The first meeting
What can I expect?
When you make contact with a mediator or are referred to mediation by your solicitor you will be invited to attend a preliminary meeting, also referred to as an assessment meeting or intake. This is a very important meeting as it sets the foundation for successful mediation. It also gives you an opportunity to meet your mediator and to see the surroundings where mediation will take place.
At this meeting the mediator will;
- Assess whether your issues are suitable for mediation;
- Assess your financial situation. Will you be private or public funded?
- Inform you about any costs;
- Assess whether it is safe to mediate, (check for domestic violence) and how to provide a safe environment;
- Discuss the various forms of mediation and which would be most suitable – will it take place with one mediator or two, in the same room or separate rooms etc.,
- Discuss the mediation process and any questions that you may have;
- Inform you about other options – counselling, family therapy, collaborative law, using the legal process;
- Estimate the number of sessions required;
- Determine whether you are willing to mediate;
- Set a date for the first mediation session. (To be confirmed with the other party).
Usually these meetings are held separately from your partner/former partner however it is possible to hold the meeting jointly if this is what you would prefer, although some time would always be spent with each person individually.
Some mediators provide this meeting free of charge and others have a fixed fee.