How honest is honest?
I am pleased to hear that Shula and Alistair are engaging in the process of mediation and that they have already seen their solicitors. It is important that the listening public understand how mediation can be a positive way forward for separating couples and that solicitors remain part of the process. I am optimistic and hopeful that the storyline will realistically portray mediation, as it has so far managed the separation storyline.
the archers blog focus mediation
First mediation session – steps you need to take to set up the mediation.
Ahead of the first mediation session we hear Shula talking to her Aunt Lilian about her plans for the afternoon, saying she needs to have a good think before the mediation session today.  It is not clear whether Shula and Alistair have attended a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting (MIAM), and Shula seems uncertain as to how the first session will be.
Shula reports that she has had a phone call from the Mediator the morning before because they each “have to speak to him separately” before the first session.
Attending a MIAM meeting, often days or weeks before the first mediation session, enables couples to then give proper thought and consideration to the mediation and to properly assess if it is for them. Perhaps this has happened.
Shula reports that the Mediator said, “we need to lay cards on the table and be completely honest, then the process is much smoother in the long run.”  She asks but how honest is honest?
Issues to bring to mediation
Shula asks if it would be helpful to bring in reasons why she believes the marriage broke down. She reflects that Alistair has been so desperate might it help him to understand? As Lilian wisely states: Alistair will accept your decision, he has to in the end, but he has to do it in his own speed and on his own terms and then you can both get on with the rest of your lives…
Mediation can include many issues one of which could be how best to proceed, if there is going to be a divorce, to discuss drafting of the petition perhaps and how the costs of the Divorce, the Court fee & the solicitors costs will be met.
In addition another very important part of honesty is that of full and frank financial disclosure- less easy perhaps to summarise in a short radio show, but let’s hope!
Get on with your own lives
A strength of mediation is that it can work at the pace that suits each couple. At Focus mediation we give couples all the tools and information at the MIAM that they need to be able to complete the financial disclosure themselves, and then to work through that in the mediation sessions.  Couples know what to expect and what the way forward could look like for them. We explain that the couples control the content of the mediation and the outcome, so that they can both get on with the rest of their lives.
Let’s hope Alistair and Shula can too.
Emma Bugg, Lawyer Mediator, mediates from our Hemel Hempstead & St Albans offices.

Call us on 01908 231132 or Email: for further information or to book a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM) (11 Locations; Milton Keynes, Bedford, Broxbourne, Hemel Hempstead, London, Northampton, Oxford, Potters Bar, St Albans, Harrow and Watford).

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