Where do we stand?
Where to start is often an overwhelming question. Do you need legal advice? Can you sort it out yourself? Who is going to pay for everything? Who can I lean on?
Our mediators are also trained collaborative family lawyers and we work with a network of professionals who can offer counselling, financial or legal advice. In many cases we can negotiate a fixed fee for these services and include them in an overall solution package for you.
We are happy to meet with you, or even you and your ex together to talk about a settlement strategy incorporating everything you need to start again separately. Our focus is on out-of-court solutions and setting you on a path that will help you resolve things as quickly as possible without breaking the bank.
That might mean an initial holding pattern, it might mean talking to your kids, it might mean sorting out some separate accommodation and financial arrangements.
You might be able to do that yourselves or you might need some help from us. What we want to do when we first meet you is talk about what you need now, what you need down the road and how we sort out and prioritise it all.
If we are going into mediation we need to meet with each of you separately. This is where we hear you story and talk about whether we think mediation will work for you. We won’t give you any legal advice but we will talk about the mediation process and what we need from you for the best possible outcome.
We will do the same thing with your ex. These meetings are confidential and we won’t tell either of you what we talked about with your ex. But we will challenge both of you – to think about options and creative solutions, to consider different ways of doing things and to stand in the other pair of shoes. If we are talking about your kids we want them to be the centre of the discussion.
We need to meet you both but we will make individual appointments with each of you. If you aren’t sure how willing your ex is to participate, after we have met with you we will contact your ex directly and invite them to come in for their own appointment.
We might give you some homework. That might be going to get legal advice, it might be sorting out all your financial details. It might be talking to your kids, an accountant or a therapist. We will give you some some resources that will help you in the mediation room. Research on what is appropriate for kids the same age as yours, what has worked for other families.
We want you to start planning for the day – what you need to talk about and what you want to cover. It’s your mediation and you will have to set the agenda. We are going to help you have the conversation but we aren’t going to do it for you.
We will talk you through how mediation works and what you can expect on the day. You can tell us what you are most worried about and why.
This is where we all sit down in the same room – you, your ex and your mediator. It might take the morning, it might take all day. It will probably be emotional. But along with resolution, our goal is to create a safe space where you can get things off your chest and the jump the hurdles you’ve baulked at before.
During the day we will talk to each of you individually and we will take breaks as you need them. You come along to sort things out for the future, we are there to keep you on track and keep you from getting bogged down in the past.
This is the time for you to lay out your best new life and to lay a path for your kids to be healthy, happy and thriving.
This is our part – we write up any agreements you reach as a mediation agreement or parenting plan.
If you need your agreement to be legally binding we bring in our collaborative colleagues to sort that our for you.