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Author Archives: Christopher Kelly

  1. The Experienced Mediator’s Christmas Blog

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    Christmas, that time of peace and goodwill is only a short time away and don’t I know it!


    Christmas is a frenetic time for most and certainly a time of high emotion.  It is always said in mediation that we can’t change what has happened but you can affect the future by your actions and behaviour.


    Every family’s expectations for Christmas is individual.  Different rules apply at Christmas in terms of family gatherings and traditions.  It is so important, as a Mediator to focus not on Christmas day itself but on the Christmas holidays as a whole incorporating New Year celebrations


    This year in particular, mediation offers a quick and practical help to parents in the mire of Christmas arrangement difficulties.  If one parent is entitled to legal aid then what ever the financial circumstances of the other, they will also be entitled to a free intake session and also a free first mediation appointment.  Most Christmas contact uncertainties can be mediated within that 1 hour session.


    I always use the flip chart and put up the calendar days of Christmas going back to the last contact prior to the Christmas holidays and spread out those dates through to the date the children go back to school.  This then gives each parent a visual sight of the number of days that there actually are and the increased options that there are for contact during this period.  If an agreement is reached I often get parents to actually sign the flip chart as a symbolic sign of their agreement (later of course confirmed in a short written agreement).


    No two families are alike but certainly this year more mediated agreements have been reached upon the basis that the children will spend Christmas Eve and overnight to about midday on Christmas day and then move to the other parent for Christmas lunch and presents.   This means that children see both their parents on the same day.  This of course is not always possible particularly if distances are involved and then the more traditional alternate Christmas days or even alternate Christmas’s and New Year Eve/days are the norm.


    Christmas is a time for children to truly enjoy the magic of Christmas.  It is right therefore that the mediation always needs to be child focused.  However, for all parents who are separated, it inevitably mean that sometime over the Christmas period that their children will not actually be with them.  This may be the first time in the children’s lives that this happens.  It is essential that the parent without the children on Christmas Day makes positive plans for themselves so that the children do not spend the day thinking about the lonely parent at home!


    The sooner Christmas arrangements can be finalised and the children told the better.  It means that everyone can make their arrangements and move forward to make the best of the festive season.


    Remember, children are not just for Christmas!

  2. The 2016 Christmas Experiences of the Experienced Mediator

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    Christmas is “the most wonderful time of the year”… for singers!

    I have just sung Handel’s “Messiah” and I am now on to “Vivaldi Gloria” followed by carols and more carols up to midnight on Christmas Eve.

    This year the strangest music I perform will be Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” at a Nine Lessons and Carol Service. Not the best performance of that song ever made I imagine!

    We are also forming an office choir on the last day in the office before the Christmas break to sing a few Christmas carols. It will definitely be an event to avoid!


    What has this got to do with Mediation?!

    Music somehow enables me to relax and stay calm during the most conflicted mediation sessions.  Calmness, reflection and active listening are all part of an experienced Mediator’s armoury.  To mediate Christmas dates does sometime need directive mediation and I have the advantage of experience in virtually every type/style of Christmas sharing issues.


    “Tis the season to be jolly” or is it “Bah Humbug”?

    With only a few weeks to go now before Christmas, life is hectic here.  I am working and am happy to work long hours to assist in those intractable Christmas children disputes where time has simply run out for Court decision.

    I would aim at a one session mediation which would include a MIAM assessment immediately prior to the start time.

    Remember if one parent is legally assisted – the first mediation session is free for both parents. If neither parent is eligible for legal aid funding, then the fee for Christmas mediation session is £196 inclusive of VAT per person per session.

    It is not an option to go to Court, so what is going to happen? Mediation is the answer.  You only have to speak to any member of my team, express the urgency and I will be here to mediate early, late or whenever suits.


    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    The only time I am definitely unavailable is the date of my own big Christmas musical extravaganza and I cannot end this blog other than to wish you all a very Merry Christmas by enclosing contact details to purchase tickets to sing along and listen to Christmas music with 1,500 others accompanied by 120 singers and a huge orchestra:

    Order/buy your tickets now!

    Tel:              Pat Clerk – 07540 087 220

    Email:          hsctickets@outlook.com

    Online:        www.ticketsource.co.uk/huttonshenfieldchoralsociety



    Richard Randall, Mediator

    Leonard Gray Mediation

    T:      01245 264 764

    E:      smccarthy@leonardgray.co.uk

    A:      72 -74 Duke Street Chelmsford Essex CM1 1JY

    (DX: 3309 Chelmsford 1)

    W:    leonardgraymediation.co.uk

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