She had kept the child on Thanksgiving when he had sent his mom to pick-up because he was running late. Some of his child support had been paid late too. Each parent had gotten steamed, and each had filed punitive contempt motions. His was for missing Thanksgiving, and hers for the late payments. Each hired counsel after they were served with the other parent’s contempt papers.
His goal in litigation was a rock solid guarantee about Christmas. It was a he-said, she-said case. The lawyers were inexperienced, but not stupid. They foresaw a very quiet contempt trial if their clients each took the Fifth. If that happened, both contempt motions would be dead on arrival. Even if the parties did testify, it was far from certain that their judge would need to have her dignity vindicated by imposing any punitive sentence for a few days of missed parenting time, or a few late child support payments.
The young attorney’s were channeling their clients a bit too much, and their own attempts at negotiating a settlement had bit the dust. Our lone-ranger’s attorney had seen the light, and filed a verified motion to enforce parenting time. His client really needed the court orders modified a bit to deal with the kind of situation that had happened at Thanksgiving.
The worry was that the court might just order mediation under CRS 14-10-129.5(c). So, the lawyer suggested mediation to opposing counsel. If the offer was accepted perhaps they could also plea-bargain those contempt motions away. If not, or if mediation failed, that could forestall the court from imposing it and ducking the issue before the holidays.
In this holiday season, don’t forget your friendly neighborhood mediator if you need help to make the holidays happier.