Mediation can be a very useful approach when dealing with the arrangements that need to be made following a separation. Mediation is a process whereby couples who are separating can discuss the issues which arise for themselves and their children relating to ongoing short term and the longer term financial arrangements as well as the practical issues which arise in respect of the care of the children.
On separation, it can be very difficult to communicate effectively and the mediation process can help to provide a neutral place where those discussions can take place. This can alleviate the need to discuss issues which may be in dispute at times when those discussions could cause difficulties within the home environment.
The mediator is trained to facilitate the discussions in a constructive way to provide you with the best opportunity of reaching an agreement about difficult matters quickly and amicably which will enable you to move forward in the best way for you and your family. This can reduce the anxiety that is inevitably present when the practical arrangements following separation are in dispute.
The discussions that take place in mediation are privileged and cannot be relied on in future if you do not reach an agreement and this it is hoped will provide the space and freedom to help you to explore more creative ways of resolving issues which are more complex or divisive.
Within the mediation process, you will each provide to each other a full picture of your financial circumstances before the financial negotiations take place. The mediator will use the information that is provided to create an Open Summary of Financial Information. This document is open and can be used in the future if an agreement is not reached. This can reduce the ongoing cost of producing the necessary financial information as it will already be in a suitable format.
It is hoped that an agreement will be reached and if so the mediator will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out your agreement. You will then each be able to take this document to a solicitor to take independent legal advice. The solicitors will then be able to draw your agreement into a legal binding document.
A typical mediation will usually take between 3 and 4 sessions. More complex matters can take longer or less if the issues are few. The usual cost of mediation is around £120 per hour per person although again this can vary.
We are not currently taking new mediation cases but please see our Reference page for details of local family mediators who could help you. If you have been through mediation and would like to discuss the issues that have come out of the discussions or you have a Memorandum of Understanding, we can help you move to your next steps. Please do contact us and we can arrange a free initial consultation with one of our family solicitors.