When a relationship breaks down a couple may have many issues that need to be resolved at a time when emotions may be running high and the couple is looking for expert help in finding solutions.
Most people would rather try to find those solutions without going to Court. Mediation can offer an approach which attempts to avoid having to go to court and involves the least stress, cost and delay.
What is Mediation and how can it help me?
Mediation offers couples a neutral forum to discuss common goals for everyone involved and then agree how to work together to achieve those goals. An independent third party – a Mediator -will help the couple understand and work through their issues to reach solutions which they are each prepared to accept.
The couple usually seek advice separately from their own solicitor alongside the Mediation process but those solicitors are not usually present at the Mediation sessions.
How much will it cost?
It depends on your financial position. For some, there is no charge for Mediation. Although Legal Aid is less available now to pay for a Solicitor to help resolve financial issues on divorce, there is an exception in the case of Help with Mediation which still covers the of a solicitor to advise someone taking part in Mediation.
If you do not qualify for Legal Aid to cover the Mediation costs, Mediation can still be cheaper than paying a solicitor to negotiate a settlement or taking the case to Court. The hourly rates of Mediators tend to be lower than solicitors’ hourly rates.
How long will it take?
This will depend on the issues you need to resolve and how complex they are. Each meeting lasts between 1 and 2 hours and tend to be 2 – 4 weeks apart. On average two or three meetings will be needed but some issues can be sorted out in a single session.
Who will the mediator be?
Mediators are usually Family Lawyers with many years of experience in help[ing couples to resolve disputes. Mediators do not take sides or offer advice: they help the couple to reach their own solutions which best suit that couple and their family.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
- It is usually cheaper, quicker and less stressful than traditional legal routes
- There is an emphasis on agreeing common goals and on joint decision making
- It focuses on the future
- It focuses on successful outcomes: the vast majority of cases result in a positive solution for the couple.
What happens once we have reached an agreement at Mediation?
It depends on the type of issue that you have resolved. The financial agreement between a couple should always be referred to a Solicitor so that the agreement can be set out in a legally binding Order which is sealed by the Court and then the terms of the agreement are put into action.
Agreements in relation to children can also be drawn up into an agreement or set out in a Court Order if necessary.
It is important to take legal advice alongside Mediation. If you have an issue that you think mediation might help you resolve, please get in touch. We offer free half- hour appointments where we can give you information about how to resolve your issues whether by using Mediation, negotiations managed by solicitors or some other approach.