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Help I'm at my wits end - mediation?(21 Posts)
Brief explanation: Ex did one when I was pregnant 13 years ago. Has now decided he wants contact. I've tried being civil explaining it needs to go via children's pace as they do not and haven't ever met. The only contact made with DT1 was when he called her a spoilt bitch (whole other post on this). I've had, to be blunt a fuck full. I've had his wife on the phone last night at gone 11 telling me that I'm selfish and damaging her baby's relationship with my two because I'm excluding their dad. I'm not - I just want it introduced.
He is intending on relocating back over here because apparently being near family is really important. He now wants to do mediation. How does this work? I do not want to be in the same room as him. He's vile and abusive. He now informs me his parents have also given my home address and if I don't agree to let him see the children then he will know where to find them.
I'm a nervous wreck. It is actually affecting my marriage because of the stress. People whom I relied on and who I trusted heart and soul with my children, who I thought understood where I was coming from with wanting the slow approach have stabbed me in the back.
This is just one big mess and I don't know how to get out of it - other than having to fork out money I cannot afford for a solicitor.
Poor you, that sounds awful. So stressful.
I know this will be really hard for you, but the best thing for your children is for you to try and make this as civil as poss.
Given that he will be allowed access to see his kids eventually, I would recommend trying mediation. You will have to see him at some point anyway, better to do so in a stuctured, formal environment with a witness to his behaviour. You will get the opportunity to meet with the mediator alone first (as will he) and give your side, then you will meet her together to find a way forward.
When i went to mediation with my ex, i specified that all contact should be in writing, and that he was not to call me, which helped to keep the tension down. The mediator will help you find out what your rights are even if she can't advise you directly, for example you can ask that he sees the kids only at a contact centre at the beginning.
Unless you earn in excess of around £30k you should get mediation for free, if that has changed then you can ask him to pay for it.
Before i went to mediation i went to see a family solicitor - i held off for years because i couldn't afford it but i really wish i'd done it sooner. It cost about £150 but was so worth it because she was able to explain my rights and his rights, so that i was confident in what i had to allow and could say no to. If you can manage this at all, i would really recommend it, though i know it's a lot of money.
So your child is 12/13 right? Does she want to see her Dad? One of the factors the court takes into account is the child's wishes and feelings in light of their age and understanding. If your child is adamant they don't want to see him, I don't think a court will force them.
The thing is despite never even meeting my twins and having no relationship whatsoever I was open to him building a relationship via phone contact first (which he verbally abused dt1 with), leading to supervised visits and then possible unsupervised - all at the children's own pace. It's not good enough for him. He wants it his way. I've posted a thread last week about this (sorry to clog again). I spoke to a solicitor and they advised me to keep records of everything. I'm too scared to try mediation after he's abusive enough on the phone. I'm literally afraid to sit in the same room as him. I can't face being abused by him face-to-face. I was abused enough by him while in the relationship but I was too much in love and naieve. Plus now he knows my home address and is threatening to come and find them that way.
The children have always had a good relationship with his parents yet they pass on my address despite my request. That's another issue all together I'm also going to have to deal with.
DT1 doesn't want anything to do with him at all after the phone incident. If I decline mediation that probably makes me look like a bitch as he's requested it. I'm in a catch 22 as I'm fine with the kids having a relationship if they so wish as it's their right but I don't see why I have to leave myself open to possible abuse during a mediation session IYSWIM.
God, I don't think I'm coming across very well at all here - I'm shit with wording things.
You can have shuttle mediation in 2 separate rooms - also considering the background most councillors would not tolerate any shit from him and the staged introduction you are offering is very reasonable and in the children's interests. As for the GP - I got nothing sorry - my instinct would be to go no contact but I think you could be biting your nose off to spite your face and as they have a significant and long standing part of your twins life they could actually have a claim for access themselves if it came to that.
Have you spoken to his parents to see if they confirm giving him the address? Just because he says they did, doesn't mean it actually happened and it won't hurt to just check. Did he say "I know your address" or was it "I know you live in Flat A, building B, Acacia Avenue, Bananatown" because these things are very, very different.
It could be that his parents gave him the address without consulting or mentioning it to you. It could be that it is all a bluff designed to get you worried about him turning up on the doorstep so you go along with what he wants.
Ogg: I had no idea about shuttle mediation. I will look in to that, thanks.
Hoping He told me he 'knows my address' which after speaking to his parents - they've confirmed they have given it but not out of malice to me. He told them he wanted to send letters, which they thought was a good idea. I'm far from happy as I think they should have at least queried that it was ok to do so first. Obviously what he has told them and what he's told me are two separate things.
I understand he's their son but given that they know he's not been interested in their lives until now and know the background you'd think they'd be a bit more understanding with how to go about all this. They are constantly making excuses for him and tbh it's really wearing thin on me.
Hoping: A bit late on getting it... but just realised your address reference is indeed banana man. Haha that made me chuckle after having quite a shite day. Cheers for that!
So it was a well intentioned
if a bit stupid mistake then? While that doesn't change the fact that he has your address, it does at least change the how a bit. It could be a really good opener for you to discuss with the GPs some boundaries as your ex has lied to them about his motivation and you want to make sure there can be no more 'misunderstandings'. This way, you can make it very clear to them that if he tells them that he is intending to come back to the UK, they let you know so you are prepared and if he does come over and visits them, you would like to know dates in advance so the DC aren't surprised by his sudden appearance when they think they are just visiting the GPs.
It wasn't quite BananaMan, I can't remember the proper address but the DVD case was in front of me as I was typing and I couldn't think of an appropriate street or town so blatantly stole it from the cartoon of my youth ;)
some mediators also have experience involving children so perhaps look into that as well?
Mediation might well be the better option - certainly at this stage. If someone is keen to get back into contact, then mediation could provide a way to work out the details. Also, as Babybarrister says, some mediators are trained in direct child consultation, which as your child is around 12 - 13, could well be helpful
taking my heart breaks for you and your family. I remember your other post well. Mediation is not recommended for situations involving abuse, although there is shuttle mediation as someone suggested.
Having done what he did recently I would be very wary and I would give cafcass a ring for some advice. I know they are only involved in court cases but you will have it logged too and they will advise you - you can also ring the conram legal centre for free advice.
Should your twins suffer any harm, emotional or otherwise you are responsible at the moment and that has to be your first priority, which I know it is. The `spoilt bitch' comment is just so shocking and they are not the words of a caring father.
You don't have to take any calls from anyone regarding this unless they are cafcass or a court.
Yes the grandparents could apply for contact if you stopped it with them but at the moment I do not feel that contact with them is in your DC's best interest, I think a court would agree. Please don't feel bullied by the system and the fear that the children will be damaged if they don't meet their dad esp. at the moment, under these circumstances.
I would tell who you do not want calls from, you do not want the calls - if they ring again you can ring the police. If they continue they can be warned under the prevention from harrasement act, if they continue after that they will be arrested. Under the circumstances the police will probably inform the DV unit and social services (they did in my case) so it gets logged there too - social services will send you a letter and advice you that you did the right things and that the DC must not be involved or see any conflict which you are trying to stop. They will be on your side.
If it came to court cafcass would not want the DC to have instant direct, unsupervised contact, especially after what has happened recently. The Dc's wishes and feeling will be given a massive amount of weight too. I am going to stick my neck out and say if it went to court he would get indirect contact at best, he doesn't even live over here at the moment. I know you don't want to spend the money but you can self rep. If you went to mediation I am pretty certain he would not agree to what you want him to, so it would be a waste of time and more stress for you. My general advice would be to stop having to react to what they are doing and take some control yourself but up some boundaries as to what you will and will not accept and then leave it to him. You can't control what he does, just minimise the negative impact on you and DC. No one in the history of the world has ever managed to have a positive relationship with someone by bullying their way into their lives. Why your exp thinks he will manage this I have no idea. I want to give you a massive unmn hug - you need support and help - keep posting.
If it goes to court it is likely mediation will be a prerequisite.
There is no harm in doing a mediation session. If it does go to court then you will look reasonable.
The people that run them are really great, they keep things focused on what is the issue, don't let you wander off in to aggressive tangents and certainly don't allow abusive bebehaviour.
This sounds totally horrible for you. X
Also I would say that self rep is a bad idea unless he is too.
You would not have to agree to mediation, he would, as he is the one putting the application in - I didn't, my exp has of course tried to use that against me - the court care not that I didn't go, there are much bigger issues and they saw it as unsuitable mainly as I have not seen him for many, many years and there has been abuse in the past.
All that said you do have a solution and I feel it is very reasonable and the mediator can produce a report for court as it is unlikley to be resolved in mediation and then it stops some `hearsay' about what you are willing to propose. Shuttle medation would be best, I really don't think you should have to sit through more abuse to look the most reasonable or not. You would have to pay for mediation which yes is less than sol fees but if it isn't going to get resolved there then you just have the sol fees on top but then so does he. Self rep is not the best idea but given the complexity of this case I would say it would cost in the region of £8k but a solicitor would put that in writting to you after an initial consultation, it is a lot of money to protect your children from a situation not of your/your children's making - the system is wrong.
If domestic abuse has taken place (of there has been an allegation resulting in a police investigation or civil proceedings within the last 12 months) then its unlikely that a given situation will be suitable for mediation. Many mediators would not agree to mediate in such situations, but there can be exceptions. Also, domestic violence can be a route to legal aid funding (but the standard eligibility criteria still apply).
Its now a perquisite under the Family Proceedings Rules for the parties to at least attempt mediation. This means undertaking an assessment and information meeting with a trained and qualified family mediator.
betterthannever is right when saying that if mediation doesn't work and you go to court you then has both the mediator's fees and the solicitors fees to pay. However, a mediator's fees are usually far less than a solicitor's fees and generally you'll either come to a mediated resolution within 2 -4 sessions or it will become apparent fairly quickly that its not possible.
betterthannever said: the mediator can produce a report for court as it is unlikley to be resolved in mediation and then it stops some `hearsay' about what you are willing to propose
I'm afraid that's incorrect. No discussion had in mediation can be used in subsequent court proceedings. The reason for this is that both parties should be free to propose what they want without fear that it would be held against them in the event that no agreement is reached.
Collaborate is right. The discussions which take place in mediation are legally privileged and cannot be referred to in any subsequent court or tribunal proceedings. The agreement to mediate which the parties sign specifically states that the discussions are privileged and that the parties agree not to call the mediator as a witness.
betterthannever might be thinking of the document called the Open Financial Summary which can be referred to in court. This records the specifics of the resolution which the parties have reached i.e. the disposal of the family home, the % of the proceeds of sale which each party will receive etc. The other document is the Memorandum of Understanding this records the agreement between the party and its principles. This is legally privileged and only the parties' lawyers will see it
Ah ok - interesting to have that information thank you. I am still unsure what the Memorandum of Understanding is? This information should be given when they send you a letter about mediation.
Although having said that, other documents that are not meant to be shared have been in my case and the court have ignored that private information about my DS in now in the public domain the words from the bench were `oh well it is done now' but I have not given hope of putting that right when I meet with cafcass. So I would offer caution on all front when disclosing any information.
I had put my point about the report as a positive to why mediation may work here resolving things but if it would not be the case then I would leave it well alone.
betterthannever: the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is the document that summarises the outcome of the mediation and the parties' proposals for settlement.
There are a number of objectives for the MoU. These include:
- explaining the proposals and identifying questions/points on which the
parties need legal advice
- providing a clear summary of the proposed terms of the agreement, which the parties accept as an accurate summary
- explaining the reasons for the proposed terms of the agreement, as this helps the lawyers understand why the clients decided on a particular option
- clarifies the issues; including any issues which remain in dispute
- reinforce co-operation between the parties as it emphasises mutual issues e.g. joint responsibilities as parents
- maintains a written record
The MoU can help provide the basis for the parties to develop the structure of their post-separation lives. That might sound a little "high flown" but its really very practical. We all have to get on with our lives after a divorce/separation and there are practical things we need to do. The MoU can help with this as it records clearly the agreement the parties reached as well as the reasons. It captures the essence of the discussion which without the MoU would be lost.
A general description of the purpose of the MoU may be given to the parties as part of the Agreement to Mediate and standard client care information. A mediator should also give an explanation during the assessment meeting or first mediation session. This what I would do with my clients.
The MoU is confidential and should not be shared with anyone else as it is subject to legal privilege.
It might be that you're thinking of the FM1 form. This is the form which the mediator will fill in in relation to the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). It says whether the application meets a specified exemption and is not expected to attend the MIAM or where the mediator's view is that a MIAM is not suitable or the applicant has attended the MIAM.
Thanks for sharing all that people and I am sure in most cases that is a very useful document, it makes perfect sense and addresses important issues. The problem that me and the OP have is that the other `parent' has been absent for many, many years and we have already had to get on with our lives and so have the DC. They have shown no responsibility for years yet `demand' nowthings for themselves as opposed to what is in the child's best interest. Mediation would have been very, very useful years ago when my DS was first born - or at least the offer of mediation. I got the `separating/divorcing' leaflet with my mediation leaflet lasy year, it felt like a massive kick in the teeth. I had no support then and it has been very hard as I am sure it has for the OP with twins and now my exp gets legal aid and because I have worked hard to support by DS, I get kicked again financially. It doesn't help the situation. I have gone off topic now - thanks again. x
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