Family mediation can be used in situations such as divorce, separation, breakdown of civil partnerships. Our caring and professional mediators use their experience and training to help discuss and resolve the financial and practical fallout of splitting.
Family mediators mediate on the division of property and other financial assets, debts, child contact, parenting responsibilities, grandparenting relationships and child/spousal support. The aim of mediation is to help everyone involved reach agreement and resolution quickly and with as little stress and upset as possible.
John and Zoe married in 2006 and had their son in 2008. In 2011 they separated when their son was 3 years old. John had formed another relationship during the marriage and after separation and divorce he had remarried, in 2013.
In September 2013 John was unhappy with the limited amount of time he was spending with his son.
John intended to file application in Court because of further difficulties around the arrangements for seeing his son in school holidays and half term holidays. John attended a assessment meeting and expressed frustration at what he considered was Zoe’s constant dictating to him about what the arrangements for time with his son would be. He said he felt he had no choice and was not ever listened to by Zoe.
Both parties said that they were prepared to mediate and a first session was set up within a week. Once both parties had expressed what their priorities were for discussion in mediation, time was given for both to explain their experience of communication with the other party. They individually expressed anger and hurt at the repeated times of communication wit the other not achieving anything other than more stress and resentment between them.
The possibility of co-operation had existed yet both were very reluctant to try again because of all the past negative experiences of communication as well as the on-going difficulties. Exploring with them all the different possibilities for communicating, both settled on the use of e-mail as the best means to be in touch with each other. Texts were to be used only for immediate practical information exchange. Both needed clarity about what was a reasonable time for them to allow for a reply to an e-mail. They agreed on a 5-day limit.
Zoe had been very tense and crying a lot during the negotiations though she did not wish to have a break. The discussion regarding the potential that John would pursue his court application had the effect of making Zoe more stressed. During the discussions John acknowledged that going to court was very stressful for Zoe. Both admitted that they felt very worn out by the difficulties.
They then discussed the school holidays and half term arrangements. They made a few suggestions that were noted down for them to take away and discuss with their partners.
Given the progress both parties felt they had made, they were prepared to meet for another mediation session. This was booked for the following week. Zoe presented as much more energetic at the second session. She explained that the baby was now sleeping better and so she felt more rested.
The holiday arrangements were further discussed and adjustments were suggested. During the week after the first session John and Zoe had e-mailed each other with a successful outcome in having exchanged information allowing each other time to reply. They felt encouraged by this and began to believe that there was some hope for sustaining a better communication between them.
They agreed the details for their son to have time with them during the school holidays and half terms. Also they decided to allow a 5 day notice period at least if they wished to change arrangements during school term times and as much notice as possible for any changes to holiday arrangements.
Both were very positive about having made such progress. John said that he would not be pursuing the court application. The mediator explained that both would receive a Statement of Outcome setting out the exact details of what they had agreed. They were reminded that mediation is always an available option should they encounter further difficulties into the future.
The parties worked hard to move beyond their difficulties. They focused on seeking a co-operative way forward to communicate. They offered some flexibility and compromise. The mediator acknowledged this and congratulated them both for sticking with the mediation process and finding a resolution they were both happy with.
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