The process involved in arranging a mediation will very much depend upon whether you have a lawyer assisting you or not. It is not a requirement of mediation that you have a lawyer, however, if you do have one involved, then they may be assisting you in arranging the mediation, whether they attend or not.
It is usually the case that they would recommend to the other party and their lawyer, a panel of mediators for the other party to choose. The panel of mediators usually includes mediators who are experienced in dealing with family law matters.
The purpose of a panel is to ensure that both parties have an opportunity to participate in that decision-making process for who will ultimately be involved in chairing the mediation. It is usual that one party would propose a panel of three and that the other would choose.
Sometimes, it is not appropriate or a panel process is simply not available. It might be that one party is refusing to participate in any meaningful conversations as part of the separation and a panel may have been put to that party, but no response has been obtained. In those circumstances, a particular mediator might be recommended to you by your lawyer and the lawyer might assist you in engaging that mediator to make contact with the other party and invite them to mediation.
You can take similar steps regardless of whether you have a lawyer involved. If you are having negotiations with your partner, you can suggest to them a panel of mediators. You should get some advice from a lawyer practicing in family law about which mediators might be appropriate in your family law matter. If you are unsure and haven’t engaged a lawyer, you can also contact your local Law Society who will have recommendations.
If you have a lawyer involved and the other party has selected the mediator from the panel, then the lawyer may assist you by writing to the mediator to engage them and asking them about available dates and to facilitate the mediation. If both parties agree, it is a matter of lining up diaries with the availability of the mediator. This is the process whether you have your lawyer attend that mediation or not.
If you do not have a lawyer, then you can contact the mediator and go through the same process. If you and your partner have both agreed to use a certain mediator, then you should contact the mediator in writing, making sure to copy in the other party, so that arrangements can be made for the mediation.
If there is no agreement from the other party, then you should contact the mediator and talk to them about inviting the other party to participate in mediation.
Once you have reached an agreement about who is going to be engaged to facilitate your mediation, and the date on which you are going to attend the mediation, then you can start to prepare for your mediation. The mediator will send you some information about the mediation process and they will undertake an intake session with you before the mediation occurs.
If you have any questions about the mediation process and the steps involved in organizing your mediation, you can contact us.