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Massy Ellesmere
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Case Studies

Recent cases we have been involved with. Names have been changed to protect the anonymity of our clients

Family Mediation

It may be easier to illustrate what Family Mediation is with a case study.

A married couple came to see us recently. We saw the wife first as each party is seen individually to explain what mediation is, assess if mediation is appropriate and share their issues, hopes and concerns. She explained that she had been divorced in India once already and had a son from a previous marriage. The son continues to live in India and she has indirect contact with him.

In the current relationship she had been married for three years but realised quite early on that the marriage was not going to work. There was also a two year old son from this marriage. At present she was not working but wanted to get back into retail work. At the same time her visa had expired and needed this renewed so that she could return to work here and also so that she could remain in the country. The husband had so far refused to complete his section of the visa form. She also went on to say that she would accept a financial settlement of £35,000.00 from the husband.

We next saw the husband. He did not really want to separate but came to the conclusion that this is what his wife wanted and therefore wanted the childcare and financial settlement agreed as quickly and cheaply as possible. The couple had attended other services to try and save the marriage which unfortunately had not worked.

He gave us a lot more background to the marriage and at the same time raised a lot of similar issues. He was also worried what would happen to the former matrimonial home and was anxious to start divorce proceedings.

When we next saw the clients for the joint meeting, we explored what would happen to their child. As the child was so young, it was agreed that the child plan would be reviewed once the child started nursery. Both parties agreed that the father would care for the child during the week and that the mother would have the child at weekends. Both were confident this would work. We  needed to check this as the father worked in the week. Birthdays and Christmas holidays were agreed to alternate. At this point both agreed there was no need for child maintenance to be paid.

We could not advise the parties on a divorce but it was agreed that the husband would start divorce proceedings after the meeting by going to see a solicitor. He would petition on the basis of unreasonable behaviour and the wife would have a chance to approve the petition and get her own legal advice before it was filed at court. The husband would also co-operate in signing the wife’s visa papers as it was agreed that it would be in the child’s best interests for the mother to remain in the country and to find work.

The parties then wanted to go on to agree a financial settlement the same day. We  had a quick look at the forms we had requested them to complete about their finances and could see that there were blanks and a few documents they needed to obtain. We suggested that it would be best that they get this information before continuing. A lot of ground had been covered that day and both parties needed a break.

We are  planning to see the couple again in two weeks to continue to mediate the financial settlement. Typically 2 – 6 joint sessions are needed depending on the number and complexity of the underlying issues.

Once financial disclosure has taken place and an agreement is reached, we produce the financial document which details what has been agreed. If the parties want the agreement made binding it can be taken to a solicitor to be drafted into a consent order and then filed at court. The childcare plans can also be documented.

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