family mediation collaborative law
How The Family
Mediation Process Works
In situations where a couple have decided to go their separate ways, tempers and emotions can be high. In these cases, it can often be particularly difficult to sit down calmly and discuss matters of finance and arrangements for children. It’s perfectly natural that the whole process can be rather daunting and upsetting, and it’s for that reason that family mediation exists.
When a couple are unable to come to an arrangement themselves, they can opt for family mediation to help them come to an agreement which suits all parties involved and can help put the matter to rest. Mediators are trained to help ensure that all parties can have their side heard and that the arrangement and outcome is something which everyone can be satisfied with.
During your first mediation session, it is possible that you can see the mediator separately if you wish, which can be particularly useful in situations where the break-up has been less than amicable. Where financial issues are concerned, it is important that all information is provided to the mediator regarding your financial affairs so that the decision can be made with all the information to hand. The requirement for full financial disclosure is a legal one, and will allow the case to be settled fairly.
In terms of mediation, any settlement reached during the mediation process is not actually legally binding, but is instead a suggestion based on the experience and expertise of the mediator. To make it binding, it can be turned into a draft consent order by your solicitor and then submitted to the court for approval.
Mediators do not take sides and will help you to put the past behind you by moving forward with a new arrangement which suits everybody. Mediation sessions tend to last around an hour, with most issues resolved in fewer than four sessions. The cost of mediation tends to be split between the two parties, again to ensure fairness across the board.
Mediators will also look at arrangements involving children and property and try to suggest options which will be fair and open to both parties involved. Where children are involved, their welfare and care is of the utmost importance and your mediator will take this into account primarily, using their experience and expertise in order to make a judgement. Again, it must be noted that the mediator’s decision is not legally binding but will certainly be taken into account by a judge should the case remain disputed and end up going to court.
In situations where mediation does not work, it might be that you have to proceed through the courts in order to seek a legally-binding resolution to your case. However, it must be pointed out that mediation should always be your first port of call as judges tend to frown upon couples who go straight to court without first trying every other possible avenue to come to an agreement. If mediation really cannot fix your issues then court may be an option, but mediation must be given the time and attention it deserves as it is a far quicker and less expensive and emotionally painful option than going to court.