Family Mediation Works
Going through a divorce, or separation, is one of the most stressful activities that you can possibly undertake. Family mediation has lots of benefits and here we explain in more detail.
Mediation: a step by step guide
What is mediation?
Mediation is a way of aiding you to make decisions through mutual agreement with your partner. Many people find mediation to be a very satisfying way of reaching agreement as it involves them taking responsibility for their own decisions, rather than leaving these purely to the legal system.
Mediation involves considering issues involving a divorce or separation. This can be during the process of divorce or separation or after this event.
There are two main benefits of mediation:
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Mediation is primarily considered to be for parents (whatever their age) and, although this is true of most mediations this is by no means the case for all. Grandparents are frequently involved in mediation proceedings, as are older siblings.
In more complex, extended, families, there may be a wide range of parties involved in mediation. Mediation involves a variety of decisions, mainly around property and finance, but also around arrangements involving contact with children.
There are a wide variety of procedures that can be successfully mediated. In terms of children and parenting, contact arrangements and residence can be agreed upon. Mediation also covers financial arrangements including maintenance and child support.
Related to these are decisions involving property, possessions, debt and pensions and other financial endowments. There are also a number of related issues that can be discussed. Holiday arrangements often appear as an area of contention, particularly for working parents.
Note that mediation is not a substitute for legal advice, advocacy or counselling or psychotherapy.
Mediation is often a ‘third space’ where parents can discuss things away from the home, or a legal, environment. It is a safe and non-judgemental environment in which to think about the various options which are open to you.
The process of mediation is considered to be organised so as to enable you to think clearly, and discuss in a rational fashion, the options that are open to you. Fundamentally, the outcome of mediation should be a lasting agreement between you.
Mediation has a number of benefits over other methods. Firstly, mediation is much cheaper than other legal avenues. It also allows you to maintain some kind of relationship, at least in terms of negotiation, with your partner.
As mediation is a structured procedure it allows you to consider all issues. Mediators are trained to help clients to consider all possibilities and types of mutual agreement. Unlike complex and obscure legal procedures, mediation is simple and you have control over the procedure (including whether mediation should continue) at all times.
There in no standard, one size fits all, outcome to mediation and it is flexible enough to allow for a variety of outcomes.
Initial meetings: an initial meeting involves the mediator meeting you and your ex-partner. They will assess suitability for legal aid. There will always be part of the mediation meeting that involves seeing each client on an individual basis. At this stage we can assess if mediation is suitable for you.
MIAMS: Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAMS) are now a formal requirement for anyone applying to court if it concerns children or financial matters.
Joint meetings: Following these meetings, joint appointments can commence where you and your ex-partner will be present.
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When most people hear the term family mediation, they automatically think of a courtroom situation. They picture a frustrated ex-spouse and the judge in a wig making decisions about what to do with their family. Family mediation works in much the same way as a courtroom proceeding – only in a more peaceful environment.
The difference between a family court case and a mediation is the process used for resolving conflicts in the mediation process. In a court case, a judge presides over the proceedings and decides what is fair. A mediator is hired to work with the family and present both sides of a dispute to help them come to a consensus. This allows the parents to be heard and both parties to be represented. In a mediation, the parties are brought together by a trained professional to talk about the issue at hand, without the pressure of the judge.
What is mediation? In family mediation, a professional mediator, who works with the parents to make a plan for the situation, brings the two sides to the table together. They discuss the concerns and arguments of both parties and come up with a plan of action that will benefit everyone. Mediation services may also refer you to an attorney for advice on legal issues. However, unless you need legal representation, it is usually recommended that you hire a professional to help you resolve your family issues.
What is involved in a mediation? At first, the mediator will gather the family and look over the entire situation to help come up with a plan of action. If the parents are amicable, the mediator will present their case. They will present both sides of the dispute and ask questions that will get to the heart of the matter. The parents may not agree with the plan. If there is not a strong agreement, both sides will have the opportunity to ask questions and make amendments. It is important for the mediator to keep the parents involved and to get them to think deeply about their problems.
After the plan is presented, the mediator will bring the family members together. They will discuss their concerns and ask questions about the plan, and then make adjustments where necessary. If there is disagreement, they may even make suggestions to see if it can be resolved. This way, both sides are satisfied with the outcome. If this does not work, the parents and children are able to return to the courtroom with a plan that works for everyone.
Is family mediation the best method for dealing with family disputes? Sometimes mediation is just a more peaceful option. There is no arguing with an experienced professional who has a lot of experience working with families. In a family court case, children are exposed to the adversarial environment where parents can use arguments and emotions to manipulate the system. A mediator will present a plan for resolving disputes that is fair for everyone.