For separating couples, mediation is an opportunity for both of you to talk face to face, to resolve together all the issues arising from your separation or divorce, such as arrangements for children, money and housing, with the help of only a mediator in the room with both of you.
Mediation is not:
- about reconciliation
- a chance to rehearse past arguments, ‘point score’ or place blame.
Benefits of mediation
If it is right for you, mediation can:
- reduce conflict and improve communication
- create better family relationships
- reduce legal costs and avoid court battles
- create self-determined practical solutions
- recognise emotional needs and address losses, hopes, risks, needs and fears
- redress power imbalances
- embrace legal support.
Mediation may be right for you if you want to:
- face your apprehension and talk to your ex face to face in a safe space with a mediator present
- actively engage and be heard but without any reprisals
- take charge of your own decisions and be empowered to change
- see if it is possible to have a better relationship with your ex, and learn how to co-parent with your children.
Mediation will help you see if you can decide jointly with your ex what is best for your children, your finances and your family.
You need to be prepared to listen to your ex and to the mediator, to forgo blame, and to focus on the future.
The process will allow you to protect your legal rights and get legal advice. You will not be forced into any decisions.
The mediator will explain what to expect from the process and how much it will cost. They can set out a flexible time frame that suits you both.
During the process the mediator will help you by:
- identifying the issues that need to be resolved and helping you consider options
- working through a parenting plan
- seeing the children if needed
- helping you gather all the relevant financial information and other paperwork, and identifying any gaps
- keeping your lawyers informed and providing them with the information you have produced
- reality testing the proposals you have made
- bridging any gaps during negotiation
- recording the outcome in the relevant mediation documents.
Where there is higher than usual conflict the mediator can suggest:
- co-mediation with another mediator working together
- solicitor supported mediation
- shuttle mediation if you and your ex are not able to talk face to face.
Your solicitor can help you to arrange mediation.
As part of Family Mediation Week 2021, the Family Mediation Council launched a mock mediation, with Family Law Committee co-chair and mediator Elaine Richardson and two actors who play the role of the parents. This is an excellent resource for those who want to know more about what actually happens in a mediation session.