What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative way of resolving disputes and difficult issues between separating couples. Mediation can deal with issues around money, property, children, or all three of these. Mediation is becoming increasingly popular and recent changes in the law mean that the people engaged in family disputes are encouraged to try mediation before going to court.
How does Mediation work?
You and your spouse or partner attend a series of meetings with a Mediator. The Mediator is there to assist both of you, will stay neutral and will not take sides. The Mediator will help you both to set the agenda, explore the issues and discuss different options. Once you have proposals that are acceptable to both of you, the Mediator will prepare a written Summary of those proposals, together with a summary of financial and other information that has been gathered during the mediation process.
Will I still need a lawyer for Mediation?
Mediators usually recommend that you each retain your own lawyer during the mediation process, so that you can take legal advice as you go. Your lawyer will not usually attend the mediation sessions with you but you can consult your lawyer outside of the mediation sessions. At the end of the mediation process your lawyer will advise you on the merits of the proposals reached in mediation. If having received legal advice you both still wish to follow those proposals then the lawyers will convert the Summary into a legally binding document.
What are the benefits of using Mediation?
Clients often tell us that they want to keep their divorce or separation as amicable as possible. Traditional approaches to settling family disputes, using lawyers and the courts, can sometimes damage communication and increase the animosity. Modern alternatives such as mediation or collaborative law can offer a more civilised and humane approach.
Studies show that arrangements worked out with input from the couple themselves stand the test of time and are less likely to break down. Mediation gives you your own voice and real control over the outcome.
Legal aid may be available to cover the mediator's fees and to cover your lawyer's fees as they advise you through the mediation process.
How we can help
All our lawyers have well established links with local mediators. If you wish to try mediation we can put you in touch with the right mediator for your situation. We can help you prepare for mediation and tell you what to expect so that you get the most out of each mediation session. We then provide legal advice and support as you need it through the mediation process. When proposals are reached at the end of the process we will help you to put those into effect and into a legally binding document so that a final outcome is achieved.