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Can anyone help me with a couple of questions about mediation? I mediated with my abusive ex a year ago. The children were interviewed and the agreement reflected their wishes. I have stuck to the agreement made which stipulated no fixed schedule for contact (children's request). They live with me and have been increasingly reluctant to see their Dad as a result of his poor behaviour.
I had a solicitors letter suggesting I was preventing contact. I'm not. It also stated that a referral had been made to a different mediator. My details were passed on without my consent. The mediator called me at 7.30 pm on my mobile from a mobile number. I was very upset and shocked to get an unsolicited call. I am no contact with ex except for arranging contact via email. Mediator launched into 'I've just talked to Mr Ex and he's really keen to mediate' etc. I had a panic attack. It was very upsetting and uncontained. I managed to say that a) we have already done recent mediation and have an active agreement and b) the children have raised serious concerns about their father - that I had raised these with ex's solicitor and would await a response before deciding about further mediation. She really didn't seem neutral at all. She said she would inform ex and solicitor that I had declined mediation. I asked her not to do this as I was not declining, just needed a response from solicitor.
Ex's solicitor says in writing I have declined mediation. Ex says mediator has issued form for him to go to court seeking a contact order.
Is this normal practice for a mediator? It is a proper firm, I have checked. They do not seem to belong to a professional body. I do not see how she has behaved neutrally here. I do not want them to lie to the court by saying I refused mediation. I do think mediation is a waste of time in this case. My older child is now 18 but ex has told my 12 year old that he 'will be getting a court order so she has to stay at his house 2 nights a week'.
If anyone knows about mediation I would appreciate your thoughts. I will consider shuttle mediation but is there much point given the ages of the children and that their needs and wishes formed the basis of the agreement made one year ago?
Ignore the mediation and let him go to court. No judge is gonna tell a 12 year old what parent to spend time with.
My solicitor isn't so confident and says anything can happen in court. I understand the law changed recently to increase the rights of the non resident parent. I do facilitate regular contact, but he requests it sporadically and I have had to raise concerns about his behaviour, including concerns about drug use and one of the children found drugs in his house. They do not want to stay overnight at the moment. Neither of them will go without the other. He's very emotionally abusive. But he does present a nice, glossy devoted Dad image.
Your solicitor isn't really helping is he?
Your 18 year old can stand up in court and tell the judge exactly what they think.
Your 12 year can probably do much the same, if slightly less rudely.
So, keep a diary of events, and let him do his damndest. Start by telling your solicitor to write your ex and his solicitor a letter condemning the actions/trickery of the apparent mediator and to reiterate whatever contact order/s you have in place.
Good luck xx
I thought he was just letting me know that if it goes to court he may get an order. The current agreement from mediation carries no legal weight but I have stuck to it carefully. Do you agree that the mediator behaved poorly? Thanks for good luck
I don't think the mediator behaved poorly, no. She made contact at a perfectly acceptable time, offered you mediation which you declined and she has to go back and say that.
Don't worry. So what if he does get a court order anyway? The kids won't go to his anyway so the order won't be worth the paper its written on.
Yes, I do think the mediator acted poorly. They have, on your information, acted in a way that sets up yet more conflict. They should have a) refused to contact you b) listened and apologised when you spoke to them c) not made any written report based on that contact. She should, as the very most, have waited for you to contact your solicitor.
You are being bullied. Give all the information to your solicitor and let them deal with it. I suspect he will do nothing regarding a court case but will continue to try to harass you via other such 'professionals'.
You could force a court case yourself, depending on how you think your 12 year old would cope with that. It may help you protect them from his selfishness. Most courts will listen to a 12 year old's opinion.
As I said, keep a diary, copies of all communication, including a diary of all phone calls and their content and what you did as a consequence.
I don't think an unsolicited call to my mobile number which I did not provide or consent to provide, in the evening is reasonable. When we did mediation before I got an introductory letter and leaflet with an invitation to ring and make an appointment. Is saying 'I need to wait for a solicitor's response to my letter raising serious concerns' a refusal to attend mediation? Are you a mediator? I obviously don't know about mediation and what is considered acceptable practise.
Thanks Blanche - do you work in this field?
Does forcing a court case mean 'Ok let's go to court' or seeking a residence order? I have had a free consultation with solicitor but haven't engaged him yet. He was recommended by WA and seems to understand what we are dealing with with ex. Am trying to keep costs down as it is likely to be lengthy and costly proceedings.
You have already been to mediation and came to an agreement regarding the children at that mediation. You don't have to discuss it again with a different mediator. No-one can say that you haven't been to mediation because you have.
If your ex isn't happy with the way things have turned out he is entitled to apply for a contact order via the courts which is what he is doing now (or threatening to do, anyway)
You said in your OP that you're not preventing contact, so why is your ex taking you to court for contact? I'm a bit confused.
Try and stay calm.
As far as you are concerned you attended mediation a year ago. Your DC were consulted, an agreement reached and you have been sticking to this.
You recently received an unsolicited phone call late in the evening from someone you don't know 'claiming' to be a mediator and wanting you to attend mediation with your stbx.
Something you knew nothing about.
Quite rightly you stated you wanted to contact your solicitor to discuss this rather than making any arrangement with an unknown stranger.
This stranger has responded aggressively and accused you of refusing mediation. As such you believe they have behaved in an incredibly unprofessional manner and shown complete bias towards one party already.
Due to this you would not attend mediation with them and suggest their company puts them through some retraining.
If mediation is required on your solicitor or the courts opinion you will do so with a professional unbiased mediator for exams the first one you attended.
I am not, in a legal sense. I work/volunteer withe people who do. A have a friend who specialises in WAS referred cases. She would probably shout at me and tell me to say this and this alone... go to your WA recommended solicitor and let them take the strain.
But your idea of how a mediator should work is spot on! A letter inviting you to mediation is what should have happened.
Thanks all. In mediation the last time the girls said they wanted to live with me and have regular contact with ex. They stated they did not want any schedule - they would let me know when they wanted to see Dad and it would be arranged between the adults. No frequency was specified. We both agreed to their wishes. I had fully expected EOW but as he is a high functioning alcoholic and they have experienced a lot of abuse, I guess they wanted to keep their options open.
His requests have been sporadic - eg twice a week for weeks and then nothing for a month. He has been difficult and uncooperative. When they don't agree to contact he emails me about his rights and threatening to take me to court. He accused me, via solicitor, of not passing on his requests. I always pass them on, give the children time to discuss, and let him know the outcome.
His behaviour has become more bizarre over the year. I have raised numerous concerns via email, all resulting in accusations against me. I emailed him in October when I learned that he had gone out drinking during sober contact and when I learned that my daughter found drugs in his house. I stated that the girls were upset by his behaviour, very worried about him especially his drink and drug use, and that they did not want to stay overnight at the present time. I said I was communicating the concerns and wishes of the DC and that I was also very concerned.
He got a solicitor. He told my younger child that he will have her stay there 2 nights a week. The solicitor has been told that contact was agreed for 'at least twice a fortnight'. It wasn't. His solicitor is a real bully. Thanks for your help.
He has broken all financial agreements made in mediation. When the children say no to his face he argues with them. He will also email me and ask me to get them to change their minds. He cannot accept the reality of his poor relationship with them. In his head, he has been devoted Dad. In reality he sat in a chair with a bottle of wine and the remote control every day of their lives. Now they don't trust him and they don't feel safe with him. Sorry for essay!
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