Mediation is used in family law to help spouses negotiate financial separation and child custody agreements without going to court. What should you expect and how should you prepare if you and your ex-partner agree to mediation?
Will we meet?
Mediators meet with each party separately to determine their goals before scheduling a combined session if both parties agree. ‘Shuttle mediation’ may be an alternative if you don’t want to be together. The mediator goes between several rooms to assist uncomfortable negotiations. After one or two shuttle sessions, you may feel more comfortable sitting face-to-face with your ex-partner. If your ex-partner agrees, you might ask the mediator to arrange this.
First session expectations?
In an MIAM, your independent mediator will explain how mediation works, payment arrangements, and what to expect. The mediator will check for domestic abuse and analyse your case’s mediation eligibility. This 45-minute session is solo.
The mediator will be an independent, impartial professional. They won’t make choices for you, but they’ll assist you to an acceptable resolution. At the initial meeting, you can ask questions or voice concerns.
Can I change the mediator?
If you don’t like the mediator, you can request a replacement. It’s crucial to feel comfortable throughout sessions, and it’s typical to have the same mediator throughout the South East.
Most mediators facilitate sessions via video conference during the coronavirus shutdown.
Before mediation, you must know your legal rights regarding financial provision and child care.
Your lawyer initially advised you. You may attend mediation knowing your rights and what to anticipate. We’ll identify possible concerns and propose questions to ask.
Focus on your goals for each mediation session. Prepare bullet point notes for mediation. This will help you remember what was discussed and agreed during mediation. If you’re talking finances, bring recent financial statements. You may know which issues are toughest to address with your ex. If so, attempt to tackle one or two “major” concerns every session.
If you’re attending mediation to make child custody agreements, consider every possible contentious subject.
where your children spend birthdays, Christmas, Mother’s/Day, Father’s and school holidays;
where kids will go to school, plays, and parents’ nights;
do you need to discuss introducing new partners to your children?
Do grandparents require contact arrangements?
In an emergency, what happens?
Who is the initial point of contact, and how will school excursions, uniforms, and extra yearly costs, like presents, be paid for? When attending financial separation mediation, it’s crucial to know all your joint and single assets.
Details about property, mortgages, savings, investments, company assets, pensions, and automobiles.
This must be discussed openly. Trying to hide assets can invalidate a contract. You must also address your compensation, perks, and investments.
List your monthly bills and spending. If you hold property jointly, it’s essential to have it valued before mediation, especially if one of you plans to buy out the other.
Each session, review progress.
You may have many mediation sessions. Don’t expect to address all your problems in the first session.
The mediator will present a summary of each session’s talks. After each session, write down any issues you failed to address or believe require clarification. Your lawyer can answer inquiries between mediation sessions.
We can’t agree?
If you can’t reach an agreement or the mediator thinks it’s not advantageous to continue, call your lawyer. Then, legal action may be needed.
Mediation helps many, but not always. You may reach a deadlock on an issue or issues despite your best efforts. Don’t squander time or money. Even partial agreement on certain matters at mediation might help restrict the concerns you present before a court. This will save time and money in court.
What if we agree?
If you achieve an agreement at mediation, the mediator will create an MOU outlining the conditions. This document isn’t binding. To make your agreement legally binding, contact our attorneys for advice on getting a court order by consent.
Mediation is fast and simple. This short guide helps you assess if a case is eligible for mediation.
Choose a mediator or mediation agency. Most mediators will propose or give a panel of experienced mediators. Check experience, credentials, and insurance. Review mediation method. How is confidentiality ensured? Will the organisation set up, contact, and supply the place for the mediation? Before hiring a mediator, make sure preparation, travel, and other expenses are covered.
Prepare. Effective preparation is quick. The session is a discussion of the matter, not a trial-style presenting of evidence. List crucial facts, witnesses, papers, and liability and quantum arguments. Know your client’s goals.
Before mediation, prepare a case summary. Consider a mediator-only settlement statement. Identify key case documents.
List your and your opponent’s strengths and shortcomings. Consider settlement options. What might you learn about settlement during the mediation? Consider your negotiation approach and be ready to help the mediator persuade the opposing side.
Who will attend the mediation and how? Effective client presentations are possible. Your client should understand the mediation procedure. Always have enough authority to settle issues. Tell the mediator your doubts.
Prepare and practise your first combined session opening statement. Introduce yourself, then review the facts and your analysis. Be brief. Be willing to own flaws and act objectively. If you follow your opponent, express agreement or disagreement. Describe prior attempts to settle and restate your desire.
Examine agreement and disagreement during mediation. If the lawsuit isn’t settled, consider the best conclusion. Discuss the worst-case scenario with your customer, analyse risks, and explore options. Ask the customer to prioritise their needs; you may be surprised. Prepare inventive settlement ideas for the mediation; remind your client that nothing is binding unless signed.
Remember that most mediations end with a settlement. Even without a resolution, contentious issues are frequently fewer. You will have learned more about your opponent’s argument and maybe your own.