Mediation is a proactive and cost-effective method of resolving sensitive issues related to a marriage breakdown, such as finances, property and of course, child custody. Many families fear that mediation will be a difficult and painful process, particularly if there are communication problems between the parties. However, when done correctly, mediation can create a safe place to resolve issues and establish mutually beneficial agreements while ensuring that everyone feels heard.
Here are my top tips for a successful mediation:
- Focus on the overall goal – the overall goal is to create a harmonious family atmosphere for your child/ren, so they are in a safe and regular routine and spending time with both parents.
- Commit to participating – mediation will not work unless both parties are committed to participating and reaching a compromise. This will also ensure that, once a compromise is reached, both parties will actually go through with respecting the terms of their agreement.
- Establish your personal goals – before attending mediation, make a written list of the most important factors from your perspective. This will help you focus on your priorities and determine what you could compromise on.
- Anticipate the other party’s goals – you can establish goodwill by anticipating something that is important to the other party and offering to compromise on this goal.
- Take a team approach – it might be tempting to take a confrontational approach, but a team approach where you and the other parent work together to establish the right resolution is better for your family.
- Leave unrelated baggage out of the discussion – there are usually numerous unresolved hurts in relation to the breakup, but most of these have no direct connection to your commitment as parents. This is not an opportunity to raise past issues, this is an opportunity to do what is best for your child/ren.
- Active listening – Be prepared to listen to what the other party has to say, so you can respond effectively and reach an amicable resolution.
A good family mediator is impartial, will take the time to listen to both parties and will walk you through the mediation process, answering any questions that you might have prior to sitting down at the table and starting the session.
And when I say “sitting down at the table”, note that my mediation session can be scheduled in-person, by telephone or by video, as I understand that no relationship is the same. Learn more about video mediation here.
If you’re looking for a qualified Nationally Accredited Mediator & Family Dispute Practitioner to resolve your issues once and for all or if you simply have questions about the process, call me, Shane McClure, at 0416 269 640.