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Mediation – the Holy Grail of family law dispute resolution?

Whilst it may sound too good to be true, mediation really can help you achieve an amicable solution; the holy grail of family law dispute resolution. The same cannot be said for the court process.

Mediation works, whether used to agree child contact arrangements or a financial settlement on divorce. Mediation provides both parties with a way to discuss their issues and resolve them collaboratively

This is, of course, easier said than done. Mediation requires both parties to discuss the dispute openly and take on board the concerns that the other person has. The mediator will not give you the answer; instead the mediator will help you to reach it between yourselves. Whilst these are decisions that can be made by a judge and imposed upon you, it is more empowering for you to take control of the outcome and work with your former partner to find a solution that is tailored to your family.

Whilst mediation isn’t a suitable forum for all family law disputes, it often is and can be a quicker and more cost effective way to reach an agreement. As a solicitor, I am not usually part of the mediation process itself (unless solicitor-led mediation is agreed) but I often advise in the background when mediation is ongoing. It is certainly possible to have a solicitor and mediate at the same time – to give you peace of mind, and the legal advice on the decisions you are making.

Whilst mediation is not cheap, the costs are significantly less than litigating a dispute in court. The court process is also extremely slow. It is not unusual to wait 3-6 months for a court hearing which is unhelpful when people have often experienced huge change in their life and are trying to achieve certainty about their future.

Mediation does come with a health warning. It won’t be easy. It requires listening to the other person’s point of view and making compromises. However, if this is possible, significant time, energy and money can be saved – and you can often both achieve your goals. Those who have used mediation to resolve family law disputes have also often said how it helped them to have a better, healthier dialogue with their former partner, which helped them when it came to co-parenting their children.

At Rayden Solicitors, all of our solicitors have the specialist legal knowledge to advise you whilst you are going through mediation. You can also arrange to book a mediation session with our qualified solicitor mediator, Che Meakins.

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