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Mediation: What is it and is it For Me?

By: Imogen Jones LLB (hons) - Updated: 10 Nov 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Mediation Court Family Children Divorce

Mediation is when two or more parties meet to resolve problems before the matter reaches court. It is most often used in family proceedings, Contact Orders, residence agreements and Divorce. It is a formal negotiation and courts can accept the agreement of the mediation instead of having to go through the court process, although it is subject to final court approval.

Mediation takes place in front of a neutral third party. The mediator has no pre-conceptions and will not force you to make an agreement. They will assist the two parties in taking turns in the conversation, and help you reach a decision that you are ready to agree with. Mediators do not pass judgment or offer guidance; they are there, in effect, to facilitate conversation between the two sides.

When Should Mediation be Used?

Mediation is seen as a legal requirement before a court application can be submitted. The primary reason is that mediation is an opportunity to come to a mutually agreed decision, one that both parents can take ownership of and want to ensure works.

A decision from the court can be perceived as ‘forced’ on you and is not one that the parties will necessarily want to make work, or at least, have less incentive to make work. This leads to problems not only for the courts but also for each of the parties and especially children, if they are involved. Everything that the court will do in hearings that involve children for contact, residence, Parental Responsibility will be child-focused – being in the 'best interests of the child’ is central to the court ethos and the court proceedings.

Am I Suitable for Mediation?

You have to come to mediation with an open mind and be willing to discuss things maturely and without wanting to provoke confrontation. This can be very difficult to remember when you are facing people across a table and are attempting to sort the tiny details of arrangements and divisions of time. The biggest benefit from mediation is that there is nothing to lose by attending. Everything is confidential. If there is an agreement you get charge of the arrangements, and, if you do not end up agreeing, the contents of the mediation cannot be brought up in the present court proceedings or any after the event.

Court is stressful for all concerned for you and your children, but you can help to avoid stressful situations by taking charge of the circumstances and try to reach a compromise. However, don’t think that by having to go to court you have failed or that you are not going to get a fair hearing. Court is just another way of formalising arrangements, you will be given the opportunity to be heard.

Things to Remember

The outcome may not be totally what you want, and you must come to the mediation ready to discuss all the options. Try to be flexible about arrangements. This is not to say that you should just take what is offered and be happy, but be prepared to justify your reasoning and to compromise. Once you have reached the agreement, try to make it work. It seems obvious to say, but give it a chance. Chopping and changing arrangements is not good for children and it is not good for you. You have to try to see the benefits of what you have agreed before you condemn it. Your children have to have routine at what will be a very confusing and difficult time.

Mediation is confidential and worthwhile; there is nothing to lose and, potentially, a lot to gain. Best of all is an agreement that you and your ex partner can work with to make sure your children are best provided for at a distressing and confusing time.

Check out our tips for using mediation effectively.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hi I was wanting to know if it us true that i have to pay the full mortgage on my property based on my income based to my partner?
Ace - 10-Nov-18 @ 4:58 PM
Sandy2 - Your Question:
I have 2 children with my ex husband the children have lived with me since divorce it was abussive marriage but never reported I just left for the sake of the kids. The little one who is almost 9yrs is severely autistic and so he keeps sneeking out of the house. He's done this several occasions but in all I calm the police and they give him back to me.On this occasion I was arested for child neglect and bothe children were given to thier dad. I have applied for child ma intendance but decision came just when this case was ongoing so dad felt the need to keep the kids in order not to pay the money. He has seemed court order against me and I'm not allowed to go to the child's school but I can visit him at dad's who is creating drama anytime I go there so I have stopped going there There's a hearing coming up on Monday and I'm nervous that they will give the kids to him even though he's been lying. I have never blocked him to see the kids even though professionals asked me to initially I just thought it was not right.I have to roles enter ysekf in court and I have no clue what to expect.

Our Response:
It is a tricky question to answer, especially if the children were handed over to their dad. It is rare that a court will do this unless there is a very good reason. It means we cannot anticipate what conclusion Cafcass will come to. As a rule the court will generally take the advice of the Cafcass report when deciding with whom the children should live.
SeparatedDads - 16-Aug-18 @ 12:53 PM
Ihave 2 children with my ex husband the childrenhave lived with me since divorce it was abussivemarriagebut never reported I just left for the sake of the kids. The little one who is almost 9yrs is severely autistic and so he keeps sneeking out of the house. He's done this severaloccasions but in all I calm the police and they give him back to me.On this occasion I was arested for child neglect and bothe children were given to thier dad.I have applied for child ma intendance but decision came just when this case was ongoing so dad felt the need to keep the kids in order not to pay the money . He hasseemed court order against me and I'm not allowed to go to the child's school but I can visit him at dad's who is creating drama anytime I go there so I have stopped going there There's a hearing coming up on Monday and I'm nervous that they will give the kids to him even though he's been lying. Ihave never blocked him to see the kids even though professionals asked me to initially I just thought it was not right.I have to roles enter ysekf in court and I have no clue what to expect.
Sandy2 - 16-Aug-18 @ 1:06 AM
Sarah - Your Question:
Hi there. My ex partners mother is threatening to get our son taken away from me. Although I know in reality this won’t happen it’s still making me extremely anxious and stressed out. The threatening messages of strong language and abuse were sent to my ex’s father who showed them to me. She is also extremely unhappy about the amount of maintenance I receive for our son and is threatening to get this reduced too. I know deep down that this has nothing to do with her but I live alone with our son and I am concerned how far she would go as the texts are full of expletives targeted at me and threatening “to get my son taken off me.” My ex’s new girlfriend is poking this fire too. The strange thing is that prior to this new girlfriend being on the scene my ex and I only had the usual issues ie. changing contact times etc. The ex mother-in-law is really gunning for me and I’m worried that between her and the new (very controlling) girlfriend they will encourage my ex to not return my son to his very happy home. She never really bothered about my son too much prior to this either. I cannot understand her angry, threatening behaviour. My son is a very happy and content boy. Can she upset all of this by being allowed to harass me like this. Can I do anything to stop her seeing my son as her behaviour is very distressing for me and ultimately this will effect my son and I. She does not have her grandson’s best interests at heart. She’s a very bitter woman who is using her grandson to try to upset and harass me. Can this be allowed to continue?

Our Response:
Please see the link here which tells you about Specific Issue Orders and which should help answer your question. However, you would have to prove that your ex's mother has been threatening to you and issued threats regarding the parenting of your child. Mediation with your ex would have to be the first option to try to resolve this issue, if you cannot resolve it between you.
SeparatedDads - 31-May-18 @ 11:48 AM
Hi there. My ex partners mother is threatening to get our son taken away from me. Although I know in reality this won’t happen it’s still making me extremely anxious and stressed out. The threatening messages of strong language and abuse were sent to my ex’s father who showed them to me. She is also extremely unhappy about the amount of maintenance I receive for our son and is threatening to get this reduced too. I know deep down that this has nothing to do with her but I live alone with our son and I am concerned how far she would go as the texts are full of expletives targeted at me and threatening “to get my son taken off me.”My ex’s new girlfriend is poking this fire too. The strange thing is that prior to this new girlfriend being on the scene my ex and I only had the usual issues ie. changing contact times etc. The ex mother-in-law is really gunning for me and I’m worried that between her and the new (very controlling) girlfriend they will encourage my ex to not return my son to his very happy home. She never really bothered about my son too much prior to this either. I cannot understand her angry, threatening behaviour. My son is a very happy and content boy. Can she upset all of this by being allowed to harass me like this. Can I do anything to stop her seeing my son as her behaviour is very distressing for me and ultimately this will effect my son and I. She does not have her grandson’s best interests at heart. She’s a very bitter woman who is using her grandson to try to upset and harass me. Can this be allowed to continue?
Sarah - 30-May-18 @ 7:55 AM
Madwife63- Your Question:
HiMy son who is in the navy as a Submariner, separated from his ex partner 2years ago just after the birth of their second son. He is named as father on both the boys birth certificates. He also pays her 500.00 a month agreed maintenance between the both of them. An arrangement between them both personally. This was initially 400.00 but she asked for more as she said she was struggling to pay nursery fees for the youngest. The eldest has just started school at the age of 5. The boys live in England with their mum. My son is based in Scotland at a naval base. He tries to see the boys when he can based on shifts, weekends off etc and has just recently been away at sea for four and a half months. When he has the boys he has to pay for hotels, food etc as she won’t allow him to stay at her house with them. She insists on speaking to the boys every day when they are with him. She recently took them away to Florida at Christmas for two weeks with her parents-this is the woman who is struggling to pay form things. If he requests to have them for a week she insists he covers the nursery fees to keep their sons place , this is on top of the money he already pays. He has now been in a new relationship for a year with a single mum of two. He has requested to have the two boys over the Easter period for a week, but she has insisted he cannot stay with them at his girlfriends house. He is even talking of getting engaged and they may end up living together. Can his ex tell him where he can stay?Can she refuse to allow the boys to come on holiday with him to Scotland as that is all he can afford?We keep telling him to get advice. He can’t as he is afraid it will cost too much and she will stop him seeing the boys if he starts making demands. How can we help him, it is frustrating.

Our Response:
There are no other solutions other than; to agree between themselves, suggest mediation or refer the matter to court. There are no right or wrong answers here. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. However, unless your son's ex has a provable and valid reason why his girlfriend shouldn't meet the children, then she wouldn't have much sway in the courts to prevent this. Each parent is allowed to exercise equal parental responsibility, which includes introducing the children to other people where the parent with PR sees fit.
SeparatedDads - 27-Mar-18 @ 12:39 PM
Hi My son who is in the navy as a Submariner, separated from his ex partner 2years ago just after the birth of their second son. He is named as father on both the boys birth certificates. He also pays her 500.00 a month agreed maintenance between the both of them. An arrangement between them both personally. This was initially 400.00 but she asked for more as she said she was struggling to pay nursery fees for the youngest. The eldest has just started school at the age of 5. The boys live in England with their mum. My son is based in Scotland at a naval base. He tries to see the boys when he can based on shifts, weekends off etc and has just recently been away at sea for four and a half months. When he has the boys he has to pay for hotels, food etc as she won’t allow him to stay at her house with them. She insists on speaking to the boys every day when they are with him. She recently took them away to Florida at Christmas for two weeks with her parents-this is the woman who is struggling to pay form things. If he requests to have them for a week she insists he covers the nursery fees to keep their sons place , this is on top of the money he already pays. He has now been in a new relationship for a year with a single mum of two. He has requested to have the two boys over the Easter period for a week, but she has insisted he cannot stay with them at his girlfriends house. He is even talking of getting engaged and they may end up living together. Can his ex tell him where he can stay?Can she refuse to allowthe boys to come on holiday with him to Scotland as that is all he can afford? We keep telling him to get advice. He can’t as he is afraid it will cost too much and she will stop him seeing the boys if he starts making demands. How can we help him, it is frustrating.
Madwife63 - 20-Mar-18 @ 11:05 PM
Bob - Your Question:
I have 4 children who currently live with me one of these children from a previous relationship my child wants to live with her mum so I'm in the process of arranging that but my question is is that I will obviously need to pay child support for her (even though her mother never paid when our child is living with me)and I'm worried I won't be able to afford it as I have to still provide a roof over my other three children heads who are from my current relationship. I'm the only one with a source of Income. I've worked out how much I need to pay it doesn't take into account that I'm the only financial person in the household and if I have to pay that amount for the child from previous relationship we may end up losing our house that we living in now

Our Response:
You only have to pay child maintenance if the mother chooses to claim child maintenance from you via CMS. If you are also looking after her child from a previous relationship, then you may wish to come to a family-based arrangement between yourselves. Many parents share the care of the children and don't pay child maintenance. If you cannot negotiate this matter between you and your ex, then as suggested mediation may be the option to consider.
SeparatedDads - 20-Feb-18 @ 11:46 AM
My ex has decided to let my daughter live with me .under the conditions I get my own house witch I have (agreed to easy ).she feels it’s (best for our daughter )to live with me .because her and her boyfriend can’t afford his and her other kids .plus my child is 14 this year has her own mind and (she wants this and so do i ).there is no (blame game anymore or battle )the past is best left in the past .the (future is all I care about .)i never paid child support or 9 years so the same goes when( she lives with me .)the cost of everything is on me and I am more than happy .she will be arriving in 4 weeks .(her mother is calling me tonight on my home phone)we are meeting this (weekend in person )to discuss finer details.its a very exciting time for everyone new beginnings.thank .
Chris - 20-Feb-18 @ 1:51 AM
I have 4 children who currently live with me one of these children from a previous relationship my child wants to live with her mum so I'm in the process of arranging that but my question is is that I will obviously need to pay child support for her (even though her mother never paid when our child is living with me)and I'm worried I won't be able to afford it as I have to still provide a roof over my other three children heads who are from my current relationship. I'm the only one with a source of Income. I've worked out how much I need to pay it doesn't take into account that I'm the only financial person in the household and if I have to pay that amount for the child from previous relationship we may end up losing our house that we living in now
Bob - 19-Feb-18 @ 10:08 AM
Concerned partner - Your Question:
Hello. I am writing to you as I am becoming increasingly concerned for my partner. He has been separated from his wife for three years and since then he has borrowed from his mother in order to live as he can't afford to support himself. He has been unable to pay her back and his mother has said she will not lend him any more money. On separation, he agreed to pay the sum of £17,500 per year that his wife said she needed for herself and his daughter. Unfortunately that only leaves £6,000 a year for him to pay all his household bills and living expenses after he has made his mortgage and maintenance payments. His daughter is not able to stay overnight at his house because it has remained a building site since he bought it three years ago. The money he had set aside for the works ran out. When they sold the family home, 3 years ago, he gave his wife £100,000 more than he took from the proceeds of the sale so that she could buy a house within the catchment area of a good school. He tried once to discuss his financial problems with his ex but she did not respond well to the conversation and doesn't seem to be making any plans to find employment or training in order to help him out. From what I understand, his wife is very introverted and her way of dealing with ideas she doesn't agree with, is to avoid any discussion. My partner says she blames him for buying a house that wasn't suitable for his daughter to stay in. They are about to start mediation with a mediator that she has found, but I am very concerned that the outcome is not going to be good for him. I am also worried that she has chosen an expensive mediation company. Her own earnings are very low so my partner will be paying for most of the cost of the mediation and he thinks his share is going to come to about £1,000 for 4 to 5 sessions. Do you have any advice for him before he starts the meetings?

Our Response:
I can't really answer this question full without knowing the full financial circumstances regarding why he has volunteered this £17,500 spousal financial arrangement when he can simply pay child maintenance (unless your partner owes his exthe money from a financial split of their estate). If he doesn't owe this money, your partner only need pay child maintenance towards his child. If mediation does not bring about a resolution, then court would be the next option for his ex to consider.
SeparatedDads - 22-Jan-18 @ 2:28 PM
Hello.I am writing to you as I am becoming increasingly concerned for my partner.He has been separated from his wife for three years and since then he has borrowed from his mother in order to live as he can't afford to support himself.He has been unable to pay her back and his mother has said she will not lend him any more money. On separation, he agreed to pay the sum of £17,500 per year that his wife said she needed for herself and his daughter. Unfortunately that only leaves £6,000 a year for him to pay all his household bills and living expenses after he has made his mortgage and maintenance payments.His daughter is not able to stay overnight at his house because it has remained a building site since he bought it three years ago.The money he had set aside for the works ran out.When they sold the family home, 3 years ago, he gave his wife £100,000 more than he took from the proceeds of the sale so that she could buy a house within the catchment area of a good school.He tried once to discuss his financial problems with his ex but she did not respond well to the conversation and doesn't seem to be making any plans to find employment or training in order to help him out.From what I understand, his wife is very introverted and her way of dealing with ideas she doesn't agree with, is to avoid any discussion.My partner says she blames him for buying a house that wasn't suitable for his daughter to stay in.They are about to start mediation with a mediator that she has found, but I am very concerned that the outcome is not going to be good for him.I am also worried that she has chosen an expensive mediation company.Her own earnings are very low so my partner will be paying for most of the cost of the mediation and he thinks his share is going to come to about £1,000 for 4 to 5 sessions.Do you have any advice for him before he starts the meetings?
Concerned partner - 20-Jan-18 @ 1:53 PM
Stu - Your Question:
After two and a half years my ex wife has removed my access for the second time but this time is for the long term. Through Social Services I had arranged family mediation… for free… she had agreed then called back same day and declined she wants to go to proper mediation and to settle it in court… I mean how thick can you get. its worth noting that I haven’t done anything wrong… shes a control freak and has very bad family advising her and obviously who-ever is advising her is as mental as her… being limited cash wise… like very limited… you cant put a price on your children's relationship, unfortunatley the UK domestic legal system is a cash cow. what are my options guys? What do I need to do? What may it cost me?

Our Response:
If neither of you can agree through mediation, then you would have the option to apply to court. If you cannot afford legal representation you can self-litigate, please see link here . If you are on a low income, you may also be eligible for a reduction in court fees, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 10-Nov-17 @ 11:15 AM
After two and a half years my ex wife has removed my access for the second timebut this time is for the long term.Through Social Services I had arranged family mediation… for free…she had agreed then called back same day and declinedshe wants to go to proper mediation and to settle it in court…i mean how thick can you get...its worth noting that I haven’t done anything wrong… shes a control freak and has very bad family advising her andobviously who-ever is advising her is as mental as her… being limited cash wise…like very limited… you cant put a price on your children's relationship,unfortunatley the UK domestic legal system is a cash cow. what are my options guys? What do I need to do?What may it cost me?
Stu - 7-Nov-17 @ 3:05 PM
So what can I do my daughter is only 6 and she doesn't want to see her dad or his parents. And there was a court order in place where he picked her up after school and a full day on Sunday. On school holidays it's the full time on the Thursday and a Sunday. Since this has happened my daughter has hated it more. She's very worried that something is going to happend to me all of the time. It's very upsetting how my daughter has gone from being so happy to so worried it's making her ill. I have tried to keep her dad happy and it doesn't work he messes me around and Megan. Now he's not even paying maintance nomore. That is my daughters money in my eyes. He doesn't be there for all the contact he goes out. He didn't pick her up 2x for school when he wanted it like this. He hasn't shown me he has changed. I'm more bothered about breaching a court order but my daughter isn't happy at all
B - 25-Oct-17 @ 10:31 PM
B - Your Question:
Hi I need advice. I went to court last year with my ex partner wanting to see our daughter. It didn't work as he was ment to be supervised by this parents at all times they broken this and threatend me so I got an injunction in place and contact ended. Now this year I applied for court as I would like my daughter to have her dad in her life. Now this time my daughter was coming back very upset saying her dad has been kicking off in front of her. This made me very upset and asked if his parents where taking her out of this situation but they never. My daughter now does want to see her dad as he's scared her 3 times and saying nasty things about me and my family. Now he doesn't want to know as my daughter has told him she doesn't want to come and see him. His mam and dad is wanting to see her but she doesn't even want to see them. They said they are going to take me to mediation but how can this happen as my daughter isn't happy seeing any of them. I'm currently heavly pregnant and can't cope with this stress. It's heart breaking seeing my daughter worried and scared in her own home please help.

Our Response:
The mediator will not force your child to see her father or her grandparents if it is against her will, and you as her parent can refuse. her father's option would be then to apply to court for an access order. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 24-Oct-17 @ 12:23 PM
Hi I need advice. I went to court last year with my ex partner wanting to see our daughter. It didn't work as he was ment to be supervised by this parents at all times they broken this and threatend me so I got an injunction in place and contact ended. Now this year I applied for court as I would like my daughter to have her dad in her life. Now this time my daughter was coming back very upset saying her dad has been kicking off in front of her. This made me very upset and asked if his parents where taking her out of this situation but they never. My daughter now does want to see her dad as he's scared her 3 times and saying nasty things about me and my family. Now he doesn't want to know as my daughter has told him she doesn't want to come and see him. His mam and dad is wanting to see her but she doesn't even want to see them. They said they are going to take me to mediation but how can this happen as my daughter isn't happy seeing any of them. I'm currently heavly pregnant and can't cope with this stress. It's heart breaking seeing my daughter worried and scared in her own home please help.
B - 23-Oct-17 @ 9:53 PM
Hi I need advice. I went to court last year with my ex partner wanting to see our daughter. It didn't work as he was ment to be supervised by this parents at all times they broken this and threatend me so I got an injunction in place and contact ended. Now this year I applied for court as I would like my daughter to have her dad in her life. Now this time my daughter was coming back very upset saying her dad has been kicking off in front of her. This made me very upset and asked if his parents where taking her out of this situation but they never. My daughter now does want to see her dad as he's scared her 3 times and saying nasty things about me and my family. Now he doesn't want to know as my daughter has told him she doesn't want to come and see him. His mam and dad is wanting to see her but she doesn't even want to see them. They said they are going to take me to mediation but how can this happen as my daughter isn't happy seeing any of them. I'm currently heavly pregnant and can't cope with this stress. It's heart breaking seeing my daughter worried and scared in her own home please help.
B - 23-Oct-17 @ 9:16 PM
Broken K - Your Question:
My sons mother and I separated when he was very young. We agreed I would have contact every other weekend and half of the holiday time. Our communication has broken down and she has stopped all contact and blocked all contact. It has been one month now and I need help to arrange an agreed time spent with my son.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access here . This will tell you the procedure you have to go through, if your ex is refusing to attend mediation. Our Separated Dads forum may be able to help you also, as many of our other dads have been through the same or similar experiences and can help advise.
SeparatedDads - 20-Oct-17 @ 10:31 AM
My sons mother and I separated when he was very young. We agreed I would have contact every other weekend and half of the holiday time. Our communicationhas broken down and she has stopped all contact and blocked all contact. It has been onemonth now and I need help to arrange an agreed time spent with my son.
Broken K - 19-Oct-17 @ 1:57 PM
Bean - Your Question:
Help and advise please. I have a residence and contact order for my 15 year old son this was due to my ex wifes mental health problems. Contact has always been given at my discretion depending on how well she was. Since 2009 she has managed to work and has her own house. her health is as good as can be but she is still unpredictable and a bit of a ticking time bomb. However I have always been more than reasonable allowing contact as often as possible. She lives 20 miles away from us. As my son is now older he understands her illness more and knows how to deal with her strange ways of talking and knows it means no harm at all. She is a very protective mother. So now he tends to go most weekends and part of the school holidays. to add. two sets of grandparents and other family members also live close by to his mum so it is good for him to also spend time with them which he likes to do. I also work in the same area.literally across the road from his mum's house so I am also nearby if he needs me. With this in mind my ex has now tried to claim child benefits claiming he lives with her and that the court order is out of date! The benefits office did not award her the benefit after we proved his school and doctors were here where we live. As she didn't win she has now decided to go to a mediation company and I have received a letter to attend. Initial cost 100 plus vat and 175 plus vat for all other meetings. Do I have to go? In my eyes there's nothing to mediate over when a court order is in place. My son is happy in school and doing well. However his mum has decided to apply to another school near to her and he has said he doesn't want to go. There is no reasoning with her and she will not listen and when he tried to say she put the phone down on him. She says he's unhappy and no one to talk to. My son I might add is very quiet. sits in his room and we don't see much of him. he also has a girlfriend. It sometimes seems that when he goes to his mum's she does pamper him and because it's his mum and he's missed that time from being 3yrs that he probably likes it. but then when he's here he's quieter. I have had good chats with him about if he wants to live with his mum and he has said no. I need to know where do I stand now if she takes me to court? She claims she has no money yet willing to pay for mediation and court. yet she thinks that as she has him on a weekend and part of the holidays that she should have it. I've even told her that whilst he is with her during the holidays ill give her the equivalent of child benefit. Even though she will be at work and he'll probably spend time at his grandma's and cousins! Amazingly she has just changed her job to one working 30hrs only. I can't help but think this is a long term plan for working less and claiming benefits providing our son lives with her. We have had this before and she even phoned his current school up t

Our Response:
You do not have to attend mediation if there is a court order in place. Your son's mother would then have the option to take the matter to court. Unless your son specifically states that he would like to move to his mother's, then it is highly unlikely a court would listen to her. A court will always act upon what it thinks is in the best interests of the child and will always opt for stability. A court will never remove a child from a resident-parent unless it deems absolutely necessary.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jul-17 @ 1:56 PM
Help and advise please. I have a residence and contact order for my 15 year old son this was due to my ex wifes mental health problems.Contact has always been given at my discretion depending on how well she was.Since 2009 she has managed to work and has her own house... her health is as good as can be but she is still unpredictable and a bit of a ticking time bomb.However I have always been more than reasonable allowing contact as often as possible. She lives 20 miles away from us.As my son is now older he understands her illness more and knows how to deal with her strange ways of talking and knows it means no harm at all.She is a very protective mother. So now he tends to go most weekends and part of the school holidays.... to add... two sets of grandparents and other family members also live close by to his mum so it is good for him to also spend time with them which he likes to do. I also work in the same area....literally across the road from his mum's house so I am also nearby if he needs me.With this in mind my ex has now tried to claim child benefits claiming he lives with her and that the court order is out of date!The benefits office did not award her the benefit after we proved his school and doctors were here where we live.As she didn't win she has now decided to go to a mediation company and I have received a letter to attend.Initial cost 100 plus vat and 175 plus vat for all other meetings.Do I have to go? In my eyes there's nothing to mediate over when a court order is in place.My son is happy in school and doing well. However his mum has decided to apply to another school near to her and he has said he doesn't want to go. There is no reasoning with her and she will not listen and when he tried to say she put the phone down on him. She says he's unhappy and no one to talk to. My son I might add is very quiet.... sits in his room and we don't see much of him .... he also has a girlfriend. It sometimes seems that when he goes to his mum's she does pamper him and because it's his mum and he's missed that time from being 3yrs that he probably likes it... but then when he's here he's quieter.I have had good chats with him about if he wants to live with his mum and he has said no.I need to know where do I stand now if she takes me to court? She claims she has no money yet willing to pay for mediation and court.... yet she thinks that as she has him on a weekend and part of the holidays that she should have it. I've even told her that whilst he is withher during the holidays ill give her the equivalent of child benefit. Even though she will be at work and he'll probably spend time at his grandma's and cousins! Amazingly she has just changed her job to one working 30hrs only.... i can't help but think this is a long term plan for working less and claimingbenefits providing our son lives with her.We have had this before and she even phoned his current school up t
Bean - 11-Jul-17 @ 8:34 AM
ab - Your Question:
My wife left 6 months ago, with savings the family car and my 3 boys 2,7 &8.it was amicable at the start but knowing how things can change I was keen to sort out a separation agreement.at 1st she didn't want anything from the house except an amount that would have paid her dad back some money that was a gift to the pair of us.then looking at the figures I worked out that all of our debts and the value of the house there was more money and offered her two and a half times that, with arrangements in place for the kids.we still are on good terms but she is slowly becoming more awkward and I in turn and becoming less patient, now offering her 3.5 times the original amount she now is saying that she's not sure if she wants to sign anything.how is the best way forward and is a separation agreement a legally binding contract if she were to sign it?

Our Response:
It is difficult to advise without knowing the situation fully, i.e when the house was purchased and how long you have been together etc. I may be that your wife has taken legal advice regarding finances and as with every marriage, she may have been told there should be a 50/50 (split of finances). If this is the case, understandably she is going to want to stall on any offer - especially if she is the primary carer of the kids. You cannot force her to sign anything against her will. Court is the last resort in situations where the parents cannot reach a fair and mutual agreement.
SeparatedDads - 26-Apr-17 @ 11:02 AM
my wife left 6 months ago, with savings the family car and my 3 boys 2,7 &8. it was amicable at the start but knowing how things can change i was keen to sort out a separation agreement. at 1st she didn't want anything from the house except an amount that would have paid her dad back some money that was a gift to the pair of us. then looking at the figures i worked out that all of our debts and the value of the house there was more money and offered her two and a half times that, with arrangements in place for the kids.... we still are on good terms but she is slowly becoming more awkward and i in turn and becoming less patient, now offering her 3.5 times the original amount she now is saying that she's not sure if she wants to sign anything. how is the best way forward and is a separation agreement a legally binding contract if she were to sign it?
ab - 25-Apr-17 @ 11:39 AM
Orange - Your Question:
My sons wife left with kids 15 and 11 without his knowledge while he was asleep and more from Wales to england they have missed school for 6 weeks now what can be done to have them move back home

Our Response:
Your son would have to seek legal advice about taking the matter to court. As your son has parental responsibility, his wife should have requested consent to move from the area. Therefore, court is the only option here. While a court can request that his wife brings the children back into the area, the court will always rule for what it thinks is in the best interests of the children and make a decision based upon this. If your son cannot locate the address of his ex, in order to make a court application he would in addition have to fill in a C4 form, which is an application to disclose the whereabouts of the children.
SeparatedDads - 10-Apr-17 @ 12:49 PM
My sons wife left with kids 15 and 11 without his knowledge while he was asleep and more from Wales to england they have missed school for 6 weeks now what can be done to have them move back home
Orange - 9-Apr-17 @ 7:26 PM
Hi My Ex had me arrested on false accusation when we separated and the bail conditions are that I cant see the children. My youngest is 16 who she is now trying to claim child maintenance for. They are asking for unreasonable amount that will leave me in debt. What can I do? I cant even negotiate with Ex and child maintenance don't want to know. They have sent me warning letters that I have missed payments when sent them a letter 'Mandatory Consideration'. They say they refuse mandatory consideration and at the same time threaten me with a letter before I can respond saying they have moved to collect and pay. The bail is set until the end of March 2017. My criminal solicitor says they cant do anything as crime takes president to civil matter. So until my case bail has been lifted child maintenance cant intervene. Is this true and what should I do
Zak - 28-Jan-17 @ 3:37 PM
Me and my husband have had broken contact with my husbands sons since him and his mum broke up when he was a year old about 8months ago we all meet up and put agreement into place where we have him everyweek well after fine in a couple bruises in full places and I burn on his leg we confronted his mum and know she's stopping up from seeing him and making things up saying my husband tried it on with her what I no is not true as they only ever meet in public places and I was their 99% off the time. Is they anything we can do as am current pregnant and we also have full custody off my husbands little girl aswell.
Frank - 17-Sep-16 @ 1:03 PM
Hi my sons dad is always in and out of his life he recently come back and started seeing him I asked him if he could help with paying for his son and he disagreed so I said I would like him to go to Mediation to get a agreement and to start seeing his son so none of us can go back on things is this possible ? He said he had to save for the letter to be sent out to me is the true ? Thanks
NikkiLeiigh - 1-Sep-16 @ 10:24 AM
laila - Your Question:
Thank you so much for your reply. It really reliefs me. Also a small question I'm a Dutch citizen n so is my son but he is born here. I was here for studies n work and then marriage. I have resigned and have no family here. I want to go back to Holland to my family and live there and work there as I have support there. My ex husband is on EEU family residents permit he is an Indian. Our divorce is in the court and we will receive the decree nisi in 2 weeks and then the absolute divorce l. After that he has to leave the country or get his on visa. I wanted to ask can I leave the country and go back to holland with my son without his permission but I'll inform him. As we are dutch and its not been 5 years of residence in the UK, can I go back to my country ?

Our Response:
You would have to seek legal advice regarding this due to the complexity of the situation and because it focuses on immigration law. The JustAsk site heremay be able to help you further. Also the Citizens Advice Bureau may be able to give you some free legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 3-Mar-16 @ 2:14 PM
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