Mediation should be a collaborative process where an impartial professional can help you and the other parties involved resolve your differences.
If you and your ex-partner properly commit to a dispute resolution service, then you can save yourself the emotional turmoil of a court appearance, as well as a substantial amount of time and money. To help you prepare for your mediation appearance, we’ve put together this guide.
What Should I Expect at Mediation?
Mediation is usually held at a neutral location. You and your ex-partner will both be expected to attend alongside your lawyers (and sometimes without a lawyer) and, once everyone is present, the mediator will then set some ‘ground rules’ for the day. These will often be tailored to your needs and requirements. Mediation sessions take numerous forms, including both individual and group sessions. The structure of your mediation session is up to you.
Although you may be required to be in the same room as your ex-partner, a ‘shuttle process’ is often used. In this process, you and your lawyer will be in one room, and your partner and their representatives will be in another. The mediator will then move between these rooms to facilitate discussion.
If you and your partner are still comfortable around each other and on speaking terms, then the session can be conducted in the same room. If you cannot be in the same room as each other, you’ll need to tell your mediator beforehand.
How Should I Prepare for my Mediation?
To give yourself the best opportunity to resolve your matter, it is best to be thoroughly prepared. A mediation session may be the last time that you meet with the other party to resolve the matter on your own terms without going to trial, so it’s incredibly important to be adequately prepared.
Before you attend your mediation appointment, ensure that you:
• Read every document associated with your case, including those filed or prepared by your ex-partner. Ensure you know all of these well and can clarify or explain them during the mediation session
• Make notes to help explain your position and why you feel the way that you do
• Prepare a short statement to use as a summary of your position, including any key arguments you’d like to discuss. However, keep this brief (no more than a couple of pages), and don’t get bogged down in minor arguments
• Make a list of everything already agreed on and everything you’re yet to agree on
• Make a list of things that are important to you and things that you’re willing to compromise on
• Consider the circumstances under which you’d be willing to compromise
• Collate copies of any key documents. This isn’t a trial, so you won’t need every document, but it’s helpful to have copies of key documents on hand
• Discuss your strategy with your lawyer
• Think about the legal expenses involved in taking the case to a trial and the consequences of rejecting a deal
How Will Mediation End?
Hopefully, your mediation will end with all parties reaching an agreement and signing it. However, your mediation could end without an agreement being reached if parties are not willing to compromise.
If you do reach an agreement at mediation, then it may be made an order of the court. This is a form of consent order and means that court action in relation to your matter is finished. If you do not reach an agreement, the mediator may issue a certificate to confirm you attended mediation (if the mediator is a family dispute resolution practitioner) or Court appointed mediator.
If you do not reach an agreement, then your matter will progress to court. It’s important to remember that, should your matter progress to court, you’ll face uncertainty about the outcome of your case, as it can be almost impossible to predict the outcome with a high degree of confidence. For this reason, it is best to leave your mediation session with an agreement, if at all possible.
If you’d like to book a mediation service, then please contact our office on (07) 3343 9522 or (07) 5446 1745. Alternatively, you can book today using our online availability service for either a full day of mediation or a half day.