Cressida Burnet Mediation

Mediation Cases

Case Study 1

Mediation CasesJohn and Amelia divorced a couple of years ago and have 2 children aged 7 and 10. The children live primarily with Amelia and they see their dad (John) every other weekend and for one night in the week and they spend half of their school holidays with their father. This has worked fairly well for the last 18 months and there is no court order in force as the parents agreed the contact. However Amelia now has a new partner and she wants her weekends with the children to tie in with when her new partner sees his children, this is coupled with the fact that the eldest child has just started Ballet which is on the day she normally sees her dad (Wednesday). There have been several changes to the contact arrangements and this has led to arguments between John and Amelia, in fact communication has broken down completely now and Amelia has issued an application to the court to settle their disagreement about contact. Both parties were recommended that they should seek the services of a specialist family mediator before the next court hearing.

In the mediation session it is agreed that in fact John does not mind if the contact pattern changes to fit in with Amelia’s new partner but just as long as he knows in advance, so, a contact calendar for the next 3 months is prepared. Both parents agree that the new ballet class is really important to their daughter, and it is agreed that John will see the younger child on the Wednesday and then pick up his eldest child from ballet and take both children out for supper.

John and Amelia found the arguing about contact and the thought of court proceedings both stressful and expensive. But, they also realise for the moment they seem unable to communicate, so they have agreed that they come back to mediation every 4 months to plan contact for the following quarter of the year and to discuss any other plans for the children.


Case Study 2

Mediation CasesLydia and Andrew have been married for 5 years and they are both working full time, they separated 6 months ago when Andrew left for another woman. They have their own 4 bedroom house together as well as various share investments and they each have their own pensions. There are no children. They have not seen or spoken to each other for 5 months but their solicitors have exchanged letters, they are both angry but realise that if they go to court it will end up costing them a lot of money. A friend suggests that they should sit down and try to sort it out with the help of a trained mediator.

The mediator understands the tensions that exist between the couple and the fact that Andrew has ‘moved’ on and wants to deal with things now and have a ‘quickie’ divorce. This needs to be considered with Lydia’s feelings of hurt, rejection and anger.

The mediator explains that mediation is not a therapy session and the process is trying to help couples to focus on the future. The mediator draws up a list of decisions that need to be made in relation to the finances and explains that the financial disclosure needs to take place, and, as with solicitors if it is found at a later date, after any court order, that full disclosure has not taken place the order can be challenged, there is a duty of full and frank financial disclosure within the mediation room, as within the court process.

Within the session other professionals are suggested who may be able to help with the emotional side of separating and divorcing, this is a great help to Lydia who is looking for some support. Financial disclosure takes place and options are considered, once Lydia and Andrew have discussed the options with the solicitors they reach an agreement. The mediators drafts 2 documents that are passed to their respective solicitors and converted into a consent order and presented to the court. This process has taken 4 sessions with the mediators and the whole process has cost within the region of £2500.00 between them.


Case Study 3

Mediation CasesNeil and Dawn have been married for 8 years and have 2 small children aged 4 and 6. They have decided to separate but are not ready to think about divorce yet. Neil agrees that he will move out of the family home and they will need to work out their finances both short term and long term. They have agreed that in principle Neil can see the children whenever he wants to. The children do not know that their parents are separating. Both parties want to use mediation as they want to make the decisions themselves about their finances and want to try to avoid resorting to the courts. Both Neil and Dawn work.

When the couple are in mediation they start by putting together an agenda of what they need to address. It is clear that the first point that needs to be dealt with is short term finances which will allow Neil to move out and rent a flat. They bring together all their financial information and go through it with the mediator. They manage to work out that Neil can rent a two bedroom flat near to the family home and they will need to use some of their joint savings to pay for this. It is agreed that this should continue for 6 months and at that point bigger decisions will need to be taken about the family home and looking at the other aspects of their financial situation.

Once they have agreed the short term arrangements the mediator helps them to put together a list of decisions that will need to be taken within that 6 month period, including thinking about what they want to do about their marriage – in the legal sense. They then discuss how they are going to tell the children about their separation. The mediator helps them to agree a ‘script’ where neither parent blames the other, but, not giving the children any false expectation about the situation. The couple talk about how often the children are going to see their father and with some reality checking from the mediator they agree that a routine could be better for the children and them, rather than ad hoc contact arrangements.

The couple leave the mediation, but, they return in a 4 months as they have decided to go ahead with their divorce. With the help of the mediator they get their financial disclosure sorted out and take a neat file together with a summary of their proposals to their respective solicitors, this, once they have each had legal advice is turned into a consent order.

Case Study 4

Mediation CasesGeorge and Catherine have been married for 27 years and have 3 children who have now left home. George is the chairman of a successful furniture company and is in his early 60’s and Catherine is a semi-professional photographer and is in her mid 50’s, when the children were younger she did not work. George has left the marriage for a younger colleague in his office.

There is a lot of anger and resentment, especially from Catherine as she also feels very humiliated. They have not seen each other for several months, apart from at their youngest son’s graduation when they did not speak. Both parties want the divorce to go through as quickly and painlessly as possible, but, Catherine is aware that George may be able to manipulate the situation as he is more financially astute than she is, however, she does not want to end up in court. The mediator, having met both Catherine and George individually can see that there may be a power imbalance that may not allow Catherine to have an ‘equal voice’ within the process and she will need a solicitor to negotiate on her behalf throughout the process. Therefore, she suggests that they have a session to simply establish what may be agreed (in relation to finance) and what may be in dispute, this is done with the specialist family mediator going through all the areas that the couple will need to address when dealing with the financial aspect of their divorce. The mediator writes to both parties summarising their discussions and suggests that they each seek legal advice on the areas in dispute. This has the effect of streamlining their use of their solicitors, thus keeping the cost down and enabling the divorce to proceed at a quicker pace.


Contact Us


To close, click on the tab
or anywhere outside of this box