Mediation is a process that helps people resolve issues that often arise because of family breakdown. It is different from going to court or using a solicitor to negotiate on your behalf.
There are some unique features to mediation:
- It is voluntary – you cannot be made to come to mediation and by using mediation you choose it as a way of solving your particular issues rather than taking the often lengthy, expensive and unpredictable court route.
- It is confidential – this means you agree to keep the discussions private. This will help you to be more creative in working out options because you know that any idea and possible solution is not binding on you unless you later decide to make it binding, generally after having had advice from a solicitor.
- It is impartial – the mediator will remain neutral and not take sides. This is why the mediator cannot give either party to the mediation any legal advice but can provide legal information.
- It is your solution – you both always stay in control of the outcome. You will not have to accept a solution that you do not want, which is different from what might happen at court.
Mediation can be a positive way to resolve family disputes. Here are five advantages to using mediation:
- Speed – generally a mediation will take about 4-8 weeks. If court proceedings are issued, it can take many months for these to be resolved.
- Cost – it is cheaper than dealing with your issues through the courts or through solicitors.
- Creativity – mediation allows for a high degree of creativity in dealing with the issues that you need to sort out. These might be issues that the court cannot resolve for you. At an initial assessment meeting the mediator will explain how the process works and how it is different from going to court, which can often feel very confrontational.
- Control – you will always be in control of the outcome of the mediation. This makes it very different from court where ultimately a judge would impose a decision upon you.
- Communication – because mediation encourages you to work together to find solutions rather than fight against each other, it will help you to be able to continue to communicate effectively with each other in the future. This is particularly important where there are children involved. The focus of mediation is on helping you to be constructive and to have a positive approach.
If you think mediation is right for you, please contact our friendly family law team.