Last week I wrote about a mediation in which it became apparent that the Respondent was, according to the Petitioner, schizophrenic. Neither I nor the Petitioner were qualified to make that diagnosis and it wasn’t until the Respondent began claiming that the Petitioner was making her house shake at all hours and that was the reason he had been banging on her house, that I began to think that she may have been right. But it wasn’t until when I asked him, during his five minutes of explanation, whether he was in someone’s care and he replied that he was, that I knew what I had to do.

I asked you what you would have done and told you that I would explain what I did.

What was obvious was that the Petitioner was at her wit’s end. The court had sent her to mediation because this was a civil harassment case that the court felt could be resolved with the help of a mediator. I had been assigned this case by the judge. My immediate reaction while listening to the Respondent, who went on to claim the Petitioner had been secretly stealing his phone password, was that he would more than likely not abide by any mediated settlement since he had already proven reluctant to stick with the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) the Petitioner was there to extend. In my mind, I kept asking how I could resolve this for the benefit of both parties, and it struck me that if I sent it back to court, and if the judge did award her the extension, then if and when the Respondent violated the TRO, which seemed likely, the Petitioner could call the police and he, more than likely, would get some kind of appropriate care.

That is why, when I suggested sending the case back to court, the Petitioner broke down in tears. Her icy exterior cracked because she was so relieved that someone had finally listened to her and taken steps to help, not just her, but the Respondent as well.

I’m not entirely sure I did the right thing although I think I probably did.

I ask you again, what would you have done? Would have handled it differently?

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