Mediation is a structured process.
Prior to commencing your session, the Mediator will explain the process and clarify any questions you may have. Each party will have an opportunity to talk about the items they wish to discuss during the Mediation.
When both parties have finished this process, the Mediator will assist the parties to form an agreed Agenda of items for discussion. This is an important part, as it guides the parties discussion during the Mediation.
After the Agenda is set, the parties will commence discussing the agreed issues and exploring ideas around possible solutions. Even though these discussions can be difficult and sometimes emotional, we will support you through this process.
It is important to try to listen to the other party and not interrupt them when they are speaking. You will each get an opportunity to talk about what is important to you during the session.
During the Mediation, the parties may come up with proposed solutions for resolving their disagreement. Therefore, the next step is to 'fine-tune' the details of these solutions. During this part, the Mediator will draft the main points of the parties' agreement. We will make sure that all parties understand exactly what has been agreed upon.
During the Mediation, we will also encourage you to "reality-test" what has been agreed. There's no point walking out of Mediation with an agreement, only to find that you won't be able to follow through what you agreed to do!
After the Mediation session, if the parties agree, the Mediator can draft up what has been agreed as an Agreement or Parenting Plan.
Sometimes, the parties do not reach agreement during Mediation, but still find the process extremely valuable. Often it is the first time the parties have been able to have an authentic and meaningful discussion about the issues at hand. It may even be the first time you have had an opportunity to truly listen to the other parties' perspective.
If agreement is not reached at the first Mediation session, often people are able to reach agreement either after - or even during a subsequent Mediation session.
Mediations can be scheduled for 2 hours, half-day or full day, depending on your needs.
For example, you may only require a short session for simpler matters. Alternatively, for complex matters, you may require a full-day session. You may even prefer to book a series of short sessions, to give you time and space to process what has been discussed, rather than having one long Mediation session that goes on all day.
We will discuss your options and work with you to implement the best way forward for your unique circumstances.
Prior to having your Mediation session, you will also have an individual Pre-Mediation session. During this private session, the Mediator will collect some background information from you to enable them to properly prepare for your case and assess the suitability of your matter for Mediation. This Pre-Mediation session usually takes 90 minutes.
Mediation is a voluntary process. This means that if at any stage you feel you need a break, or do not wish to continue, you should let the Mediator know.
The very nature of Mediation means that the parties are in conflict. Therefore we expect that the discussions may trigger strong emotions. Research shows that when we are feeling angry or emotional, it is difficult for our brain to experience rational discussion and decision-making.
Therefore, if you are feeling like this, you should let your Mediator know that you would like a break. It is amazing what a 10-minute break and cup of coffee can do, to clarify your thinking and help you re-enter the process.
Sometimes, the Mediator may decide to call a break - or even terminate the session if they feel that Mediation is no longer appropriate. Or they may convene a private meeting with each of you, during which time you can have a confidential discussion with the Mediator to discuss how you are feeling about the Mediation and how best to move forward.
A Mediator cannot give legal advice. They may sometimes give the parties publicly available general information, but they cannot provide you with any legal advice regarding your specific situation.
We recommend that you see a lawyer prior to attending your first Mediation session. This can help give you an idea of what a possible court outcome might look like. Having this information can make it easier for you to manage your expectations and help you make or accept realistic settlement proposals during Mediation.