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First Mediation appointment this weekend. What should I expect?

(18 Posts)
Snowme Fri 15-Mar-13 15:01:48

It's taken months for this to process but it's finally here. The children's absent father has expressed interest in attending too, but I doubt he will travel that far for it.

What should I expect to hear or volunteer from the session? Im vaguely aware they prepare a report whoch may be used in court.

Am I supposed to recount all details of the domestic violence? I'm asking for supervised contact centre visits for our young children as he hasn't been touch for over a year and lives 200 miles away, so would we just be discussing why I want this, or is the session to suss me out or something?? I read somewhere it's held by psychology practitioners, so I'm a it concerned they are going to open a floodgate I'd rather keep shut, as I have tried to compartmentalise my recent past and just move on.

I'm worried that I will be quoted word for word and that will be read out in court or copied to his solicitor for his then perusal, and I have major confidence issues so am totally verbally inarticulate. I have developed a paranoia of authority since living with him I think as I seem unable to enter rational discussion about my personal or family life without becoming agitated and even feeling mentally aggressive :/

I just don't know what I am supposed to say.
On the one hand as much as I don't want to see him again, I thought mediation was to bring two warring parties together to help facilitate clear and rational discussion/solution.

It's highly unlikely he'll attend, perhaps he'll go to an appointment in his own town. In which case, would we both be able to view eachother's statements at some future point if it goes to court? I'm also curious as to what he wants really. (This whole issue isn't about seeing the children, he's never been denied them, he has said and written this is all about placing as much vengeance and wrath (his words) as possible on me. So I'm morbidly curious to know what I'm up against really.

Thankyou in advance for any views.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 15-Mar-13 15:55:56

It's a shame you've left it so late to ask as you should have been able to have a familiarisation session but hey ho.

Don't worry mediation is not about tripping you up of catching you out its about creating a safe platform for communication.

Unless it is ordered by court is voluntary so you can, leave or take a break whenever.

You will need to explain why you want contact to be supervised. You do not need to give details but you do need to be open

They will not be writing down your every word but should it go to court will be asked for their report and opinions.

Do you know the difference between supported contact and supervised contact ?

Snowme Fri 15-Mar-13 16:31:47

Thankyou Herrena, yes I have thoroughly looked at the contact options and am aware of the differences. Because he had
successfully abducted my first newborn before and has threatened again recently, supervised contact seems to be the only safe option at this point really.

I suppose I am going to have to mention all this, as they would need to know why I've requested supervised contact :/

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 18:04:06

If you are are worried about not adequately communicating then you could try either writing a letter to take with you for them to read, or if you feel up to it have a good sit down with your favourite hot drink, and just write down in bullet points what you wish to get across, and if you get flustered in the meeting you can refer to it.

Also I also believe it is possible, even if he does turn up you can request to be in separate rooms, and your mediator will go back and forth between you and attempt to reach consensus that way. Yes they may have training in psychology, but their role here is not to give you therapy, it is to facilitate communication and reach consensus.

betterthanever Fri 15-Mar-13 19:49:14

I was going to suggest what Dervel has about separate rooms - even if it is just to start with and you feel more comfortable about the process.
Think of it as an opportunity to speak to someone and get your feelings out before it is a judge and you are sat in a court room, it has to be easier than that. Good luck with everything - it sounds like you have been through a bit of a torrid time and are feeling very vunerable. Women's Aid are a great organisation and it may be worth a chat over the phone with them first?

Dervel Fri 15-Mar-13 20:43:46

I also wanted to say, although it might not feel like it, you are being incredibly brave! I admire you.

YellowAndGreenAndRedAndBlue Fri 15-Mar-13 20:47:36

If you have been subject to DV then ask for separate rooms. Not necessary or right for you to be face to face with him, it would be intimidating.

Best of,luck.

ElectricSheep Fri 15-Mar-13 20:59:58

If you have experienced abuse from this man then you definitely will not have to have mediation. In fact it is not advised in abuse cases. Just tell the solicitor about your past and take it from there.

HerrenaHarridan Fri 15-Mar-13 22:55:11

Yy to separate rooms! You do not have to see him,
yy to writing down anything you feel it may be difficult to discuss.

The trouble with supervised contact is that unless it is ordered by court and covered under legal aid it is very expensive ( I was quoted £150 for 2 hours) and as such is usually only used when there is reason to believe that the parent may harm the child.

Dd has supported contact so if her dad tries to leave the centre with her they would not block his way but they would call the police, ss and me. Well they would call me if I'd actually felt like I could leave the centre yet!

You sound like you've got your head screwed on about it.

Just remember he no longer has any power over you, you are there to facilitate your dc right to have access to their father NOT his "right" to his dc.

If your not comfortable with something suggested and dont know why, say you'll think about. Don't feel obliged to give any ground that you aren't 100% sure is in the best interests of DC.

Good luck, please come and let us know how it went, I'll be thinking of you.

Snowme Fri 15-Mar-13 23:18:53

Thankyou everyone.

Herrena you have made some good points about the supported v. supervised contact. Perhaps I need to look into it more.

ElectricSheep Yes I was surprised about that, I thought I wouldn't have to sit im the same room and do mediation with him,considering the events of our past :/

I will update on Sunday evening or Monday.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 15-Mar-13 23:32:04

I have recently started mediation and it was made very clear that the first appointments are individual. The mediator did ask for some back ground on how we split. He also asked if I had concerns about sharing a room with ExH.
My experience seems to have stalled as they are trying to sort 'admin details' with ExH ie he had gone to ground and not doing what they are asking - the story of our split.

betterthanever Sat 16-Mar-13 12:32:24

Sorry for crashing the post The trouble with supervised contact is that unless it is ordered by court and covered under legal aid it is very expensive ( I was quoted £150 for 2 hours) and as such is usually only used when there is reason to believe that the parent may harm the child. - this is an interesting point.

My ex is on legal aid would that pay for it? Mine is a complex case and we are months away from even this but as it has been my ex who chose to be absent for years I don't feel I should pay for this (if it gets to that point) my DS doesn't know my ex and is 8 years old I would want supervised as I have no idea if my ex has any parenting skills. At the moment my DS is refusing all contact and I don't feel he should have to meet a stranger unsupervised.

HerrenaHarridan Sat 16-Mar-13 13:31:41

Better than ever.

La would only pay if ordered by court.
And that would only happen of the had reason th believe he would actively hurt, as opposed to neglect? Dc.

Supported should be fine as it is normally only for 2 hours and there would be other adults present.

Realistically what's the worst he can do in two hours in a nursery! Assuming he isn't actively trying to hurt them.
My dd comes back to me covered in dark chocolate and I can often hear her crying for far longer than I comfortable with, but I tell myself that it's up to the two of them to figure out their own relationship and even if she doesn't enjoy those two hours at least she pleased to see me smile

How old is dc

HerrenaHarridan Sat 16-Mar-13 13:35:24

It helps if you think of supported contact as if it is supervised from a slight distance.

And supervised contact as something you would give to a mentally disturbed child abuser because a court insisted!

HerrenaHarridan Sat 16-Mar-13 13:39:43

Dc is 8 sorry I see. How long dice he saw dad?
What does he say when you ask him why?

Good luck tomorrow op.

Snowme Sun 17-Mar-13 19:15:07

Update on my first Mediation appointment.

Not at all what I expected :/

Basically the mediator was an ex solicitor who admitted she was jaded with the system and was moving into Mediation because of new changes.

There's massive changes happening within the legal system, part of new government reforms, one of them being they are abolishing legal aid for Family Law cases from next month, so the courts will be encouraging more Mediation or for parents to self litigate in court.

My ex didn't turn up for this appointment but then he didn't respond to the invitation anyway. As such, he is now not eligible for legal aid and so cannot take me to court. Unless he funds it himself or self litigates.

The mediator asked for a brief background relationship history with my ex and I filled out a few forms with proof of income, then spent most of the session kind of encouraging me not to use solicitors, to gen up on self litigating and stating my own 'defence' if it does get to court without a solicitor.

I had hoped to have some dialogue with my ex about exactly what it was he wanted, with the mediator as go between, but as he didn't turn up, it was somewhat pointless.

I now have to sit tight and wait for his move, whether he requests a joint or single mediation appointment again, or takes it to court himself and pays for it, or just can't be bothered to do anything.
Walking into battle blindfolded I am, no idea what I'm fighting really, so I might as well just shrug this problem from my shoulders as he just doesn't seem to be bothered.

Ah well.

betterthanever Sun 17-Mar-13 20:04:14

Op - glad it went sort of ok - interesting conversation with the mediator!
Do you think he will fund it himself? if he does he will have to put his reasoning on the application so at least you will have some information before going to court. The first hearing is only a directions hearing when the discussions will take place before you actually sit in court - so in a way it's like mediation and will have to try and resolve things with you at some point. Hope it comes to nothing.
Heren thanks for your reply - my DS has never seen him, he is total stranger, really don't like the though of him having to sit unsupervised with a strange man.

HerrenaHarridan Sun 17-Mar-13 23:41:39

Hi op.
What a numpty! He didn't even show? Just trying to control your behaviour from afar.

I don't think your walking into battle blind at all, there is nothing to see, he's bluffing! Just wants to be a thorn in your side.

If it ever goes to court (not likely if he'll have to pay) the odds are all stacked in your favour smile

Pp, I toto ally understand your concern and so will the centre staff. You should be offered a familiarisation session so that the environment is not new to dc. If you explain your concerns to the staff, I'm sure they will be more than happy to stick a bit closer to dc and they absolutely would fetch you if he was not ok. At his age he can choose to end the contact himself and this would be respected.

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