We have been told to come to mediation by Court
Ali's story: I first came to mediation because Ayesha wouldn't let me take the kids on holidays in the summer. I hadn't spoken to Ayesha for 2 years at that point and so I wasn't surprised that she didn't agree to mediate. In the end I went to Court and got a Court Order for arrangements for the summer holidays and got alternate Saturdays 12-5. The Judge told us that we should attend mediation to sort out the other issues. I went back to mediation a few months later after Ayesha stopped me from seeing the kids again. This time she did agree to mediate.
At the start of the session we both said what we wanted to talk about, and I said that I wanted set times when I could see the children and not to have it stopped all the time. I wanted to also eventually have them overnight. Ayesha started going on about drugs and what the children had heard me say. Mediation meant that I could explain that the children had overheard something that wasn't to do with me, and that, as she knew, the Court had done a drugs test and had seen fit to allow me to see the children. I tried to make Ayesha see that all I want to do is spend time with the kids and take them away again on holiday. Ayesha said that she does want me to have the kids overnight eventually but because she has anxiety issues she needs to trust that the kids are safe in my house. The mediator helped us to listen to each other and try to understand where we were each coming from. I was really pleased that we made an agreement for overnights to start and then to come back to mediation to see how things were going.
We went back after 5 weeks but Ayesha had messed me about and I was quite angry at the session and threatened to go back to Court. The mediator managed to help us to work through what had gone wrong and look at the bigger picture. We talked about how handovers would work and what the best way of communicating with each other would be so that things don't always descend into arguments. We pretty much managed to sort everything out and having gone through both Court and mediation I would definitely recommend mediation as a better way.
Ayesha's story: When I first went to the assessment meeting I was very emotional and didn't want to be there. I had not seen Ali for 2 years although the children did have contact via his mother, but I just couldn't mediate at that time as he made me so angry.
Court was the first time we had been in the same room for 2 years. When Ali asked to mediate again a few months later I felt that I could now cope with the process.
I was really tense at the start of the session but the mediator put us both at ease and I was able to tell Ali about my concerns. As we talked through the issues I had to explain about my levels of anxiety and how this impacts on my life. It was really hard but I felt I needed Ali to understand why I needed the reassurances from him and that he needed to earn my trust. We agreed to come back to mediation after 2 sleepovers had taken place, but I couldn't make the appointment and had to rearrange.
I couldn't move forward until the session took place and this angered Ali and he started threatening Court. I have to admit things started to get verbal but the mediator helped us to listen and focus on the children and what was best for them. It was really helpful to look at our reactions to each other and how we both think the worst of each other and jump to conclusions. The mediator helped us to look at how we can avoid similar situations in the future which will help how we co-parent.