Mediation is a process through which the former spouses can negotiate important issues without having to go to court. With the help of a mediator, they can make financial or children-related arrangements, as well as sort may other issues. A mediation lawyer can help you and your former partner deal with some of the most unpleasant consequences of your recent separation.
What’s more important, by selecting this method you can reduce the time and the costs that would otherwise be involved when taking your differences to court.
Our family law mediation solicitors are here to provide needed assistance during the aftermath of the separation. You can always reach out to us to find out more than the information presented in this article.
Table of Contents
Is mediation effective?
Divorce mediation is an effective process because a neutral and specially trained third party is able to help the former married couple resolve common issues that arise in case of separation.
Some of the most important actions of the mediator include the following:
- Listens to your case: he is the one who will listen to both of your arguments and will list what it is that you need to work out;
- Ensure fair decisions: the mediation lawyer is there to make sure that both parties have a fair chance to express their opinion fully and truthfully;
- Provide information: the mediator will provide you with any needed information that may help you make a decision;
- Present options: during family law mediation you will be presented with the options that you have for the future and will guide you if you need to obtain expert advice in other areas, such as pensions;
- Secure the agreement: when you do reach an agreement, the mediator is the one who drafts the written formal document and that you are both clear on the final terms.
The process is less stressful compared to having to go to court and it allows both parties to ultimately decide for themselves, as compared to asking a judge or magistrate to decide on important issues.
Ideally, both individuals will agree to seek the help of a mediation lawyer voluntarily.
You should contact a team of family mediation solicitors, such as our specialists, as soon as you observe that there are things you cannot agree upon. This process is helpful even if you have been separated for some time and this has been the grounds for divorce.
In most cases, when someone files for divorce, taking the case to court is not always the first option, and working with a mediator may become a precondition for separation. This initial meeting with a mediator is the Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting and during this session, you will have a chance to see how the process works. These meetings can only be conducted by a mediator who is accredited by the Family Mediation Council.
Our team of family mediation solicitors can help you with proper advice as soon as you have taken the decision to separate.
While we do encourage mediation and a calm approach to settling important matters concerning finances or children once a couple decides to end their union, it is not always possible for the parties to be understanding toward each other. When this is the case, our London divorce lawyer will represent you and your best interests in front of your former spouse.
How long does mediation take?
There is no maximum or minimum limit to the duration of the process. It depends on the complexities of the matters that are being negotiated as well as their number.
For example, family law mediation may end faster for two individuals who only need to negotiate financial matters, compared to a couple who also has to find solutions for the wellbeing of their children after the separation.
With the help of resolution family law, many couples can solve important disagreements within two or three sessions.
What happens if you cannot reach an agreement during mediation?
Mediation is an effective solution that is suitable for many former couples. However, depending on the particular family situation and the two parties, sometimes it does not yield results. If this happens, you may decide to stop the mediation process.
Family mediation solicitors draw up the necessary forms and your case will move on to the court, in order to be heard by a judge or magistrate. If you choose to do so, you will still need to show that you have attended the mediation information and assessment meeting.
Resolution family law in the UK
A court divorce is not your only option if you wish to separate from your partner or terminate your marriage.
The existing alternatives to court generally focus on practices that are somewhat collaborative. For this to be possible, you and your former spouse will need to negotiate important matters, assisted by your solicitors.
Of course, you can also reach an agreement without family law mediation. In this case, both you and your spouse would be able to decide privately on important matters, and then you would ask a solicitor to draw up an agreement that would reflect your decisions.
While ideal, the situations in which the spouses can reach an agreement on their own can be rare. This is why expert assistance from a solicitor or mediator is advisable.
The law in the UK allows parties to focus on this collaborative aspect of separation, in what we could call resolution family law – family law-specific practices with a focus on resolution through out-of-court means.
The most important step during these alternative options for divorce or separation is the agreement the two parties ultimately reach.
It can be an agreement in principle or a final one, however, it is drawn up with the help of an experienced solicitor.
A resolution lawyer, usually part of a team of family mediation solicitors, such as our experts, will assist and advise during all of the essential stages required to reach an agreement.
The services of a mediation solicitor are also used when the parties decide to reach an agreement privately. While they discuss the matters on their own, the solicitor can offer advice only as required.
When the parties do reach an agreement, the solicitor is also the one who draws up the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the document that will clearly indicate the final agreement on one or more particular issues.
Situations that are not suitable for family law mediation
While mediation can be a welcomed solution in many different cases, there are some instances in which this practice may not be appropriate for all of the parties involved.
A common situation in which mediation is not possible is when there are legitimate concerns for the safety of one or more individuals.
High-conflict cases in which it is clear that the spouses will not reach an agreement are examples thereof.
Moreover, when the couple has a clear power imbalance or when there is a history of family violence, mediation is likely to not be an option.
Our family mediation solicitors will perform a background check before commencing the negotiation or mediation phase so that we can make sure that mediation is the recommended approach. If you have doubts or concerns, it is important to disclose information about past abuse of family violence with our team
Divorce and mediation statistics in UK
According to a 2019 report released by the UK Government, family legal help increased:
- between April and June 2019 there were 10% more family legal help starts compared to the same period in 2018;
- the number of mediation information and assessment meetings increased by 14% in the same period compared to the year prior;
- mediation outcomes were 13% higher in the same analysed period;
- another report shows that there was a decrease in the number of divorce petitions: 28,144 were made between April and June 2019, down 13% compared to the same period in 2018.
Contact our family mediation solicitors if you are in need of professional services for solving disagreements after a separation.