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Five tips to prepare for mediation

Mediation – or Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) – is an opportunity to work through your parenting and property division issues and to hopefully reach a final agreement without the need for Court proceedings.  So how can you best prepare for mediation?

  1. Know the cost of Mediation:

There are government-funded providers – who offer heavily subsidised services.  There can be waitlists to utilise these services and often lawyers are not able to appear.

There are private providers – whose charges vary, depending on the style of mediation and the experience of the mediator.  This can be crucial depending on the complexity of your matter.

It is easy for the cost of the mediator to be a stress point so consider this early.

2. Think about your priorities:

Consider the issues involved in your situation.

Think about what is important to you – but also what is important to the other party.

Seek advice about what is going to be possible to achieve from a legal perspective.

3. Consider the practicalities:

There are frequently safety concerns.  If you are worried about this make sure you communicate that to the mediator.

But there might just be physical distance between the parties that needs to be taken into account.

4. Prepare documents:

For a property matter disclosure requirements will need to be complied with.  A balance sheet – setting out the assets and liabilities – will need to be prepared.

For either parenting or property matters there may be documents that you need to have available to support a claim that you want to make.

5. Plan for roadblocks:

Mediation is a difficult event.  High emotions and complicated issues come up.  Managing your own emotions – and dealing with those of the other party – is a big part of the process.

Keep an open mind – both about options and priorities.  Remember that you can always ask for clarification – or for some time out if needed.

To achieve a result at a mediation requires compromise from both parties.

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