A Mediated Agreement – how hard can that really be?

Posted:9th February 2021

Family Mediation is a wonderful process and can help a great deal of people navigate through difficult issues.

Mediation, however, can also be hard. This is because it involves a couple who are having to work cohesively in a situation usually where their communication system has all but shut down due to a breakdown in their relationship.

That couple has to work together to try and reach a mutually acceptable outcome.

People therefore need to be ready to come to mediation if they want it to work and they need to be ready to try very hard to get to that point.

They need the help of Family Law Professionals to be able to do this well. Family lawyers play a crucial part in the mediation process. They are the ones who plant the seeds of what is reasonable for a person to expect. Family lawyers know that for couples who are dealing with the fall out of a relationship breakdown know that it is not just a strict application of the law but of understanding what a client needs and what is important to them, and advising them that there is no one right answer.

During the mediation process solicitors retain a vital role to ensure that when the clients get stuck on a legal point that any advice given does not allow either or both of them to revert back to being positional. This can happen when the client only hears what they want to hear from the solicitor rather than all the advice.

When dealing with financial matters other professionals may also need to be involved from Accountants, Independent Financial Advisors and Pension Experts, or in children matters a trained Child Mediator or a Family Consultant to be able to understand what is going on for the children.

In both cases where emotions are high and are preventing helpful discussions to move matters forwards the presence of a Family Consultant or Divorce Coach is invaluable.

The parties to a mediation need to work together with the guidance of the mediator and any experts or expert advice that has been given. They need to find their own new dynamic that allows them both to accept the reality of more than one answer to a problem that presents itself, and how to work with those ‘answers’ from the options that present themselves through their discussions, to, in effect, create their very own unique answer that works for them.

It is often the case that people want to get to the end quickly, usually in Family Mediation to stop the pain, and when they can’t see ‘an end’ that works they give up.

It is so difficult when in pain to work through matters going from needs and interests including expressing any vulnerabilities to creating a ‘portfolio’ of options, especially if some options feel threatening or one sided. However looking at all options is essential to be able to put together the right one for the couple as often it can be built from a myriad of different options a bit like ‘pick and mix’.

A tailormade solution created by a couple taking into account their unique family’s circumstances has a far greater chance of longevity than one that simply applies the law without the family dynamic being considered. This is especially so in relation to children where preserving the parenting relationship is crucial.

Should you need advice in relation to whether mediation is suitable for you or you are seeking legal advice whilst about to embark upon, or going through the mediation process, our Family Team at EMG are here to help you.

The Family Team at EMG solicitors consists of experienced family lawyers and family mediators.