Are you worried about going to family mediation?


Many people will be worried about going to mediation with their ex partner. it is part of the mediator's role to help you through the concerns you may have. The mediator will manage the process to enable the mediation to take place in the best way possible to help allay your worries.

Attending mediation with your ex partner can be a daunting prospect. You may not have met with them for a long period of time. You may be worried that you will get upset in the meeting. You may be concerned that you do not have as much financial knowledge as your ex partner. You may have found the relationship to be a controlling or coercive one and are worried about being in the same room together.

It is the mediator’s job to make sure that mediation is the right option for you. Before any joint mediation sessions take place you should have a meeting on your own with the mediator. This is your opportunity to find out more about mediation but also to talk about any concerns or worries you have about attending a joint mediation session.

By having this meeting and ensuring you raise what worries you the mediator can let you know how those concerns can be addressed. For example, it is quite normal for you to feel emotional at a mediation meeting. You are sat at the table with your former partner to talk about one of the hardest things you will go through in life, a separation. You can be reassured how usual it is to feel that way, you can see the building where mediation will take place and be shown how you can have a break during the mediation meeting if that is needed.

It is also quite common for one of the couple to be more in control of their emotions, more dominant in the relationship or have managed the finances. A core part of a mediator’s training is to learn how to address what we refer to as a power imbalance in a relationship. Again, if we as the mediator know what you are worried about in this respect then we can look out for it happening in the joint meetings and ensure that it is addressed and that there equality between the two of you. We can help explain the more complex financial situation so that you understand it.

Where a relationship is coercive or controlling we have to be more rigorous in checking that mediation is right for you before we move to a joint meeting. However, neither situation prevents mediation from taking place. Again, it is primarily about ensuring the mediator knows how you feel, understands a bit about the background to your relationship so that they can manage that when you move to joint mediation sessions. For the more difficult relationships we may use what is known as shuttle mediation  which means you are in a separate room and the mediator moves between the two of you. My experience is that mediation is usually quicker and more successful if you can be in the same room and it is the mediator’s job to challenge any inappropriate behaviour or comments from the other person.

The individual meeting with the mediator before you move to joint meetings is so important for you and for the mediator. It provides you with an opportunity to raise your concerns and ensures the that the mediator can reassure you how those concerns can be addressed and dealt with when you move into the joint mediation process.

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