Family mediation is a process that helps separating couples reach their own decisions about arrangements for money, property and/or their children with the help of an independent third party. It is an alternative to solicitors negotiating on your behalf or a court making decisions for you. It is a process that gives you control of the outcome and the future of your family.
Separation and divorce is a painful experience for all involved. Family mediation can help reduce the emotional and financial cost by providing a neutral venue and a trained, independent mediator who helps you consider all options available to you and find a way forward. Participation in family mediation is always voluntary.
The use of family mediation is also encouraged by the courts. Since April 2011 at the first hearing of applications for court orders in most family proceedings the court will wish to know whether family mediation has been been considered by the parties and may postpone the hearing to give the parties the opportunity to attend family mediation.
To avoid possible delays why not try family mediation first?
How does family mediation work?
How does family mediation work?
Our resolution trained family mediator will meet with you both for a series of sessions during which you will be assisted to:
- Identify all of the issues that you wish to consider
- Collect all necessary information
- Discuss all the options open to you
- Negotiate with one another to reach decisions that are acceptable to you both
- Talk about how you can explain to and consult your children appropriately about arrangements
What does the mediator do?
Our family mediator will act as an impartial third party and manage the process, helping you both to exchange information, ideas and feelings in a constructive way. Our family mediator will also ensure that you make informed decisions. Our family mediator cannot impose a settlement nor can they advise you about the best option. The responsibility for all decisions is yours as a separating couple because you know better than anyone else what’s right for your family.
Family mediation is not…
…reconciliation, although it can assist in improving communication. Neither is it a substitute for legal advice. You will need a solicitor to advise you on the consequences for you of any proposals that are made within the family mediation process. At the conclusion of the process your solicitor will be able to translate any conclusions you have reached into a legally binding document.
Our family mediator will…
…help both of you and make sure that you each listen to what the other has to say, understand each other’s concern and needs and assist you both in finding a solution.
As a solicitor specialising in family law our mediator can provide legal information and guidance to you both bot not individual legal advice as the mediator has to remain impartial throughout the process. Our mediator will help you to reach your own sound, mutually agreed and practical plan that will enable you and your family to move forward with your lives.
At the end of the process our mediator will produce a written summary of the conclusions you have reached. This is not legally binding, it is intended as a document that you can each take to your own solicitor for their legal advice, especially when you have come to some mutual understanding about financial and property issues.
Family mediation is confidential
What is said in family mediation is confidential and the mediator will not pass on anything that has been said unless you both agree. The only exceptions to this are if it appears from something that is said during family mediation that a child or adult has been seriously hurt or is at risk of being hurt then the mediator will ensure that the police and'/or social services are informed or if something is said that causes the mediator to believe that you or your partner is benefiting or has benefited from the proceeds of crime in which case the mediator will report this to the police.
What you say during family mediation cannot be used in court if family mediation breaks down. This doesn’t apply to factual information that you give such as details of your income and property. This can be used in any later court proceedings.
Family mediation isn’t just for separating couples…
…members of the extended family may also find mediation helpful, for example, grandparents wishing to make arrangements to see their grandchildren.
Benefits of family mediation
Research has suggested that three years later couple felt that family mediation had helped them to:
- End their relationship amicably
- Reduce conflict
- Maintain good relationships with their former partner
- Carry less bitterness into their post-separation lives
- Be more content with child care arrangements and be less likely to have disagreements about contact
- Be able to reach an agreement that stood the test of time
- Be glad they’d used family mediation