Lee 26, and Heather 25, first contacted MyMediation in June 2015 for help to make arrangements in respect of their twins Tyler and Morgen, aged 5. Lee had heard about family mediation from a storyline in a soap opera but was not convinced of it working for their situation. After attending separate mediation information and assessment meetings mediation did not proceed, and Lee made an application to Court for a Child Arrangements Order. After an order was made in relation to the summer holidays, the Judge strongly recommended that they attend mediation to resolve their other issues.
At the time of the assessment meetings there had been no direct communication between Heather and Lee for a significant period, and they hadn’t seen each other for two years. Handovers were organised via Lee’s mum. After the Court hearing they individually attended a programme for separated parents and the first time they sat in a room together was at the joint mediation session. Two mediation sessions took place in October and December 2015.
Over the course of the mediation sessions Lee and Heather were able to discuss some of the issues that had gone on in the past, their hopes for Tyler and Morgen and their desire to co-parent. Talking about their situation enabled them to see each other’s perspective and consider how to avoid moving back into negative patterns of communication. Heather and Lee were able to agree a basis upon which contact would be restarted, and put a plan in place of how that would be increased over time. Lee and Heather were also able to decide together how to improve handovers, and how Lee was going to financially support the children. Prior to mediation they had not even been able to sit in the same room. At the end of the second session they were making arrangements for Lee to attend the school Christmas play, with both of them recognising how significant it would be for the children to see them together at the play.
Heather and Lee realise that it is likely they will face challenges with their co-parenting relationship in the future, but that they are now equipped to deal with them, plus are aware that they can always return to mediation. Both Lee and Heather feel hopeful for the future and agree that family mediation is a much better place to resolve issues than Court.