Monday 22nd January 2024 marks the start of Family Mediation Week. Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and it’s benefits to separating families.
What is mediation?
Mediation can assist families in various circumstances, such as considering options for separating the matrimonial finances, or the arrangements for any children of the family should a relationship breakdown. Mediation can also continue to assist families, even after separation, for example if arrangements that have been made previously need to change when the children of the family are older, and arrangements need to be altered to suit their needs.
Mediation is a voluntary process, therefore all parties participating will agree to engage in the mediation process and sign an agreement to mediate at the first joint session. The role of the Mediator is to remain neutral, and to provide a safe environment for constructive discussions to take place and allow families to explore the different options and avenues available to them. To assist with the discussions, the Mediator can provide legal information which provides families with the information they require to make informed decisions about their outcome and future.
If an outcome is reached at mediation, the Mediator will draw up the necessary documents to allow each individual in the mediation process to obtain independent legal advice. The outcome can then be placed into a legally binding document.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
There are many benefits of opting for mediation. Mediation is a form of out of Court dispute resolution, which means that it is often a quicker and more cost-effective route to take than negotiations through solicitors or Court proceedings. There is one hourly rate to meet, and parties are not held to Court timetables or delays. Further, mediation is also often less stressful than negotiations through solicitors or Court proceedings, as the Mediator will be present throughout the discussions and assist in helping families to talk openly about matters in a safe confidential space. The Mediator will also be able to ensure that both parties have the opportunity to speak and be heard, a voice which can often be lost or misconstrued in the Court process or in negotiations via solicitors.