The Mediation Process – Clients’ comments:

Mediation Process“The flexibility of the mediation sessions coupled with having direct access to a highly skilled and experienced mediator was a stand out. The online format worked extremely well and I was able to fit the sessions into an active schedule”

“I would not hesitate in recommending Family Resolve to all, particularly to those busy people who wish to resolve their separation issues with little fuss in a convenient format and manner”.

“We were both very worried about how we were going to cope financially but our mediator helped us to look at our income and expenditure in detail so that we were confident that our decisions were workable.”

“Thanks to the mediation process, I’ve been able to start re-building the relationship with my children – it’s been great to have regular contact with them again and I think it’s really helping them too. Things have certainly improved between me and my ex-partner as well – we’re managing to talk again and just focus on the kids. Thanks for all your help.”

“Mediation really helped me find a solution when I thought the situation was hopeless.”

“The Mediator put me at ease and was informative and helpful.”

“I never thought my husband and I would agree on anything. I was pleasantly surprised to reach an outcome which I felt was fair and reasonable.”

“This was my second divorce and I only wish I’d known about the mediation process the first time round. I really think I’d still be in touch with my first wife and would be seeing so much more of my first children now if we’d been through mediation, rather than the courts. At least things will be better this time – the mediation process has got us talking again and we’ve worked things out amicably between us.”

“We had spent two years and a lot of money trying to reach a financial agreement through our solicitors, it was only when we sat down with the mediator and looked at the figures together that we were able to identify a way forward that was fair for both of us.”

“Mediation was so helpful and the mediator was very kind. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulder and I can at last move on. Thank you most sincerely.”

Case Studies:

Family Resolve can help people in many different situations, facing many different issues and difficulties but the following case examples may be helpful in illustrating how the mediation process can work for our clients:

Cindy and James – A divorced couple who wished to discuss child arrangements.

Mediation ProcessAfter a 9 year marriage, followed by two years of separation, Cindy and James came to mediation having, 6 months previously, been through a prolonged, bitter and expensive court battle to resolve their financial dispute. They had two children, Michael, 5, and Jason, 9 who lived with Cindy and her new partner. James’s contact with the children had broken down during the conflicted court process when communication became very difficult and on coming to mediation he had not seen Cindy or the children for five months.

Cindy and James came to mediation to discuss re-building contact. At the first session they both expressed concern about the breakdown in contact and the impact that their own difficulties had had on the children. Financial battles had led to a breakdown in trust and ongoing conflict and hurt were evident, but common hopes for the children gave a strong foundation for Cindy, James and the Mediator to work from.

First steps in rebuilding contact and spending time with were agreed, along with a decision to try out the arrangements for 8 weeks and then to return to discuss next steps. Both Cindy and James felt that improving their communication was key to finding a positive way forward for the boys and some initial decisions were also made about what information needed to be shared and how misunderstandings could be avoided. The mediator gave Cindy and James a parenting plan to help them prepare for the next session and wrote to them after the session summarising their initial decisions.

At the following session Cindy and James agreed that they wished to increase the frequency and duration of the children’s contact with James. Their mediator helped them to explore a number of options for contact arrangements, taking into account their working patterns, the children’s various weekly activities and the fact that James sometimes had to work at weekends. Cindy and James agreed to a parenting plan giving them both some time with Michael and Jason during the school week and at weekends. A detailed parenting plan was also developed, focusing on Cindy and James’ key concerns, including communication and the arrangements for school holidays, birthdays and Christmas. After the session the Mediator sent them a Statement of Outcome which detailed their joint decisions and parenting plan.

Cindy and James were surprised that they had been able to agree plans for the children in only two sessions and felt they had particularly benefitted from the step-by-step approach, enabling them to try out their initial decisions before agreeing final arrangements. They were also pleased that the mediator had helped them to stay focused on the children, as both had been worried that their differences would hinder them being able to move forward.

Craig and Janet – A married couple who wished to discuss all issues (property, finances and children).

Mediation ProcessJanet (40) and Craig(42) had been married for 13 years. They have three children aged 4, 8 and 11. Janet had a career as an IT consultant but has not worked since having her first child. Craig has been a Police Officer for 18 years. Their solicitor suggested the mediation process as a way to avoid expensive and lengthy court proceedings.

Janet was very anxious to remain in the family home with the children. Craig was concerned that this was not affordable and would not leave sufficient funds to enable him to find suitable alternative accommodation. They have a small savings pot and Craig had a large Police pension fund.

On starting the mediation process they both expressed an interest in obtaining a fair and amicable outcome both in terms of finances and children issues. Craig was particularly concerned about the impact their separation would have on the children and his ongoing relationship with them.

The mediator spent the first session gathering financial information to build up a picture of the couples’ finances. There were also some initial discussions about the children and when and how they should be told of their parents’ separation. It was agreed that a” family conference” should be arranged with both parents and the three children to discuss the imminent changes to the family dynamics.

The follow up sessions was spent discussing Janet and Craig’s priorities and how these could best be met. There was also some feedback from the children about the concerns that they had. This enabled Janet and Craig  to engage in more detailed decisions about where the children should live after their parents’ divorce. During these discussions, it became apparent that whist they both wanted certain things, these were not necessarily in conflict. Different options and ideas were discussed and two workable compromises were suggested.

The mediator prepared a spread sheet setting out their finances and an Option Document briefly summarizing the options under consideration. Jane and Chris discussed these with their respective solicitors and came to a final mediation session with some feedback from their solicitors. The mediator spent some time with each client separately to discuss areas where compromise might be made as a result of which both parties felt that a middle ground could be found.

A successful outcome was found within two months which both parties felt was fair and reasonable. They both agreed that their co-parenting relationship had set off on a better footing than if they had had to each deal with their respective solicitors to fight out a settlement.

Susan and Terry – Co-habitees who wished to discuss property, finances and child arrangements

Mediation ProcessSusan and Terry were not married and had lived together for 15 years. They had two children aged 12 and 14 years. Both agreed that the relationship was over and that staying together was making both themselves and the children unhappy. Susan and Terry had both seen solicitors but were concerned that they could not afford their fees but had also not been able to discuss matters themselves without arguing. Terry owned the family home and Susan wanted to leave with the children but did not think she could afford to do so. Tom thought he would have to sell the family home but was concerned that there would not be enough money for them both to be able to afford to live separately.

At their initial meeting, they discussed their situation with the mediator. During the following sessions their Mediator helped them to discuss the options which might be workable for them and gave them information to enable them to find out whether they were eligible for any benefits which might increase income and possibly help with rent on another property. After another session, and detailed consideration of income and expenditure, agreements were reached whereby Terry gave Susan a sum of money which he borrowed on his mortgage. This money enabled Susan to pay the deposit and removal costs for moving into a rented home. She also could afford to pay for some new furniture and a car. The children were able to see both parents regularly as they would be living near to each other and a regular contact schedule was agreed.

Both Susan and Terry were surprised at the level of practical help and information that was given to them in the mediation process. They both felt that had they dealt solely through separate solicitors, matters would have become more hostile and their relationship would have become more difficult. As it was, they both felt that their relationship as parents could now continue quite amicably but both agreed that if, in the future, any difficulties arose between them which they felt they could not sort out themselves, they would not hesitate to return to mediation. Both were also pleased that, by comparison with the level of solicitor’s legal fees which they had both been quoted, a considerable saving had been made, enabling each of them to move on more comfortably.