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How long does Family Mediation take?

View profile for Claire Knight
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The length of time Family Mediation can take will depend on your own situation and the particular arrangements you are looking to resolve.  In our experience, individuals require between two and four sessions, lasting approximately one to two hours each, however there are no restrictions on how many sessions you can have.  One of the many benefits of Family Mediation is that we will work to a timetable that is practical for you.  Claire Knight, Resolution trained and Law Society accredited Family Mediator, explains here what can be discussed in Family Mediation and how long it may take to reach an agreement.

When should I consider Family Mediation?

Following a divorce or separation, there will be arrangements that need to be made for your children and your finances, including:

  • where your children will live,
  • when they will spend time with each parent and possibly, when they will see their grandparents or other family members,
  • what will happen to the family home, or
  • what will happen to any pensions or savings you have. 

Sometimes following the breakdown of a relationship, these details can be discussed amicably; however some people understandably find this more difficult.

In this situation, most people believe that going to Court is the only option to resolve difficulties or a dispute. In many cases Family Mediation is successful to help reach a more amicable, cost effective and timely resolution than going to Court.  Prior to any Court application, most people will need to show that they have considered Family Mediation before proceeding with an application.  

The first step is to attend a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).  This meeting, which usually lasts up to an hour, will allow you the time to discuss individually and confidentially with the Mediator the circumstance regarding the breakdown of your relationship, what you would like to resolve and consider in mediation, as well any worries or concerns you have. The Mediator will explain the principles of Mediation and consider whether, given your circumstances and what you hope to achieve, Mediation is suitable for you. If it is, having seen you and your former partner individually you can proceed with your discussions in Mediation. If it is not suitable, you may wish to take legal advice or consider an application to the Court.

How long will it take to reach an agreement?

Depending on the nature of your discussions, most people participating in Mediation require between two and four sessions.  These sessions, which last between one to two hours, can be booked at a time convenient to you, with as much time between them as you see fit.  If you are discussing your financial arrangements, you may need extra time to gather financial information and documentation, or to consult with your own solicitors.  You may also need to instruct experts to value any assets.

Mediation can be concluded in one session, after a number of weeks or a number of months depending on your needs.  It is much more flexible than Court proceedings which can easily take six to 12 months to resolve, if not longer.

What are the other benefits of Family Mediation?

As well as being a quicker route to resolution compared with going to Court, Family Mediation also offers:

  • A neutral environment to discuss your concerns with an independent person to give you the opportunity to have your opinions heard without interruption.
  • More control over your own future. If you proceed to Court it is the Judge who will ultimately make the decision over your children or financial arrangements, and you may walk away unhappy with the outcome.
  • Family Mediation will be less costly for you than going to Court. You can find out more about the costs involved here.
  • Better communication for the future.  For most individuals, going to Court will only exacerbate any feelings of hostility between you, while Family Mediation focusses on a co-operative resolution, meaning you will both have chosen an outcome that is workable for you and so can communicate with more success in the future.

“There are many benefits to Family Mediation as well as the time and cost involved,” concludes Claire.  “Family Mediation is not about bringing the two of you together to work on your relationship, but is about taking a step back to review the practical implications of your decisions and the impact those will have on your wider family.”

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.