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Mediation Isn't Always Helpful

  • OShea
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05 Feb 11 #249968 by OShea
Topic started by OShea
No question just some experience of it.

My x and I went to mediation over children. My x is a really quick thinker and comes over as very reasonable but beneath the surface ... and he was well able to charm the 'experienced' mediators. They gave me a very hard couple of weeks. In the end I wrote to them setting out the facts and to give them their due their attitude changed.

The kids were asked their views and it was put in writing - ages 16 and 11 at time. X didn't agree so back to court. Having spent about £800 I was back to court.

We go to court regularly. 3 different Judges none of whom agree with him but they give it 6 months and we're back. Guess it's money for old rope.

Before last hearing had the court mediator from hell. To be clear - x has access regularly. Eldest doesn't go much and 12 year old goes faithfully every other week whether he wants to or not but doesn't want to increase it and is reaching point where occasionally doesn't want to go. X not happy - mediator from hell wants it in blood on stone. Go before Judge who refuses to force him but this time suggests a wishes report. In the 3 long years it has taken to get divorced Judges never ordered on because kids' wishes clear.

If you are having a bad mediator you don't have to accept it. It seems they are forceful on X behalf when it comes to kids regardless of facts.

If you aren't being unreasonable let it go before the Judge who most likely will apply the law and some common sense.

In respect of finances 2 friends of mine went to mediation and came out with quite poor financial settlements. They will be significantly disadvantaged late in working lives and retirement because of it. Not advocating taking a partner to the cleaners but settlements should also be a fair reflection of the marriage and what one party gave up because the other wanted them to.

  • sun flower
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05 Feb 11 #249970 by sun flower
Reply from sun flower
Thank you for taking the time to post this. I have found it very useful.

  • rubytuesday
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05 Feb 11 #249973 by rubytuesday
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Its always interesting to hear others' experiences of mediation, and Im sorry you didnt find it helpful.

However, mediation is quite often successful - researchers have conducted more than 50 studies since 'divorce mediation' first appeared more than two decades ago. As one researcher puts it, the easiest research has already been done, i.e., comprehensive research on the outcomes of mediation. Enough data has been collected and enough analysis conducted to begin drawing clear conclusions about whether mediation works. Along several key axes, the answers are encouraging.
Settlement Rates

mediation produces agreement in 50 to 80 percent of cases. This is the case whether the mediation is court-referred or privately placed, whether mediation is voluntary or mandatory, and whether the mediating couples had a history of domestic violence or intense marital conflict.

There is some evidence that settlement rates of more than 85 percent suggest a more coercive style of mediation. This is particularly likely to be a factor if settlement rates are the only criterion for judging success of mediation. In general, single-issue mediations have a lower settlement rates than mediations involving multiple issues.

Overall Client Satisfaction

Couples who mediate the issues of their divorce are significantly more likely to be satisfied with the experience of their divorce when compared with couples who have finished an adversarial divorce. At final divorce, according to one study, 69 percent of mediation respondents were somewhat to very satisfied, compared to only 47 percent of adversarial men and women.

Interestingly, this preference for mediation was not uniform. On several issues, such as the warmth and sensitivity of the professional, adequacy of information, and satisfaction with child support, there were no statistically significant differences between the perceptions of mediating and adversarial couples.

On most issues, however, such as the perceived skill level of the professional, the creativity of the professional, the effectiveness of the professional in helping clients deal with anger, the professional's success avoiding imposing his or her viewpoint on the client, impact on the spousal relationship, satisfaction with the property settlement, satisfaction with arrangements around spousal support, satisfaction with parenting schedules and arrangements, and understanding children's needs and issues, mediating couples reported significantly higher levels of satisfaction.

Satisfaction Among Women

In general, the difference in the levels of satisfaction with mediation among men and women is not statistically significant. This is in contrast to adversarial divorce, where men are significantly more dissatisfied than women with the process and outcome.

There has been some discussion of findings that women are disadvantaged in mediation, but that initial research has been discredited. On the whole, women in mediation express greater satisfaction with both process and outcomes than do their litigation counterparts.

Effect on Terms of Agreement

In general, mediated agreements tend to be more comprehensive than settlements reached either voluntarily or involuntarily in adversarial court. In general, mediation results in more shared residence agreements compared to adversarial processes, but not necessarily a different parenting schedule. Researchers have not noted a statistical difference in the treatment of child support payments, although mediating fathers are more likely to agree to pay for "extras" for their children and are more likely to agree to help with college/university expenses.

Long-term Mental Health

Researchers agree that mediation does not seem to have any long-term statistically significant effect on the psychological adjustment of either divorcing couples or their children, whether the mediation is custody only or comprehensive.

Cost in Time and Money

Mediating couples tend to resolve the issues in their divorce in substantially less time than that taken by their counterparts in litigation. They also tend to spend significantly less money. In one study, couples in the adversarial sample reported spending 134% more (more than twice as much) for their divorces than those in the mediation sample. Most reports tend to find less dramatic differences, however, in the 30-40% range.

Compliance and Relitigation

Researchers generally report higher rates of compliance with mediated agreements, when compared to agreements reached in the adversarial process. This includes parenting schedules, payment of child support and spousal support, and completing the final division of property. Relitigation rates are low in general among mediated samples and are lower than in adversarial samples.

  • hawaythelads
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06 Feb 11 #249986 by hawaythelads
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Does it make someone a bad mediator just because they don't agree with you then?
From your other posts about name changes for the children too.It's obvious you have had an acrimonious divorce.Unless Your ex is a paedophile or abuses the children(I mean beating them,not the made up interpreted stuff)isn't he entitled to try and maintain a weekend contact every other weekend ???

  • OShea
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06 Feb 11 #250002 by OShea
Reply from OShea

Actually if you read post you will see they came down against me in beginning but changed their minds.

The mediator we had before court the last time didn't read the file and had had a charming conversation with x prior to court. Assumed it was all my fault.

3 Judges so far come down on my side. So maybe the problem isn't me?

Divorce acrimonious no doubt there.

Access is as stated and again as stated unopposed by me. The problem is attached to access arrangements not the access. As post about my experience of mediation I wasn't planning to go into that in this post.

Other people may have had better experiences than I did with mediation. Mine started off on the premise that I was being difficult about access which wasn't true and that eventually came out but only after £800+ was spent and I was villified to start off with.

I only have my own experience to draw on and what I seen happen with 2 other people.

I think mediation may work better if both parties are wanting to do their best. Perhaps in the case where a marriage was mutually ended. Certainly in mine and many other people's bad treatment leaves a bad taste.

In respect of my friends' finances their husbands were intent on getting away with paying as little as possible to the person who was doing all the work and that person had sacrificed a lot and continued to sacrifice a lot and as such will be disadvantaged severely. Had their husbands been fair (but both had new partners who wanted as much money for themselves as possible. Not a case that husbands couldn't afford it). My personal view (should you be interested is that if you can't afford it you keep your pants zipped and your knickers on.

Might not be your opinion but it is mine and if you want to change my mind you'll have to do better than that.

  • loli63
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06 Apr 11 #261788 by loli63
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I'm in mediation now and I could not speak highly enough of the sheer SKILL of my mediator.
We are dealing with someone with mental health issues, we mediated yesterday and he had a full blown narcissistic rage in front of the mediator :blink:
But my mediator is an expert defuser and has the skill to put forward ideas and make them as if they are his own.
She is an expert on domestic violence which is why I picked her and boy does it show, she has his number but approaches things in such a way that he feels unthreatened and like shes on his side.
Pure skill this woman, if anyone wants her details please PM me.

  • OShea
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06 Apr 11 #261809 by OShea
Reply from OShea
We didn't get to pick our mediator - that might have helped.

We had 2 women because at first session the mediatior had left the room and he came up close and shouted 'F*** Off' in my face.

However, my husband is a narcissist and managed to be utterly charming for the next 5 sessions and they were eating out of his hand. It cost me several hundred pounds.

Only when the boys gave their views to the mediators could there be no denying his behaviour.

Despite boys' views he then went to court at every opportunity.

mediation unfortunately is not binding.

Financial mediation meant various female friends lost out.

Not saying court is better mind.

Glad you had a better experience than me.

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