The recent Divorced Ireland series click here to read full series in the Irish Times has highlighted the challenges people face in dealing with separation, particularly when children are involved. Faced with the breakdown of a marriage or long-term relationship, many people see court as being the only avenue open to them. Some who embark on a legal process find themselves communicating only through solicitors and working against each other, rather than together.Mediation offers an alternative to this.
In family mediation, trained professional mediators assist couples in negotiating the profound changes their family is going through, with a view to reaching an agreement that will work for everyone. Mediation provides a safe space for both parties to identify and talk about what they want and what they feel would be in everyone’s best interests. It is not a place to revisit old arguments or establish why a relationship ended, but to find a way forward that meets the needs of all members of the family.
Couples have the opportunity to meet the mediator individually and together, and to work through issues that are important to them, including, but not limited to, finances, children’s arrangements, parenting, and property. Issues that are of enormous importance to the parties, but outside the scope of court proceedings, such as navigating new relationships, can also be discussed in mediation.