Updated: We’ve added a 5th tip after feedback from clients about how helpful it’s been for them…
It can be difficult to know what to expect when you are attending your first family law mediation. We’ve prepared a list of 4 tips to make the process easier for you.
How to prepare for family mediation
Tip 1: Consider bringing a support person to mediation
Consider whether you need to bring a support person to your family law mediation.
The ideal support person is someone who is there to support you emotionally, but should not be someone who has an opinion about your matter or who may influence your decision-making.
It is a personal choice whether to bring a support person – if you have a family lawyer, they will be there to advocate on your behalf.
If you do want to bring a support person, you will need to let the mediator know.
Your support person may not be allowed in the room during discussions due to confidentiality.
Tip 2: Find out in advance what facilities will be available at your family law mediation
Make sure that your family lawyer and mediator are aware if you have any safety concerns about being at family law mediation, mobility issues, or particular health concerns about being inside all day.
Be sure to bring any medications you need to take during the day.
Tip 3: Make arrangements for the children to be picked up from school by someone else
Family Law Mediation can take anywhere from half a day to a whole day. If your mediation is on a day that you have children in your care, make sure you arrange child care and an alternate person to collect the children in case the mediation goes late. You may also wish for someone to come and pick you up after your family law mediation, so you do not need to worry about how you will get home.
Tip 4: Bring food and drink to your family mediation
We often find that clients are unable to eat much breakfast on the morning of family law mediation due to the anticipation of the event. We suggest you bring a snack with you so that you can eat it mid-morning to keep your energy levels up – you need food for your brain to function effectively and you will have some important decisions to make.
There should be tea and coffee available at the mediation venue. However, the available food in the area may be expensive (and not very satisfying) café food. You might like to bring your own lunch so that you can eat something you are comfortable with – again, you need you to keep up your energy levels.
If you are bringing children to child inclusive mediation interviews, bring them a snack and drinks to make the process as smooth as possible for them.
Tip 5: Prepare dinner in advance of your family mediation
If you have never been a consistent meal-prepper, now is the time to start.
You will likely be tired after a day of mediation and the last thing you will feel like doing is organising dinner.
Prepping a meal in advance (for example, putting everything in the slow cooker the night before and turning it on before you leave) or even having leftovers ready to reheat can ensure you get a decent dinner without any effort.