A big theme in new enquiries to LKW Family Mediation recently has been the fear that the other person won’t engage in the family mediation process, or that they won’t engage with good grace. We have honestly lost count of the number of times that we’ve been told the other person won’t come to a meeting only to have them reply that they’d really like to come and when can they book an appointment.
Money is of course tight during a separation and the fear that money will be spent on mediation only for the parties to have to then engage in another process is understandably a big concern. We completely understand this but we tend to look at it the other way and say what happens if actually all you needed was to pay for a few mediation sessions and then you would have a resolution that you were both happy with?
The thing is that most people end up contacting a family mediator because the communication between them is either not good, or has broken down completely. In circumstances where you aren’t able to communicate it’s difficult to know how your ex partner feels about things. You may feel that they are being unreasonable and so they will be unreasonable about mediation. From a mediator’s perspective we see that the fact you cannot find a way forward is because you are not able to communicate effectively. If you are able to start communicating effectively then this is likely to stop you each feeling that the other person is completely unreasonable and won’t agree to anything you suggest.
Sometimes another party won’t come to mediation for whatever reason. But what we see is that more often than not most people are willing to at least come to an initial meeting to hear more about the process. They can have numerous concerns about the mediation process and what might happen but these are all aired and discussed in those initial meetings so that people understand what will happen next.
We appreciate that people don’t want to keep paying for mediation meetings if they are not making progress. Whilst sometimes we can see progress where clients cannot, we are not in the business of encouraging people to come back to multiple meetings without seeing any benefit to them. If mediation is not helping a couple to make progress with finding a resolution then we will discuss this with them and try to help them to identify the problem. We can also help them to talk about what they do need to enable them to be able to move forward. This might be more information, it might be a greater understanding (note not agreement) of each other’s point of view or it might be the support of another professional. Often mediation is about identifying what is needed to move forward and helping the couple to find what helps then. Following this things can fall into place and they can then find they make great strides with defining their own personal solution.
For more information about family mediation please contact us.