Q. My partner and I separated in the summer after she found out I’d been sleeping with prostitutes. She didn’t want anything to do with me and she didn’t want me to see the kids either. I know what I did was wrong but she had been very cold towards me since the birth of our second child and I needed some physical comfort.
At first I didn’t push her about seeing the kids as I was so ashamed, but I really miss them and desperately want to see them. I know my partner and I won’t get back together, but I’ve been having counselling to get my head straight and someone there suggested I should try mediation to see if I can at least communicate with her about seeing the kids. What is mediation and how might it help?
A. Since April 2014 it has been mandatory for anyone wishing to make an application to the family Court to first attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).
Mediation is a process whereby you and your former partner can sit down with a professional, independent and impartial Solicitor Mediator to discuss any issues that may need resolving following separation. As well as being a very effective way of resolving disputes it can also reduce legal expenses and animosity between separating couples.
Mediation is a voluntary process, however, and requires the willingness of both parties to come to terms and reach settlement about issues that very often can cause emotions to run high. Information shared with the mediator is treated as confidential and most mediators try to effect arrangements that suit any relevant children and the parties. Any proposed settlement can be drawn up into a legally binding document by Solicitors and then be lodged with the Court.