Mediation has become increasingly popular over the last few years as an option for resolving both financial and children matters when a couple separate.
In 2014, it became law in England and Wales for couples to attend mediation prior to them being allowed to issue court proceedings, if their case got to that stage.
See my blog How to Reach a Financial Settlement Through Mediation to find out more about how it works.
Here are my personal recommendations for when you are considering Mediation:
Choose a family law solicitor qualified mediator for resolving financial matters.
Family mediators don’t need to be qualified solicitors but it is a good idea to have a qualified solicitor to help work through financial matters as they have knowledge, training and experience in dealing with financial matters and will know how the law and courts approach things.
In relation to resolving children matters, often people have found it useful to use non-solicitor mediators, perhaps mediators who were previously from a therapeutic background. They have a good understanding of personal issues, emotional issues and communication skills which can be helpful in resolving children matters.
The mediator cannot provide you with legal advice.
They are there to promote discussions in the hope that you and your spouse can reach an agreement on all the matters you have to deal with.
It is a good idea to have an initial meeting with a family law solicitor to receive initial legal advice about your case prior to entering into discussions in a mediation session. Once you have collected together your financial information, the solicitor can advise you on the
appropriate outcome of the financial settlement and you can have this in mind when you enter your mediation sessions.
The mediator is impartial.
They will not take sides and must ensure that they do not favour one part over the other. Mediation can be very helpful when both parties are keen to reach an amicable agreement in relation to financial (and possibly children) matters. It is important for both parties go into the mediation sessions with an open mind and with an attitude that they will be open to discussions and possible compromise in order to reach an agreement with their spouse and bring a conclusion to the discussions and negotiations.
When Mediation may not be appropriate for you:
- When one party feels bullied into using mediation;
- When one party feels vulnerable due to their spouse’s controlling personality and they are worried that they will be pushed into reaching an agreement they don’t feel comfortable with;
- If one party is concerned that the other party will not provide full disclosure of their finances. Without full disclosure the parties cannot have proper discussions to reach an appropriate financial settlement;
- Mediation is not appropriate when one or other of the parties are not willing to enter into a proper discussion and reach a compromise;
- Mediation is not appropriate when one of the parties feels uncomfortable in the presence of their spouse and therefore will not feel in the right frame of mind to have fruitful discussions. However, it is worth bearing in mind in this situation that the mediator can consider arranging for the mediation to take place so that the parties are in separate rooms for the discussions.
For tips on how to prepare for your mediation sessions, please see my blog called How to Prepare For Your Family Law Mediation Sessions.
If you have found the tips in this blog useful then you’ll find lots more in my eBooks, which you can purchase and download today.
If you’d like to work with me 1:1, for help preparing for mediation and/or support during the mediation process, please get in touch to find out how I can help.