But, what is mediation?
Mediation is a process for problem solving.
Peter and Linda had one child Michael. Michael lived with Linda. Peter wanted the child to spend each alternate weekend with him. Linda was resisting Michael’s involvement with the child. Michael sought legal advice. Peter and Linda had to attend mediation.
The mediator invited both parties to speak about their concerns. Linda was concerned Peter was a dare devil and Michael was placed in danger when with Peter. In addition, Peter became very angry and abusive towards her new partner Ralph in front of Michael.
Peter expressed his concern that he would not play a part in his son’s life unless he and Linda could come to some agreement.
The common ground between Peter and Linda was their love for their child Michael. This was the building block upon which the mediation could progress.
The mediator was able to use this common ground and convert the concerns of both parties into positive questions. Peter and Linda could then discuss solutions.
- How can the child be protected when participating in activities with Peter?
- How can lines of communications be improved between Peter and Linda?
- How can changeover times be improved for the child Michael?
The mediator encouraged Peter and Linda to talk to one another. “What if I purchased some good protective motor cycle gear for Michael, would that make you feel better?” Linda responded, “That would certainly relieve a lot of my concern”. Progress.
The issue of Ralph and his involvement certainly created difficulties for the parties. It was apparent that any contact between Peter and Ralph, either face to face or on the phone, resulted in argument. This argument impacted on the child.
“Let’s talk about the changeover times”. The mediator had moved the parties to look at the question.
“What is the problem at changeovers?” Linda was quick to point out that Peter would become aggressive towards Ralph in front of Michael. Michael would become upset.
“What if Ralph did not come to the changeover and changeover was at some neutral point? I would feel a lot better about that”, said Peter.
“But why shouldn’t I bring somebody with me?” said Linda. Both Michael and Linda went back and forth about this issue.
It was decided Linda could drop Michael off to Linda’s mother and Peter could pick Michael up from her place. This avoided potential for conflict. Progress.
Finally, it was agreed that Peter spend each alternate weekend with Michael and that Michael would telephone his father rather than the other way round avoiding accidental contact with Ralph.
This was a very successful mediation. Both parties had their concerns addressed and acknowledged. An agreement had been reached in the interests of Michael.
Not all mediations are as successful as this one but with goodwill and effort, positive outcomes can be achieved through mediation.
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