What to do if I have a mediation coming up and don’t see it possible to mediate after some of my children’s other’s recent actions?

What should I take to mediation? What should I do next? We have been separated over 4 years now and have shared custody as well as expenses. We each have claimed 1 of our 2 children on our income taxes each year. We have always agreed upon joint custody and no child support until recently. Now she is asking for child support, a rediculous amount of child support and claimed both children on her taxes without my knowing or consent.

Asked on March 2, 2016 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the mediation is a court requirement, then you still have to go... but you don't have to reach an agreement.
Most courts these days require the parties to attend mediation before a final hearing because ninety percent of the cases that go to mediation settle.  d on what you described, you do have a decent chance at settling with the right mediator.  So... go in good faith. See what happens.... and maybe it can be resolved.
The most important thing you need to know about mediation is that it is binding.  If you and her reach an agreement, and it is reduced to writing, then it will be enforcement and eventually become the order of the court.  It is rare that a judge will let you out of a mediated settlement agreement.... so be certain that you are okay with any agreements before you sign.
If you arrive and it becomes clear that she is not at mediation in good faith, then you can request to attend the mediation.  Again, you are only required to participate in good faith... you are not required to reach an agreement.  Cut your losses at a half a day.
As far as what to take.... Take a copy of any orders, social studies, or evaluations that have been conducted.  Bring data regarding both of your income ranges so that child support can be calculated for and against her.  If you have a fifty/fifty split and she's the higher wage earner, she should pay you some portion of child support....not vice versa.  If there are any other matters that you would like to be addressed, bring those with you as well.... so that you don't forget what you want to be set in stone. 
Mediation is very informal.... so just take a breath, gather your info, and attend as required.  Dress comfortably, because the process can be a bit stressful and it's important that you are in the right place to make good decisions. 


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