Founder, Jones Myers
9:58 AM 21st January 2020
Family Mediation Week: How Mediation Can Avoid A Costly Court Divorce
This week is Family Mediation Week which highlights the benefits of mediation - and how it can help separating couples to find a way forward in a constructive and positive manner.
As a champion of the campaign, which is spearheaded by the Family Mediators Association (FMA), here are some of the most common questions our clients ask us about the process.
What is mediation?
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto
Mediation is a means of resolving divorce disputes constructively, wherever possible, and avoiding costly, public and stressful litigation in court.
The private and confidential process involves an independent third party, a mediator, who helps you and your ex to reach an agreement. Both of you sign an ‘Agreement to Mediate’ to enable negotiation to continue on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.
What does a mediator do?
The mediator facilitates a series of voluntary discussions - assisting and guiding you both to explore and discuss issues and helping to move dialogue forward. A successful outcome results in an agreement which is formalised into a binding court order without you having to go to court.
Can I keep my own solicitor?
Yes, mediation enables you both to retain your own solicitor who you can consult outside of the meetings.
What happens if the mediation talks are deadlocked?
Because mediation is a voluntary process, talks can be concluded at any time if headway is not made.
Can mediation save on legal expenses?
Mediation can result in a swifter resolution, reducing legal expenses which mount up in prolonged divorce cases between warring couples.
I’ve heard its compulsory - is this right?
Mediation is a voluntary process and is not compulsory. You may have read about a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) meeting, usually relating to cases involving finances or children, which couples are expected to attend before court proceedings are issued. These meetings are designed to inform both parties about alternative resolution schemes and to establish if the circumstances are suitable for mediation.
When is mediation not relevant?
We recognise that mediation won’t work for all cases including those relating to domestic violence or child abuse where one or other party may take the view that a mediation meeting is not appropriate.
It is vital that all couples find the right way to divorce for their own individual circumstances. Both parties need to be supported and have appropriate legal advice to ensure that they can move on with their lives.