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Parental Responsibility

Mediation is a forward looking process but it is sometimes useful to try and identify how things have developed to see if there has been a misunderstanding. In most family breakdowns the element of mistrust can often blow things out of proportion and it is difficult to regain confidence in each other.

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Mr J & Miss R had not been married but had a daughter (A) together who was now aged 5. There had been court proceedings to sort out the father’s Parental Responsibility for A and this had also set J’s contact arrangements out. A was not happy about moving between her parents and R stopped the contact as she was worried about A. Mediation was suggested as a way of trying to resolve things before they went back to court, both having already experienced the court process and been unhappy at the outcome.

Mediation is a forward looking process but it is sometimes useful to try and identify how things have developed to see if there has been a misunderstanding. In most family breakdowns the element of mistrust can often blow things out of proportion and it is difficult to regain confidence in each other.

In this case we spent several sessions looking at the things that had led them to seek help. Refreshingly they were both able to acknowledge that they felt the relationship was over and the right decision had been made to separate. However there had been a situation where J had been recommended by the School to apply for Parental Responsibility so that he could go to school events. J approached R about this, she was ill and did not reply and he took this as her unwillingness to co-operate, so R found herself unexpectedly in court.

There had then been some other misunderstandings that meant that neither trusted the other and their communication had broken down completely in a situation where they had previously worked together very well at organising childcare arrangements.

When we took the time to find out what had “gone wrong” they could start to see each other’s point of view. While it was not the perfect solution they were then able to make some progress towards understanding each other and then start to focus on their daughter.

 

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