Case Studies

Kent Family Mediation Case Studies

Family mediation can help people in a number of different situations; each individual case is assessed and dealt with by Kent Family Mediation Service Family Mediators in a confidential, impartial, empathetic, and professional way. Below are a few examples of mediation that Kent Family Mediation Service Family Mediators have dealt with. The names that are used in these family mediation cases are purely fictitious.

Jess and Jamie came to mediation to discuss the arrangements for their daughter, Laura, aged 3, and to reach a financial settlement in their divorce proceedings. They had been married for eight years and separated for five months. Jamie was living with his parents and Jess was in the former family home with Laura.

They were apprehensive about coming to mediation, not knowing what to expect and because communication between them had become very tense since their separation, which had come as a shock to Jess. In the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting I spoke to them separately initially and checked that they would each feel safe in mediation. I explained what mediation is and how it works, answered their questions and discussed alternatives to mediation too, aiming to reassure them and put them at ease. Jess and Jamie described their situation and the matters they needed to resolve. Their agenda for mediation covered:
1.Reaching a financial settlement, particularly regarding the house, 
2.Arrangements for contact between Jamie and Laura, including dropping her off and collecting her
3.Arrangements for holidays, birthdays and Christmas
4.Communication and sharing information concerning Laura between Jess and Jamie in their role as parents
Jess and Jamie decided that their priority for the first meeting was to discuss the arrangements for Laura. They had not yet put together all their financial information so it was agreed that they would leave discussion of finances until the next meeting when they would be able to exchange all their financial information. We discussed the need for disclosure and the purpose, namely to enable both to have complete and up to date information from one another which they understand before they make lasting financial decisions. Once they were clear about what they would need to provide and what advice and information they would need to obtain for next time, we discussed the arrangements for Laura.
 Arrangements for contact, days and times, were agreed relatively easily around a discussion of both parents’ working patterns and Laura’s routines and needs, avoiding long stretches with one parent, and without the other, and providing a plan that was regular and reliable but could be flexible if necessary. The key seemed to be that they would keep one another informed, and give notice, if they were running late or needed to change the arrangement.
Discussion regarding the arrangements for dropping off and collecting Laura was more charged. Jamie, who was currently doing the collecting and dropping off, felt that it would be fair to share the transport; Jess agreed but expressed how uncomfortable she found it coming to the home of her in-laws now she no longer felt part of the family. They agreed that they would share the transport arrangements once Jamie had moved into his own place.
Jess and Jamie both wanted to be able to support Laura in her education and attend her health appointments together. Jamie feared being left out of meetings and discussions and wished to be kept more informed about Laura’s school life and health matters and be more involved in her life. Jess felt weighed down with responsibility; she felt she carried this alone because Jamie didn’t ask how Laura was, or how she was doing at school, and she thought he didn’t care. They agreed to share information about appointments and meetings, to attend together where possible, and to communicate about any matters concerning Laura’s well-being at handover so that they could better support her together.
Jamie and Jess decided that Laura should see both parents on her birthday, and that they would make the most of their time off work so that holidays would be shared equally between them and the need for childcare reduced. They agreed that this would require advance planning and sharing information about their plans. There was some discussion about travelling abroad with Laura, both parents feeling wary about this, but each agreed that they would wish her to have the opportunity to go on holiday abroad with the other parent next summer, provided that they had contact and travel details and dates in advance and a phone call or text on arrival. 
Jamie and Jess discussed various ways of fairly sharing time with Laura over Christmas and agreed that Laura would be with Jess until 5pm on Christmas Eve, then with Jamie until 5pm on Christmas day, then with Jess until Boxing Day, and that they would alternate this arrangement in subsequent years.
Over the second and third meetings, the figures for Jamie and Jess’s assets, liabilities and pensions, income and expenditure were all gathered and the evidence exchanged between them. 
They deducted mortgage and sale costs, and worked on the amount equity in the family home, which was held in their joint names.  Jamie and Jess decided that the house should be sold as it was large with a big garden to maintain.   They each wished to buy a 2 bed house so that Laura would have a home with each of them, living in the same area, near school, friends and family to provide consistency and continuity for her. 
Jamie and Jess agreed to share the equity in the ratio: 70% to Jess and 30% to Jamie.   They decided to share the equity in this way to enable them to afford to buy properties of similar value and in recognition of the fact that Laura would be with Jess the majority of the time and that Jess’s income and earning capacity were less than Jamie’s. They had both researched the cost of suitable houses.  With the mortgage that each could afford to take out, this gave them equal purchasing power. 
Jess and Jamie decided that they would keep their own small debts and savings. They also decided to keep their own pensions as these were very small.
Jamie and Jess agreed that Jamie would pay Jess child support calculated according to the Child Maintenance Service guidelines until Laura reached 18 or completed full-time secondary education, and that they would share certain extra costs, such as for school trips. 
Jess and Jamie discussed spousal support and agreed that nominal spousal support of £1pa would be paid until Laura reached 18 years or finished full-time secondary education.

‘David’ had made a referral to family mediation as he had two daughters who both lived with their Mother ‘Sue’. David had only seen the children a couple of times since he and Sue had separated a year ago. He was very anxious to make contact with both girls and to start seeing them again on a regular basis.


Kent Family Mediation contacted Sue, who agreed that family mediation might be a good way forward.


Both David and Sue attended MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings) with a Kent Family Mediation Service Family Mediator, after which they both agreed to participate in family mediation.


During discussions between the Family Mediator and both Sue and David in family mediation, it became clear that although Sue understood that David would like to see the girls, she was worried that he would eventually let them down. She explained that in the past when David had promised the girls that he would collect them and take them out, he had called to let them down at the last minute. She went on to point out that both girls had been very upset and it had taken her a long time to console them.


David said that he understood why the girls would have been upset and that he was sorry that he had to let them down at the last minute. He explained that he had taken a new job, which had meant that he had been on call to work on the days that he had planned to see the children. He was sorry that he had disappointed them, but he pointed out that he had needed the money and did not want to mess his new employers about when he had only just started working for them.


It was agreed by both Sue and David during the family mediation session that they needed to rebuild trust between not only David and Sue, but also between David and the children. The Family Mediator suggested that David give Sue a list of his work diary for the next month, noting on them the times when he would be ‘on call’. After discussions, a number of dates were agreed between David and Sue to take place at times when David was not on call and when he would be able to see the girls.  David agreed that he would not offer to go on call on the days that he would be seeing the children.


It was also agreed that David would ring the girls once a week on a Wednesday evening to see how they were.


A further family mediation session was booked for David and Sue to return to family mediation in order to discuss with the Family Mediator how things had gone, with a view to setting up a regular pattern of contact between David and the children.

The Citizens Advice Bureau referred Claire and Darren to family mediation after Claire had been to see them to talk through her financial worries. Claire and Darren were married, with no children and despite them having both undergone marriage guidance counselling in an attempt to save their marriage, they had made the decision to separate.


When Claire and Darren met with the Kent Family Mediator, they were both very apprehensive about how the finances were going to be dealt with and how this would affect each of them. Both Darren and Claire were in full time work, but on low incomes.


The Family Mediator assessed each mediation client as being eligible to claim Legal Aid, which meant that neither Darren or Claire, would have to worry about paying for the family mediation and if either of them were to instruct a Family Solicitor during the family mediation process, any advice that the Family Solicitor gave to them in relation to their property and finances, would be covered under their Legal Aid Certificate and would not have to be paid back, even if they reached a financial settlement during family mediation.


In the first family mediation session, the Kent Family Service Mediator established what Claire and Darren’s assets and liabilities (debts) were, before asking them to identify what they would each like in terms of an outcome. Darren said that he wanted an outcome that was fair to both of them. Claire said that she wanted the same thing and for things to remain as amicable as possible between them.


The Family Mediator explained to Claire and Darren that they would need at least two more family mediation sessions and gave them a list of things to bring in to the next family mediation session, including three valuations of the house, cars, bank statements, savings, shares or ISA’s, a mortgage redemption figure and documents to verify the outstanding balance on any debts.


The Family Mediator also asked Darren and Claire to complete an Income and Outgoings document; on a current and future focused basis, which would enable the Family Mediator to work out how much money they each currently had to live on, after the bills were paid and how much they thought they would be earning and paying on bills in the future. The Family Mediator also asked them to look at alternative affordable rented or purchased accommodation and what the monthly costs for this would be.


When the couple returned to family mediation, the Family Mediator spent time looking at both Claire and Darren’s assets and liabilities (debts), disposable incomes and discussing the various options which were open to both of them. The Family Mediator suggested that after the family mediation session, they reflected on the things that had been discussed and to give consideration as to what they each thought to be a fair and affordable division of the assets, based on how they thought they could and wanted to live in the future.


During the couple’s final family mediation session, a proposal was made that both Claire and Darren were happy with. The Family Mediator then put this agreement into a Draft Memorandum of Understanding. Claire, Darren and the Family Mediator signed this and a final version was prepared, which was forwarded onto one of their Family Solicitors. The Family Solicitor then made this into a Consent Order and this was endorsed by a Family Court Judge as being Legally Binding.

Many of our mediation clients have successfully resolved their issues using family mediation. Make a referral for family mediation, or find out more about how family mediation can help the divorce and separation process by ringing Kent Family Mediation’s main office on 01795 410457 and pressing option no 1.

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