It is family mediation week from 16 to 20 January 2023 so this seems like an appropriate time to raise awareness of family mediation as an option for settling family disputes and the benefits that it has to separating families.
What is family mediation?
Family mediation is a process in which an independent, professionally trained, mediator assists separating couples to come to agreements in respect of their children and finances following a relationship breakdown.
Mediation is a voluntary process so both of you will need to agree to engage in it. The focus is to promote and maintain a positive relationship between separating couples and to reach an agreement amicably through open and constructive discussions.
Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) which, if effective, avoids the need for often expensive and costly litigation. Discussions which take place in mediation are generally confidential and cannot be referred to outside of the process, including in any subsequent litigation.
The mediator is impartial (so does not take sides) and does not provide legal advice to either of you or make a decision for you. The mediator’s role is to provide a safe and supported structure to explore options and help you find solutions that work for both of you. You can obtain independent legal advice alongside mediation to understand the legal principles and the implications of any decisions made between you.
If an agreement is reached in mediation, the terms can be drafted into a consent order which is filed with the Court for them to approve. This will make the agreement binding and enforceable on both of you.
Benefits of family mediation
There are many benefits to the mediation process for families and these include:
- The ability to take control of the process, discussions and decision making;
- An outcome which is tailor-made to suit your family (and not being imposed on you by anyone else);
- A collaborative and amicable approach preserving the future relationship and communication between couples;
- A quicker, cost effective and generally less stressful route to reaching an agreement than other some other Alternative Dispute Resolution methods or litigation.
Further information about family mediation
The Family Mediation Council have a full programme of online events lined up to mark Family Mediation Week and if you are interested in finding out more, the list of events can be found at https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/fmw/full-programme-of-events/.
Do you think mediation could assist your family?
We have trained mediators at Rayden Solicitors and can guide you through the process. Please contact our experienced Senior Associate Che Meakins to discuss this further.