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If your relationship has broken down and you want to take steps to arrange for a separation it is very worthwhile considering family mediation as a way of doing this. Family mediation is a process of working out the practical details in a setting which will allow you both to achieve an agreement that allows each to have a say, but resolves disputes in a non-conflictual way.

The framework provides you with the opportunity to negotiate your own settlement on the assumption that the decision to separate and/or divorce has been made.You may decide to consult a solicitor at the beginning of the mediation process to ensure that you know your legal position, even though you will negotiate directly with your spouse in the mediation process.

You are free to consult with a solicitor at any time during the mediation process and should do so, so as to ascertain your legal rights and entitlements, and also if either of you are not clear what the legal implications of your choices are. In any case you will need to have a solicitor prepare legal documents based on the decisions reached in mediation, which will allow both of you to finalise matters between you.

Mediation and your children

If you have children their care will be an important focus in the mediation.The reality of one parent leaving the other is almost always a shock to children. Parents, who are going through the mill themselves, may not realise the extent to which children can feel hurt and be bewildered by the separation.

Children may have some sense that they are being considered if they know you trying to work something out in mediation that will allow you to both continue to see and care for them, even though you are living apart yourselves. Keeping the interests of the children to the forefront while you are trying to work on a parenting plan means that you both recognise and accept
that they have rights, which may at times diverge from those of either of their parents.

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