An Overview of Mediation
What is family mediation?
A forum for parties of a relationship breakdown to discuss and find solutions to various issues arising from their separation.
It can help parties make vital decisions about future arrangements for children, finances, and disposal of the family home and other property and assets.
What are the benefits of mediation ?
- It is an open and frank discussion, allowing parties to set the agenda
- It avoids time delays that arise in correspondence between solicitors or the court process
- It is a cost effective way of saving both parties a considerable amount of legal fees
- It can reduce tension and conflict between parties, helping them to form a good working relationship
- It can produce a better environment for any children involved, lessening the impact of their parent’s separation
Is mediation the best option?
It is a voluntary process and will only work if both parties are willing to be open and honest in their discussions, and are committed to working together to find a solution.
The outcome depends on the circumstances of the case and the relationship between parties. Mediation may not be the best option.
How does mediation work?
- After a referral has been made, parties will be asked to attend an assessment meeting with the mediator. This can be attended separately or together.
- The mediator will explain the process and assess whether mediation is suitable for them.
- Assuming mediation is deemed suitable, joint sessions will be arranged to discuss and, hopefully, resolve the issues.
- The role of the mediator is to provide information on the law and procedures to assist parties to come to an agreement and achieve settlement. They are impartial and cannot give legal advice to either party.
- They will ensure that both parties are able to take part in discussions with confidence and have equal opportunity to express views and opinions.
How do I encourage ‘the other person’ to want to use mediation?
It is important to explain the benefits of mediation to the other party; it is an amicable way of resolving matters, it enables you to control the process, avoids unpleasantness and conflict, and it can save large scale costs and legal fees.
How much will mediation cost me?
Costs vary but at Churchers, the prices are as follows:
- Initial assessment fee: £100 plus VAT per person
- Joint sessions: £220 per hour plus VAT
- There is always the potential for legal fees to add up; both parties will be liable for their own solicitors costs. Unless agreed otherwise, mediation fees will be shared equally between those taking part.
- The mediator will not charge for telephone calls, letters and other correspondence, but may be required to prepare certain documents which will be costed at the hourly rate.
What is the success rate for mediation?
If both parties attend willingly, with the right attitude, then the success rate is high.
What do I need to do to prepare for mediation?
- If finances are in issue, both parties will need to provide details and documentation about their financial circumstances.
- If it concerns children, both parties should consider precisely what it is they want to address and resolve.
- If there are any particularly difficult issues parties wish to address, it is sensible to talk these through with your solicitor beforehand so that you know how to approach these matters in the mediation session.
How long is the mediation process?
- It is as long or as short as is necessary, depending on how quickly an agreement is reached over the issues that need to be resolved.
- Joint sessions usually last about an hour and half, and depending on what needs to be discussed and resolved, three to five sessions would usually be required.