Shuttle Mediation during divorce
In this interview with Family Mediator Wendy Still, she reveals how even couples who cannot bear to be in the same room as each other, can still access mediation using ‘shuttle mediation’:
“A number of clients are very nervous about mediation, not the process itself, but being in the same room as their former partner/wife/husband, after some time of not seeing them. There can also be issues of domestic violence which prevent the “normal” type of mediation being attempted.
There is an alternative – and that is shuttle mediation. This is where the clients come in separately to the office (thus avoid needing to wait in the reception together) and leave at staggered times too, and each client will have their own room. It is me that “shuttles” between the two offices – avoiding the need for the client’s to meet face to face.
I can say that this type of mediation is less successful than mediation where the clients meet face to face because it is me that has to pass messages to each of them rather than the clients having a conversation with each other. Of course, body language, facial expressions, etc play a huge part in communication and it is this that is missing from shuttle mediation. However, it certainly has its place and can be helpful for clients, for one reason or another, who simply would not attend the traditional style of mediation.
I did have one couple who started off mediation using shuttle mediation. They were rather “forced” to give mediation a try by the Court and shuttle mediation seemed to meet their initial needs. After two mediation sessions where the couple were apart, they did agree to move the mediation onto face to face mediation, resolved their issues and went out for coffee with each other after the face to face mediation took place. They were able to agree a consent order at the next court hearing, thus taking away the anxiety and stress that goes with continuing court proceedings and, of course, importantly, were able to agree with each other the future for their child rather than having a court dictate what would happen.
Shuttle mediation certainly has its place and therefore, even if traditional mediation is not for you, there are alternatives available which still achieve the same aim.”
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As divorce mediators we help reduce family conflict during the divorce process,
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