Family mediation helps those involved in divorce or separation to communicate better with one another and reach their own decisions about all or some of the issues arising from separation, divorce or ending of a civil partnership, including children, property and financial issues. Mediation allows you to directly negotiate your own decisions with the help of a family mediator. It is an alternative to lawyers negotiating for you or having decisions made for you by the Courts. Participation in mediation is voluntary although it is now a requirement that before any application is made to a Court concerning finances or children following the breakdown of a marriage, civil partnership or relationship, the person making the application must attend a mediation information session’ or ‘assessment meeting’ in order to find out about the option of resolving matters through mediation.
A crucial aspect of family mediation is that the person conducting the mediation is independent and impartial. They cannot advise either party over the merits of any proposals discussed; the mediator’s role is to facilitate discussions and help the parties find common ground. If agreement is reached, the parties will need to separately seek independent legal advice on the terms before they commit themselves to a final and legally binding settlement. This is where our specialist team of family solicitors can help. We regularly advise and assist clients who are attending family mediation and help ensure that any agreement reached is put into a binding settlement. For example, an agreement over financial arrangements following the breakdown of a marriage only becomes binding when it is converted into what is called a Consent Order that is then signed by the parties and their legal representatives and approved by a Court within divorce proceedings. Our role is to draft the Consent Order and advise you on the terms before you make a final commitment to the settlement so that you can make an informed decision about whether what you have agreed at mediation is right for you.
We also discuss with clients who are seeking advice on separation and children matters the option of family mediation at an early stage of the process and whether it is suitable and can refer clients to local family mediation services that other clients tell us worked well for them.
For further information about family mediation, contact the family team on 0844 567 2222 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org