Our Top Tips for Family Mediation

Going to court to resolve a divorce dispute can be costly, complex and time-consuming. The process is often stressful for everyone involved, and can take an emotional toll on children. If you are looking for a cost-effective and timely solution to solving a divorce-related dispute, you may find family mediation a suitable resolution option. Mediation is the process by which a trained, impartial third party assists people in conflict to find solutions to disputes without going to court. Family Dispute Resolution  is a particular type of mediation designed to help you reach agreement about arrangements for your children, There are several things to consider before commencing the mediation process.

Here are our top tips for successful family mediation.

Be Prepared

Preparation is key for successful family mediation. This means organising pieces of evidence to support your arguments such as court documents, statements, photographs, invoices and receipts and anything else you think might be of importance. One main focus of a family mediation is to understand and review current parental arrangements and responsibilities, and what both parties hope to achieve through mediation. We suggest preparing a document that outlines your proposal for your children's care, suggested living arrangements and financial support requests. Part of preparing for mediation is understanding your legal rights and obligations – and what your alternatives to a negotiated agreement are. Our specialist family lawyers can help you prepare for mediation by providing you with advice about your legal rights and obligations, helping you to understand what documents might be helpful at your mediation and help you prepare them. Contact us to organise an initial telephone call and we can help you identify what your needs are..

Be Supported

Whether it is a friend, family member or a trusted legal professional, we highly recommend enlisting the assistance of a support person throughout the process of family mediation. They cannot be involved in the dispute at hand, and it is important that you select someone who won't express strong opinions on the matter or influence your decisions. They can be there to offer emotional reinforcement, or to help explain issues. It is up to you if you choose to bring a support person, and others in the mediation must agree to this support person being in attendance. In some instances, a mediator may wish to exclude a support person if their presence is unhelpful to the process of  the mediation.

Be Aware of Your Emotions

There’s no doubt that the family mediation process can be an emotional and stressful experience. Emotions can, at times, impair our thinking. While it is natural to feel and embrace these emotions, it is just as important to try to control these and remain calm during the mediation process. There are many ways to deal with your emotions. One method is to write down your feelings, reactions and thoughts. You can then talk through these emotions with your trusted support person. If discussions during the mediation are overwhelming, you are also free to ask for short breaks to calm yourself and regroup. It is also important to approach mediation with a positive mindset rather than an emotional one. Think about the words you are using and avoid terms with a negative connotation like “destroy”.

Be Prepared to Compromise

It takes two people to reach an agreement. Therefore, both parties should approach mediation with an open mind and a willingness to negotiate and compromise. The key to compromise in family mediation is to find common ground with your ex partner and to not focus on or emphasise areas where you both disagree.

The mediation process involves having a degree of empathy for the other party. You will need to consider what your ex-partner will also want to achieve from the process.

The mediator will assist you in identifying and talking through any issues you might have, and help you explore potential settlement options in order to best reach a compromise, and facilitate a solution that satisfies the needs of all parties.

Speak to Family Mediation Experts at Pullos

Do you need legal advice or to engage a mediator for your family mediation process? Cassandra Pullos, the founder of Pullos Lawyers, is a Nationally Accredited Mediator, and she is committed helping couples achieve mutually agreed solutions that all family members including the children. If you wish to speak to Cassandra about your mediation needs, please contact us. At Pullos Lawyers, our team has many years of experience in all aspects of family law, including divorce law, de facto law, same sex marriage law and children's issues, on the Gold Coast and in Brisbane. To speak to one of our lawyers, contact us via our online form or call us on (07) 5526 3646 (Gold Coast office) or (07) 3144 1641 (Brisbane office).