May 21

3 Top Tips for your Family Law Mediation

Last week we looked at the What and Why of Mediation, here are some tips to help you get the most out of your family law mediation:

We will look at three top tips –

  • Preparing for mediation
  • Generating options
  • Being calm
  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare

 Whilst attending mediation is not the same as going to court, it is a great opportunity for parties to get together to work things out with the help of an independent neutral person – the Mediator.

Sometimes this will involve getting access to and considering practical factual information. Have you considered, for example:

  • Property matters:
    • Whether you need a valuation for the house, cars, superannuation etc;
    • Whether the bank will agree to a refinance (if one party wishes to keep the house)
  • Parenting matters:
    • Whether you need to speak to your boss about the option of flexible work arrangements in order to facilitate your proposal about spending time with the children.
    • Whether other parties can be involved in the changeover to help out.

The more you prepare and gather information, the better the likelihood of an agreement being reached.

  1. Options, options, options

The more options you have, the better chance you have of reaching agreement at the mediation.

The reason that you and the other party are going to mediation is because you can’t reach an agreement.  For the mediation to be successful both parties will have to give serious thought as to the compromises they may need to make in order to resolve the matter.

Usually, somewhere in between what both parties want, is where the agreement will be reached. To get to that point you need to have as many options as possible.

Before you go to the mediation spend some time thinking about different options eg:

  • for property matters:
    • if there is the option to have super split;
    • if the house is to be sold, or one party wishes to keep it.
  • for parenting matters:
    • if there is the option for one parent to spend more time with the child during the school holidays if it’s in the best interests of the child;
    • if there is a graduated change from the current parenting arrangement to the new arrangements
  1. Breathe, Breathe, Breathe

Mediation is usually your best opportunity to try and resolve matters outside of a stressful court setting and you should be as comfortable and prepared as possible.

Whilst going to a mediation doesn’t necessarily have the same levels of anxiety as going to a court room, it can sometimes create stress and anxiety due to a number of factors – the thought of speaking to the other party, the uncertainty about what may happen, and the process involved.

In order to keep calm you may want to consider the following:

  • Do you wish to take a support person? If so, speak to the mediator about this beforehand;
  • Make sure that you are familiar with the location of the mediation, parking arrangements, etc;
  • Speak to the mediator about any concerns that you may have before the mediation, in terms of the process of the mediation and how it may unfold. There should be no unknowns or surprises.

Prepare. Create Options. Breathe.

With these top tips we are sure that your mediation will go smoothly and you can avoid the stress of a lengthy and costly court battle.

Joelene Nel is a Nationally Accredited Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, she has 15 years experience helping parties resolve matters after separation. Joelene works as a family lawyer at McLaughlins Lawyers but her most challenging [and rewarding] role is that of raising of two children.  Call Joelene on (07) 5591 5099 or email her at [email protected] to see how she can help you.

 

Author: Joelene Nel

Director: Sophie Pearson

Date: 21 May 2019