Co-mediation: dual support from a lawyer and family consultant
Divorcing couples frequently need support through their separation and many turn to friends, family and their GP. In the mediation process itself a family consultant can be brought in as a co-mediator to help with emotional and behavioural issues.
Family mediators work with separating couples to help them resolve issues relating to their finances and/or children. They help to plan around issues such as the living arrangements, paying the outgoings and what and how the children will be told. As a mediator, I find some clients may benefit from more support during the process and that’s where Karen Morley, a family consultant, at Better Life Coaching comes in. We co-mediate together regularly, and in this blog we look at the pivotal role Karen can play during the mediation.
"I find that the great benefit of Sarah and I co-mediating is that between us we can cover all the issues which the clients present. For instance, when working alone there are legalities that I have to tell the clients I am not qualified and trained to deal with. I am sure that the same problem applies when legal mediators are working individually and feel they do not have the training or skills to work with the behavioural, communication and emotional issues our clients have. There are many examples of this situation so I will just name a few:
- The best way for parents to explain and emotionally support their children through the separation; the words, actions and techniques that will be the most helpful.
- When there is a lack of communication between the clients. So often this is a major factor in the breakdown of relationships. How to build good communication and understanding is a part of the training a family consultant has.
- How to build confidence in a client who feels too nervous to talk or even be in the same room as their partner.
- To help any client who feels an emotional attachment or reaction to any financial issues involved, such as the former matrimonial home or pensions.
Having a family consultant co-mediating means the confidence in the mediation process is strengthened in our clients as they feel that any issues they may have can be dealt with there and then. If we suggest that they see either professional separately the time which elapses and the change of venue may well add to the problem. Also seeing two professionals support each other makes the clients feel very supported and safe.
I feel that this method of working promotes a more successful process. From the viewpoint of one of the professionals I also feel co-mediating with Sarah makes the whole experience a more pleasant and comfortable one for me."