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Mediation help(38 Posts)
This has been suggested to sort child contact on the background of DC behaviour altered after sessions. What do I expect? How is this arranged? What do I do? Do I panic?
Don't panic. Who has suggested mediation?
How old is your dc and in what way has their behaviour altered after, presumably, contact sessions with their absent parent?
No need to panic at all. A good mediator can be a godsend to navigate thorny issues through the divorce process.
We need more detail.
What's been happening?
How much access does your STBX have?
Have you progressed to overnights yet?
Thank you. How do I find a good mediator? DC just a toddler and since contact with absent parent, has been clingy, waking from sleep crying, wetting, little angry outbursts at nursery, sometimes inconsolable crying. It's a few hours alternate weeks and no overnights.
Suggested by ex and says if it doesn't work then court
Altered behaviour is extremely normal, especially at that age. It would probably improve with more regular contact. A few hours every other week isn't enough to build a strong bond really.
So your lawyer will be able to suggest a few good mediators. What happened with me is I then spoke to two of them. As did my STBXH and we selected the one we both felt comfortable with: due to experience / background and approach.
Before agreeing to take us on as clients the mediator conducted a phone interview with each of us to ascertain if we were suitable for mediation. I believe any relationships where there has been abuse/ DV are not suitable for mediation
Mediation is always the preferred first port of call when children are involved. Where possible courts prefer that child access issues are resolved via mediators as opposed to court orders. Overwhelming evidence shows it is not a positive experience for children to be fought over via court hearings. It's not a pleasant experience for the parents and children pick up on anxieties.
The other point to bear in mind is I was told by two experienced lawyers that family courts can be exceptionally grey. They absolutely prefer that these matters are not left in the hands of a judge to rule on.
Re your toddlers behaviour.
Listen, you know your child. But I will also say that having raised mine through the toddler stage, they can be extremely changeable/ volatile. Mine went through the most horrific tantrums stage. Had I been going through your circumstances I could have attributed normal toddler behaviour to a separation. Just something to keep in mind.
How are you doing on the anxiety front? I remember you were incredibly anxious about access etc. Is that getting any better?
I should have said. All I can say is that mediation was a godsend for me regarding sorting access.
You can't fight this homely. I know it makes you really sad.
And you really don't want to. It's good her father wants to see her and the law will absolutely back him having access. Eventually overnight also.
Thank you so much, that is really helpful. I will ask for suggestions. Does it work? How do I act/what do I say? How many sessions is typical? I guess the focus is on DC rather than all the stuff ex has done. There is stuff that shows lack of concern to DC though.
I still feel very anxious and worried.
TooSassy, how did it help you? I don't want to go to court. I do feel concerned re DC.... How eventual is overnight?
The mediator will concentrate trying to work to a point where you both make an agreement regarding future contact with DC. (Or any other topic you are mediating about)
They do this by exploring what you want and what your ex wants and they try to find common ground or at least a starting place.
It's difficult to say how many sessions are needed, that can depend on the two people involved & how much they are prepared to agree upon. After the initial individual chats to assess suitability for mediation you would have a joint session, then have some time to implement the initial agreement eg contact every x week for x hours and then to return to the mediator for another session to agree increased contact if that is what is wanted/needed. Some parents can resolve in 1 session and some need 2/3/4.
At any time you can stop or withdraw.
They can do shuttle mediation if you don't immediately wish to be in the same room as your ex (where you are in one room and your ex is in a different room and the mediator goes between) and you can leave/arrive separately so that you don't even need to see your ex if you don't want to. (This method can used if there has been any domestic violence incidents but where both parties want to still mediate)
What the mediator won't do is take sides, place blame anywhere or force either of you into anything. IME they also won't go over and over "he did/she said" historical scenarios unless immediately relevant - they are very much about "we are here, how do we move forwards"
A good mediator is incredibly useful. More info here, this is one of the mediatiors' "governing" organisations & you can search for a mediator local to you www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk
Sorry for the delayed response.
homely it helped me incredibly because quite frankly I didn't want to hammer these things our directly with my ex. I also didn't want to deal with child access via solicitors. Yes it costs but it is genuinely for the best if you can arrive at a solution without solicitors letters to'ing and fro'ing.
The mediator will also give guidance.
Around common solutions used.
Around how access works.
Mine was exceptionally good in so much that when my ex would throw emotive issues into the mix, she would acknowledge what he'd said but help us focus on the practicalities.
I'll be honest child access was remarkably straightforward. All I asked for was consistency for the DC's and gave him as much access that he wanted. BUT (and this is a big but). I fundamentally don't have the concerns around access that you do.
He doesn't parent the same way I do, sure. And quite frankly he's not as emotionally stable as I am. But, I trust that he loves his DC's and it is absolutely in their benefit that he sees them.
The one word I will say about mediation is to try and leave the emotions at the door and deal with practicalities. If you have genuine concerns then you raise them calmly. The mediator has one role. To try and hammer out an agreement. If one party doesn't allow that to happen, then at some point the other party can tell the mediator that they wish to withdraw from mediation and that they have tried to mediate however it is proving challenging. They can then take that document to a family court for the court to sort access. Any seasoned lawyer will say that family court is really not where you want to end up about this. Decisions can be made that suit neither party.
I'm not saying this to scare you at all. I think the process is absolutely superb. And encourages parents to put the welfare of their children at the heart of these discussions (as opposed to pulling children into a divorce war).
But I think you absolutely have to accept that he will get access and overnight access to. I've seen nothing in any of your posts to indicate he shouldn't get that level of access. What do you need to do to be ok with that?
Thank you so much for taking the time to write such detailed responses. I really appreciate it. DC has been so upset that I feel so upset about all of this. If I felt he were a good parent who puts DC first then it would be easier but he had another agenda. Plus he lies and I don't trust hin
Bless. Listen. As well as mediation, is there anyway you can get to counselling to help work through some of these concerns?
In legal terms your saying that he doesn't put the DC first and has a different agenda is 'noise'. And potentially 'vindictive noise' to make life difficult for your ExH. Without clear evidence showing that he is not a good father, these are feelings that will put you in the back foot should this ever get to court. Courts are incredibly clear that both parents should have as equal responsibility for the child.
I'm also really concerned that the reason your DC is upset is because you are upset over this. She's reacting to you.
I'm not going to post again homely because in the nicest possible way I've said the same things many times now and you don't seem to be absorbing them. So I don't think I'm being helpful. Just bear in mind that I have two very experienced lawyers who are in family court every day. The advice I have posted here is their clear advice.
Right now, if your ex is moving the right chess pieces, you appear as the problem. You're emotional, you are upsetting his child and potentially turning the child against him. He's respected your concerns about no over night access yet and tried to work to your timetable but you're still actively making it difficult for him to see his child. If this ends up in court you risk him getting everything he wants and potentially more.
A little presumptuous without knowing the nature of the concerns.
No kitty not all.
The lovely Op has posted numerous times over the last 6 months or so. She's never been able to give anything tangible to back her concerns that IMO would validate her ex having limited access. Or at least no overnights.
If her ex is as clever and as manipulative as the OP says, her own protective instincts for her child are going to backfire. That's why I am suggesting counselling.
Thank you.... Could he really get more than he asks for?
My Ex only had a couple of hours of fortnight... My Sols told me if he fought for more he would of got it despite there been concerns.
It depends what the concerns are.
The plan is to gradually increase time. In the past, he has been AWOL, doesn't ask after DC etc. Now DC behaviour is affected and that is why going slowly. I do understand that this may occur to a degree but it is rather prolonged and I am concerned. I realise that this is not a reason to stop contact and I am not saying that.
I do not want to go to a court. It scares me to think that a judge could order whatever. Could a mediator say that we are not suitable for mediation? I note that people have said that there is an initial phone call. I am finding this all difficult and I am not trying to be difficult at all.
I am trying not to be upset in DCs presence and do try to promote contact as a good thing.
You have answers to some of these questions in previous threads.
If it went to court, the judge can order whatever (s)he wants to order.
Yes a mediator can say that you aren't suitable for mediation. Usually this will be where there is a history of DV, or if you get to the point of attending and are making little to no progress.
I don't think you can genuinely promote contact to your DC because it's clear from your posts that you don't think it's a good idea. No matter how you try and conceal it, children tend to pick up on these things.
It is very, very normal for DCs behaviour to be different after contact. It's normal for this to be prolonged in terms of how long it lasts after each period of contact and for it to be prolonged in terms of him having seen dad weekly for months/years and it still being difficult. This will be more the case where there is conflict between you and the father. You could perhaps speak to your GP about whether there are any emotional resilience support services in your area for your DC but honestly I imagine he's just too young for that, and so you just need to consistently support, reassure and encourage him.
Aside from him previously being absent, what are your other concerns? The courts deal in specifics that can be proven or at least be shown to be more likely a risk than not. They are not interested in parenting differences and they are not interested in "what ifs" such as "what if he goes absent again".
I agree with TooSassy. You need to find a way to come to terms with this and I would strongly recommend a counsellor or psychotherapist. You sound frantic and terrified and that isn't a healthy response to what appears to be happening here.
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