We can offer child-inclusive mediation where suitable. This will be subject to safeguarding to ensure that both parents are fully aware of the implications of including children in the process, the reason and purpose. Direct consultation of children is giving them a chance to feel that they are being heard, and a way of exploring their thoughts on current or proposed arrangements, not about them making decisions or impossible choices.
The mediator will produce a ‘mediation record’ after each session. This document holds no legal status and cannot be used as evidence in Court. It can be shown to your legal adviser however. The main purpose of the document is to provide parties with an outline of the discussion and any proposals made. The document is not a transcript, rather the mediator’s interpretation of key points.
At the end of your case your mediator will prepare a summary which will record the mutually acceptable proposals for settlement of matters discussed and will outline the context in which those proposals have been reached. It can be shown to your respective solicitors but it cannot be shown to the court unless you both consent to the same.
In financial cases, an Open Financial Statement will be produced. This document will include all the financial documents you have both disclosed during the process. This is an open document and can be used in subsequent Court proceedings should mediation not resolve issues between you.
Mediation isn’t an easy process. Negotiating co-operatively is probably going to be harder emotionally, than a more adversarial approach in the short term. It forces you to deal with your ex and by doing so may bring up uncomfortable issues and feelings. In the long run your shorter term struggle or discomfort will pay off for you, your ex and especially your children.
Parties should not enter mediation with a win/lose attitude. Mediation is about finding solutions that take account of the family’s needs, concerns and interests.
It is likely you will make some progress in the first meeting and some agreement may be reached. It is unrealistic to expect that deep seated issues or every issue can be sorted out in 90 minutes. You may reach a point where you have laid the foundations for further discussion or some proposals have been reached that you can go away and test out before returning to mediation to progress matters further.
This depends on the complexity of the case and how willing parties are to engage and to genuinely want to achieve an outcome. Mediation is a process, not a one off, one size fits all solution. Mediation is a voluntary process but parties should be prepared to stay in the process until the case is resolved or until the mediator says an impasse has been reached.
Your MIAM is confidential, but any information given during the mediation process itself must be shared between both parties. A mediator cannot hold secrets. The mediation process is ‘legally privileged’ which means you cannot use any records of discussion as evidence in Court.
One of the main principles of family mediation is that it is a voluntary process, which you and your other party enter into freely. Family mediation can only work to resolve issues between you and your other party if you both agree to attend.
However if you intend to make a Court application relating to matters concerning finances or children, it is a requirement that you first attend a family mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM), except in certain, defined circumstances. This is not a joint family mediation session with your other party but rather an initial one-to-one appointment between you and one of our mediators to give you some information about family mediation and to assess whether or not your case would be suitable for family mediation. If you still want to make an application to Court, the mediator will be able to sign the relevant Court form to enable you to make the Court application.
Family mediation is most commonly, but not exclusively used to assist you following the breakdown of a relationship.
Family mediation can help you sort out the practical arrangements about what periods of time your children are to spend with you and your other party. It can help improve communication between you both to ensure consistency of parenting and boundaries for your children.
Family mediation can also help you sort out financial issues in the short term following separation, such as who is going to pay bills and the mortgage, and what level of financial support there should be for the children. In the longer term, family mediation can help you resolve where you are each going to live, and what capital assets such as savings and investments need to be shared out fairly, whether there should be any form of on-going financial support and whether there are any pension related matters to sort out.
If you are married you can attend either before or during or after proceedings for divorce. If before, then you may wish to agree within the mediation what the basis will be for a divorce, the divorce particulars and how the costs of divorce will be paid.
Family mediation can also assist with issues which arise with other family members. For instance if there are family difficulties and you are a grandparent who is seeking to establish a relationship with your grandchildren, then mediation may assist you to open/build upon a productive dialogue between family members.
Mediation is a future focused process. Is it most commonly used when you have reached the decision that your relationship is over and you need to sort out some issues to assist you and your other party to move forward into your separate lives.
The process of mediation is not about apportioning blame or looking back and analysing your relationship. It is a process to help you and your other party to resolve practical issues and to re-establish a working dialogue going forward.
Mediation can also assist in defined situations during your relationship/marriage for instance when discussing the terms of a proposed pre or post nuptial agreement, or there are some issues with wider family members wanting to have contact with your children and you have issues/concerns.