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What is Family Mediation?

View profile for Claire Knight
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Family Mediation is a way to discuss and resolve arrangements regarding financial assets and children following the break down of a relationship with your former partner, or after a divorce.  Making these arrangements after a relationship has ended will be incredibly difficult, as feelings can cloud your discussions.  By choosing Family Mediation, these conversations take place in a neutral environment with a trained and experienced Mediator who will help you both explore options and proposals with you.  Claire Knight, Resolution trained and Law Society Accredited Family Mediator, here reviews how Family Mediation could help you.

What can we discuss in Family Mediation?

The first important fact about Family Mediation is that it is not about resolving differences in your relationship to help you get back together.  It is in fact to help you consider options on arrangements that need to be made for you to carry on with your lives separately.  Mediation is beneficial not only in making arrangements directly after a divorce or separation but can put plans in place for the future and improve the way you communicate, taking into consideration any changes that may need to be made as children grow up or financial situations adapt. 

Family Mediation can help with discussions on any of the following issues or concerns:

  • Arrangements for children, for example how they will share their time with each of you and where they will live.  You can also discuss how your children will remain in contact with grandparents, step families and in-laws.
  • Child maintenance payments.
  • Financial arrangements, such as what to do with your property, pensions, savings and debts.

If you are attending Mediation to discuss your financial affairs, you will be asked to provide certain details regarding your current financial arrangements.  This disclosure form will ask for information such as your income, living costs, the amount in your bank account(s), property ownership and any debts that may be outstanding.  In addition to the form, your Mediator will encourage you both to share documents to support the information on your financial form, such as providing copies of bank statements, pay slips and valuations for your assets to assist with discussions. 

Why choose Family Mediation instead of going to Court?

Compared to going to Court, Family Mediation you will allow you more of an opportunity to discuss the ideal outcome for you, providing you with the time and space to express yourself and your wishes.  The Mediator will not take sides, let one party dominate the conversation or make decisions for you but will give both you and your former partner the opportunity to speak openly about your desired outcome for the future. 

At the same time, the Mediator will also help you to consider not only your wishes, but what is best for your whole family, even if that means you having to consider compromises.  We understand that, depending on the circumstances of your separation or divorce, you may not be willing to make these compromises, but the Mediator will help you consider all scenarios and the practical implications of any decisions you make.  

The main benefit of choosing Family Mediation over going to Court is that it leaves you with more control over the situation and the discussions.  The Court would make the decisions for you, not necessarily giving you the opportunity to tell them how you feel.  You will need to abide by any rulings that are made, whether you agree with them or not. 

“In our experience Family Mediation can often be less stressful and bring resolution for you quicker and with far less costs than going to Court,” explains Claire. “It can not only help you with the immediate arrangements that you need to discuss but also help you improve communication to work together in the future if there are further discussions or arrangements  to be considered.”

Of course, you are not able to go to Court to discuss these matters unless you have considered Family Mediation; in some situations the Court will not even hear your case until you have done this by attending a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM).

What is a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting?

A MIAM will allow you and your former partner to consider Mediation and understand whether it could help you without having to go to Court.  The MIAM will involve you and your former partner having separate meetings with the Mediator.  In these meetings, you will both have the opportunity to speak freely, openly and confidentially about what is most important to you and the ideal outcome. 

Participating in Mediation is entirely voluntary and will not always be suitable for everyone. If Mediation is not suitable and you wish to proceed with a Court Application you can ask the Mediator to sign the Court form which will confirm you have considered Mediation as an option.

While we are not able to produce the legally binding document following your Mediation, as we are Lawyer-Mediators we know the detail that must be included in such a document once the arrangements have been discussed.  We will produce a “memorandum of understanding” which can be used as a basis for the legally binding document, known as a “consent order”. 

“My colleague Sam Miles and I have been offering Family Mediation since 2014 and have helped facilitate arrangements for many different families over those years,” concludes Claire.  “The discussions we have in Family Mediation remain completely confidential, and we can also talk to your children if arrangements for your children are the main concern as Sam is a qualified Child Inclusive Mediator.  The ending of a relationship will be devastating for everyone concerned and it is vital that discussions are had in the spirit of moving forward; Family Mediation can do this and help everyone involved reach a resolution they can live with.”

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.