A Case Study in Family Dispute Resolution

Support through separation

Negotiating and navigating separation can be a complex and difficult task, especially when there are children involved. The child-inclusive mediation service at RA Tas provides a safe space for children and parents to communicate and resolve issues when family situations change.

After 8 months of separation, Mary and Doug Jones were struggling to communicate effectively with one another and agree on the living arrangements of their children. Mary and Doug had been together for 24 years and separated for 8 months when they first came to RA Tas and began mediation.

Mary and Doug each had an intake appointment, prior to starting mediation. During this time, the practitioner discussed the involvement of a child-inclusive practitioner, allowing for their children Kaitlyn and Nigel, to take part in the mediation process – something both parents agreed was important.

For Kaitlyn, the changes in her family-life that had occurred since her parents separation were changes she was struggling to understand. So she sought psychological support from the counsellor at her school. The child-inclusive sessions demonstrated to both parents how much the conflict between them had been impacting upon their children. For Mary and Doug the wellbeing of their children was extremely important and the insight that the child-inclusive sessions gave, was something that helped inform their discussions moving forward.

Based on this, the parents reached a consensus to work on the way they communicated with one another and with their children. Both Mary and Doug were also referred to the Counselling After Separation Program, for additional individual support and skill development.

Prior to Kaitlyn and Nigel taking part in the child-inclusive sessions, both Mary and Doug attended two mediation sessions. This gave both parents the opportunity to discuss and clarify what each wanted, before involving the children in discussions. The outcome of these sessions included the development of a parenting plan.

For this family, the process of mediation was significant. After mediation, Mary and Doug showed an increased awareness of how their behaviour affects their children and the importance of effective communication.

This case highlights the power of seeking support when working through a separation and the outcomes that can be achieved by taking part in mediation.

(The names of the clients in this case study have been changed so to protect the privacy of our clients)