Are you ready to Mediate?
Engaging in the mediation process is the start of moving away from being a couple and thinking about yourself as two individuals living apart. Separation inevitably involves change – different living arrangements, change of routine, contact with your children, and a legal process. In some ways, you may not be completely separate as you could continue to be linked financially e.g. providing income to the other if there is a disparity in income and needs, having a legal charge over the family home, and continuing as co-parents. Negotiating and transitioning to this new type of relationship can be anxiety-provoking as you may not know what this will look like.
Speaking to a mediator together will open up a conversation about what the future might look like for you individually in terms of financially, practically, and as co-parents. A mediator listens to both of your perspectives and thinks about this with you, also considering other possibilities with the aim of moving the conversation along productively. If you’re not sure about what to ask for, or what you are entitled to legally, then I recommend you arrange to meet a family solicitor individually. I have built good relationships with solicitors locally in Sevenoaks and, if you would like a recommendation, do get in touch.
In your first assessment meeting, I explain that having an open mind to possible outcomes is important. If you have a fixed idea of what you want and that your spouse/partner should fit into your view of how things should be, then this will make the mediation process very challenging. The mediator encourages two people’s views and ideas to be thought about in the hope that it can create a new outcome as individuals.
Understandably, there are anxieties about giving up what is previously felt known and secure and moving towards another place which is not yet known and uncertain. This is why, in my view, it’s essential for couples and parents who are separating, or have separated, to keep talking as there are various things to consider:
The ongoing and future arrangements for your children
Sorting out the family home and other property
Income for your children and yourself
Formalising the ending of the marriage by divorce.