DIY

I understand the wish to sort everything out yourselves. Of course I do. These are your finances, your lives and it’s also a lot cheaper. However I know from separate mediation assessment meetings that people’s views as to what they want as an outcome are almost always at variance on certain material particulars. Unless the┬ávariances are so fixed that it means the gaps are unlikely to be bridged in mediation, I know that they can be addressed. For a start even those clients who have taken legal advice often don’t know what criteria are legally relevant. If they have been told it was usually at the start when it’s just too hard to absorb all the information.

In the mediation process an important phase is the giving of legal information in a neutral way with both people there hearing what the mediator says together. I sometimes see the light bulbs or sense the disappointment. It’s a great way of levelling the ground.

The fact is that, if you do negotiate direct, the variances which I detect are still there. They don’t go away. The problem is that without the tools and a conversation led by a neutral professional, the gaps can seem unbridgeable. They can even widen.

Direct discussion and mediation aren’t incompatible. However you may find the direct conversation more constructive once you have both heard the areas of difference in a safe setting where you can both speak freely and when you have both had the benefit of some information. At best you will also take some negotiating knowledge from the mediation.

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