Mediation is the process of negotiating a settlement with your ex using the input of an impartial third party.
What can we mediate on?
- The divorce
- The matrimonial finances
- Arrangements for the children
Who can act as a mediator?
A mediator does not have to be a qualified solicitor. It is important to ensure that you are referred to a good one. A mediator can become accredited in a matter of days so the title alone should not reassure you. Not all mediators are good and impartial in the same way that not all catholic priests are celibate!
A good mediator however should be able to help resolve a number of issues and open up communication, even if a final settlement is not reached.
It is also important to consult your solicitor after each mediation appointment to ensure that you are fully aware of your legal rights and entitlement.
Who should attend mediation?
Anyone who feels able to do so and who is able to stand up to their ex. If you were bullied throughout your relationship or if there are issues of domestic violence then mediation will probably not assist you. Some people really do present a double personality to the world so go with your gut instinct. I had a friend who was working shifts with a guy whose wife had kicked him out and he spent the whole time crying which was driving my friend mad. In the end he told him to ring her and explain how much he missed her. My friend said he felt sorry for him and thought that his wife must have it in her heart to reconsider given how heartbroken the poor guy was.
Anyway… he overheard the conversation – he said he spoke to the woman as if she was dirt, was swearing and shouting and abusing her and in the end she hung up on him and he continued to swear into mid air. No doubt his lawyer would consider him a suitable candidate for mediation and conclude that the wife had made up her allegations of abuse! Similarly, I had a client years ago whose wife bullied him remorselessly but he was determined that no one else should know!
As for those of you who cannot bear to be in the same room as your ex… how are you going to cope at parents’ evenings?