Proceed with or cancel mediation?

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Proceed with or cancel mediation?

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:58 pm

Full background: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=78904

Summary: GA, S11, S7. In-home separation with no temporary orders has been mostly civil. I served the mother with divorce, discovery and interrogatories six months ago. A month ago I filed a Motion to Compel for inadequate discovery response, but there’s no hearing scheduled yet. Second round of voluntary mediation is scheduled in two weeks, where the focus will be financials (parenting plan was hashed out, but not signed, in first round). Final hearing is scheduled for late November.

Situation: The mother has announced she has obtained permanent employment, which is the catalyst for mediation. What’s puzzling me and my attorney: She is refusing to provide any employment details other than "it’s in the metro area" where we live. My attorney asked OC, and OC says she’s waiting on the information from her client. I asked my STBX about it, and she told me OC told her not to provide me any details about her employment offer. The information we’re asking for is clearly discoverable, and the Motion to Compel includes employment seeking activities.

I’m tempted to cancel mediation and proceed with a deposition if the employment offer letter is not provided to us a week before mediation. The mother’s behavior of being disorganized/not prioritizing appropriately/withholding information is typical. For example, I dreaded filing taxes jointly each year because she would ignore weekly requests for receipts until literally the night before filing when the once civil tone had to escalate into a screaming match to get what was needed.

1. Am I being controlling or unreasonable expecting to receive the employment offer letter a week before mediation?

2. If you were in this position, would you cancel mediation and proceed to depositions/trial prep if the employment offer letter is not provided by then?

3. If we attend voluntary mediation, and the mother still refuses to provide the employment details, would a judge consider her acting in bad faith?
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Re: Proceed with or cancel mediation?

Unread postby TJinCA » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:41 pm

You need to check your state/county for the legal requirements for financial disclosures. I'd expect that she'd be required to provide information on income, assets and expenses. Your lawyer should already know what's required and you should be preparing the same disclosures if you haven't already.

Her offer letter, however, is none of those so she's probably within her rights not to provide you with a copy. Once she starts employment I imagine you could expect her to provide pay stubs to substantiate her income.

Maybe the best approach would be to suggest that you need documentation of her pending income in order for both of you to be able to negotiate in good faith in the upcoming mediation session. If she's willing to provide you with a copy of her offer letter (voluntarily) you're willing to proceed on that basis. Otherwise suggest that the mediation on financial items be postponed until she has started employment and can provide the required disclosures that reflect her new income.

One other point for thought - either your ex and her lawyer have a misunderstanding about what OC said to her about providing details, or one or both of them is lying...
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Re: Proceed with or cancel mediation?

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:03 am

Her employment offer letter is discoverable. The notice to produce she was served with included the following clause which was not objected to:

COMPENSATION - Any and all, agreements, brochures, booklets, memoranda, employment contracts, correspondence, emails and information made with or received from your present employer or business partner, business partners, relating to your entire compensation and including, but not limited to, documents evidencing or explaining salary, bonuses, partnership distributions, retention bonuses, commissions, pay raises, promotions, payroll deduction, advances, deferred compensation, stock ownership plans, stock option plans, incentive plans, supplemental long-term incentive plans, grants or awards, arising from or relating to your employment which you are, were previously receiving, or which may be paid in the future be paid.

In terms of financial disclosures, she provided an atrocious domestic relations financial affidavit (DRFA) prior to our first round of mediation. We imputed her income based on tax previous tax returns, and could use that barring no other updates. However, I've never accepted a new job making less than what I did before, and neither has she.
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Re: Proceed with or cancel mediation?

Unread postby americandadof5 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:39 am

You should be working with your lawyer to get a hearing on that motion to compel because that more or less should resolve this if she is unwilling to provide the information voluntarily. Sure, you could do the depo, but its more cost efficient to do the hearing. Should take nothing more than a few minutes if the ex isnt compliant with discovery rules
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Re: Proceed with or cancel mediation?

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:41 pm

You're right. I got distracted with the unexpected mediation and didn't keep on top of the Motion to Compel date. I've advised my attorney to schedule the Motion to Compel on the court calendar. That way when we meet for mediation, there's additional pressure on my STBX to provide the information instead of playing games.
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