The mediation session started like a team meeting, with the mediator using a flip chart and pen to write headings of what we hoped to discuss. It felt possible then, that all would be well.
He addressed us individually, kept us on track. We spoke to him, rather than to each other. What a skilled man he was. He asked us to think about our motives for this, our reasons for that, directing us all the time to an inevitable compromise and conclusion. We ran over by 15 minutes, a conclusion was reached, we left alone, me via the stairs, husband in the lift.
As I walked out onto the street I could see no one that looked like husband ahead of me, I did not look behind. I was relieved. The street was cold and damp, and as I walked I felt a little numb. The stranger in the room, he knew my children so well, he was there father and he was fighting too.
It was over, to be reviewed in 6 months time from separation. Not ideal, but a start. The children will live mostly with me, and I have avoided them being split up, except for one night in every 2 weeks. That was the compromise, from 3 nights to 1. Next time he will want more.