I was asked a question the other day about family mediation and it occurred to me that I wasn’t sure there was a blog post with the information in. I’m quite sure there is a wealth of information on this topic across the blog but I felt it might be helpful to have it in one place. The question focused on two things:
- Do you have to be on the same page to try family mediation; and
- What do you talk about in family mediation
There are simply answers to both questions but there are also things that I felt would be useful to talk about around these. So firstly, no you do not have to be on the same page at all to come into mediation. You don’t even have to be on talking terms. It helps if you both want to find a way forward and are willing to find compromises to enable that to happen. But you don’t need to be vaguely friendly, or to feel that you both want the same things from your separation. For starters this can simply be that you are both at different points in the recovery process and I talk about this more in this blog. Having completely different views about the right way forward doesn’t mean you will always have. Even if you do feel very differently about the right outcome, mediation is a great place to talk about things, understand each other’s viewpoints and map out what different options will look like so you can find the right compromise – that resolution that’s tailor made to you.
What do you talking about in family mediation?
This short answer to this question is that you talk about anything that’s important to you. This might be related to money and property, or to your children, or to all of these things. There might also be issues surrounding pets, inheritance (or potential inheritance) or what on earth do you do about all those possessions you have amassed together. Whatever you feel needs to be sorted out you can bring into mediation.
This is one of the beauties of mediation. You can talk about absolutely anything that is important to you. You’re not constrained by what a judge would make an order about, or devote court time to. You can choose to resolve all issues in mediation, or you can just come to mediation for some help managing the bits you’re finding tricky. It’s a process that can (and should) be tailored to you.
You can do all of the resolving things in mediation so you can provide all your financial information and discuss all the issues you have in mediation. It can be helpful to get legal and financial advice to help you feel confident about the decisions you’re making, and to gain some perspective on tricky issues. But any aspect of your separation can be resolved in mediation if you’re both willing to do that.
If you’re finding it tricky to resolve issues relating to your children then older children can also feed into the mediation process. This helps you to understand their objectives and concerns and to make decisions based on those. Sometimes it’s hard for children to talk to their parents and say how they feel because they love you and don’t want to hurt your feelings. For more information about this have a look at this blog
If you’re also wondering what the benefits might be of working things out in family mediation then essentially we would say:
- It’s quicker and therefore usually more cost effective
- It helps lay the foundations for good communication going forwards (an essential part of co-parenting)
- You’re able to hear what the other person says and feels directly rather than going through others
If you’d like to know more about the benefits then have a look at this blog.
If you still have questions then why not get in touch so we can address your specific questions either via email or in a short telephone chat.