Mediation is a method of resolving issues which may arise on the breakdown of a relationship. In mediation, both of you are helped by a mediator to look for your own solutions. It is a process which provides an alternative to going to court. Family mediation is increasingly used to resolve a myriad of family problems, such as disputes between a parent and child or contact with grandchildren in addition to financial disagreements.
The process involves both of you explaining your concerns and needs to each other in the presence of a qualified family mediator in a safe, neutral environment. The mediator is impartial, which means that they cannot give advice, only provide information. They are there to facilitate a settlement by assisting you both. The mediator does not make decisions or impose a settlement. The mediator will help you work through options, ‘reality check’ your proposals and will ensure that there is not a power imbalance in the negotiations.
Through mediation you will both have the opportunity to improve your communication and chances of long-term co-operation which is essential where there are children. The mediator controls the process and you will both retain control of the decisions made. There is always full financial disclosure if the mediation relates to financial issues.
- Generally more cost effective and quicker than going to court
- Mediation is a flexible process that can be used to work out a variety of disputes
- It can help to reduce tension, anger and misunderstanding between you
- Can be used at any time, whether or not you’ve seen a solicitor and proceedings have begun
The mediator will not pass information on unless you both agree. However, if it appears that someone has been seriously hurt, or is at risk, the mediator may alert the police or social services.
What is said in mediation cannot be used in court later if mediation breaks down. This does not apply to factual information given during the mediation process, such as details of income and property. However it would cover negotiations and offers of settlement.
Any understanding reached through mediation is usually written down and signed by both of you and the mediator. This memorandum of understanding is not legally binding and cannot be enforced in court unless you both decide to make it a legal contract or court order. You each have the freedom to find another way of dealing with the dispute at any time. Mediation does not generally remove the need for legal advice.
How long does it take?
Mediation takes on average between 4 and 6 sessions, each lasting about an hour and a half. However the pace will be determined by both of you.
If you think that mediation is the right choice for you and your family and would like to be referred for sessions please fill out the mediation form.