Family mediation is a process which enables a couple to resolve issues that arise following the breakdown of a relationship, marriage, civil partnership and same sex partnerships. The process focuses on the way forward. It is both voluntary and confidential, and it is independent of the courts.
Mediation works hand in hand with legal advice at all stages of the separation and divorce process:
- Financial issues: how to sort out income, capital, liabilities and pensions.
- Property: what happens to the family home and working out future living arrangements?
- Child contact and maintenance arrangements: working on the best arrangements for the children.
- Communication between the parents.
Mediation v The Courts
Advantages of Mediation include:
- The decision reached is the couple’s decision. They do not have a decision imposed upon them by a judge.
- Mediation resolves a couple’s confidence in their ability to communicate, and to work things out between them. This has a positive effect on the whole family.
- Parents are helped to move towards a good working relationship in their role as “co-parents”.
- It is all about the future.
- In time and money, mediation is far less costly.
How Family Mediation Works
Family mediation breaks down into three distinct stages:
Stage One – Initial Assessment. (Also called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM).) Since the Family Law change in April 2014, it is a requirement for clients to actively consider mediation. Your mediator will meet with you separately to explain the mediation process, what your alternative options are, to answer any questions you may have, and to assess whether mediation is suitable.
A referral form is emailed out for you to fill in and sign and bring to the MIAM.