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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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Feb 2012 our custody and child support was set to 50/50. Now,

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Feb 2012 our custody and child support was set to 50/50. Now, my daughter, age 17, has lived with me since Jan 2013. In April 2013 I left the father a message on his phone to call the mediator so we could set up an appt since our divorce decree requires it. He did not get a hold of the mediator so after 2 weeks the mediator sent both of us a letter stating that mediation was attempted by one of the parties did not want mediation. I just rec'd a motion to dismiss from the father stating that mediation was not done so the child support should stay the same. Do I have a leg to stand on with this case?

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

A parent cannot just ignore mediation requests and thereby resolve himself of responsibility. Anytime there is a material change in circumstances, either parent can seek a change to the custody or support orders. Your daughter's choice to live with you full time is considered a material change. It also means that child support should be changed to reflect the fact that you now have increased expenses.

If your divorce decree requires that he submit to mediation, he is in contempt of court and you can file a Motion asking the judge to (a) order him to attend mediation and (b) fine him for violating the court order. If your decree only require that you attempt mediation, well, you made the effort and it was unsuccessful. That leaves you with the option of asking the judge to modify the order since you were not able to modify the divorce decree in mediation.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How do I respond if the father says he didn't get the message?


You can point out to the judge that (a) that is extremely unlikely, considering that everyone has their own personal cell phone these days with voice mail and caller ID and (b) if that were true, when he got the letter, he would have agreed to go to mediation. You could also produce your phone records, which would show that the call was made and the length of the call. If it's only a couple of minutes, that's consistent with you calling and leaving a message.
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