- Mediation is a process whereby two parties sit down with a trained mediator who supports them in reaching an agreement instead of leaving it in the hands of the court.
- Mediation is voluntary. This means that either participant can stop the process at any time they wish to.
- A mediator acts as an independent third party who is impartial and cannot give advice. They can provide guidance about what the parties should be thinking about in order to work towards reaching an agreement.
- Mediation takes place in a neutral, safe space that is not associated with either party.
- Mediation is confidential, except where there is risk of harm to a child or vulnerable adult or where the court requires disclosure.
- Each participant is in control and makes all of the decisions, not the mediator.
- Mediation is cost effective. It is the mediator’s job to make there is a safe open dialogue between the participants; the mediator will be even-handed in making sure the family and the children’s needs are at the heart of all discussions.
- In financial matters, a mediator will draft an open financial statement which details all the financial assets and documentary evidence of those assets. This is known as financial disclosure. Both participants will sign this document to confirm that they agree it.
- For children matters, a mediator will draft a parenting plan which will detail the arrangements that the parties have reached in respect of the children and their care.
- Once the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will prepare a memorandum of understanding setting out the agreement. The memorandum of understanding is not legally binding which means that participants are not bound by it but a family solicitor can convert it into a formal binding agreement to be lodged at court.
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