In recent weeks this Column has focused on the application of Mediation to large scale social disputes eg; planning issues involving different groups within a local community and, more recently, the problems for the City of Hedgewood arising from the arrival of refugees from Ukraine. The current storyline will be Back to Basics + a focus on a topic which has engaged mediators in considerable numbers down the years – a matrimonial dispute.
Anthony, aged 41, is married to Juliet. They have two children, aged 14 and 12, who both attend schools in Haywards Heath where the family lives. Unknown to Juliet, Anthony has had a six month relationship with a single unmarried mother, Chrissy, who works in offices in the same building in the town centre. Anthony is a Dentist who administers his five dental practices. He enjoys a good income. Juliet senses things are not right. Anthony previously quite amorous to his wife has shown less interest + Juliet puts two + two together and concludes, correctly, there is a third person in the marriage.
The couple consult their respective solicitors who make a joint recommendation to appoint you to mediate the dispute. You are aged 52, female and now single. You were married but the marriage ended in divorce fourteen years back with no children. You live close to Haywards Heath and have a busy general mediation practice in the town. Fees are agreed and you take charge.
As is your style, you inform the lawyers that you will meet with the Petitioner first + the respondent second. You leave it to the parties to decide whether they want lawyers in attendance. Anthony + Juliet both decide to have their solicitor with them.
The first meeting is with Anthony. He is confident and clear about his plans. His relationship with Chrissy is secure. They have conducted matters in private and Anthony admits that he has had to engage in considerable deception to keep things from Juliet. Financially he is secure + can make provision for his wife + the two children. He would like to agree access to the children though he does not appear to be too focused on the issue.
1 JUNE 2022. EPISODE 2. THE MEDIATOR PROCEEDS.