An example of mediation: Ian and Sarah
Ian and Sarah were considering their divorce, and what would happen to their two children after the process was complete. They decided that mediation would be the best way forward for them to sort out their problems and to minimise the impact on the children. They had both read through the information on our website and we had spoken to each of them on the phone about mediation.
Ian’s first meeting
Ian came in to see us for a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) to see if mediation would be suitable in the case of their divorce. We talked to Ian about his relationship with Sarah and whether there were any issues that we should know about, such as domestic violence, which would make it difficult for mediation to go ahead. Ian confirmed that there were no such issues of this kind. We also talked to Sarah, and established, that mediation would be a suitable solution.
Sarah did have some concerns about mediation that we wanted to address with her. She was concerned that there were issues around childcare and finances related to the children that they would not be able to sort out through the mediation process. For example, Ian and Sarah could not decide upon who should live in the house with the children or which parent should look after the children at weekends. We helped Sarah to understand that mediation could help them to resolve all sorts of decisions, even if at the moment they did not seem to be straightforward. Sarah was a working Mother who did have some worries about whether she could attend meetings. We helped Ian and Sarah to establish a time when they could meet with a mediator.
The first meeting
At the first meeting, the mediator explained what mediation would involve and, with Ian and Sarah, drew up an agenda for what should be discussed. The house was one of the major concerns. However, both Ian and Sarah agreed that the children should live with Sarah at the house to give continuity. Ian would, in return, receive more of an allocation of the shared savings of the couple. Ian would also keep contact with the children with a set rota of times when he would collect them from school. In terms of other issues, Ian and Sarah were able to decide upon future school plans for the children. They drew up a joint parenting plan together to help them to agree upon these decisions.
The second meeting
At the second meeting, Ian and Sarah drew up a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between them that confirmed the decisions that they had made in the first meeting. It included some things that they had not, initially, thought of, such as what was going to happen to any savings for the children in the future. However, they now could come to an agreement. Each party agreed to take the MOU away with them to read it and consider whether they could sign it.
Signing the MOU
Sarah and Ian returned to our offices a few days later and agreed to sign the MOU. They were happy that they had made decisions to make sure that their future finances, and the interests of the children, were protected. Although the divorce had been difficult for them, they had found mediation to be a constructive process which had helped them to remain on reasonably good terms throughout.
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