Both parties have to want to mediate otherwise mediation cannot help to solve the problems that have arisen. It may be that one or both parties will want to have an initial meeting with the mediator before making up their minds whether they wish to commit to the process. This is a good idea. A couple can agree to meet with the mediator together or on their own for this first fact finding meeting. Most mediators like to meet with each individual alone for a short time initially and then bring the couple together if the parties are happy with that. By attending one meeting, neither party is committing to undergo the process. A decision can be reached at the end of the first meeting when more is understood about how mediation works.
Once underway, the mediation process involves the couple talking their differences through in the company of the trained, neutral family mediator with a view to reaching their own agreements and solutions to the problems they are facing. Most couples will know how difficult it is to have these conversations at home and will probably have attempted to reach their own agreements informally. Emotions such as anger and resentment can get in the way and those conversations can become very negative and this is when the Miams Family Mediation Service is needed the most.
In mediation the family mediator controls this process for the couple in order to create an environment in which they can communicate more effectively. This does not mean that emotions are not given expression. It is important in many cases that things are spoken about in a frank and honest way. However, the couple will be encouraged to listen carefully to what the other has to say and the family mediator will work hard to ensure that the discussion stays proactive. It is not an easy process for couples and does require the full commitment of both parties as well as the skills of the family mediator to make it work.
There are different types of mediation such as “shuttle mediation” where the mediator will see both parties individually and will then pass information between the two parties. There is also “co-mediation” where there are two mediators in attendance with the parties rather than one. It may also be appropriate in some cases for each parties’ lawyers to attend mediation with their clients to provide legal advice during the mediation session. Mediation is a very flexible tool and your mediator will suggest the method or methods that may work best for you.