The best decisions are often those reached by the couple themselves and a mediator will act as an impartial third party to assist both individuals in finding workable solutions.
It is important that you are both in agreement to attend mediation. You will both have a separate initial assessment meeting during which the mediator will explain the process and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions. Once you both, with the mediator, have decided that mediation is the most appropriate way forward, a first mediation session will be arranged for you to attend together. The agenda will be set by you both. You both decide what you want to discuss and together with the mediator will explore whether an understanding can be reached.
If detailed finances are being considered, the mediator will ask you both to complete a financial information form so that you will each be sufficiently informed to find solutions together. If you have children, the mediator will help you to find the best arrangements for them.
A further meeting can be arranged with the mediator if required and once a set of proposals have been settled, the mediator will convert these into an open financial statement and memorandum of understanding, or, in cases involving children, a parenting plan.
Mediation is confidential unless the mediator feels that either of you or your children are in danger.
The mediation documentation itself, the open financial statement and the memorandum of understanding are shown (with your consent) to your solicitor. However while the financial statement can be referred to in Court proceedings later, the discussions outlined in the memorandum of understanding are ‘privileged,’ which means they cannot be used in Court. Again the exception is if the mediator considers there is a safeguarding issue in relation to a child.
Yes. If the mediator is trained in consulting with children, they can if you would both like them to.
A typical mediation usually covers the financial consequences of a separation and arrangements for children. It can however be used to discuss any other issues that arise from the breakdown of your relationship which are important to you and need to be resolved. Some separating couples use mediation to talk about all issues but it is also possible to deal with just one aspect.
The mediator cannot advise you but can provide information about the Court process and what will be expected of you both. The mediator cannot check your financial information and may direct you to seek specific legal advice if appropriate.
Ideally you should each have a lawyer to advise you on the outcome and turn your proposals into a Consent Order for financial matters or a Parenting Order for children.
Mediation can be much cheaper than having negotiations between your respective solicitors. We charge on the basis of an hourly rate but which covers only the time in the session, reviewing the disclosure and drawing up the outcome documents.
Please contact us for information regarding our rates.
If you consider mediation may help your situation please do give us a call.
An alternative approach to mediation is collaborative law which revolves around four-way meetings.
Not always but the process enables the individuals to feel much more in control of what is happening and because the dates of the four-way meetings are not linked to the court diary, it is usually possible to have a significantly shorter timeline.
When working together in a team, clients and their solicitors can often come up with solutions that are more suitable to their particular circumstances than the limited range of powers available to the court within contested financial proceedings. Moreover, it is much easier to deal with confidential or commercially sensitive information within the collaborative process than the court one.