Mediation: We Can Work It Out

Any relationship breakdown can be an emotionally and financially difficult time for families, especially when there are children involved. If you are looking to find the best way to resolve your disagreement or dispute without involving the Court, family mediation is a dignified and cost-effective way of reaching an agreement between parties.

What is mediation?

Family mediators are accustomed to dealing with any relationship breakdown, most often between divorcing or separating couples and parents.

Mediation is a voluntary process, but a key benefit is that you still have a voice and can be heard. This is your process and the mediator’s key role is to be neutral and to find the best way to help all parties sort out any dispute that has arisen. Whilst mediation is not free, it can assist in avoiding large legal fees or prolonged Court proceedings.

A family mediator will work with you and your ex-partner in a way that is flexible and tailor-made to your concerns, enabling you to reach an agreement

At Herrington Carmichael we have professional family mediators to help you work out the many issues that may result out of family separations or divorce. These can include arrangements for children matters, as well as resolving disputes in respect of financial matters.

How we can fulfil your objectives:

Neutral role – Although our mediators are qualified solicitors, importantly their role in mediation is different; their role is not to advise, but they can provide legal information. Their role is to be neutral and to enable discussions to take place between the parties. Crucially though, their experience can assist the parties in providing a place for a neutral evaluation of any proposals that either party may make.

Costs savings – Mediation costs can be split equally and reaching an agreement will avoid substantial legal fees in the long run.

Speed and Flexibility – Mediation is your process, and all parties can agree the speed at which mediation proceeds, and you have greater control over the process. For example, you can agree how you might want to provide information to the other which does not have to follow the same process as in Court proceedings. Mediation can therefore often be speedier, and it is up to you as to how many meetings you might need.

Independence in decision making – The appointed mediator will be an independent third party; crucially they will not advise, take sides, or provide judgement. You and your ex-partner decide whether to settle the dispute and if so, on what terms. Therefore, mediation can more easily consider your personal and specific circumstances, enabling you to make and agree on those important decisions that might impact on you and your loved ones.

Preserving better relationships – Mediation is an interests-based rather than rights-based process of dispute resolution. This can make it easier for you to preserve good working relationships between you and your ex-partner. This is particularly important if you have children who you will be co-parenting in the future.

Time – The mediator will make themselves available to work around you, as opposed to the Court process which is often limited to and dictated by the availability of a Judge.

Preparing yourself for mediation

In order to achieve the most out of mediation, both parties should be committed to the process.

Here are some top tips to keep in mind:

  1. Think about your interests and priorities and what you want to achieve in mediation.
  2. Approach the mediation process with a flexible and open mindset.
  3. Stand in the other party’s shoes and see the dispute from their perspective, so that you have a better understanding of the issue and how it can be resolved to a mutual satisfaction.
  4. Actively listen to the other party in mediation and consider their concerns and feelings.
  5. Consider all options and try to prevent a deadlock being reached.
  6. Identify potential settlement options.
  7. Actively assess options that are discussed in the mediation process.
  8. Consider items for the agenda for the first mediation session, particularly if there are urgent issues to be addressed.

Frequent Mediation Topic Examples 

Parenting issues:

  • When will my children see each parent?
  • Who will make decisions about my children such as schooling, vaccinations, or holidays abroad?
  • How will introductions to new partners be arranged?
  • Which surname should my child keep?
  • How will school holidays, Christmas, and birthdays, be arranged?
  • How will we communicate as parents?

Finance and Property Issues:

  • What will happen to the family home?
  • How will we divide our assets, pensions, and investments?
  • How are we going to arrange finances until the divorce is finalised?
  • How will be pay our debts?

Get in touch 

Please contact us to speak to a member of our mediation team.

Paul Wild
Legal Director, Family
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This reflects the law and market position at the date of publication and is written as a general guide. It does not contain definitive legal advice, which should be sought in relation to a specific matter.

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