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Case studies

All names have been changed

Brian and Sally…a positive outcome for the children

Brian and Sally came to see us. They were still living in the same house. Sally wanted to stay in the family home with their two children – 6 year old Sam and 8 year old Becky – but Brian was refusing to move out.

Brian said he was terrified of losing the children, and that he wanted the children living with him half the time, and did not want to be a ‘Saturday parent’.

Sally said that she had heard from her friends that it was normal for fathers to have contact with their children every other weekend. Neither wanted to pay the cost of going to court, and both knew their children were becoming distressed by the conflict at home.

In mediation, the couple made a record of their working hours. They were able to work out ways the children could spend time with each of them that fitted in with their working schedule.

The reality was that, because of his work commitments, Brian could not have the children 50% of the time but we were able to help them move away from arguments in principle and look at what was possible for both of them. This also meant that Brian was prepared to move out of the family home, immediately reducing the conflict which the children had been witnessing on a daily basis.

Brian and Sally continued to see us for mediation to work out a financial settlement and reported that the arrangements for the children were going well and the children were far more settled and happy.

Linda and Tom…settling the finances

Linda and Tom had been married for nine years and when they came to see us they had been separated for a year. During that time they had both been to solicitors and felt in despair. They had spent a fortune, sorted nothing out and were more in conflict with each other than ever. They could not agree how to divide their home and possessions. A friend suggested they try mediation.

Tom believed that, because Linda had not worked during the marriage, she was entitled to very little. Linda said that she had been at home with the children and had supported Tom’s career so that he had advanced quickly and so she was entitled to a substantial share of their assets.

During mediation we were able to have a constructive discussion focusing on options that seemed fair but also viable for both of them. Linda said she found the process very empowering; for the first time she felt involved in the family finances and had an understanding of the financial situation.

In the end the settlement reached was higher than Tom had initially proposed, but less than Linda had said she would settle for. They could both see that the proposals ultimately agreed were ones that meant they could both move forward without any more argument – which was beneficial for them and their children.

Linda said afterwards “For the first time I felt like I had the power to run my life”.

Sam…raising disability awareness

Sam is blind and was going on a train journey. An announcement was made saying that all passengers were expected to familiarise themselves with the safety notices. Sam requested a Braille version of the notices but found that none were available.

Sam did not want to go to court but felt that the rail company should comply with its obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act. The rail company agreed to attend mediation.

A very constructive mediation meeting took place and the rail company agreed that a Braille leaflet should be made available on all train journeys. Positively, it was also agreed that all staff working on the trains would receive Disability Awareness Training.

Sam was happy as he felt he achieved an outcome he might not have achieved in court. The rail company were happy as they could see the advantage to them of having well trained staff and they had not incurred the expense of going to court.

David and Jack…improving service and business

David owned a hotel and sent all his laundry out to be cleaned by Jack who owned a laundry. Over a number of months David had been concerned that laundry was not being returned and on occasions the wrong items were returned.

He issued a claim in the county court. The district judge adjourned proceedings so they could try mediation. David was initially reluctant because he felt angry about what had happened. By having a face to face discussion with an impartial mediator they were able to work out that the cause of the problem was a relatively new but incompetent employee of Jack’s.

In mediation Jack agreed that he would give his employee a warning and some additional training, that he would do three jobs for David at no charge, and they would have a further discussion to check everything was working well in a month’s time.

They both went away pleased as they were able to maintain a business relationship and they had both obtained a satisfactory outcome, and not one that a court would have ordered.

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