Emotions and decision making
Many clients arrive at the first meeting feeling a little nervous and apprehensive. Some are angry and upset but are determined to “give it a go”. You’ve both decided you need to find a way to work together in the future so you need to think about how to manage your emotions during the process. Your mediator is going to be working hard with you and your ex but they will not make decisions for you. This means you need to do what you can to stay as calm as possible so you can find your own solutions.
- If you find yourself becoming distressed ask for a break
- Mediations usually last for 90 minutes. If this is going to be too long for then talk to your mediator about the possibility of having shorter sessions
- Take a few deep breathes
- Think about a time when you were happy, relaxed and felt at peace to help calm the mind
- Consider the things you could let go of in order to find a solution
- Prepare yourself for hearing the worst thing could be that your ex could say. What emotional reaction would this cause and how you will this?
- Think about getting some support from a coach or a counsellor who can give you professional support and tools to help you to deal with your emotions so mediation can be as successful as possible
If you want to use mediation to explore financial outcomes then start by getting organised at home.
You will be required to provide information and documents to demonstrate your current financial circumstances. This will involve producing property valuations, mortgage statements, bank statements, details of any other investments/business interests, values of pension funds, details of liabilities and income.
- Start collecting your documents now in the comfort of your home. It often takes longer than you might anticipate to gather together everything you need. If you have a pension you will need a statement with the Cash Equivalent Value. It can take some pension providers several months to produce this so request it now.
- Put the documents in a file with dividers so they are easy to find.
- Familiarise yourself with the documents and figures so you understand them yourself.
- Source other third parties who might be helpful such as a mortgage broker and/or financial adviser and/or an accountant.
Mediation and negotiation
Mediation is an opportunity for you and your ex to negotiate and to find solutions. You should come with an open mind and genuine willingness to compromise. Without this, mediation is unlikely to be successful.
- Think about what it is you want to use mediation to talk about. What do you want to accomplish?
- Remember mediation is future focused and aimed at problem solving. What solutions are you going to suggest?
- Think of as many options as you can. There will be a time in mediation for “brain storming”.
- Be curious about options your ex suggests.
- Keep an open mind and be prepared to consider all the options, not just your own. You may find merit in parts of one option and parts of another. Before you know it there may be a solution in front of you.
- Be committed. One session of mediation is unlikely to produce a lasting result. It’s usual to need between 3 -5 sessions. Be prepared for this from the outset. Take time to reflect in between sessions and plan a budget accordingly.
Mediation and the law
As your mediator I can explain the law and legal processes to you both but I cannot give either of you individual advice. You have decided to come into mediation rather than embarking in litigation so don’t allow yourself to become railroaded by a lawyer who is intent on steering you towards the courts from the outset. Don’t assume that legal advice is not affordable. Many solicitors offer fixed fees/pay as you go services as well as initial consultations free of charge.
- Make sure you have a non-adversarial lawyer on side who can support you through the process but who will not sabotage it.
- If you’re nervous about coming into mediation without your lawyer then speak to your mediator to see if your solicitor can come with you or be on the other end of the telephone.
- Do your own research. The internet is good a place to start as any. Have a look at my resource page for details of helpful websites.