Mediation - Good Divorce Week 2022
Latest data from HM Courts & Tribunals Service shows the backlog of family law cases has now exceeded 110,000. More than ever, court proceedings should been seen as a last resort for families.
As part of Good Divorce Week, we are keen to raise awareness of the different options available to help reduce conflict and resolve issues without litigation.
Today we will be considering Family Mediation.
Mediation is the use of an impartial person to guide disputing couples; helping them to make informed decisions and reach agreement within a confidential framework.
Mediation provides an alternative way to settle differences without costly courtroom battles. It allows you to control the decisions that affect your family, your children, your finances and your future relationship.
The process helps to resolve the consequences of relationship breakdown by concentrating on the future and helping to sort out the practical and legal arrangements.
Mediation is not about getting couples back together but if there is a possibility of saving a relationship or if you would like to concentrate on the emotional aspects then the mediator may suggest counselling or family therapy for one or both of you.
Why Does it Work?
Most people want to settle their differences as efficiently, fairly and cost effectively as possible enabling them to move forward with their lives. Mediation helps to achieve those goals.
Our mediators will help you to examine your needs and priorities; enabling you to develop and discuss realistic and practical settlement options.
Encouraging communication through direct discussion, helps to identify solutions quickly and cost effectively.
Decisions are made by you both, not the mediators, lawyers or the court. You reach agreement – it is not imposed on you.
Who is it for?
Family mediation is a flexible and wide ranging. We commonly deal with the whole spectrum of issues arising from the breakdown of family relationships.
We help couples:
• Who are ending their relationship, whether living together, married or in a civil partnership
• Those who have separated or divorced and who want to make arrangements for children
• Those who have separated or divorced and what to make arrangements regarding finances
• To review arrangements arising from a change in circumstance – whether in respect of children or finances
• Have family members who would like to resolve difficulties, for example grandparents spending time with their grandchildren
What issues can it cover?
Every situation is different and we adapt the meetings to your needs. We regularly assist with issues surrounding:
• Divorce or dissolution
• Arrangements for Children
• Property Division
• Financial Support
• Pre-Nuptial Agreements
• Wider family worries and concerns
How does it work?
There is an initial Mediation Assessment Information Meeting (MIAM) that you can attend either on your own or with your former partner.
We will explain the process and will consider whether or not mediation is appropriate for you. You can then decide if you would like to proceed.
Further mediation sessions would usually be joint appointments, though separate appointments can be arranged in some circumstances. The service can be offered in person or remotely.
Our Resolution accredited mediators can also give children a voice through child inclusive mediation. This enables children to share their worries and concerns without the pressure of feeling responsible for decision making.
Authorised by the Family Mediation Council, we are also pleased to offer the Mediation Voucher Scheme. This is designed to help families with mediation costs where there is a dispute regarding a child.
What happens if agreement is not reached?
Occasionally, due to the voluntary nature of mediation, an agreement cannot be reached. You may then wish to instruct a solicitor to consider other options.
By this stage, much of the information a solicitor or the Court needs would have been provided and the issues narrowed. This will reduce the overall cost and time needed to reach a final settlement.
Do I need a solicitor?
Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice. You can choose to consult a solicitor at any time during the mediation process; to take advice about proposals or to formalise an agreement making it legally binding.
To read more about our Family Mediation and Arbitration team, click here.