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Vivian Lynn Goetzel Holley

Vivian Holley’s Answers

2 total

  • Is a erroneous mediators report enough to have custody re-examined?

    I recently lost custody of my 14 year old son due to an erroneous mediators report. In the report the mediator claimed my son has expressed that he wanted to live with his mother. My son has since told both me and his mother he never told the medi...

    Vivian’s Answer

    This is probably not the answer you were hoping to hear, but in California, a court Judge does not have to do what the child wants. The Judge gets to decide what he/she thinks is best for the child, although they do need to make the child's opinion part of their deliberation. It is extremely difficult to get either the Judge or mediator to change their mind as they probably had other factors that they considered in making their opinions.

    If you have an attorney, this is a good time to work with your attorney on a plan to help your child adjust to the arrangement for awhile and try to work something out with your wife to increase your son's time with you if your son continues to be unhappy with the situation where he has to live with his Mom. It is almost always best for a child if the two parents can work out a plan without going back to court. Your son may want to discuss his options with you and with his mother and have some say in a new schedule that he would find more to his liking. As he gets a little older, he will be more persuasive in pursuing a plan he feels he will most likely benefit from.

    One way to approach this if your son really wants some changes is to try to get his Mom to agree to make the changes for a "trial period" to see how they work. She always has the court order to fall back on if they don't work. If there is no movement on her part despite the pleas of your son and a reasonable position on your part, you may find going back to court your only option. Many families find that teenagers have a way of getting their way eventually.
    Good luck to you both!

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  • Should I try to find a divorce lawyer before going to mediation or wait to see how mediation goes before finding a lawyer?

    We are going to try to work things out using a divorce mediator. We're basically just splitting everything 50/50, at least that's what we talked about.

    Vivian’s Answer

    As a mediator, I always speak to both parties first on the phone before they come in to my office. If I get a sense that they are approaching their situation amicably and they feel they can communicate with each other, I will then suggest they see the attorney after the first session so that they will have a better idea what, if any, issues seem to be difficult to resolve.
    Most of my mediation clients would prefer to not engage lawyers in the traditional sense and do not want anyone encouraging them to take agressive positions. So, if it looks like you can work together splitting everything 50:50, you might not need to hear how to do that from a lawyer before you start the mediation. You can always get the legal consultation any time you feel you want one to help you make the right decisions. If you are still unsure whether you should see an attorney first, then you should see one as that would make you feel more comfortable in the mediation process.

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