A separation or a divorce is never just a legal or a financial process. It is an emotional and personal journey that has been often likened to a bereavement. When you start in mediation the mediator will explain that other experts may be useful to empower and motivate you to find your tailor made resolution. The experts can be people you make separate appointments to see, they can be people that will provide further reports, or they can co-mediate with the mediator – that is to say that the expert will run the mediation sessions with your mediator.
Sometimes it may be difficult to make progress in mediation because one person (or both people) has not been able to come to terms with the breakdown of the relationship. In other cases the parties in mediation may replay conflict patterns that took place in the marriage, making it difficult to concentrate on the issues that need to be discussed.
In this situation it may be helpful for the parties (either jointly or separately) to visit a family consultant or counsellor. This may also help them to focus in on the emotional needs of their children to ensure that they are being met. By understanding conflict patterns and by recognising behaviours this can help the parties to then break the cycle they find themselves caught up in. If discussions always seem to end in arguments then by changing patterns of behaviour, people can change the end results of the discussions.
It may also be useful to use financial experts. There may be investment advice that will assist the parties, or pensions may be a significant issue. Where pensions are likely to be significant, it may be helpful to have a report that provides further information about the pensions – or to have further advice on those pensions.
The needs of people going through a separation are often complex and rarely will one expert be able to help the parties meet all their needs. The mediator can therefore act as a GP i.e the first port of call bringing in other experts to help the parties move forward at each stage.
LKW Family Mediation is currently looking at fixed packages including different experts to simplify the costs, and to ensure that clients are getting the best value for money. We will provide more information on the new costs packages as soon as they are available.