A couple in crisis seeks help with communication

The Volunteers of America DRC serving Snohomish and Island counties faced a challenging situation when they learned that separated parents, Misty and Michael, were communicating by passing notes through their children. Read their story.

Communication breakdown

Misty and Michael were married for six years and separated for the past two years. Both parents were determined to be actively involved in raising their two adorable little boys. As their relationship deteriorated, Misty and Michael stopped talking to one another and resorted to communicating by passing notes back and forth through their children.

Unfortunately, mediators at the DRC often encounter this type of communication breakdown, when people who once were close lose the ability to communicate after the relationship sours.

The parents begin to talk

Once they started mediation Misty and Michael reached a few basic agreements. It was hard work, the couple needed to address some important issues in their past before they were able to look to the future. And even then, they were looking at a future apart—but hopefully unified, for the sake of their two sons.

After their initial mediation, the parents achieved a preliminary agreement. They scheduled a second mediation a month out to give them time to see how their parenting plan was working before finalizing the plan and making it permanent.

A second session leads to productive peace

During Misty and Michael’s second session they worked really well with the mediators’ assistance and completed the parenting plan to be filed with the courts. To transition from passing notes through their children to having face-to-face discussions about bedtimes and routines was a huge success for Misty and Michael. Going forward, the parents agreed to meet every six months to revisit their schedule and plan and talk together—face-to-face.

Mediation can work wonders

If you’re facing a communication breakdown, contact the Volunteers of America DRC at 1-800-280-4770. Or, view our Membership Directory to locate a DRC in your area.

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Why DRC mediation?

DRCs reduce the burdens of the courts, saving taxpayers money, and increasing access to justice for traditionally underserved populations. In 2019 DRCs mediated 5,070 cases, successfully settling 64% of them. 90% of clients reported mediation improved their situation.

Annually DRCs appropriate over $2 million worth of volunteer hours, directly serve over 55,000 people, indirectly serve 200,000 people whose lives are positively affected by mediation and other services and reach out to over 7 million Washington residents.

© Resolution Washington | The member association for Dispute Resolution Centers (DRCs) in Washington State