There are several different ways a couple could choose to negotiate their financial agreement and parenting plan in divorce. A popular method is mediation. In this guest blog, hear from experienced family law mediator Louisa Whitney about the benefits of mediation and when to consider using it:
What is family mediation?
“Family mediation brings together a couple who are separating to talk through what happens next with the help of a trained family mediator. Mediators are trained in all aspects of divorce and separation and also in facilitating discussion in difficult circumstances. They have a wealth of experience to draw on and can help with identifying ideas and solutions that you may not have thought about. A separating couple can talk about anything that’s important to them in mediation (children, money, pets and so on) and they aren’t constrained by only discussing what a court would take into account. It helps parents to resolve issues relating to their children by deciding themselves what arrangements they will put in place. Arrangements for children are usually best made by their parents as they know them pretty well!”
When is it best to try family mediation?
“There is no set time to try family mediation but it can often be helpful to get the ball rolling with this process once you both feel you are in a place in the recovery process where you can start to talk about and make decisions about what happens next. It can be helpful to try mediation at a relatively early stage to help keep your discussions constructive but the door is never shut on mediation and you can try this at any point – even if you have already started court proceedings.”
How does family mediation help?
“Family mediation helps because the couple involved are talking to each other directly, with the help of a trained professional. This often means issues are resolved more quickly because you don’t have to wait for letters to go back and forth. It also aids communication because you can see and hear the other person talking. Where communication takes place via email, letters or text it’s easy for this to be misunderstood because people tend to read messages in line with their view of that person. If one person believes the other is being unhelpful or obstructive then they tend to interpret even genuine messages in that way.”
Why is good communication important going forwards?
“Good communication is essential if the couple in question have children together. Although they will not carry on being a married couple they will continue to be parents of their children forever. Children are most affected by their parents’ separation when they are exposed to conflict and pulled into a dispute between their parents. Finding a way to resolve issues concerning your children in a positive and constructive way is the best way to manage your separation. Being able to attend events like school plays, sports days, graduations, and weddings together without it being awkward or unpleasant will mean that things are more manageable going forwards.”
How can I find a family mediator?
“If you are already working with a divorce professional like a lawyer or a coach then they may be able to recommend someone. Alternatively you can find a family mediator local to you (or who offers online mediation meetings if this would help you) via Resolution or Family Mediation Council.”
Louisa Whitney is an accredited family mediator who offers mediation meetings in person at her office in Dorking, Surrey, and online via zoom. She is passionate about helping parents reduce the effect of their separation on their children. You can get in touch with her here – LKW Family Mediation.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you’ll find lots more in my eBooks, which you can purchase and download today.
If you’d like to work with me 1:1, for help preparing for mediation and/or support during the mediation process, please get in touch to find out how I can help.