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Some parents are at odds as to why after all of the love and nurturing that goes on in the proverbial nest is lost when their children decide to gamble with their mental health.

This can happen so simply and without parental knowledge or at least the strength to acknowledge and to prevent their children interacting with drug dealers.

As children, we were told by everyone “Do not talk to strangers”.  There were dangers then and it was easier for parents to protect their children.  They had a better idea of what they were protecting their children from and our parents seemed to be tough.

The situation now has moved to “Out of control”.

Parents often have little idea of what their children are looking at and who they can turn to when they are learning about stuff that they know isn’t what their parents want them to find out about.  Just to be grown up and to be able to converse with these forces puts them ahead of the others.

So they believe.

It appears to be worse for children whose parents have indulged them and who have a bit more money to spend and to offer children additional opportunities.  They soon become targets for those who have not had the same opportunities.  There may even be evil intent.

Young teenage boys have always wanted to be tough but somehow the message has to be given that there is nothing tough about a drug addict or the person who has no boundaries in regard to what they are drinking and   what they smoke, or worse.   Some of the products available through pushers are irretrievably dangerous.

Even if they eventually manage to kick an addiction they can be scarred for the rest of their lives. They won’t have any friends then.

Sometimes it is the happiest and most beautiful young people who are affected and who become vulnerable to the practices of drug taking which is so often akin to drinking drinks that don’t appear to contain much alcohol.

I am sure that most young boys and girls see their parents as wishing to spoil their fun.  It takes a strong family to help guide children through these dangerous and unprotected times.  It can break families. There is no blame attached to this because family structures have changed. Parents are both expected to work in order to bring in much needed cash for the benefit of the family.

However, parents must not be naive when it comes to checking up who their children are in contact with.   This does not mean they do not love and it does not amount to disrespecting your child.

Younger children, teenagers and kids in their 20s who want to be accepted and noticed  by their peer group, cannot have any understanding of how the innocent acceptance of a “joint” from a so called friend  can start a downward cycle that may affect them for the rest of their life.

The offer to simply try a drug when under the influence of a few drinks may come from a source with intent to make that young person a target to influence them.  Once hooked, it becomes easy to impose harder drugs on the unsuspecting youngster.

Parents, by that time, no longer have the ability to communicate with their son or daughter because they hear lies and assurances that are fragile at the very least, in terms of truth.    It is too late by then especially if your son or daughter has become impressed by the initial ease of life when experimenting.

Your child may even be targeted by an adult who, maybe, they have never even met, and who wants to adopt a younger friend because of their own shortcomings with their own peer group.  That person will not have the slightest hesitation of imposing a drug culture on your child especially if there are rich pickings to be enjoyed by future supply as most drugs are totally addictive.

All children need to be educated in the negative aspects of using drugs.  People seem to want to make changes to themselves all of the time.  This again is due to the strength of media targeting. It is so easy to get in to a youngster’s head and to make them feel inadequate if they remain as they are. Such intentions to change another are generally fuelled by jealousy and hatred.

This culture may also bring down a family.  Parents start to feel guilty for not approaching their children sooner.  There may even be a breakdown in communication between the parents, especially where there is a separation.  At the time, it sounds so negative and unnecessary.   Next, they are out of control and when dealing with a young adult, you will find there is no one out there to help, and, especially, from the person who you are actually trying to help.  Zero acknowledgement as the paranoia has already set in.

The impact of drug abuse also affects relationships as many who use strong drugs have little self control and are subject to mood swings.  They simply cannot engage. Children lose out all of the time.  Realistic help, alongside professional advice, needs to be obtained in order to actively help young people before it is too late for themselves to make changes.

The mental health and psychiatry services offered under the NHS cannot possibly meet the needs of all.   If you are able to get treatment, the difficulty is maintaining compliance with the effective anti psychotic and other types of medication available.

We are witnessing sad and lonely people walking around the streets who have lost the ability to converse and enjoy simple warm social conversation. They are unable to engage in close relationships or to parent children themselves due to their own mental health issues. Many suffer from psychosis, paranoia and schizophrenia. This is terrifying and hard to acknowledge once it takes a hold and a person remains unmedicated.

They do not see the need for medication themselves and most people turn a blind eye.    This is not surprising as an unmedicated person who has suffered the side effects of drug taking will not be an attractive prospect to sit and chat to.   There needs to be help to encourage treatment for these poor youngsters who risk being lost forever because they have gone beyond listening or to acceding to the good wishes of their family, nor from having a role in society.

We hear of the son or daughter who has chosen to stop engaging in prescribed medication and who lives in a world of delusion and paranoia.  He or she comes back from time to time but the condition gets worse enhanced by drinking.

What happens next?

Families and friends lose any influence or the will to help because of the monstrous ill effects of those early joints smoked on the walk home from school. This is often done to impress and then moves on to a completely new league which few manage to escape from.

The friends, who once thought it was cool to laugh, move on with their lives and pay no regard to what happened to their friend who got caught up in drugs, for whatever reason.

Apologies for being so negative but as a family mediator, I hear about the lonely path for a mother and father who actually still love their son or daughter but appear powerless to do anything other than offer love which is invariably thrown back or simply frozen out.

If this story affects you and you feel that family mediation can help you to communicate regarding a dispute with a close family member further to a marriage break up or separation, please contact:

Tricia Muzalewski, FMCA and Law Society Accredited Mediator at Wynn Mediation 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff on Sea, Essex SS0 9HW.

Contact details:


Tel: 01702 341241

PMM/ August 2018



Britain’s Biggest Divorce Case and London retains the reputation of the Divorce Centre of the World

A Russian Billionaire’s ex-wife’s divorce award of £453m is soon to be  contested in the Court of Appeal. This follows the wife’s own appeal  on the basis  of her claim that she has  not received a penny of the award granted by the Judge at first instance in  2016.

Farkhad Akhmedov, is described as being close to the Kremlin. He is reported by the Times to have owned property and an art collection worth more than £90 million and a £350,000 Aston Martin. He has bought his children flats costing £29 million and has  £7.2million in a London development, yacht, plane and helicopter etc….. He  was ordered to pay his wife Tatiana Akhmedova  41.5 %  of his immense wealth following  a High Court hearing  in London in 2016. This was less than she believed she was entitled to. She was seeking half of his fortune.

Mr Akhmedov,  age 62,   earned his wealth  from his work  as a gas and oil tycoon.  He is described in the Times as a close friend of Roman Bramovich, owner of Chelsea football club and contact of President Putin.  His wife is in her mid 40’s.

They have two sons who have been brought up by Mrs Akhmedov . The family  have been living in London since 1993. There was no nanny on the scene neither in their £39 million Surrey mansion nor in their £27.8 million holiday home.  Mrs Akhmedov  cared for the children and was awarded her 41.5% of her husband’s wealth on the basis of her “equal contributions to the welfare of  the family” during their 20-year marriage.  The wife is represented by her lawyer, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia.

The husband’s team of lawyers raised the argument that Mr Akhmedov made special or stellar contributions to the fortunes of the marriage. Now he has been described by his team as the victim of “manifestly unjust” favouritism towards his ex-spouse by the divorce courts.  The original court judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave,  is accused of being unrestrained in favouring the wife’s position.

There were some interesting twists and turns in the original proceedings leading to the judgement following various reported attempts on the part of the husband to avoid his ex wife’s claim.

It must have cost a fortune and now they are back for round 2.

There is nothing to indicate changing  the London Law Court’s reputation as   the world’s favourite jurisdiction for expensive divorce cases.  It is still described the   Divorce Centre of the world.    We shall have to see if this case changes the ranking as opposed to other jurisdictions  and whether the husband is successful in his appeal.  Perhaps they should have tried mediation to avoid publicity and obvious very high costs to continue their post marital dispute.

Mediation is still available to all potential litigants who are sensible and still able to be rational about their situation.   It is there for those who value the hard work in earning income and capital during a marriage and also the work involved in  bringing up a family and being savvy as to how the law deals with such cases, however much money and assets are in dispute.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski ,  Law Society Accredited family mediator at

Wynn Mediation, 612 – 614 London Road, Westcliff On Sea, Essex SS0 9HW   Tel: 01702 341241. Email:

PMM                                                                                                                                                     February 2018


Greg Hurst, Social Affairs Editor, writing for the Times wrote

“Marry in haste, repent at leisure, the old saying goes. It turns out that the same applies to divorce.”

Many people seek quickie divorces and financial settlements to get them through the ignominious situations they find themselves in after a period of infidelity.  Many start to regret their actions and wish to try and make good with the ex wife or husband by offering ridiculously high divorce settlements  in  order to beat the revengeful  behaviour of an ex spouse who feels wronged and who wishes to punish.

I continue to be amazed by the lengths to which people will extend themselves to avoid being hung drawn and quartered by the cruel judgements dished out by some families and friends and not at least, the  ex spouse. Some may even act in terror and this may affect their sensibilities in arriving at a financial settlement.

It gets worse.  Some people even rush into new marriages and seem to forget the longer term implications with regard to children and extended family reactions. Many even seek refuge in a new marriage  which is unlikely to succeed because one is simply not at ones best when they are just leaving one marriage to go into another.  Frying pan and fire come to mind.

We seem to seek safety and refuge when times are lonely and the feeling of desperation is upon us. It becomes very important suddenly to meet someone who is prepared to listen and who is not prepared to take sides or to make judgements.

A family mediator has no reason to take sides. He or she is impartial and has no vested interest in even beginning to consider who was right or wrong in terms of circumstances surrounding a marriage breakdown or a relationship coming to an end.  People remain vulnerable following a marriage breakup or separation and need time to breathe and consider a strategy in a structured process. The mediator’s wish is to enable people who are going through these difficult experiences to engage in a process that will be objective and structured to move them out of the mire.

This is what family mediation can offer to people in a safe and neutral environment where both parties are able to start thinking again. They meet with the mediator, away from the turmoil and emotional pull surrounding the breakup.

Greg Hurst, the writer, refers to Bobby Moore who he holds up as a prime example of” how his guilt was reflected in an extremely generous settlement”.

Tiger Woods is also referred to as” having handed over a chunk of money after his serial infidelity was discovered. “That case even involved a renegotiation of a prenuptial settlement and “poor old” Tiger was left $100 million down after a 5 year marriage.

The moral of these stories is for people to ask whether they are acting out of guilt.  The article refers to a Relate senior practice consultant who states that “It’s important to think longer-term and to try not to allow the strong emotions …. To shape your decision-making, especially where there are children involved”.

As a family mediator, I do not look for peoples’ attitudes to change. All of the above is just another factor that needs to be contemplated within family mediation when working with the parties together.  The dynamic between the parties will be emotional and possibly fiery. People do reach a point however when they are ready to start their negotiations effectively.  Hopefully, they will be willing to engage within family mediation.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, L LB  Accredited FMC and Law Society Family Mediator at Wynn Mediation.  Tel: 01702 341241 or by email:


PMM                                                                                                                                                     October 2017






I have been watching the BBC television series of “Dr Foster”. For those who have not seen this part 2 series about Dr Gemma Foster, the penultimate episode will be next Tuesday (after Holby City, another favourite of mine).

The series demonstrates in a brilliant way, human frailty and the emotional and hormonal battle that exists between couples.

These feelings are amplified when they are going through divorce and separation. Dr Foster is quite easily assimilated but it has to be regarded as a terrible example of parenting on the part of otherwise bright and intelligent people engulfed in a miserable contest surrounding hate, love and total emotional  let down from their own marriage break up.

In the TV series  of Dr Foster,  she states she loathes her ex husband, Simon. Simon has remarried and has a child. He has also expressed his hatred for his ex wife, Gemma Foster. Neither trust one another a jot.

Both characters continue to lust after one another in a sinister and evil way. They have clearly enjoyed a good sexual relationship and both appear, strongly, to have missed that aspect.

The powerful effects of hate are seemingly so close to those akin to  love. It is a fine line that we tread.  Most people can relate to these feelings which can be so evident during those youthful years.  However, the area that the series Dr Foster  has focused on recently is the terribly difficult relationship that Gemma and Simon’s 14 year old son, Tom  does not enjoy  with his parents.

It must be a psychologist’s dream to concentrate on a case like the Fosters in terms of  managing  an extended  family like their’s. Even the good old neighbours got involved. They have had their own problems but now they have separated having been used by Gemma Foster and Simon Foster to get back at each other.  Not nice stuff but popular for Tuesday night drama.

Dr Foster herself has alongside being a paranoid ex wife, doctor and, briefly, the part of matron of honour to one of her closest colleagues at her wedding, declares her undying love and steadfast role towards her son, Tom.

In the meantime, however, Tom has been suspended from school at a critical time in his school calendar because he has vented his anger on his best “mate” and girlfriend who he has lied about to both parents.  Pictures have been taken of him beating up his friend Jake because he was drunk and angry with his parents’ messy pranks being played on each other and seemingly forgetting that he was in the house also at the time.

He has resorted to lying to both parents and is learning fast the skills necessary to start to manipulate both parents. He is full of hatred for them both but is currently siding with mother. Poor Tom.

Let us hope that things get better for Tom.

This is of course a family mediator’s stance because, effectively, a mediator represents the wishes of a child and may even take the form of the voice of a child within mediation in order to enable parents to reflect on their own joint conduct and responsibilities.

I meet a large number of parents who would do almost anything to protect their children and to give them security and a plan for a happy life.  The trouble is that when there is separation the already suffocated and protected child becomes even more “dumbed down”.

We are aware that the voice of the child is crucial when sorting out their arrangements where there is a separation or marriage breakdown.  This is sensitive work and must be handled with great care.

This new generation do not need to be like Tom.   He must be in a terrible place and this must not be followed elsewhere, especially where the parents remain able to relate to Simon and Gemma  and  of their genuine hopes to support Tom in the future.

I have not seen the first series of Dr Foster but I am gripped and somewhat shocked.  What next?

I doubt that Dr Foster will have a happy ending.  However, it is certainly stimulating stuff for a family mediator who works with separating parents regarding future child arrangements and property and financial issues.


Please contact Tricia Muzalewski, FMCA and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator at  Wynn Mediation, 641B London Road, Westcliff On Sea, Essex SS0 9HW.

Contact by email:;  telephone: 01702 341241

Website:                                                                      September 2017


The formal definition of a will has been provided by the Law Commission within the context of proposed will making reforms.

The current definition of a will and that is recognised by most people is “an expression by a person of his or her wishes intended to take effect only at death”.

Additional guidance to give effect to the defining features of a will are:

(1) It is subject to change or revocation. This means that the testator – the person making a will – has the opportunity to change his or her mind; the consequences of the document are not set in stone as soon as it is executed.

(2) The dispositions of property (and/or other instructions) in the will take effect upon the testator’s death.

(3) The testator must have intended the dispositions to be revocable and to take effect on his or her death


Only 40% of us make wills which means that many fall foul of the “Intestacy Rules”.

These rules specify what should happen to a person’s property either where there is no will or where a will does not completely dispose of a person’s property. What the rules specify will depend on a person’s circumstances at the time of death, for example whether he or she was married, what other relatives he or she had and the value of his or her estate.

Planning should happen at any age and since an existing will becomes void on divorce, this is an important time to consider future provision.

For example, the Intestacy Rules do not take into account a person’s cohabitant. This is obviously a serious issue for the many people in England and Wales who live together without being married or in a civil partnership.

Likewise, the Intestacy Rules may not give the result that would be wanted by some people who have remarried and have children from the first marriage. Many people also wish to leave a gift to charity in their will and the intestacy rules do not make provision for this.

Family mediation is available to people who may be in dispute regarding their wishes and it offers a process for people to access at any stage of their lives to discuss fresh arrangements not only for the immediate future but also to deal with their Testamentary Wishes.

We hear terminology relating to will writing that we have lived with for a long time; in fact since The Wills Act 1837.   People need to be aware of the proposed changes and of options that keep pace with the 21st Century to give more control to meeting future needs of those you wish to support.

It is vital that within the traditional remit of the work of a family mediator that wills are referred to when facilitating negotiations for a financial settlement either on divorce or where a couple have decided to separate.

Many people separate and divorce later in life. There is an urgent need to protect families and so that the wishes and needs of both parties can be discussed. The emotional hazards of such discussions will need the help of an impartial mediator who is trained to understand and to enable the parties to reach a negotiated and informed settlement that takes into account both parties wishes and needs.

Please contact Tricia Muzalewski who is an Accredited Family Mediator with the Law Society and the Family Mediation Council.

Wynn Mediation ; Tel: 01702 341241;





PMM/August 2017