Granted, this is minor compared to our prior problems with my DSS's mom. Life is easier, since she appears to have abandoned her big plan to win back custody. Nevertheless, I just realized today that DH is still waffling about which plane tickets to buy DSS, for Xmas break. So I figure I'll see what you all think:
1 - A year ago, DH and his ex ("Mom") went to mediation. One issue was her insistence on arranging for DSS (then 13) to change planes alone on cross-country flights, when direct flights were available. There seemed to be no reason for this, besides the fact that DH objected to it and Mom had the power to oppose him, because she was assigned to pay for DSS's travel.
2 - The mediator thought it was outrageous not to put DSS on direct flights and convinced Mom to agree that DH could start buying DSS's plane tickets.
3 - Mom agreed to turn over the travel planning to DH, only on the condition that he limit himself to choosing flights into/out of San Diego. At the time, she lived near the SD airport, but had often flown DSS into/out of LA, which has 4 airports and offers a wider variety of flights and prices. Naturally, though, any time DH had suggested an LA flight (i.e., to get DSS on a direct flight), it had been unthinkable to Mom.
4 - After mediation, Mom moved out into the hills, far from any airport. She has advertised in a very public, commercial forum that her new home is "equally accessible" from the SD or LA airports. I can't imagine she knows we've seen that, though.
5 - Since mediation, most (maybe all?) direct flights between SD and our city - or any of the cities near us - have been phased out. However, direct flights are still offered, between here and LA.
6 - DSS is 14 now, but still rather immature and often impulsive, testing limits and not thinking of the consequences; not managing his time well or taking care of his responsibilities. DH and I still don't think it's a great idea for him to be changing planes - much less having a layover - in some huge airport, during a peak travel season, with absolutely no supervision, hundreds of miles from either parent.
7 - Yet, DH is reluctant to violate the letter of the mediation agreement - esp. since there's a clause that whichever party is found guilty of violating it must pay the entire cost, if they return to mediation.
8 - I think:
A) If Mom didn't take DH back to mediation this past summer, she's not going to do it at all. This summer, Mom was supposed to get 4 extra days with DSS. Instead, she got LESS than her usual time, because of commitments DSS had here. DH argues that, technically, Mom agreed to that change; whereas he can't imagine she'd agree to change airports - especially if flying through SD would force DH to let DSS change planes alone, when Mom knows DH worries about it.
B) If Mom did take DH back to mediation, they would also discuss the ways she violated the mediation agreement, within 24 hours of signing it. And those weren't ways that can possibly be construed as addressing DSS's best interest, in the light of changed circumstances (as is flying him through LA). Those were malicious, "you can't force me to follow this damn agreement" type of violations. I don't think it would be at all clear that DH was the "violator" who had to pay for all of mediation. But then again, this is my first experience with mediation. I don't really know how it works. It shocked the heck out of me that it was successful, the 1st time around!