Question: I am using mediation to resolve financial matters with my ex, but we also need to plan the arrangements for our children now that we have separated. Can we use mediation for both?
Yes, mediation can be used to resolve disputes about your finances, children and property. It can be as flexible as you need it to be, and can also be used to resolve one-off issues that arise between you or as an ongoing tool to facilitate open discussions so that you can plan for your life as a separated family.
You and your ex can control the focus of each session (although mediation is to be avoided if you are dealing with a narcissist), how frequently they occur and how long they last for. Unlike when you are involved in formal court proceedings, mediation sessions are confidential and tailor-made for you so that they cater to your unique circumstances and needs. You can choose a specific mediator that has the expertise that will support you best, and you may even find that it is beneficial to use a different mediator to resolve your financial disputes and those that relate to your children. Some mediators are trained in Child Inclusive Mediation so that your children’s views can be heard, something that can be particularly appropriate with older children who may feel strongly about changes that will affect them.
If you have not already done so, I would suggest that you seek legal advice from a solicitor before pursuing mediation. This will provide you with an understanding of your legal position and a solid footing going into the process. Also, if you reach heads of agreement in the mediation, you will generally need a solicitor to help you turn that into a binding consent order that is then filed at court (avoiding the need for court hearings). Whatever you chose, the focus in meditation is on you and how best to support your needs so that you can resolve your dispute productively and collaboratively.