The following case studies give brief examples of the kinds of personal situations people are in when they seek a solution through family mediation.
Family mediation can provide practical help in resolving some or all of the issues and problems which result when couples separate – arrangements for property, finance and parenting arrangements:
Chris & Elaine
Things came to a head when Chris Billington moved out of the family home and into his new girlfriend’s flat. Chris and his wife Elaine both acknowledged that their relationship was over but arguments about contact with the children escalated to a point where both Matthew (7) and Claire (4) were clearly being affected by the conflict. Matthew was being unusually disruptive and sullen at school whilst Claire was having difficulty sleeping at night. Chris’s advisor suggested mediation at their local NFM service as a possible solution. Although Elaine admitted that she had been sceptical initially, she and Chris agreed to try mediation as a means of breaking the deadlock. Their mediator, Jan, helped them to understand each other’s position and their children’s needs. After three visits they managed to arrive at an amicable solution, with a review scheduled for six months later. “The kids are definitely happier and more settled now that Chris and I aren’t at each other’s throats every time he rings” says Elaine. “Jan helped us to get on with making things work on a practical level”.
Rachel & Jim
Having experienced the devastating effect of her sister’s acrimonious divorce two years earlier, Rachel Cook (33) and her partner Jim (37) decided mediation was worth investigating when they separated, if only for the sake of their children aged 7 & 9. Friends had also recommended the process. “We were all emotionally drained by my sister’s divorce” says Rachel “- lengthy legal proceedings, spiteful behaviour, backbiting, traumatized children and a massive legal bill at the end of it all. We’re a close-knit family but my sister’s divorce caused enormous divisions within the wider family. We knew we had to have the courage to seek an alternative outcome for our own children.” “We were in a real mess to begin with” acknowledges Jim, “but we stuck it out. Now, we’ve both come to terms with the future and the children know we’re there for them. I wouldn’t have believed we could achieve so much in such a short time.”
“The mediators were so professional; they helped us sort out all the issues we had to deal with like mortgages and pensions but most of all they made us focus on the future and particularly, our children’s future.”
“I would definitely recommend using mediation, we found the NFM Mediator very helpful”