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Separation, Divorce Counselling

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When a marriage is over or when a couple separate, many questions need to be settled.

  • Who will pay the bills?
  • Who will stay in the family home?
  • How will everything be divided?
  • What about the bank accounts?
  • Will one spouse continue to support the other after the marriage is over? If so, for how long?

Family Mediation

If their are children, then there are questions about their care. With whom will they live?

  • Who will make the day-to-day decisions about their lives?
  • When can the other parent spend time with them?
  • How much money will each parent pay to support them?

What is Family Mediation?

Mediation is a way for you and your spouse to settle these questions together. In mediation, you meet in face-to-face discussions with your spouse. With the assistance of a neutral mediator, you each state your point of view. The mediator then helps you clarify the issues and negotiate to reach a mutually acceptable agreement.

Mediation is not the only way of settling the questions that arise when a couple separates. Traditionally, agreements have been worked out by lawyers. In this case, your lawyer and your spouse's lawyer negotiate on behalf to try to arrive at an agreement that is acceptable to both of you. Most agreements are still reached this way.

If no settlement can be reached through negotiations, your divorce becomes a contested case. When this happens, your case goes to trial. After listening to both sides, a judge will decide on the terms of your divorce.

Mediation is different from these ways of reaching an agreement. In mediation you and your spouse work out the details of an agreement for yourselves.

Mediation is not marriage Counselling or therapy (for marriage or couples Counselling click here). Counselling and therapy help you to find a way to make your marriage work again or to accept that it is over. Mediation, on the other hand, focuses more on achieving a practical separation agreement than it does on resolving emotional problems. While mediators must always be sensitive to their clients' feelings and to the possibility of reconciliation, the primary aim of mediation is not to bring you back together again, but to help you to negotiate a workable way of living apart.

Making Mediation Work For You

Think about what issues are most important for you and for your children and what should be discussed in mediation.

  • Gather information on what you might be discussing in mediation. Make lists of your income, your debts, your financial responsibilities, your personal expenses, and your family assets. Think of practical matters that need to be sorted out. This will all be useful information during mediation.
  • Think about the needs of your children that are different from yours. For example, while you may need to separate from your spouse, your children will probably need an ongoing relationship with both of you.
  • Be prepared to listen and to compromise. Be ready to accept other ways of reaching your goals.

During Mediation

  • Don't feel pressured to rush into an agreement or to commit yourself to an agreement until you are certain that you can live with it. You may want to try living with an agreement for a while before making it final.
  • Talk to other professionals, like social workers, bank managers, accountants or insurance agents, if you feel you need more information on some particular point being discussed.
  • You will want to have your agreement reviewed by your lawyer before you sign it.

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