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Totally freaking out about my first mediation appointment tomorrow. Will be on my own as DH refuses to acknowledge that divorce is happening. Main worry is that I'm not sure I want someone 'impartial'. I am divorcing due to years of emotional abuse which have certainly taken their toll. My husband is very clever and quite charming. He says he wants the best for the kids which is to stay together but also saying that if we do divorce he wants what he thinks he's 'entitled' to whereas I want to stay in the house with the kids even if that means I have to work til I'm quite old and live off plain pasta (which my kids would probably love). Is mediation worthwhile if one or both parties aren't willing to be reasonable or if one is manipulative, controlling and overbearing?
The mediator will have experience of this sort of scenario and will try to help you to a fair solution. If you are on your own you will have a chance to talk it through with the mediator anyway.
I had mediation and hated it but it did give everyone a chance to have their say and I would say it helped. However we were not married.
I was in your position & if you're with an abusive person I'd say forget it & save yourself the money. I went alone, did the first one & got 'exempted' from doing any more on the grounds of my ex's abusive behaviour. The only way he was ever going to be fair was when a judge forced him to. In my case mediation would have just stretched things out, cost more money & ultimately failed anyway. It doesn't suit every case.
Definitely worthwhile. Even better is you can encourage him along on the basis of discussing the way forward. For both of you to have your say infront of a 3rd party who is impartial is essential in allowing you to mentally be clear that you both know what the issues are and that they are no possible to overcome leading to a divorce or the issues are possible to be resolved and you can reconcile. However if he is manipulative and controlling, he can't change his character best to take the tough decisions now and save yourself from emotional abuse for the rest of your life.
Hope it all goes well today
I've got out 1st joint mediation in a couple of weeks I'm looking forward to getting someone impartial' view because ex always twists things round to make it me feel like I'm being unreasonable - where in reality he's had DS every weekend for the last 18 months bar a handful of times, he's been living alone in our family house for the last 11 months that I've been paying half the mortgage on & he's decided now he shouldn't have to pay any maintenance
To use mediation is to subscribe to the mistaken idea that abuse is related to "misunderstandings" or lack of communication. If discussion and compromise, the mainstay of mediation, could help in any way most domestic violence situations would be long ago resolved because victims of abuse "discuss and compromise" constantly. Mediation assumes both parties will cooperate to make agreements work; the victim has always 'cooperated' with the abuser; the abuser never cooperates.
Mediation can be and is ordered by judges/courts, as can counselling and mental health evaluations. They are tools in the abuser's arsenal to be used against the victim as often as he chooses. In order for mediation to work and to not make situations worse the parties involved must have equal power and must share some common vision of resolution. This is clearly not present when domestic violence has taken place in a relationship.
Mediation practitioners must be alert to the need to interview partners separately with specially designed questions in order to determine if abuse is or has been present. Many domestic violence professionals can train others to screen safely for domestic violence. To not do so risks unsuccessful mediations, at best, and increasing the victim's danger by colluding with the abuser, at worst.
A person who has been terrorized by an abuser is not free to participate in a mediation process with him, even if the mediator(s) assume or believe that they "understand". Being truthful about any of her needs or experiences in the abuser's presence or proximity practically ensures that she is in more danger later.
The mediator is left with a no win: either the victim's danger is increased, or she is not fully or truthfully participating, or both. The well meaning mediator may actually encourage the victim to feel safe enough to share information that could seriously compromise her safety. In any case the whole intent of mediation is lost.
To engage an abuser and a victim in a process that implies equal responsibility is damaging to both. The victim is once again made to feel responsible for the abuser's behaviour, and the abuser is allowed to continue to not accept full responsibility for his behaviour choices.
Was also going to ask if you have spoken to Womens Aid to date.
How good is your own Solicitor?.
How experienced is your mediator? Have you chosen one with a legal background?
Second of all, have you retained a lawyer?
Your husband can say all he wants. It's hot air. The law is the law and the law will tell you what you are entitled to.
There are three main parts to divorce
- the legal part (so filing the petition, having a reason to file etc etc. That's the easy part)
- the financials (both sides give full disclosure).
- child access arrangements
Mediation tends to take place to sort the latter 2.
Mediation is expensive but in my experience far cheaper than going the legal route.
My understanding (although someone may correct this) is that when children are involved courts want to see that mediation has been attempted and that it has failed.
My best advice for the session today is try and not be too emotional.
Try and be factual and to the point.
Use the time to understand the process ahead
Finally Use the mediator. If you stbx is not engaging then it is the mediators job to try and get him to the table. If he refuses then you will get a certificate issued saying he has not engaged in mediation (and that will NOT reflect well on him in any court proceedings)
Good luck. Mediators are there to help.
Good luck OP. I shall be watching with interest as I have my first mediation appointment in a few weeks. My mediator is seeing me first, then H, then us both together. My H sounds a lot like yours really. He has stuck his head in the sand through a lot of this and has now become very money centred about me not having things when all I want is what's fair. He claims he wants what is best for the children but has largely been an absent father up until this point where he now wants to play happy families and make out everything is fine. Frustrating.
Offering a hand to hold. Please come back on how it went.
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