When relationships breakdown, emotions often run high. Whilst most separating couples want to come to an agreement about their finances or children, they may struggle to discuss issues between them constructively.
Mediation can often be a helpful forum to discuss these issues and I would strongly suggest that you consider whether it is appropriate for you.
How to facilitate the process
If you are interested in mediating, as a first step, I would suggest that you contact a mediator and have a conversation with them to find out more about the mediation process.
If following this initial conversation, you feel that mediation is right for you then you can either approach your ex-partner about this or ask the mediator to do so on your behalf.
How you can convince your ex-partner
Mediation is a voluntary process. This means that you cannot compel your ex-partner to attend mediation if they do not want to. If your ex-partner is reluctant to mediate, you should try and convince them to speak with a mediator in the first instance. This may help to avoid any initial tension of facing each other and provide your ex-partner with an opportunity to find out how the process works and whether it is appropriate for them.
In my experience, most people can be anxious about talking to a stranger about their family disputes but often mediators are able to alleviate these worries and, where appropriate, encourage them to engage with mediation.
Sometimes ex-partners are also worried that the mediator will not be impartial if you have already chosen someone. It may therefore be helpful to put forward more than one name or, alternatively, invite them to propose some mediators for you to consider.
The positives of convincing your ex-partner
There are many benefits to convincing your ex-partner to mediate. These include:
- A mediator can encourage you and your ex-partner to communicate more effectively about the issues between you.
- A mediator will try and explore potential options with you both and encourage you to reach agreements that you are both comfortable with.
- Mediation is much more flexible than court proceedings and the discussions can be tailored to your family’s specific needs and priorities.
- Mediation is usually much cheaper than going to court.
- You are both in control and can be empowered to make the right decisions yourselves, together.
- It is confidential, meaning that you will have a safe and discrete forum within which to discuss issues.
What you will both get out of the mediation process
In many cases, separating couples are able to reach agreements on the issues between them. As separating couples have worked together to reach these agreements it often lead to maintaining better relationships moving forward – this is especially important if need to continue to co-parent together.