Whilst it is tempting to think that the process is complete once a separated couple have reached a settlement agreement, this is in fact the start of a new phase of life, as two separate families with children for whom you both have parental responsibility. These families will evolve, new relationships begin, step families develop, children grow up and have relationships of their own and, in time, children of their own. The original nuclear family may become more of a ‘patchwork’ family, and, years later, parents and adult children may wish to improve a relationship which has felt distant and difficult since divorce,
There may be major decisions to be made about schooling and higher education, also attendance at significant events to negotiate - weddings, birthdays, the arrival of grandchildren. People also change jobs, need to relocate to new areas, grow older, become ill….. Families are organic structures and we as individuals need to be able to adapt to new situations throughout our lives within these extended family structures.
In these wider family issues, the role of the mediator is to provide impartial help to all those involved to create the best outcomes for everyone, looking for solutions rather than seeking to apportion blame. Understanding the root of the difficulties and untangling some of the web of emotions can provide the opportunity to renegotiate relationships and enable family members to begin to communicate effectively once again.