves the child...
The child
The child
The child...
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
You never talk about yourself to the court (or your Ex). They hate you anyway. You only talk about what's the awesomest thing for the child.
And part of that is the status quo you mentioned...so yeah, you're on the right track there. It's one of the important ingredients.

She then claimed I did drugs,

Ah, one of those that will readily commit perjury.
Yup, ya gotta watch those criminals a little closely.
They get creative sometimes...claiming sexual allegations, that you have guns and are dangerous, claiming you came over to their house at night and threatened them (that last one is another thread on here...the dude was home sleeping all night and the Ex is claiming he was committing felonies).

Mediation:
Mediators have one job...try to cut a deal.
They may not care if it's a fair deal or if the Ex is lying.
So just remember you're the only one that has your back in there and just prepare and stay true and you'll be fine.

You got this.


Texas is a horrible state to try and modify CS. What she is asking for isn't a lot, but I can't afford another cent. She knows this. Perhaps this is her end game, to make me homeless so she can take full custody and I'm left supervised visitations.
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Re: Judge orders mediation - can't afford it

Unread postby lovingfatherof2 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:10 pm

I would take to trial.

As long as you can prove the parenting time has been equal, I wouldn't hesitate taking it to trial.

In my state what you would do is counter file for joint legal, joint physical and equal parenting time. Mediation is voluntary here.
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