With Family Mediation Week due to take place between 23-27 January 2017, we explain some key points about Family Mediation and how the process works.
Family Mediation – What is it?
Family Mediation is designed to assist divorcing or separating couples reach an agreement in relation to financial and/or children matters that arise as a result of their relationship breakdown.
Who conducts Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is conducted by a trained mediator, who acts as an independent third party and helps to facilitate conversation between couples, with a view to reaching an agreement. The mediator has to remain impartial to both parties and is not able to advise one party in preference to the other.
What happens during Family Mediation?
Prior to the commencement of Family Mediation, each party meets with the mediator alone in order to explain the situation from their point of view. Following this time, the mediator then assesses whether the parties are suitable for mediation, and if so, invites the parties to start attending joint sessions where they can begin discussing issues together.
Do I need to sit in the same room as my ex-partner?
No. Most mediators offer a service called “shuttle mediation” where each party sits in a separate room and the mediator goes back and forth between the parties during the session. This is particularly helpful in cases where there has been domestic violence and the parties are not in a position to sit in the same room, but are willing to have discussions to try and resolve matters in dispute.
How much does mediation cost?
The cost of mediation will depend on the mediator appointed by the parties. Most mediators will give an estimate of costs at the start of the process and the parties will be expected to pay as the process progresses.
Is mediation a quicker way to resolve my dispute?
Not necessarily. In some cases, mediation can help parties resolve their dispute in a quick and cost effective manner without lengthy solicitors negotiations or applications to Court. However, in other cases, there will need to be several mediation sessions before any form of agreement is reached and the parties may also have to consult their legal representative before matters can be agreed, and mediation brought to an end.
Does mediation always work?
Sadly not. Whilst some parties are able to fully resolve their disputes at mediation, others are not and they require further assistance from a solicitor either through negotiation or via an application to Court. In most situations, the mediator works closely with each parties legal representative and advises each party to take independent legal advice before deciding whether or not to agree matters on the basis of their discussions at mediation.
Here at Sumner and Tabor / Machins we have a fully accredited Mediator, Richard Phillips, who is available to offer advice and assistance to couples wishing to try Family Mediation. Please call our Berkhamsted Office on 01442 872311 for further information or visit our website at www.machins.co.uk/individual-services/family-law/mediation/