April 14, 2021 - Through the Hague Convention Mediation Program, second-year University of Houston Law Center students Nicholas Martinez and Matthew Rando recently resolved a case involving a parent who breached custody rights by illegally removing a child outside of their country of habitual residence.
Martinez and Rando worked under the guidance of Mediation Clinic Director Tasha Willis. Together they resolve issues of visitation, including video conferencing and scheduled phone calls, travel and the financial issues associated with an international time-sharing scheduled. The Law Center’s mediation program is among three law schools in the country selected to mediate parental abduction cases under The Hague Convention.
"It is important to note that these mediations do not address child support or immigration issues. However, when these cases are resolved, one parent is often reunited in some way with a child or children they may have had little or no contact with for quite a long period of time," Willis said.
The experience proved to be invaluable for Martinez and Rando.
“The mediation has proven to be an invaluable opportunity because I garnered experience in family law, a field that I did not expect to enter at all when beginning law school, learned from a tremendous mediator in Professor Willis, and felt the accomplishment and gratitude of utilizing my abilities to create an outcome that will affect those people for the rest of their lives,” Rando said.
"I vivaciously pursue my life, legal education, and future profession in the hope that I can substantially improve the lives of others. I believe assisting one parent to reach a mutual agreement with another parent to reunite with their children qualifies as such,” Martinez added. “I am grateful to Professor Willis for the opportunity, and I am glad to beneficially serve on behalf of the Mediation Clinic, the Law Center, and the legal profession."