Family Mediation - Questions and Answers

What is Family Mediation?

Family mediation is an Alternative Dispute Resolution technique that is used to resolve issues that are experienced between family members. The mediation process allows both parties to have confidential dialogue and to reach an agreement between the disputants with the assistance of a mediator, or neutral person. The mediator, being impartial, cannot advise you on what you should or should not accept with regards to possible solutions, but will work as a catalyst clarifying legal issues keeping the lines of communication open.

What Type of Issues may be covered by Mediation?

Milton Keynes Family mediation can involve disputes post separation or divorce such as child custody or ownership disputes as well as such issues as elder mediation which relates to dealing with elderly family members. Other family disputes that can benefit from mediation include land disputes and finances. Additional issues include pet allocation, addressing the welfare of ill family members as well as visitation rights if one parent finds themselves in unacceptable living arrangements post divorce.

How Long Do Mediation Usually Take?

As a general rule of thumb, mediations will take no longer than three hours; however, this is up to the discretion of the mediator and how they feel the proceedings are moving along. If it appears that a resolution is just around the corner, they will continue until it is achieved. If however, there seems to be many more issues to deal with, and then additional sessions may be scheduled. Much mediation reaches a conclusion between three and six hours. At this point if there is no agreement, the mediator may conclude that other techniques may need to be implemented or that the case requires more formal attention.

How Confidential is the Process?

While most of what is said during the mediation process is held in the strictest of confidence, it is important to note that financial information can be made public if the case were to go before a court. Information divulged during the mediation process cannot be used in court unless both the parties involved have agreed to it. During the mediation process itself, caucus or private sessions between one party and the mediator, may be called by either party. The information divulged during this caucus is entirely confidential and may not be used in the mediation unless permission is granted.

If an Agreement is Reached, How is it enforced?

In the event that an agreement is reached by both the parties which is mutually satisfactory, a summary will be written up which must then be presented to a solicitor. The solicitor will then compile an agreement based on the summary which is legally binding and will request that both parties sign the agreement. The initial summary written up by the mediator is not a legally binding contract, but a contract of good faith. It is only made legal once a legal representative turns it into a binding contract.

Are Mediators Legal Representatives?

Although it is becoming commonplace for Salisbury family mediators to have a legal background and for many of them to have a very good understanding of the legal process, some people feel that the nature of mediation is very different to the confrontational nature of court proceedings and prefer to work with Northampton family mediators who are not qualified lawyers, but rather paralegals who have trained in mediation and have an excellent understanding of the legal system.