divorce mediation: complex finances separation mediation finances separation legal aid

Case Study - Children

Case Study - Children

Sally and Paul both came to individual information meetings and described how there had been a total breakdown in co-operation between them. As a result Paul was no longer seeing the children aged 12 and 8. He had been to a solicitor to discuss making an application to court but wanted to avoid this if possible.

At the first mediation Paul and Sally were able to agree on a new contact pattern whereby the children saw Paul every week on Fridays and alternate weekends with a planned telephone call on 2 evenings a week. Paul was satisfied that he would get to see the children weekly which felt regular enough for him and Sally acknowledged that she would benefit from having some child free weekends.

The mediation also provided an opportunity for Sally and Paul to discuss how and why things between them had spiraled to such a low point. They both recognised that their daughter could from time to time display challenging behaviour and Sally was receiving professional help and advice on how best to manage this. Paul had not felt it necessary to follow the same advice. By listening to each other's viewpoints they recognised that they were likely to parent differently to some extent but that overall they needed to co-ordinate on the issues they thought were essential.

Paul and Sally were able to achieve all this in one meeting. They decided to arrange a second meeting a few weeks later so they could review how the arrangements were going and make some slight alterations to fine tune the parenting plan. They commented how much better things were between them and how in particular their daughter’s behaviour had improved since the first meeting. They both felt confident that they could discuss future arrangements for the children between themselves and work together as parents even though they were no longer partners.

Sally was eligible for legal aid so the mediation was totally free to her. Paul was not eligible but, because Sally was, the government paid for his initial one to one MIAM meeting with the mediator and also the first joint meeting. Paul however had to pay for his share of the second meeting and his share of the summary setting out their joint parenting plan. He commented that his total mediation cost was about 20 times less than the amount his solicitor had estimated it would cost for him to take the dispute through the court process.

I felt mediation gave us the opportunity both to talk and to listen and the outcome decided for the children was for the best