Julie arrived for her appointment, dreading the thought of talking with Tom, her ex, again. She was fed up of everything turning into an argument. She was worried about the future. They had been together for a long time and the thought of living alone was frightening. She was emotional, exhausted and suffering from sleepless nights. Their divorce was taking over her life. How would she cope with the children on her own? Would Tom continue to help ferry them around? She was desperately worried she wouldn’t cope alone or financially. Who would she turn to when things broke down or needed repairing? Tom was so good fixing things around the home. How would she juggle work, children and a home?
In contrast, Tom arrived very agitated. He was defensive and desperate not to cave in to Julie’s demands. He’d been working long hours for years to ensure they had the best of everything. He was really feeling the strain of work, coupled with the stress of divorce. He too was concerned about money. How could his income stretch to enable him to provide financially for his children and fund the cost of starting over, and the cost of living alone? He was dreadfully upset at the thought of not waking up each morning seeing his children. How much time would he be allowed to spend with them? He envisaged it would not be enough. What if Julie met someone else and another father figure came into their life? Would there still be room for him?
Bickering was wearing them both out. It was also having a real negative effect on their children. Misunderstandings and misgivings seemed to be fuelling the fire. Why couldn’t they be civil with each other?
Prior to their mediation session, they feared they would never be able to talk, let alone reach agreement. To their surprise, through mediation, they discovered they could air their views and move on from the hurt. Mediation helped them to begin to communicate with real purpose. They discovered they each had similar fears and wanted similar things.
By compromising a little, and considering each other’s circumstances, they discovered they could reach a fair agreement in mediation. In reality, they were doing what they had done all their married life; compromising and accommodating each other’s different wants, beliefs, wishes, likes, dislikes, working hours, hobbies etc.
With the help of the Lawyer Mediator they were able to reach final proposals that suited both of them, and their children. They avoided the anguish and stress of legal proceedings. They also saved on the time and cost this would have taken. They discovered they could choose to have their mediated agreement made legally binding.
They were now able to start to move on with their lives. Communication was effectively restored, enabling them to talk about their children, and both be able to take an active part in their children’s future.
Through mediation, we helped them reach a “win – win” result.