Every day our team of Family Law Specialists liaise with couples and parents going through Divorce and Child Arrangement disputes. When we suggest Mediation, we are often faced with looks of confusion and hesitation. People aren’t always sure exactly what Mediation is, how it will benefit them, or whether it is compulsory. When it comes to Mediation in Family Law, the process is voluntary.
Mediation isn’t a compulsory part of the Divorce Process. You cannot be forced to attend Mediation with your ex-partner. That said, the Courts do like to see that the two parties have at least attempted Mediation before the matter is taken further into Court. It also may be worth considering the extra costs, time, and stress that not attending Mediation may cause.
Firstly, what is meant by Mediation in Family Law?
Navigating Divorce and co-parenting isn’t always a walk in the park. Disputes arise and sometimes people feel like sitting in front of a Judge is the only way anything will get resolved. When a couple can’t come to an agreement on their own, Family Mediation is a way of sorting through issues.
A Mediator is a trained professional who acts as a neutral facilitator when a couple are trying to resolve their differences during the Divorce Process. When a couple can’t reach an amicable agreement for the Divorce Settlement, involving a Mediator in the Mediation Process is the next step in trying to reach a resolution.
𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐝𝐲𝐧𝐚𝐦𝐢𝐜 𝐝𝐨𝐞𝐬 𝐚 𝐌𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐭𝐨𝐫 𝐛𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠?
- Provides guidance to ensure the discussion stays on track
- Focuses on the future and the resolution instead of bringing up the past
- Trying to prevent conversations getting too heated and intervening where necessary
Ultimately Mediation in Family Law is a tool in the Divorce Process designed to prevent things from escalating to Court. Court fees can be incredibly expensive and so Mediation shouldn’t be taken lightly.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
The biggest benefit of Mediation in Family Law is when both parties gain mutually satisfactory results, without the need to go to Court. Eliminating the need to progress to Court will save both parties thousands of pounds.
For example, if a couple are Divorcing but can’t agree on how their assets will be divided, Mediation gives them the opportunity to sit down and come to a mutual agreement. It may be that one person believes that are owed a bigger share because they earn more money. Whatever the scenario, with Mediation, the starting point will always be 50:50 when trying to negotiate a Financial Settlement.
This doesn’t mean that everything must be split down the middle. The process of Mediation will try and help you to both sort through your differences and reach an agreement. By not involving the Family Courts, you will get to the finish line much faster and will eliminate a lot of stress. You also get to keep a degree of control – as soon as the case goes to Court, the Judge will hold all the power in deciding how your assets are split.
If the matter does proceed to Court, the Judge will consider a variety of factors when making their decision about how your assets will be divided. The Judge will want to ensure that the needs of both parties are being met. This is something to consider should you move forward with Mediation.
What does the government say about Mediation?
In March 2023, the government proposed the idea to make Mediation compulsory for separating parents in England and Wales. This idea was later shelved after the proposals were largely disputed by legal professionals, with many suggesting that voluntary participation has always been at the heart of Family Mediation – and that compulsion was likely to achieve the opposite effect to what was intended.
On January 26th 2024, the government revoked their proposal. Mediation will remain a voluntary route in the Divorce process.
I would like to try Mediation – How can I get in touch?
If you and your ex-partner are struggling to meet in the middle during your divorce negotiations, our team of Family Law Specialists are on hand to support you through the process.
We invite you to fill in our contact form on our website. Alternatively, you can call our office directly on 0161 402 0213.