When you have taken the difficult step of deciding to separate or divorce, working out your future arrangements for children, property, maintenance payments and shared business interests can lead to a great deal of anguish.
If you have not been able to come to an agreement by yourselves, it may well be in your interests to consider the alternate avenues, such as mediation or collaborative law before asking the court to help you.
“Mediation is a route that many divorcing couples find extremely helpful. An independent mediator, will meet with you and your spouse, and together you will explore possible solutions to any disputes that you may have in a safe environment, in which the discussions remain confidential,” says Angie.
At the start of the process, you and your spouse can choose who you wish to mediate for you, and which issues you want to mediate. For example, if you have agreed the finances, but need help with agreeing arrangements for the children, mediation is a way that allows those involved to set the agenda. This means that issues that would not normally be covered by court proceedings can also be addressed.
If you do later make an application to the court, you will be asked to submit paperwork confirming whether or not you have attended a mediation assessment meeting (MIAM) or mediation. So, taking this step at the outset is likely to be beneficial in the long run in any event.
Your mediator will initially ask to meet you individually to discuss your case, although you can opt to meet together. You will then have a series of mediation sessions together to try to progress any issues. It is advisable for you both to take your own independent legal advice alongside your mediation sessions.
In terms of the time-frame, mediation sessions can be booked at your convenience, and therefore the process can take place at the pace with which you are both comfortable, although the whole process can be much quicker than court proceedings which are dependent upon court resources.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.