Parents can face many difficulties sorting out arrangements for their children when they’re separated. Sometimes the answer comes down to being able to talk through the issues in the right way. We look at a case study from National Family Mediation to show how one mum and dad got a solution that worked for everyone.
Louise wanted to improve contact between her former partner, Andrew, and their four year old, Maddy but was worried about creating conflict and possible legal costs. Looking on the internet, she found out about National Family Mediation and they let her know where her nearest service was.
Both first time parents, Louise and Andrew found mediation helped them talk to each other and to find a better way to share looking after Maddy. They talked about Louise’s worry that Andrew’s house wasn’t suitable for a 4-year old. They worked out that they would both be happy for Maddy to stay at Andrew’s Mum’s house instead, and they agreed for her to stay there when she visited. Louise describes how getting to an agreement took 3 simple steps:
1 – Get to the root of the problem
Before you try to find any answers, make sure you are open about what the issues are.
For us the problem was that although Andrew wanted overnight contact with his daughter, I was worried that where he was living wasn’t very child friendly.
2 – Be creative and ready to consider new options
Look at all the possibilities – you don’t have to do what you’ve always done.
We discussed all the options and worked out that it would work for everyone if Andrew took Maddy to his mothers’ house on alternate weekends.
3 – Remember that you can be flexible
If you can discuss and consider new options you can start to look at other ways to work together.
Following the success of our arrangement Andrew’s now looking at taking Maddy on holiday and we’re looking at how we can be more flexible during school holidays.
To find out more about how you can use mediation to help you visit www.nfm.org.uk/
Get access to more help and support for separated families at http://www.cmoptions.org./en/sortingoutseparation/index.asp