When can a mediation take place?
The mediation process is voluntary, meaning both parties need to be willing and able to attend. Be mindful of the other party; both logistically but also their emotional state when considering the best time to mediate. Once both parties agree to mediate, a date can be set immediately. It is best to allow between 4 – 6 hours for the meeting, depending on how the negotiations are progressing and whether an agreement can be formalised.
Where do we mediate?
The mediation can take place wherever there are rooms available. Koolik & Associates offers their furnished mediation rooms at North Lakes to all clients, but Nik is also able to attend other locations as necessary.
It is common for the parties in dispute to remain in separate rooms while the mediator facilitates discussions between the rooms, particularly when there is a power imbalance or a high level of conflict between the parties. It is also possible to arrange telephone or skype conferencing when conducting the mediation.
Is an agreement reached at mediation binding?
It can be. If solicitors attend with parties, they are able formalise an agreement to make it binding. If no solicitors are at the mediation, the mediator can assist the parties with entering into a Heads of Agreement, which outlines what has been agreed to in general terms. A solicitor can then prepare the formal documents.
What can I expect from my mediator
Like most areas, mediation styles vary between different mediators. After working with many parties over the years, we believe the best approach facilitates an amicable and practical solution.
As the mediator, Nik cannot give either party legal advice, so it is preferable that both parties seek legal advice prior to attending the mediation, even if their solicitor cannot attend with them on the day. Keep in mind that successful mediation saves both parties considerable time, money, and emotional turmoil in the future. This means seeking legal advice prior to the mediation or having a solicitor present with you can be considered an investment in a better future.
How to prepare
- If possible, seek legal advice and know your legal options before the mediation
- Narrow as many issues as possible prior to the mediation. This may include valuing assets or exchanging disclosure where necessary. It is important that both parties enter the mediation fully aware of the asset pool.
- Don’t take a fixed position. Keep an open mind throughout the process and be willing to discuss all possible avenues or proposals
- Approach the mediation process in a positive and conciliatory manner.
- Set aside the entire day so that your focus can be solely on the matters at hand without distraction. If you have children, make sure arrangements have been made for their care in case the mediation runs overtime. It is important that both parties are focused and committed to reaching a resolution.
- Reality check yourself and make appropriate enquiries beforehand. If you intend to retain an asset that you might need to refinance, make enquiries with your lender to be sure you have financial means to do so.