11 October 2023

Parenting together again through mediation

By Marcella Verwoerd

Parents often approach me when they are at a complete loss as to how to work things out together. They have already talked and argued a lot.

But they are unable to reach any solution that both parents support. Mediation can help them parent together again.

The first meeting with the lawyer-mediator

At the mediation table, there is an opportunity to discuss issues calmly under the guidance of a professional mediator. The feedback I typically receive from my clients is that their emotions get in the way. It can be very difficult to resolve this on your own. These emotions could be about anything. They may be related to feelings associated with divorce, or feelings about past events that occurred within – or even outside – the family. It is precisely by talking about these emotions that some room to breathe is created. This enables us to explore arrangements that both parents support.

How to reach agreement on arrangements?

In my conversation with – I’ll call them Eric and Nina – it emerges that they cannot foresee any possibility of reaching mutually agreed child maintenance or care and contact arrangements. First, I asked about what could help them make a choice. The indicated that they would like an overview of all the options. I then drew up several scenarios in consultation with them. This made it much clearer to both of them which scenario would suit them best.

Ultimately, Eric and Nina managed to agree on all aspects of the parenting plan and the divorce settlement within a few conversations. Now they can continue their role as parents together.

The case of Eric and Nina shows that – even when joint consultation does not seem to work out – mediation can be a very good way to find a way forward together. Involving an independent mediator will make the conversation more streamlined. It creates scope for further consultation where parents can find a solution together. By reaching agreement on arrangements together, these arrangement are generally much more future-proof. It will prevent the involvement of the courts, as much as possible, even in the future.

In conclusion

Do you need help from a mediation specialist during your divorce? GMW advocaten employ divorce mediation specialists who will be happy to assist you. If you have further questions or would like to make an appointment, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Marcella Verwoerd

Marcella Verwoerd


Marcella Verwoerd is a specialist in the area of family law, whereby she particularly deals with international divorces and separations.

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