This week is Family Mediation Week.
Mediation can be a great way of sorting out any issues between you and your ex-partner/spouse/relative, with the help of an independent individual.
Within this article, we will briefly discuss family mediation, and how family mediation can assist you.
Family Mediation – Who is it for?
Family mediators can assist and help two parties reach an agreement with respect to money, property and/or children.
Mediators are independent. Lawyer mediators can give guidance on the legal frameworks to assist parties in reaching a workable solution but cannot give either party legal advice on the merits or otherwise of their proposals. As such, either party may wish to seek the advice of a solicitor either before or during the mediation sessions.
Mediation can be helpful to parties who are getting a divorce or separating and want to sort out money and property. Similarly, parties can attend mediation when they want to discuss child arrangements, if they are separating and have children, or if there are any issues which need to be resolved where grandparents and other relatives are involved.
Do I have to mediate?
Mediation is entirely optional, and neither party can be forced to mediate, however, if either party is making an application to go to Court to sort out the issues which they are having (whether that be to apply for a child arrangements order, or financial relief) the parties will need to prove that they have been to a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This is an introductory meeting to explain what mediation is, how it might help, and whether the parties are suitable for mediation.
There are some exceptions when parties do not have to attend a MIAM before making an application to the court, and we can advise individuals if this might be the case.
Advantages of Mediation
Mediation has several benefits:
- It can be more amicable and less stressful than going to Court.
- It can be less expensive than going to Court
- It can generally be quicker than going through the court process.
Solicitor mediators are fully trained both in mediation and in respect of the law. They have the ability to conduct and lead the mediation sessions, in a way which is fair for both parties. The mediator will ensure that both parties have an equal opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings and concerns, and the mediator will also ensure that both parties are respected.
Mediation can be as flexible as the parties want it to be. Some parties may wish to mediate, and then seek some advice from their solicitor, and then return to mediation to progress further. Similarly, parties can attend continuous mediation sessions until a conclusion has been achieved.
Where parties are wishing to mediate about various issues such as child arrangements and finances, the parties have the freedom and the opportunity to decide in which order they want to deal with issues and how to make plans going forward.
How does mediation work?
Traditionally, mediation would be like a round table meeting, where both the parties attend a neutral location, such as the mediator’s offices, and sit together to discuss the issues. Of course, given the current covid-19 crisis, many mediators are now conducting their mediation sessions remotely. These remote sessions are often hosted via Microsoft Teams or Zoom and the parties will join by way of video call.
Danielle Peters here is a fully trained and accredited mediator and can help parties deal with both financial and children related issues. If Danielle Peters can assist you, please do not hesitate to get in touch, and call us on 01707 329333.