The breakdown of a relationship can be difficult and this can make it seem hard to reach agreement on decisions such as division of finances and child arrangements. We never lose sight of the fact that we need to listen to and work with you to find the best way forward. Our experienced family mediation lawyers can help you resolve family disputes sensitively and cost-effectively in a supported environment.
What is family mediation?
Family mediation is a confidential process in which an impartial, independent mediator works together with parents or separating partners to explore the options for an agreement. The parties have full control over the decision-making process and the mediator provides information and guidance to support them in evaluating what makes the most sense to them. Parties have the freedom to explore all the options as the confidentiality of mediation means that readiness to consider a particular option cannot later be held against a party in court.
Mediation is conducted through a series of fixed cost face to face meetings. Each party first attends their own individual assessment meeting which lasts about an hour. After that, they attend the sessions together. The meetings are conducted with the parties in the same room wherever possible, but there is also the option for the parties to have their own separate rooms and for the mediator to 'shuttle' between them or alternatively for the sessions to take place online.
The cost of meetings is shared equally between the parties, although alternative arrangements can be agreed.
At the end of the mediation process, the mediator produces a 'memorandum of understanding' setting out the proposals the parties suggest should form part of an agreement. It is always recommended that independent legal advice is sought on these proposals before putting them into a formal agreement.
When should I consider family mediation?
Mediation is suitable for the divorce and dissolution process, reaching a financial settlement on divorce or dissolution, working out arrangements for children, and disagreements between cohabitants, including disputes relating to property ownership and negotiating prenuptial agreements. All the work is conducted within the meetings and both parties receive the same information and guidance.
Mediation is an entirely voluntary process and no one can be forced to engage in it. The court does, however, require anyone considering issuing financial remedy proceedings on divorce or dissolution, or issuing an application regarding arrangements for a child, to first attend a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (a MIAM). The MIAM is designed to help the parties understand whether mediation could be the right forum for resolving their disagreement. It is not suitable in every situation but is accepted as being a far cheaper and quicker way of resolving a disagreement than via a court application.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
- We are specialists. All our mediators are highly experienced family lawyers in both finance and children cases with outstanding reputations for helping couples find swift resolutions to what otherwise might seem overwhelming family problems.
- The process is creative allowing for bespoke and innovative solutions to be found tailored to you and your family's needs.
- Family mediation is discrete and confidential which means that the discussions are privileged and cannot be disclosed within the court process without your agreement.
- It can include input from other professionals to ensure you receive the information and help you need to make the best decisions for your family. In complex financial cases, we can involve specialists in pensions, tax, property and business valuations.
- Mediation can be quicker and more cost-effective than court-based resolutions and provide greater certainty in terms of overall costs.
- It can be flexible and tailored around you and your schedule with the ability to arrange sessions at short notice should any urgent issue arise.
- Family mediation reduces stress and conflict and enables parties to lay the foundation for a more cooperative relationship to assist them in moving forward and adjusting successfully to their new lives.
Our services and facilities
We are able to offer ‘in person’ mediation as well as the facilities to undertake remote sessions through various online platforms. Our family mediation lawyers will take care of setting up the platform and simply send you the link to join removing any stresses of technology, so you can focus upon the resolution of the case.