Here at MyMediation and Winston Solicitors we are avid watchers of Coronation Street and we were fascinated to watch a dramatised family mediation take place on a recent show.
It is great to see the script writers being up-to-date on the current law and for the viewers to see the benefits which can come from mediation. As you will know, Nick and Leanne are currently going through the separation process. From April 2014, for parties seeking to issue with Children Act proceedings or seeking financial orders, Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings ( “MIAMS”) are now compulsory and an absolute requirement save as for certain exemptions. Any application submitted to the Court without enclosing the properly completed form will be rejected unless a qualifying exemption applies.
Of course this being a television show, there were aspects of mediation which were left to our imagination; for example the initial individual MIAMS appointment, the agreement to mediate and of course neither party appeared to pay. However, despite the drama of the scene with both Nick and Leanne storming out and refusing to continue with the process, hopefully the millions of viewers who watch this show will have raised awareness of the mediation process.
Mediation is vastly cheaper than formal court proceedings and traditional solicitor based negotiations. It gives you the opportunity to get back in the driving seat and decide what you can live with and what you can’t. It enables you to establish a dialogue under which you can continue to discuss arrangements long term. With children issues especially, the flexibility which mediation can offer as opposed to a court order can vastly improve the relationship between parents long term which will of course benefit the children.
Naturally, mediation is not going to be successful for everyone, especially with two volatile characters (aren’t they all in soaps?) and the recent episode proved just that. It would not have made as gripping television for Nick and Leanne to have come to some sort of arrangement or progress as we have found to be true in the majority of real life mediations.