A veteran’s heartfelt story and his journey through parenting time mediationPosted on March 2, 2015 (April 24, 2018) by erichRecently Oakland Mediation Center mediated a case involving the divorced parents of a little girl, who had separated shortly after their daughter had been born. The mother had sole custody. The father was in the military and had been deployed for a large part of his daughter’s life. After his discharge, the father moved to Michigan to be near his daughter. During the father’s absence, the mother had become engaged and wanted to move out of the state with her fiancé and her daughter. The parents came to mediation because the father wanted to reconnect with his little girl. The father thought the situation was hopeless; he was sure he would hardly ever see his daughter. He had spent all of his savings on the move to Michigan, had been unemployed for several months, and had just started to work again. He couldn’t afford another move.During a 4-hour mediation session, the parents had a breakthrough. The father was able to express his concerns about his daughter’s move to another state. The mother heard the father’s concerns and realized that he truly wanted to reconnect with their daughter. It became apparent that the parties had the same interests. The mother wanted her daughter to have a relationship with her father. The parents came to an understanding. When the mediation session ended, the father stayed behind and in near tears thanked the mediators and staff “for giving me my daughter back”.Often times in the battle for parenting time, or co-parenting decision-making, the child(ren) are overlooked; however, mediation brings focus to the best interest of the child(ren) and works with parents to comprise a mutually agreeable and workable agreement.Individuals who have a referral from the Oakland County Friend of the Court and who are in dispute regarding their parenting time plans can utilize this service at no cost through the Access & Visitation Mediation Program. In this program, parents work together to craft a parenting time plan that works in their family’s best interest. The agreement reached is then sent to the Oakland County Friend of the Court for approval to be entered into a judgment.Individuals who are low-income and/or indigent can access this program through self-referral at no cost. To qualify for this, individuals must show evidence of low-income or indigent. For questions, please contact us at (248) 338-4280 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.