WHAT IS MEDIATION
Mediation is a process of negotiation which you and your ex partner undertake together to help you agree decisions about the arrangements for the future relating to your children, finances, or both of these issues.
Mediation is a way of working towards your own settlement, with the support and guidance of a trained mediator. A Mediator is impartial and does not take sides. The aim of Mediation is to try and find a solution that meets the needs of you, your ex partner and your children and one which you feel is fair.
Mediation can help to reduce tension, anger and misunderstanding and improve communication between you and your ex partner. This is especially important if you have children because you will have to cooperate over their care and upbringing. It can be reassuring to the children to know that you are working together and will continue to work together to try and resolve any issues between you.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK
A trained Mediator will speak to you and your ex partner separately at first, then aims to get you together to discuss the issues which need resolving, with a view to reaching a solution. It is not always necessary for you and your ex partner to be in the same room and some Mediators will agree to carry out “shuttle” mediation where you and your ex partner can engage in mediation whilst being in separate rooms.
All discussions are confidential and if you cannot reach a solution to some or all of the issues, you are not tied to what has been discussed.
Whilst you are going through the Mediation process, it is sensible to take some legal advice. If either of you make a proposal, you can each take this back to your own solicitor who can give you advice. Our experienced family team at Fraser Brown will be able to assist you in making a proposal at mediation or help you to decide whether to accept a proposal.
An agreement reached at Mediation is not legally binding but our family team at Fraser Brown can help you turn your agreement into a legal document recognised by the Court to become binding and enforceable, if this is what both of you agree should happen.
CAN I ISSUE COURT PROCEEDINGS?
If you are unable to reach an agreement on issues arsing out of your separation, then the first step should be to consider Mediation before Court Proceedings are issued. In most cases, before most family proceedings can be issued, the Courts requirements are that you must at least explore the possibility of an alternative method of dispute resolution by attending a mediation information and assessment meeting (a MIAM). In some cases, such as where there has been domestic violence, a MIAM may not be suitable. Fraser Brown will be able to explain whether your circumstances are such that the Court would not expect you to attend a MIAM.
For more information, contact Fraser Brown’s family team on 0115 9888 777.