Now your questions become more focused, less general. You have listened to the respective narratives. Now you need to concentrate your minds on the way forward. Your manner – as always – remains gentle, reasonable + fair. Non-threatening, non-challenging but more specific.
You are back with H, but the same approach applies to W, “How do you see things going forward…What do you have in mind as regards seeing the kids.”. To W – will you be thinking of resuming a career or looking for part-time work. To H – what do you have in mind for your accommodation?
All this is exploratory but you are beginning to assess key issues and (in your own mind only) possible solutions. But you need the picture. You need to know the agenda of H and W before you can assess where this might be leading. And you bring into your exchanges with H “how do you think this will be viewed by W” + vice-versa.
There may be a meeting of minds or there may be a series of obstacles. The parties may be at War or they may be looking for Peace. People, weddings, marriages are different. Each has its own dynamic and you have to hear + listen + think. Where could this go? What might I be able to suggest on finances, on visiting rights, on school meetings, on mutual friends, on accommodation and grandparents?
And remember you are guided by what might work. You are solution-oriented + not assessing the rights + wrongs of the parties’ respective behaviour. You are meditating. You are not judging.
Do you see the difference? Do you know how to separate your own thoughts about who has behaved well + who badly and, instead, focus minds + thoughts on getting something acceptable to both sides going forward? Your mindset matters. Are you clear in your mind on your task + how to get to solutions? Handle it well and you assist the parties. Handle it badly + you increase the aggravation. A mediator carries onerous responsibilities.