Tag Archives: London Mediation

What has Love to do with family breakdown?

Everything, says Mary at Focus Mediation. First, lets us look at the meaning of Love, as expressed by Louis de Bernières in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin:

“Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.

You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.

Because this is what love is.

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.

Love 2

That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.

Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and
this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other
underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their
branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.”

As a mediator I see the anger and pain caused when couples are separating their roots. Everyone has roots. If you are in a relationship, you will be entwined to some degree. Even if emotionally you have grown apart, there are still the family ties, the social, financial bonds and your home. Separating is hard, and even when it is right for you – but especially if you don’t want to end the relationship, it needs to be done with sensitivity and care. Teasing the roots apart carefully, mindfully and with the help of a mediator, is faster, more affordable – and vitally causes far less damage to people and their children, than chain-sawing away via the courts or the tussles of positional bargaining through lawyers. Think about it.

Controllers – Do They Come in Pairs?

Often in mediation we see the couple separately for their first meetings. This gives people an opportunity to be very frank and open about their situation. Often one will say “S/he’s a controller, and I’m unsure I can cope with mediation!” Then the other person comes and says the same. What might be happening? Each clearly feels they’re not getting their way enough. They have come to resent and oppose the control or influence involved in being part of a couple. Whether this is reasonable or unreasonable as a matter of opinion.

So for example, if Harry went out alone to the pub every night, their partner might object, then Harry might complain of being controlled, but who would be at fault?

sep

What if John complained Sally spent too much money on shoes and the family had a huge debts and Sally had 1000 pairs of shoes? Sally might say John was controlling, if he tried to stop Sally buying shoes, but would his actions be inappropriate and who would be at fault?

These exchanges are the overt text, the surface conversation. What is really going on is what I call the subtext and it is the subtext that is so interesting. It is a matter of opinion whether there are inappropriate control issues as opposed to an expectation of a reasonable conversation about something important with the person with whom you share your life. A conversation might be initiated by the so called controller in the hope of influencing the other person to change behaviour which they feel is threatening the foundation of the relationship. Whether this attempt to influence or control is reasonable or unreasonable is depends on your point of view. If the relationship is strong these exchanges are productive, useful and keep the relationship on a sound footing. If the relationship is struggling, the exchanges may become aggressive, negative, recriminatory or  accusatory. Things may have gone too far for the couple to put things right, however much talking they do. Perhaps reasonable exchanges about what is fair and right in a relationship needed to be had years before, before the situation became irretrievable. So influencing your partner through rational discussion is vital to a healthy relationship. This is appropriate and to be expected.

However, it is easy to think of situations where one person is seeking to control the other inappropriately. Examples might be trying to prevent them seeing their friends and family, to cut them off from other relationships, force them to eat, drink or dress in a certain way, or control their conversation, thoughts or beliefs. These would be issues where controlling behaviour would be inappropriate and usually wrong. So accusations of control need exploration and not just to be accepted at face value. We need to unpick the behaviour behind the assertions and ask what is really going on.

So people should change their understanding of the word ‘Control’ and dig deeper. They should think about what is really being asked, is it a reasonable or unreasonable request?

At the point where the so called controller says, in answer to a question about a request: “OK, it doesn’t matter, it’s not important.” there are two possibilities:

The first is just that it’s not important

the second is in getting close to terminal – they giving up on both on their partner and the relationship, it doesn’t matter any more. Then they may well find themselves in family mediation, quite possibly with me, saying “My ex is a controller . . . ”

For more information go to http://www.focus-mediation.co.uk

London Schools and Divorce in London

When a couple separate there are many issues to resolve. Most couples will want to provide as much stability as possible for their children at this uncertain time. One of the biggest problems in London is schools and catchment areas.

Separating in London can present additional problems compared to most other areas of the UK in terms of schooling, especially if the only option is to sell the family home. Down-sizing to another house could mean children being uprooted from schools and friends at a time when they most need their support network outside the home.

This year the number of 4 year old children applying for school places in London exceeded 100,000 for the first time. One in five children missed out on their chosen first place.

lodon school

The pan-London admission board received a record 102,441 applications for primary school places, an increase of three per cent last year.

The Evening Standard reported in November 2014 that “81 per cent received their first preference school, 92 per cent were offered one of their top three and 95 per cent one of their top six school choices”

The boroughs with the lowest numbers of children getting their first preference school were Wandsworth and Kensington and Chelsea, at 73 per cent and 61 per cent respectively.

Parents in Newham were most likely to get their first preference school, with 90 per cent being successful. In Barking and Dagenham and Havering 89 per cent of parents got their first preference school.”

It is common to read of situations where families living in the same street in London fail to get a school place in local popular schools, as they are as little as 500m outside the catchment area. This can be randomly unfair.

Focus London mediators will help you think through the options with regard to your family home and consider the implications for your children and their schools. In mediation you can consider these problems together and with our help work out which options are realistic, which provide the best outcomes for you and your children.

For more information email: info@focus-mediation.co.uk

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