You have held the first meeting – just you, the parents, the daughter + the fiancée. You know you have an uphill battle. Still, you stick to the mediation blueprint + caucus with the parents.
They feel that their daughter is “being used”, and that the fiancee is declaring love/affection to get his hands on her intended ownership of the flat. You test their account with low key questions designed to elicit information – When did you meet the fiancée? What is his background? When did you learn of his marriage/maintenance responsibilities?
You are building a picture + learn, significantly, that the mother has an undisclosed illness prompting concerns for the father going forward, living alone. You “park” this + wonder if the parents are building a negative about the fiancée to keep the daughter close for the father’s long-term needs.
You explore the letter to transfer flat ownership to the daughter. It is estate planning by the parents + understandable but it falls short of a binding agreement. You also explore parent/daughter relationships but nothing emerges.
Next – you meet with the daughter + fiancee. You consider whether to meet with them separately but conclude it is too early + potentially disruptive but, again, you “park” it for future consideration. Your mind has to remain open. Timing is everything.
Episode 3 Tomorrow – Meeting the engaged couple.