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A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.

Can Mediation Help You Avoid Truancy Charges?

Law Blog

If you're struggling with a defiant teen who refuses to attend school, you may be concerned after repeated contacts with school administrators. Some jurisdictions can punish truancy harshly, and you may be facing the potential suspension or expulsion of your child from his or her school while also concerned about potential criminal charges for you and your spouse for permitting your child to miss school. What should you do to work with your child and the school administration to come to a solution? Read on to learn more about mediation and how it may be able to help your family when struggling with truancy issues.   

What is family mediation?

Family mediation is a specific type of civil mediation that deals with whole-family issues -- like custody, emancipation, and even personal injury settlements for a minor child. These mediators can work with your family and a third party (like a state or government agency) to come to a mutually-agreeable solution if possible. Family mediators often have degrees in both psychology and law, and are specifically suited to deal with legal issues where tensions can run high on all sides.

How can family mediation help with truancy issues?

As states attempt to increase attendance and graduation rates, many local governments have developed truancy mediation programs, where administrators, parents, and students may be assigned to complete mediation before truancy charges can be filed. In other cases, you might be able to engage a private mediator to help conversations between you, your child, and his or her school administrators take place in a truthful, fair, and neutral environment before any formal legal process has begun.

During a family mediation session, the mediator is likely to spend some time alone (or "caucusing") with individuals or small groups, like school administrators, you and your spouse, and your child. This will help the mediator identify the key issues at play and determine what each person or party would like as a solution. The mediator can then meet with the larger group to help each side articulate his or her case and determine whether compromises can be reached.

Family mediation -- even if unsuccessful in helping you reach a resolution with the school administration or your child -- can often help you avoid truancy charges. By demonstrating your good faith effort to ensure your child's attendance at school and work out a compromise with the school administration, you'll be able to avoid any charge of neglect or civil fines associated with truancy in your jurisdiction.


14 July 2015