Making the best use of mediation
Mediation is of its nature generally quicker, cheaper and more effective than litigation as a way of resolving disputes. Our rates at Progressive Mediation are we believe the best available in the Bristol area. But to make the best use of your mediation sessions you need to be well prepared. Here are our top tips for preparing for mediation.
The breakdown of an intimate relationship typically involves deceit and consequent mistrust. Dealing with the consequences effectively and fairly requires honesty. Divorce law requires a full and frank disclosure of all relevant financial information and we believe this is usually a necessary preliminary step for unmarried separating couples as well. Mediation work best if you are honest and straightforward about future plans. Then both of you can see how it may be possible for each of you to move forward, and to use the resources you have available in an effective and fair way. Where children are concerned, honesty in respect of new partners and any plans to relocate is essential. Separating partners are often extraordinarily anxious and suspicious about each other’s plans and intentions. Mediation provides an opportunity for you to reassure one another and to begin to build a platform of trust in respect of your future, separate life.
Obtain all the relevant information
If there are financial issues to be determined make sure that you have all the evidence needed for a full and frank disclosure of relevant financial information in particular you are likely to need:
- Evidence of the value of major assets, the family home and any other property, vehicles, any other items worth £500 or more and the cash equivalent value of all pensions. Most of this information can be obtained from e.g. estate agents, online services, pension providers without charge. But it is necessary particularly in cases involving divorce.
- Bank statements, payslips, evidence of self-employed or other income will also need to be shared and exchanged in mediation. Assembling all this information is a tedious but essential task. It will greatly assist the mediation process if you can bring three copies of all documentary evidence of relevant financial information to your mediation session; one for your ex, one for the mediators, and one to retain for yourself.
Take professional advice
As mediators we cannot advise you. We can give you information and ideas as to what others have done in similar situations but our commitment to impartiality prevents us from advising you what is best for you. These days of course there is a large amount of information available online, much of which is helpful. Family and friends can be important sources of help and support during the separation process. But we believe that at a time when it is necessary that you make difficult decisions affecting you and your family’s future, it is worthwhile to obtain specific advice, informed by the facts of your circumstances in respect of the merits and drawbacks for you of options that are being considered in mediation, and indeed the implications and costs of not achieving agreement in mediation.
Have faith in mediation
The issues that confront you as separating partners, spouses and all parents are best resolved by you. Agreements reached in mediation are proven to be more enduring than those imposed by a court. You need to be willing to bring issues to mediation; not to act unilaterally, whether that is in respect of the purchase or sale of significant assets, the commitment of income in other ways, or parenting decisions, for example about moving home, schools, holidays, the introduction of a new partner to the children. Our rule is that once you have decided to enter mediation, if there are any significant financial or parenting’s decisions to be made always consider first raising them in mediation. At Progressive Mediation we are always available between mediation sessions to discuss matters of this kind individually and in confidence.
Mediation is about dealing with the issues that need to be dealt with in a way that allows both of you to move on with your lives but you do need first to mediate the relevant financial and parenting issues then you will be able to move on confidently and independently to the next phase of your life.