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Using Mediation Effectively

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 6 Oct 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Mediation Mediator Ex Child

Separation or Divorce is never an enjoyable process and sorting out the practicalities is usually hindered by feelings of anger, bitterness and resentment. For the sake of you own wellbeing and that of your child, you need to find a way to make the transition as smooth as possible. Your ex is the mother of your child and however you feel about her, she will always be part of your life. You need to both commit to working together to find the best solution for your child and agree suitable Custody and Visitation Rights. (For more information, read our article Mediation As A Solution For Child Custody And Visitation on this site.)

Why Use Mediation?

Having been through a separation it is unlikely that you and your partner are communicating very well. A mediator acts as a neutral third party to help you sort through all the issues, both emotional and practical, that are preventing you from moving on. As well as saving you a lot of time, money and heartache in the legal process, they can help you and your ex find a way to work together for the wellbeing of your child.

How to Choose a Mediator?

There are many different organisations that provide mediation services from government-run schemes to private practices. For your mediator to have a positive effect it has to be someone that both you and your ex feel comfortable with. Choose a location that is convenient for you both and don’t be afraid to speak up if you are not satisfied with the person you first see.

Committing to Mediation

For mediation to work effectively you and your ex both need to be fully engaged and willing to work hard. Talking about your feelings, splitting assets and arranging visitation to see your child is never going to be easy. However, the more committed you are to finding a solution the quicker and easier the whole process will be.

Stepping Out Alone

Seeking mediation is a positive first step to building a communication channel with your ex. However, your mediator is not going to hold your hand forever and you need to use what you have learnt to move forward. Take the mature approach, setting an example and never letting old feelings cloud your judgement. Focus on your child and what you need to do to make their life good. If your ex is being awkward, stay calm and suggest returning to mediation to find common ground.

When tensions are running high it can be difficult to see your situation objectively. Using mediation is a great way to learn to work together and find ways to communicate. Not only will mediation save you money and time with the legal process, it will pave the way for your future. Once you have found a mediator that you are happy with it is important that you and your ex commit to it. Keep the needs of your child at the forefront of you mind and when the mediation is over use the tools you have learnt to move forward and keep communicating calmly and maturely with your ex.

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Jayalex - Your Question:
Hi I split with my wife around 5 years ago now. It was amicable we both fell out of love etc. I have two daughters with her of which we both agreed was important for me to have a good relationship with and everything up until recently had been fine. But now she's refusing me access to my kids or making it hard for me to see them. I live up north basically because of work and they are down south. I make the journey down and up bringing my kids back to my home with me one weekend a month or did now she's saying I can't do that anymore which basically means I can't see them as I've nowhere down south to stay and she's not going to lend me her and her partners house they've been together 3 years or more now so that's not the issue as neither is my relationship which I've been in for a similar amount of time. I just don't understand her rational for it, I've suggested mediation and got told to do one so said my next option was court to which she told me to bring it on. No I'm aware of parental responsibility or PR which I fall into that category so I've just as much rights as a father as she does a mother so either someone is feeding her false info on the law or she's totally foolish either way I've now not seen my daughters for 2 months !! They've no idea I've not dropped her in it and have Protected her as I'm not a vindictive person but my girls will soon start to ask questions and I'm worried she we tell them lies to save her face in it all. I speak to my eldest who is 13 on the phone at least once a week and we text daily but it's never brought up I just remain positive and say when they come up we can do this and that which we would but then when the ex says no I say something has come up leaving me looking the villain and not her !!! Admirable maybe but I miss my kids like crazy and it's effecting my moods demeanour and the fantastic relationship I have which she absolutely loves my girls like her own and that's hard to find nowadays so what do I do ? Court ? Solicitors letter ? Someone helpppp

Our Response:
In a situation such as this your only option is to take the matter to court, especially if your ex is refusing mediation. The positive aspect is that you have had consistent contact through your daughter's lives and therefore the courts will always rule what is in the best intrests of your children and consistency is considered important. Please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here and if you cannot resolve the issues between you, you have the option to consider the process laid out in the article.
SeparatedDads - 7-Oct-16 @ 11:59 AM
Hi i split with my wife around 5 years ago now. It was amicable we both fell out of love etc. I have two daughters with her of which we both agreed was important for me to have a good relationship with and everything up until recently had been fine. But now she's refusing me access to my kids or making it hard for me to see them. I live up north basically because of work and they are down south. I make the journey down and up bringing my kids back to my home with me one weekend a month or did now she's saying I can't do that anymore which basically means I can't see them as I've nowhere down south to stay and she's not going to lend me her and her partners house they've been together 3 years or more now so that's not the issue as neither is my relationship which I've been in for a similar amount of time. I just don't understand her rational for it, I've suggested mediation and got told to do one so said my next option was court to which she told me to bring it on. No I'm aware of parental responsibility or PR which I fall into that category so I've just as much rights as a father as she does a mother so either someone is feeding her false info on the law or she's totally foolish either way I've now not seen my daughters for 2 months !! They've no idea I've not dropped her in it and have Protected her as I'm not a vindictive person but my girls will soon start to ask questions and I'm worried she we tell them lies to save her face in it all. I speak to my eldest who is 13 on the phone at least once a week and we text daily but it's never brought up I just remain positive and say when they come up we can do this and that which we would but then when the ex says no I say something has come up leaving me looking the villain and not her !!! Admirable maybe but I miss my kids like crazy and it's effecting my moods demeanour and the fantastic relationship I have which she absolutely loves my girls like her own and that's hard to find nowadays so what do I do ? Court ? Solicitors letter ? Someone helpppp
Jayalex - 6-Oct-16 @ 3:17 PM
Joe - Your Question:
Hi, me and my wife seperated a year ago and we have a 3 year old daughter. At the time, before our seperation we were living in england all together. My wife was originally from Belfast and when we split up she moved back in with parents in n.ireland with our daughter who was 2 at the time. It look me about 6 months to find a new job, rent out the house we both owned in england together and finally move over to belfast myself. I've now been living in n.i for 6 months and have my own apartment fully furnished to myself and the child etc, I work full time and pay csa every month. My wife allows me to see our daughter 1-2 times per week for 6 hours at a time, but I feel as though I should be able to have her for a full 24hour period or atleast over night. My ex is refusing to allow me to look after our daughter over night as she has her own issues, all irrelevant to myself caring for our daughter. I don't want to take a legal route but don't think she will allow me full access to daughter, and has stated it could take her years to feel comfortable with me having her over night. Any help on this situation and what mediation could do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.

Our Response:
Please also see link: Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here. If you cannot resolve your issues between you, then mediation is the first port of call. If you suggest mediation and your ex refuses, or if you try mediation and the process fails, then you will be eligible to apply through the courts. I'm afraid there are no other options than this. The courts will always decide on what it thinks is in the best interests of your child.
SeparatedDads - 3-Jun-16 @ 2:45 PM
Hi, me and my wife seperated a year ago and we have a 3 year old daughter. At the time, before our seperation we were living in england all together. My wife was originally from Belfast and when we split up she moved back in with parents in n.ireland with our daughter who was 2 at the time. It look me about 6 months to find a new job, rent out the house we both owned in england together and finally move over to belfast myself. I've now been living in n.i for 6 months and have my own apartment fully furnished to myself and thechild etc, I work full time and pay csa every month. My wife allows me to see our daughter 1-2 times per week for 6 hours at a time, but I feel as though I should be able to have her for a full 24hour period or atleast over night. My ex is refusing to allow me to look after our daughter over night as she has her own issues, all irrelevant to myself caring for our daughter. I don't want to take a legal route but don't think she will allow me full access to daughter, and has stated it could take her years to feel comfortable with me having her over night. Any help on this situation and what mediation could do would be greatly appreciated. Thanks very much.
Joe - 3-Jun-16 @ 11:15 AM
worried - Your Question:
My son and his partner split up last July and have a 17 month daughter my son is named on the birth certificatemy son met someone else and never been so happy contact was regular with his daughtersince having a new g\f his ex is using his daughter like a weapon my son has paid 3 times for mediation each time its agreed my son would have contact 3 times a week every couple of weeks when his ex is drunk she stops access its heart breaking for my son and myself i think the only hope now is for my son to apply to the courtshow long would it take as his daughter is only young and may forget him

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. As difficult as it seems if Mediation has been unsuccessful, court is the next option and on the plus-side, any order granted through court will be official, unlike Mediation (as it will be considered a breach if his ex reneges upon it). Your son may also be able to apply for an interim contact order before it comes to court, please see link: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, here. The court does wish for fathers to see their children and the fact you have been through Mediation means your son is doing everything by the book, which will hopefully go in his favour. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 23-Feb-16 @ 2:06 PM
my son and his partner split up last July and have a 17 month daughter my son is named on the birth certificate my son met someone else and never been so happy contact was regular with his daughter since having a new g\fhis ex is using his daughter like a weapon my son has paid 3 times for mediation each time its agreed my son would have contact 3 times a week every couple of weeks when his ex is drunk she stops access its heart breaking for my son and myself i think the only hope now is for my son to apply to the courts how long would it take as his daughter is only young and may forget him
worried - 22-Feb-16 @ 10:49 PM
Jen - Your Question:
Hi. I realy hope someone can help me. Ive been with my partner for 9 months. he has a daughter who is ten. I also have a daughter the same age. everything was great in the beginning between his daughter comming to our place every weekend. Even my partners ex was ok. Then things changed. in the last three months the mother has put some idea in her daughters head not to want to come stay at our pl. the ex only wants my partner and his daughter to spend time together by themselves without me and my daughter. This is spliting mine and my partners family time up. The ex has some kind of issue with me. I have been so good to her daughter made her feel welcome always involving her. now its. she only wants to see her dad. alot of horrible stuff has happened from the exs side towards me and my daughter. She knows she has met her match with me like cant ask my partner for extra money that he used to give her before he met me. At the moment she has said to him if he brings his daughter back to our place then he is not to see his daughter again. its the ex that has issues and I dont know how to make this better. I want a relationship family life with my partner and its been a big battle when his ex wants something. I could go on because soooo much has happened. WHAT DO I DO?

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this as what should be a happy arrangement has obviously soured. If we look at it from the mother's point of view for a moment, she may genuinely want for her daughter to spend quality time with her father because she feels his time is now diluted. Another aspect may be that his daughter, while not having anything against you or your daughter and despite your welcoming her into the home, may too feel that she is not spending quality time with her dad, which after a split is understandable as it can be difficult for a youngster who has been used to having her father's individual attention. Therefore, for a healthy relationship spending alone time with the natural parent should be encouraged. You don't say whether she gets on with your daughter as there may be a few underlying issues there. You say 'she knows she has met her match' with you, which means there obviously is a lot of antagonism developing from both sides. The only way you can try to sort out this agreement is amicably, or it's not going to work. Suggesting mediation may be the way forward, if these issues are not going to resolve naturally. Otherwise, if your partner's ex stays true to her word, unfortunately your partner may have to deal with these issues through the courts.
SeparatedDads - 27-Jan-16 @ 2:03 PM
Hi. i realy hope someone can help me. Ive been with my partner for 9 months. he has a daughter who is ten. i also have a daughter the same age. everything was great in the beginning between his daughter comming to our place every weekend. Even my partners ex was ok. Then things changed. in the last three months the mother has put some idea in her daughters head not to want to come stay at our pl. the ex only wants my partner and his daughter to spend time together by themselves without me and my daughter. This is spliting mine and my partners family time up. The ex has some kind of issue with me. I have been so good to her daughter made her feel welcome always involving her. now its. she only wants to see her dad. alot of horrible stuff has happened from the exs side towards me and my daughter. She knows she has met her match with me like cant ask my partner for extra money that he used to give her before he met me. At the moment she has said to him if he brings his daughter back to our place then he is not to see his daughter again. its the ex that has issues and i dont know how to make this better. i want a relationship family life with my partner and its been a big battle when his ex wants something. i could go on because soooo much has happened. WHAT DO I DO?
Jen - 27-Jan-16 @ 2:32 AM
lish - Your Question:
My sons ex has stopped all contact with his 19 week old daughter, he has asked her to go mediation but has refused, she has blocked any means of contact eg phone and said she will see him in court, at present he works but cant afford the 200pound solicitors fees and they all tell him she has to go mediation first. we are at our wits end with worry none of our family get to see our first grand baby what do you advise

Our Response:
If his ex refuses mediation, then he can apply to the courts. If he cannot afford the solicitor's fees, then he can self-litigate, please see link: Legal Aid Withdrawal: How to Represent Yourself, here and the Bar Council gives some very good guidance via the link here. Many fathers are going down the self-litigation route and are having success in gaining access, if they prepare their cases well. I hope this helps.
SeparatedDads - 25-Jan-16 @ 12:51 PM
my sons ex has stopped all contact with his 19 week old daughter, he has asked her to go mediation but has refused, she has blocked any means of contact eg phone and said she will see him in court, at present he works but cant afford the 200pound solicitors fees and they all tell him she has to go mediation first. we are at our wits end with worry none of our family get to see our first grand baby what do you advise
lish - 24-Jan-16 @ 4:46 PM
Steph - Your Question:
My ex partner refused to be on the birth certificate as he didn't want to be apart of mine and our babies life. One year later he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a father which I found very difficult to accept after walking out on me for falling pregnant. What rights does he have if he's not on the birth certificate?

Our Response:
While he is not on the birth certificate he currently has no rights. However, he could take this to court and apply for Parental Responsibility, which means he would gain some rights, please see link here. He could also take it to court to apply for contact/access.
SeparatedDads - 7-Dec-15 @ 2:29 PM
My ex partner refused to be on the birth certificate as he didn't want to be apart of mine and our babies life. One year later he changed his mind and decided he wanted to be a father which I found very difficult to accept after walking out on me for falling pregnant. What rights does he have if he's not on the birth certificate?
Steph - 6-Dec-15 @ 3:40 AM
My sons ex gf was very abusive mentally & physically to my son & myself for almost 5 years. They had a son while living with & off of me in 2012. Shortly after moved into their own house my son worked until she started causing problems with his employer & caused him to lose his job, she never worked & so in order for my grandbaby to be safe & taken care of I paid all of their living exp for the last 3 yrs. They both have addiction to opiates & were on a program rec suboxen to which they had a problem with that & added other meds to that. They would have fights when one of them thought the other was getting more. When they finally got enough pain she had her parents pay for her to go to rehab. She filed false A&B charges against my son before she left & police issued warrant for his arrest. I was the only one in his home when she lied & had police come out, they never took statement from me or my sister who was also there & had done what I told her & took my son away from house so nothing happened she lied said he was there till police were called & while she was on the phone with dispatch she grabbed the baby from my arms threw him in his room & held door shut with him screaming & crying for me to help him begging his mom not to hold the door let him out. She never would let me get the baby instead held door shut & started screaming "stop hitting me" over & over. Police arrived I begged them to let me get my grandbaby & comfort him from his mom traumatizing him & they made me go outside wouldn't let me come back in. Then the officer came out asked me to leave she didn't want me there & didn't want a statement. I begged them again to let me have the baby they threatened to arrest me. A month later charges were filed against my son for a&b to arrest him & hold with no bond. When she got out of rehab she & her mom came & took my grandbaby away moved 2 hrs away & told my son that the baby would stay with her mother for awhile until they both got their lives together. My son can't get hired with active warrant. His ex left their baby in the care of her mother & moved in with a guy she met while in rehab about 1 1/2 hrs away. We finally got to see the baby after he had been gone almost 3 months. He has never been apart from his daddy he's taken care of him very well since the day he was born, she never could take care of him because she always had some fake medical disorder. we got to go get the baby one weekend the first of Nov. had to take him back on sunday with him begging & crying to not take him back he wanted to say with his daddy & me. We told him that we had to share him with mommy but in 2 weeks it would be our turn to see him & he made his daddy promise to come get him from school..when it came the week to pick him up, his grandmother said she was busy and we couldn't come get him, then the next day said he moved away with his mom & her boyfriend. She refuses to let my son talk to him on the phone, see him, know of his whereabouts, who
scaredinok - 4-Dec-15 @ 4:32 AM
willie- Your Question:
Me and my ex of 10 years split in 2012 have 4 kids with her she lost my 5th baby when wee split my best friend then moved in got her pregnant instantly and got married now a haven't seen my little boy since he was 3 and is now 6 and his 3 big sisters aswell only other problem is they live in York England and a live in Dundee Scotland now and to be honest a aint even got a clue where to start plz help any1 ?????

Our Response:
If your ex has denied you access then it would simply be a matter of getting in touch with her and saying you would like to regain contact with your children. If your ex refuses, then you could either suggest mediation, or apply for a contact order through the courts. Please see article: When Your Ex-Partner Denies You Access, link here which I hope helps.
SeparatedDads - 29-Oct-15 @ 11:26 AM
me and my ex of 10 years split in 2012 have 4 kids with her she lost my 5th baby when wee split my best friend then moved in got her pregnant instantly and got married now a haven't seen my little boy since he was 3 and is now 6 and his 3 big sisters aswell only other problem is they live in York England and a live in Dundee Scotland now and to be honest a aint even got a clue where to start plz help any1 ?????
willie - 28-Oct-15 @ 11:37 AM
today is a difficult day for me,I have not seen my son since he was two yrs old,,, his mother has made all contact impossible and today he turns 16 yrs old...... his step brother tried to make contact with him but this was intercepted by my ex who stopped all means of communication. In the short chat they did have it was clear that my sons mind has been poisoned against me....I hope one day he is curious enough to seek me out but have to resign myself to the fact that I may never see him again...
stebhead - 15-Jul-14 @ 3:46 PM
I have a court order set up but my kids apparently don't want to see me. I have tried to speak to them but they never answer the phone. I also have sent birthday cards to their school just so they can have them. Unfortunately I don't have an address to where they live and because if that I can't take court action. Or can I? Please help I need to see my kids.
Adam - 29-May-14 @ 6:10 PM
My ex decided to take me to court because I decided I want to also spend time with our daughter weekends and he can get her now every second week. Also he is instable and I do not allow her to sleep over there weeknds because of tht. Am I within my rights?
asi - 17-May-14 @ 11:20 PM
My wife and I have not seen our two grand children 3 months.they were living with their mom and dad ,their mom said she was going to take our grand son to school but did not show.The police said they are safe no body will tell us any thing ,we are not angry but worried, jess is the mothers name we helped her when we could she was like a daughter to us.we miss jess ,tyler and gemima are the childrens names.we would do any thing give mediation a try ,any help would be good. thank you ian and lyn hanks
hanksy - 23-May-13 @ 8:37 PM
Bin 6wks my xgf has not recieved mediator letter she has to recieve this b 4 I can get legal aid thn if she does not reply after ten days thy make a court date,like I said bin almost 7wks surely she should had mediater letter by now
Ant - 2-Aug-12 @ 4:10 AM
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