There has been a lot of media attention around mediation over recent years, but the fact is it has been around for a long time. The difference now is that you are expected to have at least looked at the possibility of trying mediation as an alternative to asking the court to deal with your dispute and to demonstrate that you have done this you will have to, in most cases, have attended a mediation assessment meeting.
Talking to one another can be hard
If you are separating from your partner, we know that it is likely to be a difficult and emotional time. You may be finding it impossible to talk to one another about the worries and concerns you have, which usually tend to be around finances and the care of any children involved. It is hard to keep things in perspective when feelings are running high.
How mediation can help
Mediation is a tried and tested way of helping separating couples deal with conflict between them in a constructive way. It is not about getting you back together, but instead about creating a safe and secure environment where you can both talk and hopefully reach an agreement which works for both of you.
In mediation all the choices and decisions are yours to make. Mediators are not there to find fault, make judgments, give legal advice or impose their view. The role of the Mediator is to be impartial at all times and to help you get the talking started and keep you focussed on moving forward.
If you are able to reach agreement, this will usually be set out by the Mediator in a Memorandum of Understanding. You should then take this to your Solicitor for advice (it is helpful to have a Solicitor in the background throughout the process so that you can run any queries/concerns by them, in readiness for your next session) and as long as you are happy to proceed, your Solicitor will take the steps to formalise any agreement.
Keeping costs down
It is hoped that by using mediation in conjunction with taking advice from a Solicitor, issues between you can be identified at an early stage and the process will hopefully be much quicker and cheaper than litigating through the courts.
Mediation here at Hatton Law
Our family Mediator Sharon Davey-Holpin is also a Solicitor. Sharon has found that it is an advantage to have both skills, as though she is not able to give legal advice in her role as a Mediator, her knowledge of the law after over twenty years in the legal profession, means that she can help separating couples reality check their proposed agreements to see if it they provide for achievable solutions. This should make the legal process following mediation less costly.