Martha and Jack’s kids are all underage and it is very important that every aspect of their current situation and future welfare is taken into account to decide the best custody arrangement for them. As a mediator, the most important factors that I would consider before helping them come to a custody arrangement are the age and health of the children, the emotional state of the children the level of emotion attachment the children have towards their parents or each parent and the financial capability of the parents. It is also important to note who had been the primary caretaker and parent before they two decided to go for a divorce. I would also take into account the amount of time Jack and Martha spend with the children on their own. I would also factor any history of domestic violence either by Jack or Martha (towards each other and towards the children), substance abuse (In this case it is important as Jack has taken to serious drinking after losing his job). I will also look into the current living environment of the kids- it is important that one of the parents is sober and wakes up in the morning on time to get the kids ready for school, pack lunch etc. I would also look at the employment and employability quotient of each parent. It is important to see if Jack could get another job quickly or if Martha has any plans of looking for a job if she gets sole custody. It is important to know how each parent would care for the children while holding on to a job that ensures that the kids are well fed and have a good standard of living. The mental health of the parents is also another factor that I would evaluate as it is important that either Jack or Martha do not take out their failures and frustrations out on the kids (Cadivorce). As a mediator it is important that I make the transition as smooth as possible for the kids. The kids would already have been traumatized on seeing their parents’ marriage dissolve, Jack losing the job and Martha slowly letting herself go. I would try my best to make this mediation a success as make the divorce proceeding as painless and as fast as possible.
I believe mediation is the best recourse in the case of Jack and Martha. Martha and Jack going to court would mean spending a lot of money on litigation and lawyers (Doskow). Both their parenting skills have also come under the scanner -Martha’s depression and Jack’s drinking – making it very possible that this would be a long drawn out case with each side trading insults and accusations against another. The children would also be exposed to all the dirty linen that their parents wash out in the public and this would force them to take sides and put them through a difficult situation. Mediation would also cost Martha and Jack less money and this is a good option as Jack does not have a job currently and Martha has to look for a job to support her kids. The very fact that both Martha and Jack want sole custody kids’ show that they love the kids and that they are willing to change and put effort into the upbringing of kids. Mediation would let them talk at length and decide in peace instead of being at the mercy of lawyers who would bill them for every hour (Pickell, 2000). There are more chances of an amicable solution coming out of mediation than through a divorce proceeding at the court. Going to court would only mean more financial and Emotional burden for Jack and Martha, something that they can do without.
- Doskow, Emily. Divorce Mediation Basics: An overview of using mediation to resolve your divorce. Nolo.com. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
- Pickell, Norman. Child Support and Mediation. mediate.com. Dec 2000. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.
- How Will The Court Decide My Child Custody Case? cadivorce.com. n.d. Web. 8 Nov. 2014.