Taking place from 22 to 26 January 2018, Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help separating families manage their issues collaboratively and productively.
Mediation is a process in which the parties meet (initially, separately) with an impartial and specially trained family mediator to explore and discuss what needs to be settled, the options available and the possible ways of reaching agreement on any or all of the issues they need to settle.
Mediation can help people to settle arrangements for their children and/or financial and property matters at any stage of the separation or divorce. Not everyone is ready for mediation at the same stage in separating, so the mediator needs to find out whether it is suitable.
Since April 2011, there has been a requirement (with some exceptions) that anybody wanting to go to court should attend a meeting (called a MIAM) with an appropriately qualified mediator to find out about mediation and other non-court options.
Mediation generally suits couples who wish to have the assistance of one independent person (the mediator) to help resolve issues between them. The mediator provides legal information, but not advice, so remains completely impartial and neutral. It is recommended that the parties obtain separate, independent legal advice alongside the mediation process.
Participants are helped to reach properly informed decisions, without pressure from each other or from the mediator. All financial discussions are ‘without prejudice’ and therefore cannot be relied on outside the mediation process.
There are positive reasons to choose mediation:
- It gives the parties more say about what happens;
- It can be less stressful, with less conflict;
- It is flexible and the agreements made can be changed if circumstances change;
- It can be quicker and cheaper than protracted court proceedings.
For more information on the issues raised in this blog please do not hesitate to contact Lehna Gardiner on 01727 734 260.