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The mediator’s world; welcome to the war zone.

It’s a regular Monday morning; it’s 9 am; my new mediation clients, Jenny and Steve, are in the waiting room; I observe they are sitting as far as possible from each other.  I notice their body language; both busy on their phones and completely ignoring each other. Not a great start.  It has taken quite a fight (and several weeks) to get them here; the fight included who would pay for the session and the babysitter….. I am thinking to myself, at least they changed their minds about shuttle mediation and have agreed to sit in the same room to mediate; shuttle family mediation doesn’t work for me. How am I going to engage them enough for them to want to work with me? I have an intake meeting with Steve who immediately tells me he suspects Jenny of having had an affair with (probably) her fitness trainer – she has lost two stones in the past six months and is always at the gym.  He says she is a ‘terrible mother’, ‘rotten wife’ and ‘terrible housewife’; ‘the house is always a pit, she doesn’t have a job; we agreed she would stay at home with the kids and I would keep my job…but she does nothing all day but go to the gym’.  No respect or dignity here then. " I know she’s gonna shaft me…she’s not having a penny from me and I want my kids 50% of the time.  She can go out and get a job like the rest of the world.  I’m not a cash-cow.  I’ve been online and googled divorce……fathers can get the children half of the time.  We’ll just split them.  I’ll pay the minimum CMS payments".  I [...]

By |February 25th, 2020|Divorce|0 Comments

Don’t make your children the victims in your divorce: 8 nightmare scenarios from the mediator’s handbook

Why do couples use their most precious possessions as ammunition? Here’s a question for family lawyers: how many times have you been involved in a final hearing about child contact, the fight for that extra half-hour; the struggle over how the four-year-old should be ‘shared’ on Christmas day? What about couples bartering maintenance for child contact time? CAFCASS officers becoming involved, three year olds interviewed to ascertain what’s in their ‘best interests’? […]

Separation and Divorce: Doing it with Dignity or Playing Dirty?

How many separations and divorces are driven to the point of madness by despair and the desire for revenge? Working as a mediator in this field, I watch couples fight about everything from how much equity they ‘deserve’ from the matrimonial home, to who will take the fridge, to the bitterly contested 30 minutes of child-contact; it’s sometimes like watching the dying wasps of autumn hitting themselves against the windowpane… […]