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What is mediation and how does it work?

Like Guided Separation, mediation keeps both people out of the courtroom meaning you retain control over your future.

The difference between Guided Separation and mediation is that both you and your partner may want to seek your own legal advice in order to prepare for the settlement. This will tend to be the case where the breakdown is less amicable and where trust and goodwill are reduced.

In these circumstances, both you and your partner will instruct your independent legal advisors regarding:

  • Your assets and liabilities
  • Your own entitlements and future needs
  • The needs of your children
  • Communication with the other party.

Sometimes a settlement can be reached through direct negotiation between you, your partner and your own independent legal advisors.

When it cannot you can all enter mediation as a way of reaching agreement and settlement without going to court.

And so mediation is where you and your partner have your own independent legal advisors work with you and a Mediator to reach an outcome.

This can be done in person or via the Mediator ‘shuttling’ between the parties either in person or remotely.

Like Guided Separation, the benefits are that you and your partner are in charge and the costs of going to court are avoided.

The Separation Guide believes that couples should enter mediation as soon as practicable to attempt to either reach final agreements or at least ‘in principle’ agreements as earlier mediation will tend to reduce costs also.

There are also independent legal advisors who are members of The Separation Guide Network. They provide independent legal advice in your best interests and also regard the court as being the avenue of last resort in order to achieve an outcome.

So how does it work?

The Mediation Agreement is a binding agreement which can be registered before the courts.

A typical mediation process consists of the following steps:

  • Pre-Mediation discussions where each party details their concern to the Mediator;
  • Preparation for Mediation where all parties consider their positions;

The actual Mediation chaired by the Mediator and following the process of:

  • Mediators opening;
  • Parties share their stories and needs;
  • Mediator summary;
  • Identification of issues for resolution;
  • Exploration of issues;
  • Generation of options;
  • Negotiation around the various options; and
  • Resolution / Agreement.

The Separation Guide Mediators are trained Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners who are also legally qualified.


To find out what is the best process for you use the interactive Q&A here:

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Related infographic

How much does it cost to separate?