Preparing for family mediation
Prior to coming to mediation, you may well have already attended a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting or MIAM. A trained mediator will already have explained the process with you, assessed that your case is suitable for mediation and discussed with you any fees that you may need to pay. He or she will also have answered any questions that you might have about mediation.
It might be that you’re still feeling quite nervous and this is completely normal. It’s likely that the person or people you are going to be mediating with will also be feeling this way.
This leaflet is about what you can do to prepare yourself for your mediation sessions. By preparing for family mediation, you’ll be in a resourceful state to deal with the process.
- Both you and the other person are there because you want to be. No one can make you go to mediation, and you are free to stop at any time.
- Remain calm. If you are nervous, you can ask the mediation service to provide you with a separate waiting area or arrival time.
- Mediation is about what happens now and in the future, it’s not about revisiting disputes from the past. Mediation is solution focused. Think about what you’d be willing to accept as a compromise and importantly, what you are willing to give. Come with an open mind even if you have ideas you’d like to put forward.
- Honesty, openness and flexibility will assist you in moving forward in mediation. Be honest with yourself about your anger, frustration or sadness and how it might be affecting your ability to communicate. Self-awareness will help you communicate with openness and honesty. Remember that these feelings are not ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ they just are where you are. Denial of them will hinder the mediation process.
- Be prepared to listen and hear. They are not the same thing! During mediation, the mediator will ensure that you both have the opportunity to speak and be listened to. Consider the situation from the other persons’ point of view as well as your own.
- It’s likely that you’ll both compromise on something. Mediation is about supporting you to reach compromises you can both accept.
- If you are going to mediation because you have children to discuss, focus on them. Think about what is best for them, not what is best for you. By focusing on the needs of your children, openly and honestly, you will find solutions that best support them. Your children love both of you and want to spend time with both of you however difficult that may be for you.
- If you have a written plan of how you think contact would work, a work schedule you think would be useful to share, or you’ve filled in a Parenting Plan from your point of view, bring it to the session.
- If you are discussing money and financial arrangements, remember to bring the documents with you if you have them. Some documents like pension statements can take several weeks to arrive.
- In financial mediations, think about what the other person’s needs might be as well as your own.
- Come with a positive attitude and a willingness to work to find a solution that works for your family.