At the end of this years Family Mediation Awareness Week, Linda Hunter, Head of Family Law and a Law Society accredited family mediator, answers some common questions about family mediation and explains how it can be helpful for a family experiencing a relationship breakdown.
What is family mediation?
Family mediation is an alternative way for separating couples and families to resolve disputes and difficult issues in an amicable way. Mediation works by helping people who have decided to separate or divorce or who are trying to deal with changes in family relationships to talk things through. A trained, independent third party mediator is instructed to meet with you both to help reach a resolution without conflict. All sorts of things can be discussed at mediation, such as arrangements for the children, financial matters or arrangements about living in the home. Mediation helps you make informed decisions, and provides somewhere safe and neutral to talk calmly and privately. Mediation is voluntary and confidential, and can often be more cost effective and quicker than court processes.
Is mediation compulsory?
Family mediation is a voluntary process that a couple going through a separation or divorce can utilise to help them reach an amicable resolution in a non-confrontational, safe and supported way. You do not have to attend mediation, but it is always worthwhile considering mediation as an option as it can be very cost effective, and can avoid significant conflict, especially for parents trying to agree arrangements for their children.
Although mediation is voluntary, for most people who are engaged in family court proceedings, it is a requirement to attend a MIAM, unless you can satisfy one of the Court’s exemptions.
What is a MIAM?
A MIAM is a Mediation Information and Assessment meeting that takes place with a trained, independent family mediator. Although mediation is voluntary, for most people who are engaged in family court proceedings, it is a requirement to attend a MIAM, unless you can satisfy one of the Court’s exemptions.
Is mediation right for me?
Mediation is an option for you and your ex partner to meet together in a safe and supported atmosphere with a trained independent third party mediator. It allows you the scope to make decisions and arrangements for the best interests of your family in an amicable way. Mediation works for lots of people, but it isn’t always right for everybody. Mediation can be especially helpful where parents need to agree the upbringing of their children, even though they will no longer be living together or where a couple wish to remain as amicable as possible, even after separating.
Is mediation binding?
Family mediation is a voluntary process that a couple going through a separation or divorce can utilise to help them reach an amicable resolution in a non-confrontational, safe and supported way. Mediation is non-binding, which means that anything discussed at mediation or any arrangements agreed will not be imposed on the parties at the end of the mediation process. Mediation is also confidential, and information discussed at mediation should not be disclosed to anyone without both parties consenting.
If a resolution is reached during the mediation process, it is possible to incorporate that into a legally binding agreement. We would strongly recommend taking independent legal advice before putting such arrangements into a legally binding document.
To arrange your free initial 30 minute meeting on any aspect of family law please call 01928 735 333.