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pressured into mediation and I feel sick

(73 Posts)
slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 10:37:54

Hi everyone

I hope its ok to post on this board. I'm not sure if its a relationship issue or not, because he's an 'ex', but he scares the crap put of me, so maybe it is...

In a nutshell he is taking me to court to change the access arrangements for our dd. Rather than just 'talk' about it like normal people, he sent me a quick text asking me to agree to quite a huge change in the arrangements. Whilst I didnt say no straight out, I expressed concerns and said it would need proper discussion. Cue a court summons landing on my doormat two weeks later. This is exactly how he operates - do as I say or you will regret it.
The court appplication was horrifc to read - basically said I was a crap mother, how he is deeply concerned about my care of her etc. I was devestated to read it, but not surprised because this is what he has doen ever since we split when she was a baby. In an effort to get his own way at court, he decided he needed to use the most adversarial methods avaibale to him - and that is to paint me as a selfish mother, who puts our dd second and that he has had 'no choice' but to apply to the court to limit the risk to our dd (his actual words). Incidentally cafcass have taken themselves off the case as they said there is no concerns from their side. I am furious though that he gets to write all that down and no one, absolutely no one is going to call him on it. I just didnt think the courts would tolerate stuff like that, but I was obviously wrong.

I have to attend the first session this week and I literally cannot sleep. He ties me up in knots, talks over me, says the most crushing things. Heres the crux though - he is calm, collected, smiley, plausiblea and never raises his voice. He wont name call, insult me directly or lose his temper, yet the things he says have the ability to destroy me. He has always affected me in this way and I dont know how to not care. He will be able to convince me in this session that I fall short of his expectations as a parent, and the manner in which he does it will be quitely menacing.

I think he is mentally abusive. In the time we were together he played so many mind games with me, and ruined my confidence. I'm fine now - except I still go to pieces when I'm around him. I knwo mediation wont work - I am crystal clear on that and this is a hoop we are being made to jump through. He cant wait for it to get to final hearing so that I am 'dealt with' ( his words). Is there a way for me to get through these sessions with minimal damage to myself? Can I 'pretend' in any way? How 'involved' will I have to be? Sorry in advance if I'm not explaining myself very well - I just dont want to be a mess and for it all to be for nothing anyway;/

Thank you

mistlethrush Tue 05-Feb-13 10:39:55

Can you not ask for a mediator to go between separate rooms so that you do not actually have to face him?

kalidanger Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:13

Yes, you can do it in seperate rooms. Don't be afraid to request this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:40

Do you have your own solicitor? You sound like you need urgent legal advice if this man is as abusive, coercive and manipulative as you describe.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 05-Feb-13 10:48:01

Definitely go for separate rooms.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:44

Thanks everyone. The mediatior asked me if I wanted to 'shuttle mediation' but I didnt want to over-dramatise the situation. Also, as scared as I am of his words ( but not 'him' directly- if that makes any sense at all) I want to find the strenght from somewhere to call him on the things he said in his application and continues to maintain. He is actually quite cowardly, told the mediatior and the court that the only thing he wants to discuss is contact arrangements. So basically he wants to say whatever he can to get the application into court, but doesnt want to answer to his allegations. I do ahve a solicitor - he recommneds going into mediation face to face - and using it as an opportunity to tell ex that he will have to stand by his allegations if he insists on taking it to final hearing.

snoopdogg Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:18

I don't know if my experience will help you. My ex did similar. We were sent for mediation. You have your first session alone with the mediator to assess the situation. I told her I was scared of him and that he is a bully but I agreed to try the mediation.

I took his document into the room and asked to go through it, he refused to back down and said he wanted his way or nothing. The mediator explained to him that the process did not work that way. He stuck to his guns and the session ended. They wrote to us saying that mediation would not work in our circumstances.

This meant that the case did go to court, but with the background of him having caused mediation to fail. He presented the same statement and I had a written right of reply. He didn't get what he wanted.

He cannot bully you in the session, the mediator will protect you. If you can get in the room all the better. The purpose of the mediation is to avoid court. If you can reach an agreement through mediation then that is binding and will be ratified by a judge - he cannot then go to court. He's said he just want to discuss the arrangements so that is all you have to do.

Good luck

schmoodles Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:46

Feel free to PM me. I cannot talk on here but could maybe advise you : )

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:13:26

Thanks snoop - the thing is, I am loathe to discuss arrangements when he has used the methods he has. I want him to address his allegations first. Cn he really just get away with saying what he wants in order to bring an application to court and then decide he doesnt want to actually talk about them with me - the actual person he wrote them about?

babyhammock Tue 05-Feb-13 11:16:22

He sounds abusive and direct mediation isn't advised in that situation.
But you need to gather up all your strength and be prepared to fight. If I were you I'd start preparing a response statement now for the court. Keep it as short as possible and don't mince your words.

Also if you have any texts about 'being dealt with in court' or any other evidence of bullying and coercive behaviour, find it x

babyhammock Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:52

In your response statement you will be able to address what he's saying in your own words and without being shouted down.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:41:11

My sol wants me to get across to him in this session that he will be cross examined at the final hearing and will have to substaniate his allegations. My ex doesnt seem to realise this? Also, my solicitor waxes and wanes between telling me ex is being ridiculous in his demands to telling me he might win. He told me lost 4 of his most recent cases to abusive men. What the hell is going on?
I dont feel as though I can be the one to make him 'realise' anything, but I want to try for the sake of my dd and my mental health. All of this is maing me so ill and I've been referred for therapy because of anxiety. I am also on sleeping tablets and a tranquiliser. I dont even recognise myself when I'm dealing with himsad

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 11:49:38

My ex has written piles of lies in his applications to court. I can't say there is any real sanction for him, but on the other hand he hasn't "won" anything by it. If CAFCASS has said they have no concerns about your parenting, and he can't produce any evidence, I doubt the judge will believe him.

As for your solicitor, it depends what he means by "lose". If he means that residence was transferred to abusive men, that's appalling. But I think it's more likely that the father was allowed some direct contact, maybe got more. My ex gets contact, and after we go to court next month, I'm almost certain he'll retain that contact and potentially get some more than he currently has. I try not to frame that as a "loss".

If your solicitor can't predict the outcome of your case, obviously I can't! But just because he's said all kinds of crap about you with impunity, doesn't mean anyone believes it or that he will benefit by it.

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 11:50:29

"he" in that last sentence means your ex, not your solicitor, obviously!

snoopdogg Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:03

If he tries to do what you've described in your 11.13.26 post he will make the mediation fail and this will be noted in the court proceedings. Your solicitor has a duty to tell you it could go either way but if Cafcass have removed themselves, mediation fails and you stay calm it will be ok. Family courts really don't like parents who use them as a first resort.

constantnamechanger Tue 05-Feb-13 11:54:35

please use shuttle mediation

DHs ex is insane while seeming plausible and DH got pushed into all sorts in just 1 session with the absolutely fucking useless mediator.

Shuttle mediation is for situations like this - dont out yourself through it

kalidanger Tue 05-Feb-13 11:56:15

My sol wants me to get across to him in this session that he will be cross examined at the final hearing and will have to substaniate his allegations.

Surely your Ex's solicitor should be advising him for what could/will happen at mediation, and thereafter at court.

I don't like the sound of your solicitor hmm Is he older and very experienced?

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:58:29

thanks everyone. I know what you mean about not describing it as a 'loss' but I'm afraid that is how I will see it. The reason for this is because he is seeking a contat arrangement that will put me at a significant disadvantage with my dd. He wants 3 weekends out of 4 and I cannot agree to that on th ebasis that I work full time and it had bugger all to do with dd and everything to do with him. He wont even be there for some of the contact time.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:36

yes my sol is older and seemingly experiences - is the head of his division but is very 'wooly' to be perfectly honest. Ex's sol also sounds rubbish in the sense that she seems happy to let him say whatever the hell he wants about me, then when we get to court, baltably looks my sol in the face and tells himt that her client does not want to discuss the contents of his application!!

spiritedaway Tue 05-Feb-13 12:10:01

He sounds like a narcassist. . Been there. Ex made ridiculous stories, i was a prostitute a drug dealer etc. Court have heard it all. Do not even bother to defend yourself against his claims unless specifically asked to. He is trying to knock you off balance. Make everything you say completely child centered. That is what the family court is interested in. They are not interested in am proud claims either of you make that are unsubstantiated by outside agencies. Do not let him play you. He will hopefully end up making himself look ridiculous. Stay strong and ignore the hype. Good luck OP

spiritedaway Tue 05-Feb-13 12:11:31

Proud? I meant "any"

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 12:17:13

If I absoultely had to, I guess I try to ignore ex is also making claims about my crapness, but he is also saying things about dd to prop up his case and that is what is making me ill. He is saying she is acting out her insecurities at his house, that she is upset by my actions and that she needs stability that I cannot provide her. He writes that he can give that to her if the court will change the arrangements

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 12:53:50

3 out of four weekends sounds very unfair. That coupled with unfounded accusations against you - while I obviously can't offer you guarantees, I wouldn't put my money on his chances.

I take it he is the sole witness to her "acting out her insecurities"? Nah, I'd worry if he was producing expert testimony and school/nursery were backing him up, but a totally unsubstantiated allegation is unlikely to get him very far.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 13:15:07

school say she is lovely and there are no problems. I moved 14miles away from him 3 years ago and he has now decided its a causing him major problems in terms of driving. He painted to the court that he has tried to 'soilder on' for 3 years in dd's interests, but now it is becoming too much for him and he therefore wants to cut his mid week viist and have his time made up at weekends! Does this not sound ridiculous? my sol thinks there is a chance the judge coudl agree with him as it was me who created this distance between him and dd

redtulip68 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:40:55

I'd be very interested how your mediation goes. My STBXH refuses mediation so my divorce has stalled. I go to court this month just to establish who is responsible for costs - he hasnt engaged a sols, refuses mediation, refuses to take any resposnibility etc.

I understand that in your case the mediation is set to go through the alligations he has made and this is surely what must be addressed first before any question of altered contact. HE is the one who must prove everything he has accused you of and if CAFCASS have closed their books then the Judge will take that as a positive.

Ultimately contact may change and it is only because of his bullish nature that you have got to this situation. As someone has already said the Family Court will not take kindly to someone running roughshod over their jurisdiction just because he cant get his own way.

good luck

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