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We were given an insight by Nicholas von Benzon of Cheltenham Family Mediation into how mediation can assist in the collaborative process and how it can assist generally in family matters.
He gave us copies of his bullet point notes of :-
Family Mediation and Collaborative Law:
Family mediators help parents by: and
Helping parents to improve communication by:
See notes below.
Thank you Nicholas.
Family Mediation and Collaborative Law
Some ways mediators may be able to help:
1) Breaking an impasse:
i) An impartial face;
ii) Reframing the battle-lines;
iii) Another perspective or just restating the obvious.
2) Child Consultation:
i) When is it appropriate? When Jack wants to please both mum and dad, or Lucy wants to talk;
ii) Preparing the parents – the “when, where and why” of child consultation;
iii) The child’s choice, not coaching or quizzing;
v) Meeting the child/ren – the easy bit;
vi) The feedback – “Jack wants me to tell you that he hates hearing you argue”.
3) When the family fortune is sorted; talking about the children:
i) A less formal and cheaper venue.
ii) “There’s no dispute, but I just never feel able to talk to him about.....”
4) Parental Communication
i) Working therapeutically to change the way separated parents communicate.
ii) Ending long running battles; using the telephone is a cheaper option!
iii) Helping to improve outcomes for children – the damage done by parental conflict.
5) Working with couples who want to explore reconciliation
i) The “ He wants it, but I can’t see it happening” dilemma, and
ii) The “What would need to change?” question which might lead to,
iii) The “Well then, what do we need to do about it?” challenge.
6) Assessing the impact of domestic violence in children’s cases
i) Going where angels fear to tread;
ii) Lock down or communicate – court orders or conversations?
iii) She’s too scarred to negotiate – “puppet on a string” – all about control?
iv) Can there be change? Teenage violence against mothers, and the scandalous lack of programmes for perpetrators.
Nicholas von Benzon, Cheltenham Family Mediation.