What is Mediation?
Mediation is a facility which enables parties to meet with an independent mediator to discuss issues such as finances or children matters in an attempt to reach agreement. Parties often find it can be of assistance. Mediation is not a process of counselling or marriage guidance but rather a means of addressing outstanding practical issues in a constructive manner. Following the Children and Families Act 2014, which came into force on 22nd April 2014, a referral to Mediation is now compulsory before the issue of family proceedings.
How does Mediation work?
A trained mediator will meet with you both for a series of sessions, in which you will be helped to:
- Make a list of all the matters you wish to consider;
- Collect the necessary information;
- Talk about the choices open to you;
- Negotiate with each other in order to reach decisions which are practicable and acceptable to you both.
What does the Mediator do?
The mediator acts as an impartial third party, helping you to exchange informat ion, ideas and feelings constructively so that you can progress towards joint decision making. The mediator has no power to impose a settlement. Responsibility for all decisions remains with yourselves. The mediator will not advise you about which option is best, nor can the mediator protect your individual interests.
Mediators do not give legal advice or offer counselling or therapy.
Is Mediation suitable for everyone?
Not always, but you will have a chance to discuss this in more detail at your first meeting with the mediator.
What can Mediation provide?
It can provide a safe neutral environment, impartiality, an organised and constructive process and give you options to explore.
What can Mediation achieve?
It can achieve, amongst other things:
- Improved future relationships so you can move forward and make a new start;
- Explore all issues to identify the real issues and guide the discussion in an open and fair way;
- Simplicity so that the process is informal, straight forward and constructive;
- Control so that you remain in control and, as mediation is voluntary, you can stop it at any time;
- Flexibility offering unique solutions negotiated to suit each particular case;
- Saves time and avoids the stress of a lengthy and often expensive legal process;
- Saves money meaning your legal costs are kept to a minimum.
Who are the Mediators?
Mediators are experienced and trained men and women who participate in continuous professional development. All mediators are assessed by the UK College of Family Mediators to Legal Services Commission requirements.
How long might Mediation take?
The maximum time is usually 6 sessions. However, the time needed depends on:
- Individual circumstances.
- The number and complexity of the issues for mediation.
- How flexible you can be regarding days and times for appointments.
Is there a charge for Mediation?
Some areas of work and clients are eligible for public funding. However, if a charge is applicable, it will be more cost effective than mediating through your solicitors.
Will we have anything in writing?
At the end of each session the mediator will provide a statement of outcome recording the issues discussed, options put forward and any agreements reached.
Towards the end of mediation, a “memorandum of understanding” will be drawn up which is a statement of everything you have proposed during mediation. It will also state any issues on which you have not been able to agree This should be given to your solicitor. The memorandum is not legally binding, but it is intended for your solicitor to use in preparing a legally binding agreement, where appropriate.
What if we cannot agree matters?
If you cannot agree matters through mediation or through your solicitor, then the Court may have to make the necessary decisions.
If you have any questions or need any further advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you.