PARENTS

The Semi-Detached Parent: Mediation

24/03/2011 15:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

mediationI wrote before about the importance of communication in a relationship.

I like to talk, and I do talk, to my friends, to my family, to strangers... but if I'm honest, I never totally let go.

I tend to let people in to a certain extent, but always hold something back. Perhaps it's self preservation, perhaps issues of trust (nothing worse than spilling your guts to a friend and then discovering everyone knows your business, or discovering people discussing with others their version of your situation...)

But having said that, when my solicitor suggested mediation to enable my ex and I to progress our situation, I was initially quite keen. I thought perhaps it would be a relief to talk about stuff in an environment which would not allow screaming, shouting, door slamming and flouncing. Not without considerable embarrassment, anyway. My ex pooh-poohed it though, and I didn't mention it again until communication from his solicitor mentioned it too. But by then, I'd mulled over all the negatives of it, and pretty much dismissed it, too.

Then I read about a move by the Government that will insist on it for separating couples. The Justice Minister Jonathan Djanogly has announced that from April, couples must consider using mediation rather than battling their separation out in court.

The new system will mean that former partners will have to have a least one mediation awareness session to find out what it can offer them, and then decide whether it would help them resolve their issues. Mr Djanogly claims mediation is 'often quicker, cheaper and less confrontational than going to court'.

Which is probably very true, but my main fear is that issues will still be bubbling away under the surface - as I said, I was partly keen, simply because I knew we'd have to 'behave' in front of another person - no shouting, swearing or silly accusations. But by the same token, I know I would not be able to discuss some of the reasons for our separation and the things we need to do to move forward with a complete stranger - and so there would still be plenty of arguments taking place in private. And probably with a few 'well you didn't tell THAT to the mediator!' thrown in too.

The Justice Minister seems convinced this is the way forward though, saying few people who let their separation go to court consider it 'worth it' in the end:

'Nearly every time I ask someone if their stressful divorce battle through the courts was worth it, their answer is no. Mediation is proven to be a quicker, cheaper and more amicable alternative, particularly where children are concerned,' he says, 'Now everyone will have the opportunity to see if it mediation could be a better solution than going straight to court.'

So I really do not know. Yes, it's good to talk - but will anyone ever show their true colours, or completely tell the truth in a mediatory setting? Or walk away from it without plotting a backlash in private? I somehow don't think so...

What do you think?

Have you had mediation?

Does it work?

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