I recently met mediation clients Alice and Craig, who had been separated for eight months. They hadn’t seen each other since the separation, which had been very bitter. They had managed to communicate by text when they had to make arrangements for their children but even that was difficult. It was clear when I met them in their individual assessment meetings that they didn’t really want to mediate because they didn’t want to see their former partner. But they both knew that they needed to sort out arrangements for their children and their finances and neither of them wanted to go to court.
I explained to them that we could start out on a shuttle basis This means they would each be in a separate room and I would move between them. I assured them that this was quite common and lots of separating parents found it difficult to be in the same room.
The mediation started as a shuttle but quite quickly both clients agreed they would like to try being in the same room. This was very emotional for them both. It was the first time they had seen each other since the day of their separation and it brought back many of the emotions of that day. They both expressed some frustration at the other parent and found it very difficult to focus on the arrangements for their children or their finances. They left the session without a firm agreement but with a second session arranged.
A couple of days later they emailed me separately to say that they had found the joint session difficult but it had made them realised that they needed to be able to talk to one another for the sake of their children. They started to talk and when they returned for their second session they were able to focus on reaching agreements for both children and financial matters.
Afterwards they both said how helpful mediation had been for them, giving them a supportive place to meet up for the first time and to begin to talk.
If you think mediation may help you and your ex-partner start to talk to each other again please call us on 01405 813108 and ask for Rebecca.