Did you watch the fly on the wall documentary called Mr v Mrs Call the Mediator on BBC2 on Tuesday (21st June 2016) evening?

It was the first episode of a three part series that follows three separating couples going through family mediation.

People who have watched it seem to be taking sides and are talking in very strong terms about who they agree or disagree with, if they think the settlement is fair or if one person is being greedy and if they are focusing on themselves or what their children need. It certainly makes a change from the Leave or Remain debate!

It was an insight into the world of mediation – if somewhat distorted due to the editing. As an experienced and qualified mediator who supervises ten other mediators I have to say that the programme didn’t really show the best of the process of mediation, or mention the potential need for legal advice, this was probably because it wouldn’t have made such riveting TV.

The programme showed shuttle mediation with a couple who couldn’t sit in the same room together, shuttle mediation happens quite rarely and usually as a last resort – although it can be a good option in the right circumstances. 

It also showed a financial mediation where one person said that he wouldn’t fully disclose his assets unless there was an agreement in principle first. As a supervisor, I would certainly have something to say about that because, as in all financial matters, whether through mediation or in the court arena, accurate and full disclosure is absolutely vital. 

The third couple were mediating about the children, it appeared that the couple were mainly focusing on their own relationship and not on the needs of their children. They had three sessions and we saw very little of what happened in the session so I strongly suspect that the mediator interventions were edited out. It would be usual for an experienced mediator to encourage the couple to reflect on their focus and put the children at the centre of everything they were doing. 

However, the programme did show the pain and sadness that separation and a lack of communication can bring and how the patterns of the past can prove highly emotional and overshadow any good intentions of practical co-parenting.

Choosing a qualified and experienced mediator can help you manage your situation in a far better way than going through court. Certainly parents who attend court and get a settlement often say that having a judge decide what will happen is only the start, they then have to put it into practice and make it work and this means they then have to communicate, either directly or indirectly. Good communication can often be learned or remembered from mediation sessions and that is why so many separated couples find it so helpful. At TV Edwards we offer a professional mediation service in both finance and child cases where you can have your say, be heard and be given the support you need to reach agreement.
Call 020 3440 8089 or email mediation@tvedwards.com for more information

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