Couples who contact Relationship Services for mediation are often distressed and worried about the issue of ending their relationship and possibly marriage. Many would like to part with as little acrimony as possible, especially where there are children involved. Child arrangements and financial issues most often need to be resolved and the way prepared for legal settlements in the courts.
The traditional way to end a marriage is for each party to employ their own solicitor. This is not only very costly, it often results in an adversarial situation, where couples end up fighting each other in the courts. The cost is not only a financial one either. More often it results in tensions and bad feelings, unhappy children and poor on-going relations.
Mediation on the other hand puts the couple back in charge and encourages a cooperative process. The mediator meets with both parties and helps them come to workable agreements. Mediation will usually involve making full financial disclosures and working in good faith to secure viable and court-approved decisions. Solicitors are still involved, but only once proposals are reached by the couple. This saves on time, money and most importantly, distress!
When couples decide to part there are so many things to consider. Where and how will we live, how will we divide our wealth, how will we pay the bills? – and similar financial issues. What about the children, how will we tell them, who will they live with, what arrangements will we need to reach regarding access? – and similar children issues.
The average cost of mediation is under £2,500. This is a fraction of the average cost of employing solicitors from the outset. Relationship Services assesses the state of the parties and of the relationship before mediation begins. If the couple are in a low state of conflict, where the ‘games’ are minimal, it will recommend mediation with one mediator – a lawyer mediator. In such instances, the couple come ready to engage in a financial and child settlement and are open to each other’s proposals. They can be helped to a set of proposals set out in a Memorandum of understanding and a Financial Statement.
Some couples require additional help before they can engage in a productive way. Either the level of conflict is too high or the level of game playing is significant. In such instances, a single mediator will struggle with finding meaningful common ground.
Couples are often unaware of the tricky games that can scupper a mediation. All of us “play Games” and these can be especially embedded within relationship breakdowns. Games can get in the way of dispute resolution. Even when the parties would ideally like to resolve their issues together and without court intervention, games sabotage the process. Many mediations flounder because the couple has not been enabled to address the games properly before reaching a settlement. What is sometimes needed is mediation with a difference…TA facilitated mediation.
At Relationship Services we have pioneered a novel approach… TA facilitated mediation. Some couples need to get to grips with their destructive feelings before they can reach the stage of being ready to mediate. Relationship Services is unique in that it can use its expertise in de-escalating games to assist the mediation. An expert in Transactional Analysis, can assist the couple before, during and after the mediation. That way, the lawyer mediator can do their job, and the couple can part with as little acrimony as possible. The children are properly considered and the financial settlement reached is less likely to be fuelled by bitterness than by care and consideration for their family and ex-partner.
We call this TA facilitated mediation. The transactional analyst can meet with one or both parties before the mediation starts. Many held grievances can be acknowledged and feelings worked through. The couple will be encouraged to meet together with the TA facilitator and assisted to get into the ‘mediation zone’, ready for meeting with the lawyer mediator. The TA facilitator can even be asked to attend the mediation and look after the mediation process. Once the mediation is over, the TA facilitator can continue to assist the adjustment process of living life separately.
Associate Lawyer Mediator
Mary Raymont is an experienced mediator and specialises in family cases involving separation and divorce. Mary was a solicitor in a Legal 500 firm for 22 years having qualified as a solicitor in 1992. Mary has vast experience dealing with financial settlements as well as working to resolve children arrangements including representing children. When dealing with financial cases, these usually involve resolution of income, property, capital, debt, pensions and business issues. Mary is used to working with chartered surveyors, actuaries, independent financial advisors and accountants and focuses upon practical realistic and workable solutions. Mary is trained by Resolution and has 15 years experience of mediation including co-mediation, shuttle mediation and online mediation .Mary has been accredited by the Law Society and Resolution as a family specialist. Mary offers Mediation Information and Assessment meetings (MIAMS)
Director Transactional Analyst (Relationship breakdown expert)
Eliott Green qualified as a family mediator in 2011 and is a law graduate. He does not practice as a mediator but as a TA relationship breakdown expert. He assists the mediation process through his expertise in games and transactional analysis. With over 25 years of experience in working with couples and families, Eliott is also a trainer of mediators and lawyers. He has written a booklet entitled ‘Transactional Analysis for Mediators’. Together with Mary Raymont, he has pioneered TA -assisted mediation, enabling couples to address their relationship breakdown and ready themselves for the difficult process of mediation.