Mediation is an alternative method to the court process, for settling disputes. Other options available include;
- Solicitor to Solicitor negotiation
Mediation is not marriage guidance. Mediators are trained to help you and your partner identify issues on which you disagree, and to help you to try to reach an agreement.
So what can you expect if you contact a mediator or referred to mediation by your solicitor?
Initial Assessment. The mediator will first carry out a mediation assessment, to assess whether your particular circumstances are suitable for mediation. The mediator will discuss with you how much the sessions will cost, and check whether you are eligible for legal aid. At the present time mediation is free if you qualify for legal aid.
The mediator will schedule further meetings, and go through the process with you to make sure that you understand what to expect. The mediator will have a similar meeting with your partner.
Mediation Meetings. The initial meeting will be followed by sessions during which you can discuss your arrangements for any children, such as who the children will live with, and how often they will see their other parent. You can discuss what will happen to the family home, and any other property, and what maintenance if any is to be paid for the children or adults? The mediator will take you through exchanging financial information, to help you reach a financial agreement.
The mediator will not take sides, but will be an impartial, objective third person. The mediator cannot give you legal advice, but may give general information about the law and how it may affect your personal circumstances.
The mediator will usually suggest to each party that he or she should seek legal advice between sessions, and in respect of any agreement reached during the process. When you have taken advice the mediator will prepare summary which sets out your agreement. The agreement is not legally binding. If you are still happy with the outcome your solicitor can draft the necessary documentation to create a legally binding agreement.
Mediation is confidential, and is usually cheaper and faster than going to court. It is an informal process which does not affect your legal rights, and can be started at any time even after a court application has been started.
Our experienced family solicitors can advise you on the best option for you depending on your individual circumstances. For advice and further information please contact Newnham & Jordan Solicitors on;
Tel: 0845 680 7871