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Can I bring someone with me to Family Mediation?

View profile for Claire Knight
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We understand that if you are struggling to agree on arrangements for your children or your finances following a divorce or separation, you will be looking for support from those around you, such as your family and friends.  Family Mediation can help you resolve and explore the options, and you may wish to have this support network around you during this time.  In most cases, Family Mediation is just for the parties directly concerned, namely you and your former partner.  Claire Knight, Law Society accredited and Resolution trained Family Mediator, explains more here about who can attend and how Family Mediation can help you.

Who can attend Family Mediation?

Third parties and other family members not directly involved in the arrangements are not normally invited to attend the Family Mediation sessions. The purpose of Family Mediation is to assist you and your former partner in exploring options and considering solutions that you are both comfortable with.  Having a third party who is not directly involved in the arrangement or the outcome can detract from the conversations at hand, and remove the focus from being on you and your former partner.  Both parties should feel able to speak freely and openly and that all discussions take place in a fair and balanced way. 

Having said that, the parties solicitors or other experts do sometimes assist in attending the Mediation sessions if that is required, for example, if the Mediation is regarding making financial decisions and the property or accounts are particularly complex.  A translator can also be present if there is the need, as long as they are a professionally qualified and registered translator and not otherwise connected with the people involved in Mediation.  Any such arrangements will need to be agreed by all parties and the Mediator in advance.

Family Mediation is not only for the parents of a child; step-parents and/or grandparents who are seeking a resolution can also benefit from Family Mediation.

Can my children attend Family Mediation?

If you are using Mediation to discuss arrangements for your children, depending on their age and understanding, you may wish to consider having them involved in the discussions to have their views heard.  This is possible; however it is important that you seek the advice of a Child Inclusive Mediator. Sam Miles, Partner and Family Mediator, can offer this service. 

Once both parents have agreed that their child can attend Family Mediation and the child also agrees, a meeting is arranged with the Child Inclusive Mediator.  During this meeting, they will be encouraged to discuss the situation openly and honestly, how they are feeling and explore their views on the decisions that directly affect them for the future.  The child can request that anything they say in these meetings remain confidential, which the Mediator must respect.  Occasionally the simple act of having the meeting can help greatly with children in settling into their new life by having an independent person to talk to.  It can also prove a valuable insight for you as a parent about the impact such discussions are having on your children.  You can find out more about Child Inclusive Mediation here.

Can someone attend my MIAM with me?

The Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is the first step in Family Mediation.  This is the meeting during which you will discuss what you hope to achieve in Mediation and what arrangements you want to consider; the Mediator will also take into account your own circumstances before explaining how Mediation could help you.  This is an individual meeting usually just with you and the Mediator present.  In some circumstances, your Family Mediator may be happy for you to bring a friend or relative to this meeting.

“We see people every day who have made the difficult decision to separate, and sometimes making more important decisions about the future can be daunting and impossible to do on your own,” explains Claire.  “Family Mediation provides a neutral environment where you can both have your voices heard and, more often than that, we will arrive at a resolution you are both comfortable with and consider workable for you and your family, all while avoiding the time and cost involved in going to Court.”

To find out more about how Family Mediation could help you, contact Claire or the Family team today on 023 8071 7431 or email familyenquiries@warnergoodman.co.uk.  Alternatively, you can find out more about the service we offer on the following links:

ENDS

This is for information purposes only and is no substitute for, and should not be interpreted as, legal advice.  All content was correct at the time of publishing and we cannot be held responsible for any changes that may invalidate this article.