WHAT IS FAMILY MEDIATION?
Family Mediation is an alternative to instructing lawyers and going to court. It offers couples the opportunity to make decisions about what should happen after separation/divorce in a safe environment at their own pace. Mediation recognises that parents are the experts about what is best for their children and offers them the opportunity to decide what happens in the future rather than an outsider.
Family mediation is suitable for married couples, co-habiting couples, civil partners, gay couples co-habiting, parents of children and extended family members who have issues that need resolving.
There are 4 Main Principles of Mediation:
Mediation is Voluntary
Both people have to want to mediate. The courts are now expecting families to attempt mediation before litigation but they can’t make a person mediate.
Mediators are Impartial
A mediator does not take sides and is always there for both clients. Mediators don’t give advice on what you should do, although the do give information about legal principles and guidance explaining what things you should be thinking about.
Mediation is Confidential
The information clients share with the mediator is kept confidential, with some very limited exceptions (similar to the exceptions that apply to lawyers, therapists and counsellors). Proposals put forward during mediation cannot be referred to in court proceedings. If you try to mediate but it doesn’t work, the court will never be told why the mediation wasn’t successful.
The Clients are in Charge
The mediator doesn’t make any decisions; you yourselves work out what proposals you both think you would like to take forward. Your proposals will only become legally binding if you ask your lawyers to create a Consent Order which is stamped by the court.