How does Family Mediation work?
1 Jun 2018
Author: Drenne Dunphy
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What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way of resolving disputes after separation or divorce. It is often used as a cheaper and quicker alternative to court. The Mediator’s role is to help you and your ex-partner reach agreement on the issues you cannot currently agree on. This could be in relation to divorce, finances or arrangements for your children. The mediator will not give legal advice and cannot impose an agreement without both parties agreeing. However, as our mediators are also fully qualified family law solicitors, they will ensure that the agreement is one which could be placed on a legal footing. Most couples who mediate find it helpful, not only to clarify and resolve issues, but also by being able to discuss these issues without the pressure of preparing a court case or having a Judge make decisions on their behalf in Court.
Will we have to be in the same room?
In most cases it is usual for both parties to be in the same room together with the mediator. Whilst this is often the best option, this is not always possible or appropriate. For example, if there has been domestic violence within the relationship or one or both parties simply can’t cope with being face to face with the other then we may need to make different arrangements. In these cases, we could discuss whether shuttle mediation may be more workable. “Shuttle Mediation” involves each party sitting in a separate room whilst the mediator moves between the two. We will be more than happy to discuss both options with you, so you can decide what is right for the both of you. We can also decide for you to arrive and leave at separate times.
Will you contact him/her for me?
Yes, the mediator will discuss the process with you and ensure that you completely understand. We will then contact your ex-partner and have the same discussion with them.
Do I have to mediate?
It is not compulsory for you to attend mediation before issuing a petition for divorce, though it may be a good idea if there are elements you disagree on. However, if you are asking the court to decide about financial matters or arrangements for children then you are required to attend a MIAM (Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting) before you ask the court to make those decisions.
How many sessions will there be?
Some family mediation may take just one or two sessions, others may continue for more. It depends on how the mediation is progressing, and how many issues there are to resolve. Our mediators will work with you to decide.
How long will it take?
The sessions usually take 1-2 hours each, but if the meeting is progressing well and you are both happy to continue, the sessions can take longer.
What if I don’t want to attend?
Mediation is a voluntary process. You cannot be forced to attend. However, you should consider giving mediation a try as it can help avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings, and the court may want to know why you were not willing. If you are worried about attending a mediation session, you can call us to discuss your concerns and we can answer any questions you have.
If you have more questions, please go to our FAQs section on mediation https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/our-services/familylaw/familymediation/
If you would like to speak to one of our family mediators, then do get in touch on 01442 218090, or https://www.hepburndelaney.co.uk/contact-us/