This is your meeting, this is your process. The mediator is only there to help keep discussion flowing freely, to safeguard the mediaton process and encourage negotiation and settlement.
It can be quite daunting, knowing that you have to discuss details about your children, finances and family with your ex and a virtually unknown other person – the mediator. Going over the details of your relationship, explaining your future plans and how that can be managed or afforded would make anyone nervous.
By the time you come to the actual mediation session, a full assessment both parties will have been done. You will have had the opportunity to raise any concerns, worries or fears about the process.
At the start of the session the principles of mediation are repeated. As a mediator, I need to make sure that you both understand the purpose of the session, confidential nature of mediation and the independence of the mediator themselves. We all sign up to the 'Agreement to Mediate'.
There are also ground rules for how the mediation is to be conducted. These include being respectful of one another, letting everybody have their say and a mutual commitment to resolving the issues. If any of these elements are not present, mediation simply will not work.
The mediation session is yours. Choose what to talk about, and what not to talk about. You are the best people to know what the conflict is that has actually brought you to mediation. You are the best people to know what to do to resolve it. You are the experts about the issues, the mediator simply facilitates a positive discussion.
As mediation continues you have an opportunity to really clarify the issues, to formulate possible solutions and to put forward proposals. You can ask questions about the proposals, as I can. You can clarify the firm of any areas of uncertainty.
The process also enables you to talk about how things will be in reality, that contact arrangements and handovers, how payments of money the shares inequity or pension splitting will take place, it's got be achievable in the real world.
Mediation is often done in small stages, it's not always possible to finalise everything in one session. You can agree what will happen on an interim basis. You can test out plans and proposals, and agree to bring back to mediation to refine or utterly change them.
Throughout the session, I will make notes about actions that we all need to undertake before the next mediation session. It could be gathering information, discussing options with other family members or partners, or sometimes getting the views of the children.
Proposals are then drafted into summaries and letters on an interim basis. At the conclusion of mediation when an agreement has been reached the necessary final documents are then drafted. The set out details about proposals that have been put forward and outcomes agreed. These can form the basis of a Consent Order if need be. Solicitors can draft them into the appropriate form for the court. A summary of financial disclosure is included, if appropriate to the case.
Successful mediation sessions conclude with written documents that set out a route map for going forward. It's a map decided by you, and enables you to find a dignified, pragmatic way to manage the inevitable loose ends that always exist at the end of a relationship.
Please ‘phone me on 0333 772 9763 or use the Contact Form. The first call is free, no obligation and no pressure. Find out what your options really are.
'The first time I spoke to John I put the phone down thinking I’d just spoken to a friend, not a solicitor that I had never met. Throughout, John communicated to me on my level and was always clear, easy to understand and prepared to explain his reasoning.'MW