Q: What is mediation? How can it benefit me?
A: Mediation is a process used to try and resolve any issues that parties may have as a result of a relationship breakdown. These issues may involve arrangements regarding children, child maintenance and finances.
A trained mediator meets with both parties to discuss, with the aim of resolving, any issues that the parties cannot resolve between them. It is not essential that both parties meet with the mediator at the same time, however this usually is the most proactive way of conducting mediation.
The four principles of mediation are impartiality, confidentiality, that it is voluntary and “without prejudice”. As mediators are impartial, they cannot give advice to the parties but are able to provide information.
The aim of mediation is to give the parties control over the decision making. The mediator cannot make the parties do anything which is against their wishes. Other benefits of mediation are that there is less conflict than in court proceedings and it is quicker and cheaper than court. Mediation is particularly useful where there are children involved as the process can be less upsetting and damaging for a child than the court process.
Before parties can initiate court proceedings in relation to finances or children, there is a requirement that they attend mediation unless they fall within an exception i.e. there are risks posed to either party or a child or there is evidence of domestic violence.
If the parties are unable to resolve the issues during mediation, the mediator will sign a form which confirms this. The parties then have discretion over how they proceed with matters which may require them obtaining independent legal advice.
If the parties are able to resolve the issues during mediation, the decisions are not automatically binding on the parties. The parties can apply to court for the decisions to be made legally binding.
If you are interested in how Mediation may benefit your family please contact Victoria Strode of Mogers Drewett on 01225 750000 or 01749 342323.