Mediation is a process to support couples who may be thinking about separation, or who have already separated, to reach agreement about important issues such as family finances and children.
Couples discuss these issues in the presence of a trained, independent third party – the Family Mediator. Mediators do not make decisions for you. They provide a neutral space in which you and your partner can explore options together with the help of the mediator. The aim of mediation is to help couples co-operate, resolve conflict, reach joint solutions, or focus on the needs and feelings of their children. Family mediation is not about reconciliation or counselling.
It is usual for mediation to take place with you and your partner sitting in the same room together, along with your mediator. Before we meet you together, we will meet with each of you alone first, to speak about the mediation process and to check that you feel comfortable about discussing things face to face.
Solicitors are very rarely present in mediation meetings but it can be helpful for both people to have some legal advice at some stage during the mediation process.
Mediation usually means a couple resolve issues between them more quickly than if they work just with solicitors or go to court. Mediation sessions usually last for around 90 minutes. Couples often find that they have resolved issues in 1-4 sessions, but this will depend on what you want to discuss.
Mediation Information and Assessment Meetings (MIAM)
A MIAM is really an exploratory meeting to see if mediation is right for you. At the MIAM, a mediator will talk to you about the mediation process and discuss the benefits of mediation and other options as are relevant to your own situation.
Any person who wants to make a court application about a family matter has to attend a MIAM before they can make an application to court unless specific circumstances mean that you are exempt from needing to do so.
The benefits of family mediation are:
- it allows couples to remain in control of major decisions affecting their lives
- it is usually less stressful than going through the courts
- it helps separating couples to communicate and co-operate to reach agreement
- it is typically less costly than litigation
- it takes less time than going to court, allowing couples to move on with their lives sooner
- it benefits children by reducing conflict
- it is completely confidential.
To discuss any of the issues above or to arrange your initial assessment, please call us on our Mediation Hotline 01473 226031 and ask to speak to Sarah Lawrence. We provide family mediation in all of our offices – Cambridge, Norwich, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.