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. I provide mediation services in Bristol to guide you through, if you need any advice, you can get in touch here.
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
- Dividing pensions
- Dividing savings
- Income for your children and yourself
- Formalising the ending of the marriage by divorce.
The reason for my question, “Are you ready to mediate?” is centred on whether you are able to discuss your future and to tolerate the potentially differing point of view of your former partner or other parent. It’s not easy dealing with the disappointment and loss of what you thought your future looked like. If you’ve recently separated, you may need some space and time to process some of the difficult feelings about a relationship ending before starting a mediation or legal process.
From my experience, couples who have attended couples counselling but have decided to separate are curious about continuing a conversation although with a different focus. It may be a natural transition for the couple to enter into mediation as they are used to talking to each other in the same room. The difference with mediation is that, it is future focused and avoids thinking about what happened in the past. Mediation is practical, informative, and managed by the mediator so that you both know the next steps and can agree a timetable for moving forward.
I provide a flexible and dedicated family mediation service in central Clifton, Bristol. If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org