Family Mediation – What You Need To Know

Posted:18th August 2020

What is involved in Mediation?

Mediation is a process that resolves conflict and helps parties with decision-making. A neutral trained mediator assists parties in arriving at a mutually acceptable solution and in considering what the relevant matters are that are needed to resolve your particular issues. Mediation emphasises cooperative problem solving and addressing the needs of all involved. There are likely to be at least 2 joint meetings although matters can be resolved in one meeting if there are limited matters to discuss and agree.

Mediation can help you with many issues:

  • Pre Nuptial Agreements – financial arrangements before you get married
  • Post Nuptial Agreements – financial arrangements during your marriage
  • Bringing your relationship to an end in a constructive manner
  • Agreeing arrangements for your children upon your separation or divorce
  • Dividing your assets and income in a fair way on your separation or divorce.

Do I need a solicitor if I am going to Mediation?

You should seek legal advice in conjunction with Mediation, that is, before, during and after. If you reach an agreement in Mediation then the Mediator will usually draw up a document known as a Memorandum of Understanding. You would usually take this document to your solicitor for advice and, where appropriate, a formal and binding document is drawn up for you.

What are the benefits of Mediation?

It protects children from conflict. Animosity between parents can increase significantly during the court process. As a result children are exposed to increased conflict, which in turn causes confusion and long-lasting damage. A mediator can help parties in a neutral manner by keeping the focus on the children’s needs, while engaging parents in a more sensitive and less inflammatory process.

You and your partner are in control. You both choose the topics that you want to discuss and the order in which they are considered. Important decisions about you and your children are made by you.

You each get personal attention. The mediation process allows you both to speak and be heard. You work directly with your mediator, who will explore matters with you and help generate options, help you negotiate together, refine decision-making and arrive at a final consensus. Judges do not have the time to get to know a family as by necessity the time spent in front of a Judge is very limited.

It’s less costly. You are both paying for one mediator who is dedicated to helping you both reach a resolution. You pay for meetings rather than costly correspondence or waiting time at court or court appearances.

You can create a personalised outcome. Sticking points (usually not legal considerations) can be addressed more in-depth in your mediation session and in your final agreement.

Faster resolution. You set your own timeframe for resolving issues, without having the anxiety of unresolved, lingering issues for a prolonged period.

Greater confidentiality. Communication in mediation is privileged and confidential. Meetings are private.

Greater flexibility. More flexibility for appointment times and the manner in which the mediation itself is set up. Mediation can work when parties want to mediate but don’t wish to be in the same room.

It’s less adversarial. A neutral mediator emphasises cooperative problem solving and addressing the needs of all involved. This helps the parties to be more able to view issues from a more neutral standpoint and to focus on resolving the dispute. The mediator assists with this by not validating each party’s potentially polarised position and wish to “win”.

Better post-divorce stability. Mediation seeks to improve parties’ understanding of each other and to assist them in improving the manner in which they communicate. If the parties need to co-parent for years to come, being able to reach the point where they can communicate effectively and respectfully with each other is really important.

Post Mediation ‘blips’ – given the relationship that has been created you can return to the mediator if conflicts arise in the future.

If you want to enquire about Mediation please get in touch today by contacting Sue McArthur at [email protected] or calling us at 0191 500 6989.