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My husband (we do not live together) wants us to go to mediation. Thing is, I don’t want to be in the same room as him.

First question - Why do you not want to be in the same room for mediation?

Mediation is the process for you and your husband to meet with a totally independent third party. The aim being to discuss, with the mediator’s assistance, any issues arising from your relationship breakdown. This can be anything from financial matters to arrangements for children. The goal is to reach mutual agreement.

Mediation avoids the huge costs and acrimony of court proceedings.

Most commonly, mediation happens with both of you in the same room. But, this does not have to be the case.

My husband is abusive.

Has there been domestic abuse in the relationship that makes you not want to be in the same room?

Mediation may not be the appropriate at all. But, you certainly shouldn’t be in the same room.

Or is it that you do not feel comfortable? Afraid you won’t get your say? Think you’ll argue?

My role is to make you feel comfortable and secure in the process.

Mediators make sure that:

  • You have equal opportunities to speak and listen
  • There are clear ground rules of no verbal abuse or aggressive behaviour
  • You both fully understand the discussions so you have even footing when it comes to making decisions

I appreciate that often people are on their best behaviour in the mediation room. There can be concern about what is said and done after mediation. No one wants an altercation in the car park.

Staggered arrival and departure times work well. This can avoid meeting in the car park or awkward moments in reception.

I still do not want to be in the same room as my husband for mediation.

You do not have to be.

You can use shuttle mediation.

What is shuttle mediation?

You and your husband will be in different rooms. I will go between the two separate rooms reporting what the other is saying and helping to negotiate an agreement.

Shuttle mediation can work just as well as joint mediation.

However, one word of warning. Although I can report what you or your husband is saying, sometimes it is how it is said that is important.

So, if you wish to be assured by your husband, or make clear your feelings, you may wish to hear or say things directly.

You do not have to decide yet.

Before any mediation (joint or otherwise) can take place, you will meet with me on your own. We meet for a Mediation Assessment and Information Meeting (MIAM). At this appointment, you can raise all your concerns and discuss.

Even if you decide on joint mediation first, you can choose to shuttle mediate, or vice versa.

First you must …

Attend a MIAM.

All will feel clearer then and you can make an informed decision from there.

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