Mediating on Children Issues – Top Tips for Success
The breakdown of a relationship is difficult for all concerned, and if there are children involved, your mind will undoubtedly be filled with questions. Family Mediation is a beneficial way of exploring different options, in order to work out which will be the best option for you, your partner, and children.
It may seem overwhelming to navigate the process of Mediation, but we have prepared some top tips to assist you in finding the Mediation service that is right for you, and ways to get the most out of your sessions:
- Not all Mediation Services are the same:
You can search for Accredited Mediators using the Family Mediation Council Search facility (Find a Mediator). This allows you to find Accredited Mediators closest to you, and funding options, such as:
- Legal Aid/Publically Funded Mediation
- Pay as you go: Services that offer Mediation on a pay as you go basis, this enables appointments to be arranged at financially convenient times.
- Family Mediation Voucher Scheme: Some services offer this enabling them (subject to availability and consent) to claim £500 towards the cost of Mediation sessions, from the Family Mediation Council.
Ensure you ask the Mediation service (or include it as part of your search criteria) what services and funding options they offer before you book your initial appointment (MIAM).
- Ensure your chosen service offers online Mediation:
Online Mediation is a more flexible service that is designed to be easily accessible. Participants often comment that they feel more engaged and comfortable during remote sessions.
Ask for confirmation as to whether or not the Mediation Service offers shuttle Mediation (i.e. separate virtual rooms) as well as face-to-face on screen options. It can make a huge difference for parties who are wanting to have meaningful discussions but are unable, or do not feel comfortable to do this face-to-face.
- Be prepared:
Your Mediator will often suggest you consider strategies other families have found useful. It is helpful to have a pen and paper to allow you to take notes.
- Attend your MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting):
This is your opportunity to understand the options available, and also to clarify the matters which are important to you.
Your MIAM will enable you to make an informed decision as to how you can address any outstanding children issues.
It is beneficial to read any guides you receive after your MIAM. This additional support often provides parents with a different perspective, and useful strategies to assist them going forward.
- Reflect on the short medium and long term impact of proposals:
Take the time to think about the realistic impact any arrangements will have upon your children and their development. Your Mediator will help you explore options, discussing the child’s reality and what strategies have been successful in the past.
- The mapping out of childhood changes:
The aim of any Mediation involving child arrangement matters is to cover a wide range of issues that are likely to arise during the upbringing of a child/children. Both short and long term arrangements and expectations can be incorporated into a comprehensive Memorandum/Parenting Plan.
- Press the reset/refresh button:
If you already have an arrangement in place, but it doesn’t cover all of the elements relating to your child, or if new issues have arisen, go back to Mediation. You can press the reset button and address any difficulties you are facing.
- Communication strategies:
Despite the numerous ways we are able to communicate with each other, a good communication regime is not always easy to create or maintain. Your Mediator will be able to provide you with different approaches, enabling you to decide which would be the most applicable to your circumstances.
- Legal advice:
Ensure any independent solicitor you instruct, supports you entering and maintaining a Mediation Process. Similarly, ensure your Mediator is able and willing to help you maintain an ongoing working relationship with your legal representative.
- Got a question?
Mediation is a transparent and impartial process, if there are any points that you feel unsure, or require clarification, it is important to ask.
Be prepared to feel different and challenging emotions throughout the process and take time to reflect and ask questions. The information provided is intended to help you both as parents/carers of children to make informed decisions. This is your Mediation. The decisions remain yours.
We at Midlands Dove Mediation are able to offer Free Mediation to those who are eligible for Publically Funded Mediation and the Family Mediation Council’s Voucher Scheme
Contact us at www.midlandsdove.co.uk or 01623 706020.