What are the advantages of family mediation?
Family mediation is a proven and effective way of addressing separation issues in a less traumatic way than if you were to go to court. If you are involved in a family dispute then you can ask a mediator to provide you with help in finding your own solutions.
You don't have to be involved in court proceedings to use mediation, but if you are mediation could help you resolve matters more quickly and amicably.
The mediator will be impartial and the whole process is confidential.
Mediation has many advantages over the legal process. It is inherently less adversarial and tends to lessen rather than inflame conflict.
The process is more flexible and may address wider issues involving different family members.
It is generally much less expensive because the parties are able to effectively share the cost of one mediator rather than pay for two separate solicitors. Legal aid is still available for family mediation. Anyone eligible for legal aid can use this service free of charge.
Does mediation work?
There are some cases where court is unavoidable, particularly those involving intimidation, threats or violence.
For mediation to be successful the parties must have freedom to negotiate without fear or undue pressure. Your mediator will help to identify at an early stage if the case is not suitable for mediation. If you are not sure, it is worth discussing your situation with a mediator rather than dismissing mediation outright.
Ask your mediator a question
If the case is suitable for mediation, there are very good prospects of mediation leading to a solution. Statistical information is not readily available nationwide but we and many other established mediators can report success in
4 out of 5 cases. Even in those few cases where the outcome is less successful mediation is seldom a waste of time. The process often serves to narrow the issues and there is much better chance that any subsequent legal process will lead to a negotiated settlement rather than a contested hearing.
Our clients report that following mediation they are able to communicate better with one another, rebuild their trust and enjoy better relationships with their children. Mediation in financial matters helps to achieve an amicable settlement in an out-of-court environment, clarify and improve understanding of the financial circumstances. Generally speaking, mediation helps to reach amicable solutions that allow participants to move on with their life following their relationship breakdown.
With thanks to our colleague barrister Michael Whyatt for his contribution towards producing these notes.