For Separating Partners:
- taking the Separation Mediation Pathway forward
- looking for a collaborative pathway
- heading to a Mediation with your Lawyers accompanying you
Mediation can set you on the path for the future and focus on what’s in the best interests of the kids.
What do you start to think about and need in preparation for your Mediation Session to nut out the nitty gritty details?
A good starting point is to gather your thoughts and prepare your mindset for calm and respectful communication with your separating partner.
The best outcomes are born from a place of openness and willingness to listen.
Mediation encourages forward thinking and a focus on the future rather than to dwell on the past.
Mediation is not for everyone and it isn’t always going to work in every case, but it is definitely worth a red hot crack.
What it may look like
Things will be different than when you both try to talk about items on your own.
Options will be laid out / guided by your mediator. Be open to different solutions you may not have considered before just like negotiating a business deal.
Your mediator doesn’t take sides. They facilitate separating partners to compromise for a fair resolution for everyone.
If you approach divorce/separation mediation with confidence in the mediator and the mediation process, you can anticipate receiving a fair and reasonable outcome.
You can resolve your own dispute with the guide of a Mediator.
How do you prepare yourself mentally to head into Separation Mediation?
Start thinking about the head space you need to be in to embrace the positive steps forward.
Put down your guard and think about defining your new life and the vision forward.
Sometimes you may need to give a little to gain a lot – what is the best way to move forward.
Embrace the calm:
- Allow yourself to think clearly
- Keep focus on the life you want to create moving forward
- Leave your emotional self at the door
- Think clearly about the best path forward.
Keep things in perspective and real.
Bring with you the spirit of compromise.
Be open to communicating effectively – both listening and speaking – fully listen and be listened to.
Bring your best self – Be your best self
Think of the positive co-parenting vision. How you would like it to look and feel.
Pray, meditate, exercise – do whatever you need to do prior to your mediation to get to the space of a clear head and calm heart.
Try to let go of the back blocks of blame, perhaps save that for your date with your counsellor/coach/psychologist to help you process then.
Start planning for what tomorrow, next month and the years ahead could look like. Think about walking the road towards a new version of yourself – One that you get to define.
Expect productive discussions. Its ok to ask questions in order to better understand your separating partners thoughts.
Start to think about what you NEED as opposed to what you WANT.
The Details – What about the Children?
Think about your Positive Co-Parenting path forward:
- Consider what the best outcome for the children would be for their living arrangements and schooling.
- Write down all the special days that have meaning in your family, ie birthdays, religious holidays, other holidays dates.
- Consider what would be in the best interests of the children for those special days as well
- Think about how you want the landscape of your co-parenting to look like in the future. Think about shared special occasions/milestones of the children ie. Future significant birthdays, engagements, weddings etc.
- Your children will have shared social circles, think about navigating that in a positive way
- You don’t have to be best mates, but respect and understanding goes a long way in peaceful positive co-parenting.
The Details – The Pro’s & Con’s of Bringing a Support Person to your Mediation
It may feel like a great idea to bring along a supporter or support person with you to your mediation. Here are the pro’s and con’s and helpful hints.
If you have a support person and your separating partner does not, your separating partner may feel like:
- You and your support person are ‘out-numbering them”
- They are potentially being backed into a corner
- It can create unnecessary anxiety or angst
- Your mediation is no longer just between the two of you, that there is now an audience
- Can refuse your support person entry into the mediation session.
Your support person can instead, meet you for lunch after your mediation session or in between sessions as an ear to listen.
You can both bring your lawyers or chose the option of a lawyer led mediation. Our Dignity Legal team attend many such mediation sessions in endeavors to help their clients settle their details before any documents are lodged anywhere.
You CAN invite specialists into your Mediation Sessions, such as:
- Child Psychologists or Psychiatrists
- Financial Advisors or Accountants
- Counsellors etc.
The Details – What Paperwork do I need to start thinking about?
Make a list of all assets and liabilities of you and your separating partner:
- Assets – include all property, businesses and trusts, motor vehicles / boats / caravans, bank accounts, superannuation balances, furniture / household contents, artwork, collections, personal items ie jewelry etc.
- Liabilities – include all loans, leases, mortgages, credit cards, borrowings from family/friends etc.
- add the current values to each of the items on your list
- locate current bank and mortgage statements, super statements, documents evidencing any family loans etc.
- Property Valuation – If you have an appraisal on property you own, collect those figures.
Other Support Networks for you both?
There is an array of support services that you can tap into to help guide you through the journey and help steer you along the calm.
- Divorce Coaches & Life Coaches: who can give you guidance on the best path forwards for you along with other supports
- Psychologists/Counsellors: who can help you process, listen, guide and much more
- Financial Advisors/Accountants: who can assist you with your new financial situation
- Health Professionals
- Co-parenting Schedule Apps (shared diaries & communications)
- Online Parenting Resources
A successful mediation is more likely if the separating partners can control their emotions and expectations.
This can also help you avoid the time, money, and emotional costs of a protracted and frequently unnecessary trial alternative.
Don’t over analyze or nitpick your final agreement reached. The ‘What If’s’ and ‘Buts’ can take you down rabbit holes very easily. Buyers’ remorse is not healthy or beneficial to anyone – especially to yourself.
Trust yourself in the final agreement and be prepared to keep walking your new path forwards.
Some Healthy Reading Ideas:
What Are we Fighting For? A Peaceful Pathway for Separating Couples – Book by Kirsty Salvestro
Breaking Up Without Breaking Down: Preserving your Health, your Wealth and your Family – Book by Dr Tina Sinclair, Tricial Peters & Merguerite Picard
Separate Ways, Surviving Post-Separation Grief, the Stress of Divorce or Separation, and the Family Law Process – Book by Shaya Lewis-Dermody
If you, your friends or colleagues are in the throes of separating and want to know where to turn to for a dignified respectful positive separation – then point them in our direction. We offer a 15-minute free consultation to discuss the process and what to do next and how we can help.
We can offer you our Dignity.edr Separation Mediation option or our Dignity.Legal Team, depending on which path suits your needs best.
Written by Margy Nixon, Dignity.EDR