Family mediation is a sensitive, confidential process in which a trained impartial mediator helps a couple to examine and consider any issues that they may wish to resolve in the context of separation or divorce and to try to reach mutually acceptable terms for settling those issues.
- Is undertaken under the Family Mediation Council Code of Practice
- Provides a supportive, professional and confidential forum in which a couple can be helped to deal with all issues arising on separation and divorce
- Can deal with any issues which the couple or either of them may wish to raise including the practicalities of separation; the future of the relationship and where appropriate the question of divorce; arrangements for children; housing, property and capital adjustments; maintenance and finance generally; or reviewing existing arrangements.
The mediator will help the couple to examine the issues, explore options for dealing with them, and try to find the couple's own solutions. This will include facilitating proper financial disclosure so that any decisions can be made on an informed basis, and considering the relevant implications of that disclosure with the couple. A Resolution mediator will inform the couple if in their opinion any proposed terms fall outside the limits of what a court would approve. Subject to this, the mediator will not impose any terms (and has no authority to do so in any event) and will not promote any particular course. Rather, they will use their skills and experience to help the couple find their own workable terms.
Mediation is ordinarily undertaken with the couple in joint meetings, though exceptionally in some cases the mediator may arrange separate meetings with each party. In this event, special arrangements will be discussed and agreed with regard to the way in which confidentiality and other arrangements will apply. It is possible for a couple to be in separate rooms and for the mediator to move between the two rooms if this is preferred and might assist.
Solicitors do not usually attend mediation meetings but in some circumstances, if the couple agree, they may be invited to do so. Solicitors may advise their clients between meetings, as the mediation progresses and sometimes the mediator may suggest this. In all cases parties will not be required to reach any complete and binding agreements in the mediation until both parties have had the opportunity to review the proposed terms of settlement with their own solicitors. Summaries of financial information and of the settlement proposals will ordinarily be furnished for this purpose.
Benefits of mediation
Couples are helped to:
- Communicate with one another
- Negotiate with one another
- Explore and examine available options
- Make decisions on an informed basis
- Appreciate the needs of the children
- Obtain independent support as necessary
- Express feelings in a secure environment
Mediation – time and cost
Mediation sessions generally last one and a half hours each. The number of sessions will depend on the issues: five or six sessions are not uncommon, but more or less may be needed. They may take place at approximately fortnightly intervals or as otherwise agreed. Couples are not required to commit to these in advance, but can decide at each session if they wish to continue.
Please contact Grace Parker-White for more information.