How to prepare
Mediation begins with participants being sent introductory papers followed by each participant being seen separately unless both express the wish to be seen together after a telephone call with each person. Among the introductory papers is a form that will need to be completed for the mediator to assess the situation. There will be another form to complete if the mediation includes financial issues.
Financial information is collated by the parties to define all possible resources available be they capital, income, business related or otherwise. You can choose to enlist the help of your own legal adviser to help you gather all the information for the form or not as you wish. If you own property then it is usual to obtain up to three recent market appraisals from local surveyors or agents giving a realistic estimate of the value of the property. Up-to-date mortgage statements will also be needed. Twelve months bank statements are expected to be produced for all accounts operated in sole or joint names. Business accounts for the last two years are needed and if employed, your latest P60 and payslips.
Identify what it is you will need to re-establish yourself independently from your separated partner. This is helpful in the context of where you want to live, how much that will cost, what mortgage you can get and what support is available to you. For children you may need to have at your fingertips details of access to schools, clubs, family and friends to help make plans for them.
What about the challenges
Come to mediation with an open mind. If you have a solution that you have not been able to agree on then chances are we will need to look at a few different options to find a compromise that can work.
Be honest about your aims and goals, especially in the context of delivering a consensual solution that will benefit the children. Be mindful of the reality that when planning a move from one shared home to two new homes there is likely to be increased financial pressures and responsibilities.
Job stability, training for a new skill, child care responsibilities to name a few may need to be considered in the context of safeguarding the interests of the children and yourselves.
You may need legal, financial and pensions advice before and/or during the mediation process. Supportive solicitors may be willing to accompany you to mediation, expense permitting.
Your legal advisers, at the conclusion of a mediation, can prepare an agreement or consent order that records the terms proposed within mediation.