THE MEDIATOR MEETS THE WIFE – EPISODE 2

Written by Graham Perry

Graham Perry M.A. Cantab FCIArb Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer

2 May 2022

MEDIATION #231

You have conducted many matrimonial mediations + are familiar with the process. That said, you know that each mediation has its own character + momentum, depending as it does on the interplay of emotion on the one hand + hard fact on the other. You know you have to remain open-minded + avoid quick conclusions on the basis that you “have seen it all before”. You are a good listener + know when to hear an account + when to prod for a reaction.

You are meeting Juliet for the first time. She is a blank page to you + you let her draw the picture. You listen to her words, her choice of words in particular, + her state of mind. In a mediation, it is your experience that participants often commence in a composed state of mind but reveal inner thoughts and considerable emotions as the mediation develops. In this case, Juliet’s solicitor is muted – not always the case as some solicitors feel they have to protect the party as he/she provides their narrative.

That said, you sense that Juliet may be restrained because her solicitor is present. A surprise really because the solicitor will already have heard most of Juliet’s account. But you are prepared for everything + anything. You decide to keep quiet + allow Juliet to work that out – at least for the time being.

It becomes clear that Juliet, unsurprisingly, feels humiliated by Anthony’s conduct in having a relationship with Chrissy. There is bitterness + betrayal. You just listen. You know that if you are going to get Juliet’s ear you, first, have to listen. Silence is a valuable mediator skill. Allow Juliet to feel comfortable in your presence. Your time to nudge or comment comes later.

Experienced though you are, you find yourself drawing comparisons with the breakdown of your own marriage. Probably not the right thing to do but one of the reasons you are regarded as a quality matrimonial mediator is because “you have been there”. But…

EPISODE 3 JUNE 2 2022. FINANCES AND THE CHILDREN

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