Family mediation is here to stay. But how does it work? What actually happens? How can you make sure the settlements reached are fair, and what do couples who mediate have to do? The purpose of this 12-part series is to attempt to answer those questions specifically – at least as it applies for those who choose New Landscape Mediation to help them create their solutions. Whether we are working with clients from our main offices near Stansted airport in Essex, our offices in central London, or in Cambridge, this series of blogs will better help you to understand how we go about saving our clients up to £20,000 each over a more traditional, solicitor led settlement solution.
Here in part 10 of this series, I will discuss the creation of children’s arrangements plans.
Divorce affects children, there is no getting away from this fact. In the opinion of this author however, whilst children are most definitely impacted by the sad but simple fact that their parents no longer feel they are able to be together, far more damage is caused by the behaviour of parents during the separation process. Watching two people you love tear each other apart is devastating and for parents who don’t want to cause even more pain and sadness for their children because of their separation, mediation offers a solution.
During your initial MIAM, your mediator will have gained a basic understanding of the family structure, and your respective visions for a perfect, post-divorce parenting arrangement. Working closely with you both, in mediation your mediator will work to keep you focused on developing a plan that ensures your children can continue to receive the love and support of you both long after the dust of the divorce settles.
Mediators do this by keeping you both focused on the needs of your children, and not necessarily the thoughts or opinions of either of you. Remaining focused on the children enables us to create a solutions that is designed around them, and not around what is convenient or best for either parent.
In some cases, mediators find that parents are so far apart from each other in terms of what they each feel is best for the children, that it is not possible for a mediator to sit down with them and create a plan in this way. Arguments over what the children have told each parent are common in mediation and where these are too entrenched, a bit more involvement and intervention by the mediator is required. One such intervention, called a “Direct Child Consultation” involves bringing the voices of your children directly into the mediation process.
The next blog in this series will explain the basics of the Direct Child Consultation and how these are organised. If you would like more information about any aspect of this series, please contact our offices on 01279 211 657 or send us an email for a fully confidential discussion of your needs.