Whatever issue is discussed at Mediation, both parties need to undertake some preparation so that the Mediation is fruitful. The sorts of things that each of the parties should be thinking about, and questions they should be asking themselves, include the following:-
- Think about what you want to talk about prior to the Mediation, so you can organise your thoughts before the joint mediation session. This helps you plan what you want to say and how you want to say it.
- Think about what you would like to see happen. You should consider the outcomes that you want, and be prepared to have a range of acceptable outcomes, not simply one position.
- Ask yourself questions such as "What else might work?". There is often more than one option. It helps to think about what you really need and what you can live with.
- Obtain all relevant information to better understand your own position. If you are not able to resolve things at Mediation, then what does that mean for you?
- It is important to obtain legal advice prior to a joint mediation session, so that you can make fully informed decisions at the Mediation. By having legal advice prior to mediation:-
- You are better placed to make decisions, as you have already been advised as to likely legal outcomes;
- if agreement is not reached, you understand your risks and options.
- Think about what you might hear from your former partner or any other person involved in the Mediation. Think about what might be their key concerns and what outcome you think that they might be seeking. It is useful to have considered the other person's perspective as that may assist you in considering the best result you could achieve or the worst that could happen.
- At times it helps to do some research about the type of arrangements that work for children at different ages or different developmental stages. This can help you better understand what arrangements might be best for your children. Your legal advisor can assist you in this respect.
- At the intake session for a financial mediation, you need to be in a position to identify what comprises the asset pool – assets, liabilities and superannuation entitlements and estimated values – or what information you need to obtain yourself, or obtain from your former partner in order to establish the asset pool. Your mediator will explain to you that it is very important for both you and your partner to fully disclose your respective financial positions.
- It may be important to obtain financial advice. This can assist you in understanding not only the current financial position, but what your financial future might look like. Generating options for settlement at a mediation and making decisions can be less scary when you have already had the input of a financial advisor.
- Before a joint session think about how you have got to where you are financially, i.e., what have each of your contributions been, whether that be financial or in a homemaking and parenting role; whether any inheritance or financial gifts were received by either of you; any health concerns; the earning capacity of each party; the future arrangements for the children.
It is important to obtain legal advice prior to any Mediation, and financial advice if financial issues are going to be mediated. See our brochures which include some suggested questions for your Lawyer, or your Accountant/Financial Advisor.