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  • Nicola Lewis, London Mediation Works

Family mediation: do we have to sit in the same room?

As family mediators we are aware that, where children are involved there will usually be some form of ongoing relationship where you have to continue to co-parent your children. I hear from children in the mediation process how difficult it is for them to be caught in the middle of parents who simply won't communicate with each other.Instead the child is used as the messenger.Not ideal. So where it is at all possible, working together is some way to make your agreements as parents will benefit your children. Even when this is tough for you.

When we meet you for the initial face to face meeting we will explore how to create the best conditions for you to be able to talk to each other. If you are better able to concentrate, articulate your thoughts, focus, you are welcome to sit in two separate rooms and the mediator will go between the two of you working hard to draw you ever closer to an agreement that will work for you.

Sometimes where there has been physical violence or emotional abuse, it is the mediator who will add this as a condition to the mediation.Your safety and wellbeing is paramount.

The disdvantages to not being in the same room? It is slower where the mediator is passing messages and you will not be able to pick up on expression, tone etc -things that help us better understand what someone is trying to tell us. But it is better than not meeting at all. and much can be achieved in this way.

Talk to your mediator if you do wish to explore 'shuttle mediation'. It is an effective tool for reaching agreements.

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