Mediation is a well established process for resolving disagreements in which an impartial third party helps people in dispute to find a mutually acceptable resolution. Family mediation can help divorcing or separating couples to make decisions about their children, finances and property. It can offer those involved in family breakdown the opportunity to communicate with one another effectively and gives those involved an opportunity to step back and think about how they could put the situation right. It is an effective tool which enables participants to come up with their own practical solution which will benefit all sides.
Mediation is generally more cost effective and quicker than going to court and is a flexible process that can be used to settle disputes in a whole range of situations.
How Mediation Works
If one person asks for mediation, all those involved are contacted to check they agree to take part. Anyone can withdraw at any stage if they want to. Usually a meeting will be arranged to find out if mediation would be suitable for your circumstances.
Everyone involved is then contacted individually by mediators. You will be asked to explain how you see the current situation and how you would like it to be in the future. You will also be asked what suggestions you have for sorting out the disagreement. All information shared is private and confidential unless otherwise agreed.
A series of meetings is then arranged at which all parties attend. The mediator will explain the structure of the meetings and ask everyone to agree some basic rules such as listening without interrupting and not using offensive remarks. The Mediators role is to then act as an impartial third party and manage the process. You will be helped to identify the issues that need to be sorted out, exchange ideas and possible solutions constructively ensuring that the options open to you are fully explained. This can often point the way forward to solutions you have not considered and greatly assist in reaching agreement
All agreements reached will be written down in a Memorandum of Agreement and signed by both parties and the mediator. It is not a legally binding document however unless both parties agree to make it so. It is important that you seek the advice of a Solicitor particularly if the agreements reached concern finances and property issues.
Is Mediation Successful?
Mediation allows people to be heard. It is an empowering process that encourages people to put forward their own suggestions and ideas. It is less intimidating than court procedures and it provides solutions that the parties themselves have decided on. Parties can end their marriages and relationships in a far more amicable way with less conflict and distress.
The cost of mediation varies but if you are receiving Legal Help mediation will be free of charge.