There is often a misconception that family mediation and counselling services are one and the same and that a mediator is like a counsellor or therapist and will help couples in conflict reconcile and get back together.
Family mediation and counselling services are not one and the same. Mediators are not counsellors or therapists; we have quasi comparable skills but are not trained or qualified to support parties who wish to reconcile and need to explore historical problems and deep-rooted historical issues.
If counselling service is required, mediators will sign post the parties to suitable counsellors and therapists for such help and support.
Mediators empower couples in conflict to remain future focused, to shelf issues that don’t serve them or their families and keep them stuck in the past and most importantly, to reach their own informed decisions about all or some of the issues arising out of their separation and/or divorce.
The parties will agree and set the agenda for mediation sessions that usually covers and explores legal issues relating to arrangements for their dependent child/ren like, is there a need for a main carer or will 'shared-care' work best for the child/ren? How much time they will spend with each parent? Holiday and special occasion arrangements etc. They may also wish to consider and agree on financial rights and responsibilities relating to maintenance, what should happen to the family home and division of other investments and assets including pension sharing on divorce, if there are pension assets to resolve.
In family mediation, the parties may also consider and explore ‘soft’ topics like, 'boundary setting' and communication difficulties to help them reach mutually acceptable agreements and understandings on these key issues that often are more important to them then the legal issues.
So, in nutshell, you may need to secure mediation services if you recognise that the relationship/marriage is at an end, and you would like to have an amicable divorce/separation where you stay in control of the outcomes and do not hand over the decision-making power to a Judge or bench of magistrates who have no first-hand knowledge of your personal circumstances and/or your child/ren.
We will then get in touch with your ex-partner (unless requested not to at this stage) to encourage them to engage in the process highlighting the benefits of family mediation - it supports a kinder, compassionate divorce, lower costs, staying in control of outcomes and allows for a quicker resolution compared to court-based proceedings.