How does family mediation work?
The mediation process takes place over a number of sessions. The mediator often meets with each party separately before they meet the parties together. Even where the mediator meets people separately, anything said to the mediator can be brought into the discussion by them. The mediator does not keep secrets for either side.
Issues to be dealt with in family mediation can include:
- The family home, including whether one parent will live in it, or whether it must be sold.
- Parenting after separation, including where everyone will live and when each of the parents will have time with the children.
- Financial issues such as how to budget for the new situation and how to provide for the children.
- The division of assets, where they exist.
It is generally recommended that you consult a solicitor prior to mediation to ensure that any agreement you enter into is in your interest, valid, and can be made an order of the court once the agreement is finalised.
Once an agreement is mediated, the resulting report can be taken to solicitors to make it a legally binding agreement or an order of the court. There is a free family mediation service funded by the government under the auspices of the Legal Aid Board. There are also private practitioners who are accredited by their professional body and have reached a particular standard of training. The professional body is the Mediators Institute of Ireland https://www.themii.ie/. It is important to work with a qualified mediator.