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 [...]