Written by Margot Moffitt

Margot holds the highest level of family mediation accreditation (FMCA) and is a highly experienced family solicitor with over 30 years experience on the Law Society’s Family Law and Children panels and an accredited Resolution Family Law specialist. She has over 25 years of family mediation experience and is a member of the local Family Justice Board.Margot is also a qualified mediation supervisor (Professional Practice Consultant).

Separation and divorce is usually very hard for everyone involved, with lots of change and issues to sort out such as: where do I go next? What about my future? When will I see my children? Who can help me? As with all big issues and questions it’s important to spend time thinking options through. Trying to do this on your own with a separated partner can be stressful and is sometimes not possible.

All children are unique – no child has the same needs.

Family mediation is a place to sort out those issues in a safe and confidential process. And its quicker and cheaper than the alternatives such as using a solicitor or going to court.

When you are attending a mediation session it’s key that you prepare yourself as the process can be difficult, but rewarding as it provides a unique opportunity to make lasting successful arrangements.

Below are some of our tips about preparing for mediation, through the process the mediator will support you but ultimately your preparation can make mediation a success. Below are our top tips for doing so.

Be Open and Honest

You may have felt unheard in the past, but mediation is designed to let you voice your concerns. The mediator will ensure that you are involved in the negotiation process and each have a chance to speak.

Use the time prior to mediation to think about the children’s needs and how you can meet them.

Use the time in mediation to discuss whether you believe the solutions are suitable for the children. Honesty is key to ensuring that any arrangements last.

Consider the Future

Nothing can be done about the past and mediation is about making arrangements for your children in the future.

Only by considering what can be done now, rather than what has happened, will you be able to reach a solution.

Put the Children First

All children are unique – no child has the same needs. As a parent you know best what those needs are and the process helps you to work out how you are going to meet their needs.

The most successful child arrangements are those that provide the best future for the children.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Negotiation involves flexibility.

Come prepared with several options and how each might work in practice.

Accept the best solution for your children may involve sacrificing your own needs. Only by separating your needs from your children’s is it possible to make arrangements that prioritise them.

Be open to alternatives as mediation is about supporting you in forming these solutions.

Forget about Scoring Points

Heated emotions in the session are understandable.

The mediator is there to ensure that all discussions are productive and will ensure you are always comfortable to continue. It is important to set aside any ideas calculated to hurt or score points.

Mediation is about arrangements for the children. By actively engaging in the process you create the opportunity to make good arrangements for them.

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