Mediation is a voluntary process allowing a couple to discuss issues involved in the breakdown of a relationship and, with the help of a mediator, agree those issues between themselves without court proceedings.
The mediator is impartial; their role is to assist those involved to have constructive and amicable discussions and help them reach an agreement.
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What is family mediation?
Going through a family breakdown can be an extremely stressful time and can often be overwhelming for those involved. Our accredited and experienced family mediator can help guide separating couples through their options and support them in discussing and resolving the issues that result from their separation. Typically, those issues relate to the arrangements for their children or the division of their financial assets.
We have strong relationships with other professionals, such as financial advisors, accountants and family therapists. We can bring them into the mediation sessions if needed to help you understand the implications of the options for financial settlements or to help demystify some of the complexities of pensions.
- Mediation is amicable – Many couples who are going through a separation want to maintain a good relationship with each other, especially when children are involved. Family mediation offers an opportunity for separating parents to work together with the help and support of an experienced professional.
- The discussions in family mediation are without prejudice – This means that should mediation breakdown without an agreement being reached and one party makes an application to court, the discussions that took place in mediation cannot be referred to. This allows the parties to have their discussions and explore their options without anxieties that things they say might be used against them in potential court proceedings.
- The cost of family mediation – Typically, the costs of mediation are significantly less than pursuing the matter through court proceedings.
- You are in control – In mediation, you are the one that makes the decision. Mediation allows for those involved to reach an agreement that works for them in their particular circumstances which may not look anything like the decision the court would make. If you apply to court then you are inviting a judge to make the decision. Statistics show that if you are able to reach an agreement together, especially when it is about the arrangements for children, it is more likely to be stuck to without further difficulties down the line.
- Referral: We receive a referral from you or your solicitor. Usually all this contains is names and contact details for you and your ex-partner.
- Mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM): We arrange a one-to-one meeting with you and the mediator at a convenient time. This is an opportunity for the mediator to explain more about family mediation, answer any questions you may have and take time to understand your circumstances and the issues you wish to discuss in mediation.For online meetings, we will send you an email invite which contains a link to the meeting.
- Joint meeting(s): Assuming everyone wishes to proceed with mediation, then a joint meeting will be arranged at a convenient time for everyone. As before, for online mediations an invite to this meeting will be emailed to you and all you will need to do is follow that link to join the meeting. You will then be held in a virtual waiting room until the start of the mediation meeting and the mediator will invite you in.
- The mediator has the option of having you and your former partner in separate rooms, or in the same room depending on your preferences.
- The mediator will then help you set an agenda for the meeting and guide you through your discussions. Where the issue is about finances, the mediator would usually help you and your former partner prepare a schedule of your belongings before starting to explore how the assets should be shared.
- Summary documents: Once an agreement has been reached, the mediator will prepare summary documents for your records and, if necessary, for you to take to your solicitors to help them advise you and prepare documents that will be legally binding, although this only usually necessary when the issues are in relation to financial matters.
The family mediation voucher scheme is a time-limited scheme, set up by the government in response to COVID-19 to support recovery in the family court and to encourage more people to consider mediation as a means of resolving their disputes, where appropriate.
If you think that you could benefit from this scheme and are interested in finding out more information about our mediation services, then please contact our Family Mediator, Richard Buckley.
Family mediation service York, Sheffield & Leeds
We accept referrals from solicitors or individuals. To make a referral or ask us a question about mediation, you can get in touch with our by calling us on 0333 323 5292, or by filling in the enquiry form and letting us know a suitable time to call you back.
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