Heard but not understood. How mediation can resolve parenting disputes.

“Right this way”, the court officer says as you stand up from your chair. Walking behind the officer-like grade school students in a single file line behind their teacher. Heart racing as the courtroom door opens. Steadily trying to remember your rehearsed lines prior to taking your seat. Once seated, you unclutch the folders that were under your armpit in order to pull out the screenshots as your financial situation has made legal representation not possible. At last, you are before the judge for a custody hearing. “All I have to do is explain what’s been going on and the judge should be able to help me out.” You think to yourself before the record is turned on. The proceeding commences and you attempt to tell your story. A ruling that did not go in your favor was made based on the facts presented. Although you were heard, you were not understood. Frustrated, you decide to take matters into your own hands by asking the opposing party to consider mediation. Reluctantly, the other party agrees. Once at mediation, you are surprised to see that the mediator, a black man, is genuinely engaged in the conversation as he is actively taking notes during the opening statement.

Mediation can provide a peace of mind for parents that courts can’t. Children are the most precious gifts in the world and as such, it is expected and commendable for parents to fight tooth and nail for their children. However, you can’t end a war without beginning peace. Peace can be defined as freedom from disturbance. Although one court order or mediation settlement may not give you complete peace, mediation with a diverse mediator will remove the disturbance of being misunderstood. Diversity matters. It always has and always will. Custody mediation with the Umoh Foundation will remove several disturbances. The disturbance of being perceived as angry when you are simply voicing your opinion will be removed. The disturbance of having to explain why you want to raise your child a certain way due to the color of their skin will be removed. Most importantly, the disturbance of not being understood will be removed. At the end of the day, there is only one person that has walked in your shoes and lived your life. As such, the goal is not to act or attempt to act like we know what you are going through as a parent. Our goal is to make sure that you leave every mediation session with your head held up high, chest broadened, and a smile on your face because you know that your words have power and that power got you one step closer, to achieving peace.

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