Tuesday, December 5, 2017

CVLS Volunteer Uses Mediation to Bring a Family Together

Sandra Crawford, Law Crawford, P.C.

CVLS was appointed as GAL of 18-month Marcell after his young mom petitioned to discharge the paternal grandmother’s guardianship. When volunteer attorney Sandra Crawford stepped in, the family was in dire straits. Marcell’s mom was living in a homeless shelter. His father refused to participate in the case and the frustrated guardian was on the verge of walking away.

Sandra thought that might be the perfect case to use her mediation and conflict resolution background. After meetings with all of the adults involved, including personnel at the homeless shelter, Sandra negotiated with the mother and guardian. Her first goal was to rebuild trust between the parties by crafting a visitation order, giving mom access to her son for the first time in months. Sandra also encouraged the mother to enroll in parenting classes and consider completing her high school education. Sandra listened to the parties’ concerns and built rapport with them.

On the last court date, the mother and grandmother, who both loved the minor child, entered an agreed order with liberal but specific boundaries. They walked away from court together, smiling and making plans for Marcell’s birthday party. The Judge was pleased, satisfied that the family had built a foundation for a better relationship without the need for a hearing.

This case started out with incredibly high tension, but the parties walked away happy because of the work of the GAL. It was truly a win-win for everyone involved!