Preparing for Mediation – Part 1

Part 1 – Before the day

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a structured negotiation process in which an independent person, known as a mediator, assists the parties to identify and assess options and negotiate an agreement to resolve their dispute. Mediation is an alternative to a judge imposing a decision on the parties. Check out this Article from the Federal Court of Australia Regarding Mediation

You are going to Mediation! Now what?

Know the process: It’s time to become familiar with the Mediation process, refer to your provided information or the link above. If you take the time to understand the process of mediation, then you can focus yourself on participating fully in the negotiation. Talk to your Lawyer about the process as it applies to your case.

Understand your Emotions:  You are probably arriving at the mediation phase with a range of emotions from a stressful and prolonged period of challenges between the parties. Emotions and regulating them are key to participating in a mediation. Acknowledge your emotions and think about strategies that assist in moderating them: taking time out, deep breathing, taking a moment before you respond.

Think of the future benefits: A successful mediation can occur in many different forms and not always obvious. You have decided to participate in Mediation probably because it gives some hope about parties being able to have outcomes and agreements. It is very important prior to the mediation to think about possible benefits to all parties if agreements are reached:  Reduction of stress on parents, on children ,on others, Reduction of costs associated with legal costs, lost time in employment,  getting on with life, greater  degree of control over family matters, not having to go to trial. Satisfaction: because the parties decide and agree on the outcome of their dispute, they are more likely to be satisfied with the result and to comply with what has been agreed.

Walk in the other parties shoes: This will be a difficult thing to do but think about how much better a negotiated process would be if you had considered the other parties perspective and they yours. This is a fundamental part of the success of mediation and that is what you seek. Consider if your proposals are realistic: will they work for the children and parties or are they being proposed to suit only one party.

Plan your Position: Take the time to sit and develop your realistic proposals for mediation. This is not the time to seek legal guidance from a lawyer on the details of what will work for your children.  Your lawyer will provide legal advice on your position. These proposals are based on parents/carers/parties making good decisions for children.  Be realistic, be reasonable, have a think about how your proposals would be received, what are you willing to concede on.  Have your proposals considered developmental ages and stages of the child/ren. Be open minded and approach mediation with a preparedness for flexibility.

Meet with your Lawyer: This is an important step in the preparation for mediation. Your lawyer will want you to have thought about the agreements that you would ideally like and those that agreements or options that are workable and that you would accept. Take the time prior to this meeting to have considered your proposals and anticipate or consider the proposals of the other party. Your Lawyer will either choose to have a conference with you over the phone or in person usually several days prior to the mediation.

At NLS Law our Lawyers are extremely skilled in the preparation of Mediation and want successful outcomes for you and your children. We take the time and listen to your perspective and guide you through the legal process.

We also have a Child and Family Case Consultant who can discuss support strategies for you and your child while you navigate legal issues.

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go”. 

Unkown Source

Chanel Hughes – Child and Family Case Consultant, NLS Law

Next Week Part 2:  How to manage Mediation Day