With Family Mediation Week taking place from 21-25 January 2019, the family law team and the ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) team at Mooney Everett Solicitors in Ormskirk, Lancashire want to encourage anyone going through a divorce or a family dispute to use mediation to resolve issues, rather than choosing to take it to court.
Family Mediation Week aims to raise awareness of mediation and how it can help divorcing couples and separating families to resolve conflict and agree solutions collaboratively and productively.
What is mediation?
Family mediation is a healthier, constructive and positive approach to separating or getting a divorce or dealing with children issues.
It aims to help people to sort out their differences themselves by sitting down and discussing possible solutions rather than facing a potentially bitter battle in court, which would be more costly whereupon a Judge they have never met before could make an Order that in fact suits neither one of them
‘Family mediation can be a way of helping people to regain control and maintain some level of communication,’ explains Angie Brown, solicitor and mediator, ‘Not only can they avoid going to court, but it enables them to make decisions together and decide the future for their family amicably. This is particularly important where there are children as being a parent or grandparent is ‘forever’ and this means their lives will remain intertwined regardless of the issues between them ’
What are the benefits of mediation?
There are many benefits to using mediation as the primary tool to work out family issues
- Issues are generally resolved much faster than going through the courts. On average, it takes 110 days for matters to be finalised with mediation. In comparison, legal separations or divorces without mediation can take an average of 450 days.
- The cost of mediation is significantly lower than taking a case to court, which can be very costly.
- Those engaging in mediation maintain control of the process and can make decisions together in the best interests of their family.
- The process is much less stressful and encourages a less confrontational approach.
- Lines of communication are kept open to help air concerns that may not normally be considered at court and ‘road test’ different possible solutions to problems.
- It can provide more positive benefits where there are children as the process can be more amicable and structured positively.
What issues can be solved through mediation?
Any issue relating to divorce, separation, financial arrangements and children matters can be addressed through mediation at any stage, whether within proceedings or not. The most common issues include:
- financial matters, arising from divorce or separation;
- decisions regarding children, such as living arrangements, who they may spend time or more specific issues such as holiday times, passport matters, name changes, new partner involvement to name but a few;
- grandparent contact with children; and
- property disputes and cohabitation issues; and
The role of the mediator
A mediator’s role is neutral. They will help you through the process of discussing and addressing family issues and encourage you to set the agenda of what should be discussed. They will provide you with all the information you will need about the legal aspects of the issues, as well as explaining things to you jointly . It is important to remember that the mediator will remain impartial and will never take sides or encourage you to take a specific course of action.
At Mooney Everett, Angie Brown is a highly experienced family law solicitor as well as a qualified Resolution mediator and also a qualified inter-personal mediator giving her a broad experience of all manner of mediation disputes and enabling her to give you up to date legal information and legal and local context. She can conduct Mediation Information Assessment Meetings (MIAMs) by direct appointment or referral from another solicitor to assess if a family dispute can be settled by mediation, collaborative law or any other form of alternative dispute resolution, rather than having to resort to court.
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please note that the law may have changed since the date this article was published. You should always take legal advice relating to your individual circumstances.