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Mediation can provide a constructive and effective way to divorce

For many divorcing couples, mediation helps to promote a constructive dialogue and successful negotiations resulting in a long lasting agreement.  Sadly may divorcing couples do not know enough about mediation to choose this way forward. It is a very effective alternative to a more traditional divorce in suitable cases.

If you’re not entirely sure what family mediation is, it is a process that allows you and your spouse to discuss the details of your divorce and agree your financial settlement, future childcare arrangements and any other details with the help of a trained and totally independent mediator. The mediator provides a framework to your discussions and offers information and experience to help you achieve an outcome overall that works.

Sometimes it’s easier to simply think about mediation as a conversation about the future; a forward focussed conversation that will help you work towards a more amicable resolution to what is always a highly emotive period in our lives. It is not about looking to the past and why you are separating, it is about looking to the future and what arrangements would work for you and your family.

From a more practical perspective mediation is often preferable because it allows the parties in mediation to make all the decisions and retain control of their situation.  You can direct your discussions toward the outcome you both want and can focus on what shared interests you have to work towards a resolution that works for both of you.

It is also important to note that in many cases, it is quicker and less expensive than going through the courts.

As mediation may be a new concept to you, we thought it may be useful to answer some of the questions our clients often ask us about mediation.

What does a mediator do?
Family mediators are neutral third parties.  Their job is to help you articulate your point of view, listen to both parties, provide information about relevant legal principles and share experience of what may work for you to keep moving your discussions forwards. Mediators can help discussions  stay on track and remain respectful and do not ever take sides.

What makes a good mediation?
A good mediation is a safe place where each party should feel able to listen to and really hear the position of the other. It is important not to react impulsively and better to remain calm and consider carefully before speaking. Of course sometimes meetings can become tense and emotionally charged. And family mediators are trained to deal with this when it happens.  They will look to diffuse tensions and identify issues causing upset so they can be addressed and resolved through balanced discussion.

How do I get my point across during a mediation?
Try to share your reasons for why you feel the way you do. This can be helped by choosing your words carefully. You may consider using the word, “because”.  Once you start using the word “because” you have to finish your sentence and that extra bit will help you explain the reasons for your point of view much more effectively.

Do I still need to disclose everything via mediation in a divorce?
Disclosing every detail regarding your assets and debts is still a legal requirement and withholding information could lead to you being charged with fraud.  But there is another reason full disclosure is vital during a mediation.  It allows your mediator to set the best possible agenda for your discussions.

Will mediation improve my future relationship with my ex?
Once you are divorced, it is highly likely you will still need to have contact with your ex.  You may have to sell your house, share childcare or even own and run a business together.  If you have been through a harrowing court case this is extremely difficult.

However, if you’ve worked through the process together respectfully and achieved an outcome you both felt was, your future contact will be much more comfortable.

If you would like to find out more about how to use mediation in a divorce, there is much more information on our website.

Or, if you would like to speak to one of our trained and accredited mediators, you can email Bernadette Hoy or Aisling Collins to set up a call so that they can answer any additional questions you may have about Family Mediation.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash