Mediation is an alternative to what can be a confrontational legal process. If you are considering divorce or separation it is generally better to sort out arrangements for the future by agreement. In mediation, couples meet together, assisted by an impartial mediator to try and resolve family disputes on separation or divorce, such as arrangements for the children or sorting out finances.
What happens in mediation?
With the assistance of an impartial mediator, you are encouraged to set an agenda and the mediator helps to structure the discussions. The aim of the mediation is to help you find a sensible and practical solution that you are both comfortable with and feel to be fair.
Can I receive advice from the mediator?
Mediators have to be impartial and therefore cannot give you advice. They can provide you with information about the relevant law. Your solicitor can, if necessary, provide you with legal advice in between your mediation sessions to help you feel informed and at ease during the mediation and negotiations.
What financial information do I have to provide?
If you are looking to reach a financial agreement with your partner, full financial information has to be provided. The mediator will give you guidance to help you do this. You may wish to involve your solicitor at this stage which the mediator will encourage.
Is mediation private?
The discussions that take place in mediation about possible solutions are confidential. However, any financial information that is produced can be shown to a family court if necessary and appropriate.
What happens if we find a solution?
Once a consensus is reached in mediation, the mediator will reflect this in a written document for you. Your solicitor can then advise you on the appropriate legal formalities that would ensure that your proposals become legally binding.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- Reduce tension and hostility;
- Make decisions on an informed basis;
- Tailor make solutions to their particular requirements;
- Communicate and co-operate;
- Explore and examine options;
- Appreciate and consider the needs of children;
- Express their feelings in a secure environment; and
- Save legal costs because the process can help to resolve many issues.
How long does it take?
Sessions usually last one and a half hours each. There is no minimum or maximum number of sessions; it depends on your own particular circumstances and the issues to be decided upon.
How much does it cost?
The cost of a mediation settlement is likely to be substantially less than the cost of contested court proceedings. Our charges are made per fixed price meeting.
Do we have to go to court?
Mediation can be suitable to married and unmarried couples alike. Either way a mediated settlement avoids the need for a court hearing, although it may be appropriate for a consent order to be obtained from the court based on the agreement. A consent order is usually obtained without the need for a personal attendance at court.