If your relationship has ended, mediation could be a quicker and cheaper way to resolve the issues arising such as the arrangements for your children and the future financial position.
At George Green, in addition to offering traditional legal representation, we are also able to act as mediators for couples who wish to come to an amicable agreement without the need for court proceedings.
We are able to use our knowledge and experience of the law to help you reach an agreement to suit your family and individual needs.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a separating couple meet with a specially trained mediator who will assist them to resolve the issues arising from the breakdown of their relationship. A mediator can provide the couple with information as to the legal process and their options in order assist with their discussions. Mediation provides a safe, neutral and structured forum for a couple to work through their disputes and studies have shown it can produce better long term results for separating families, as it reduces animosity and improves communication.
Mediation is increasingly being used to resolve disputes when a couple divorce or separate. It is also used when a couple have lived apart for some time but are struggling to agree the arrangements for their children.
Save in some limited circumstances, it is now mandatory for a couple to consider mediation as an option before making an application to court.
How does mediation work?
To start the process both parties are invited to attend initial meetings with the mediator. These are usually held separately and the mediator will provide both parties with detailed information about the mediation process to assess whether it is suitable for the couple. If both parties are happy to proceed, the next meeting will normally bring the couple together to set the agenda for the issues to be discussed and begin the process.
The number of meetings required will depend on the issues to be resolved, but most couples require between three to five sessions lasting between one and two hours each.
Key aspects of family mediation.
- Mediation is flexible – you are in control and together with your former partner, you set the agenda of matters you wish to discuss. Further unlike in court proceedings, you cannot be made to do anything you do not agree to. You can control the speed of the process and can take a break to test any solutions suggested or seek independent legal advice if required.
- Mediation is voluntary – once you have been given some initial information about mediation, it is entirely up to you whether you wish to proceed. Mediation is not for everyone and you will be informed of your options during the initial meeting. If you decide it is not the right solution for you now, you can pursue other options and there is nothing to prevent you from returning to mediation if your position changes in the future.
- Mediation is confidential – as part of the process you will agree to keep your discussions private. This helps you to work through your options and possible solutions in an open and honest manner. No solution suggested in mediation will be legally binding until you are both ready to formalise the position, possibly after having had advice from a solicitor.
- The mediator is impartial – the mediator can provide you with information as to the legal process and your options but will not provide advice, make a judgement or take sides.
- The cost of mediation is fixed – you will know what each session is going to cost you in advance and the cost is shared with your former partner. Payment is made on the day of the session to enable you to keep on top of the costs.
If you would like further information about mediation please contact Rachel Baker.