Preparation is key to a successful mediation.
Just as you would for any important meeting you had to attend for work, preparation is key when you are attending mediation as well. So what do you need to prepare? This really comes down to what your mediation is about but here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Know what you best case and worst case scenario is.
I always find it is easier to start with your best case scenario. If you can figure out what will make you feel like you have hit the jackpot when you walk out – write that down. Then from there take an honest look (and I mean a real honest look) at what you have written down and start to make notes on what you could compromise on. Remember, mediation is all about give and take and you will have to give some things in order to take others – so know what they are.
2. Write down what your family schedule is.
Spend some time in the lead up to write down what you do each day. The times you leave home, school work and what time you get home in the evenings. Do you have dinner and then bath, when does homework get done? Knowing these details will help when it comes to talk about the children’s routine and organising an arrangement that is going to work for them. It can be hard if you are put on the spot to remember all of the “little” things that our children do and when they do it – so if you have it written down you will be able to find time periods that are going to be meaningful to them.
3. Do your research.
If your proposal is going to involve changing shifts at work, moving house, buying property, getting a new job. Make sure you do your research so you know the cost, the ability for your workplace to make the changes, what they changes will look like, how much travel will be involved etc. It will help with your discussions if you can talk in fact about what they will look like as opposed to hypotheticals.
4. Have a plan
If you are a visual person it will help you to have your current arrangements compared to your plan mapped out on a calendar. If on the other hand you like to see things in writing – start with what it currently happening and then write out what your proposal will mean. Look at these proposals against the schedule you wrote in step 2 and look to see if any adjustments need to be made for your children – after all this is about them.