A mediator is an independent trained person who meets with the parties and tries to resolve the disputes between them. A mediator is impartial and does not take any side in the case. If you are not happy with meeting with your former partner then arrangements can be made for you to be seen in separate rooms but usually the process works better when you are together. Family Mediation is a way of resolving disputes after separation. Both parties need to consent to the process.
Research has shown that when mediation is used, disputes are usually resolved more quickly and stress is reduced in all parties including any children. If an agreement can be reached, it usually ends up costing much less by way of money and time. Further, if somebody has agreed to a certain course of action then they are more likely not to breach that agreement.
Mediation can generally assist in all areas of family law, including disputes between parents as to contact arrangements with the children and also financial issues.
Depending on your own financial situation you may qualify for an exemption or assistance towards the costs. You will need to take with you to the initial assessment proof of your means. The mediator will give you an indication as to the costs of each session.
Although you could contact a mediator directly, we would usually send the information to the mediation service who would then contact the other party, giving them 10 working days in which to respond. If they respond and state that they do not want mediation or if they do not contact the mediator, then the mediator will provide a certificate stating that the matter is not suitable for mediation.
If mediation is agreed then an appointment will be sent to you for an initial assessment. The mediator will talk through the process and will find out your financial eligibility for the mediation process. You can meet separately from your former partner, or a meeting can be arranged for you together. The mediator will then assess how much work would be required with you.
If an agreement is reached then the mediator will refer you back to your solicitors for that agreement to be embodied, if necessary in a court order or by way of an agreement in open correspondence. You cannot be held to any agreement that you make in mediation without being able to discuss the matter with your solicitor. What is discussed in mediation is confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent proceedings.
Subject to problems in respect of domestic violence and the possibility of feeling intimidated, we would always recommend attendance at mediation. It is better to discuss problems in an open manner to resolve or narrow the issues between the parties.
Before making an application to court (save in emergency situations) the court requires you to attempt mediation. You will not be able to make an application until mediation has been attempted.
Our specialist Family Law solicitors will deal with you with compassion and sensitivity and will guide you through this complicated and stressful process. We have many years of experience and we will try and minimise conflict where possible.
Douglas Clift & Co Solicitors will provide a free 30 minute initial consultation to assess your circumstances. We will then explain the costs involved and give you information about the funding options available to you. Contact us now on 01524 32437 or alternatively use our contact form to discuss this further.