Mediation is a useful means for couples who have separated and want to reach agreement about any outstanding matters between them (including parenting and financial matters) without the significant time and cost investments associated with Court proceedings. Simply attending a mediation will not necessarily guarantee an agreeable outcome, which is why preparation is key.
In order to have the best chance of resolution at mediation, spending time prior to mediation properly preparing is essential. If you have engaged a lawyer, they will be able to assist and guide you through your preparation for mediation.
Investing time to reflect prior will help you distill the issues in dispute and identify what needs to be discussed and why. This will naturally leave more time during the mediation to focus on the critical matters that need to be resolved and develop solutions together, rather than trying to identify those during the mediation process itself.
Some tips for preparing for mediation include:
- Equip yourself with sufficient information. This can be achieved through the exchange of financial documents with your former spouse and obtaining valuations (where applicable) to fully understand the value of any property available for division.
- Consider what big ticket items need to be resolved at the mediation. Also consider the various potential solutions to those issues ahead of time so there is room for compromise.
- Consider potential outcomes. Get legal advice around the range of likely outcomes if the dispute was decided by a Court so that you have a reasonable expectation about what constitutes a fair outcome on the day, and can negotiate within those parameters.
- Consult your trusted advisors. This will equip you with the information and support you need to be prepared for the mediation, and will also help you feel confident about the terms of the agreement and implementing it. Examples of trusted advisors include your accountant, financial planner, financier, psychologist or mortgage broker.
- Consider what is important to you. What do you want to achieve from the mediation? Set an agenda beforehand so the items that are significant for you are not overlooked.
This is not an exhaustive list but rather a place to start to help you focus and get in the mindset of preparing for a mediation.
The benefits of good preparation are:
- a more solution-focused mediation;
- alleviating some anxiety around what will be discussed at mediation and how to best approach it;
- if the dispute is unable to be fully resolved at mediation, the issues outstanding will likely be significantly narrowed and may act as a catalyst to further negotiate a resolution at a later date.
- you will have more control over the process and be in a position to make informed decisions during the mediation.
If you would like to discuss booking a mediation or what is required to properly prepare for mediation, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Murdoch Mediations on 1300 068 736.