The Government is promoting mediation as the route to resolving issues arising out of family breakdown and divorce.
Our experience is that mediation is quicker, cheaper and offers longer-lasting and better quality outcomes to family differences.
Separation and divorce involves a major crisis for a family. Better communication is often needed at a time of anger or great distress.
Mediators facilitate separating couples to find their own solutions to their own problems. A mediator is a trained, impartial facilitator, able to help you improve your level of communication, keep a balance of power in your communication, and retain control of your own situation, focusing on the issues you wish to resolve.
Mediation is particularly strong when making practical arrangements as parents for children.
It is all too easy to leave lawyers to make decisions for you, but how confident can you be that they will be protecting the channel of communication between you as parents, and seeking solutions that work for you, as well as the family as a whole?
There is no reason why lawyers cannot be present at the mediation process, if that would be considered helpful. Similarly, there is no reason why financial experts cannot be jointly instructed to assist. That can be particularly helpful when valuing tricky assets such as pensions, private businesses or partnership interests, or considering family Trusts or inheritance issues.
The whole process is without prejudice, except that comprehensive open financial disclosure is a pre-requisite in financial discussions.
Mediation is not intended as a substitute for legal advice. The mediator is impartial. The mediator simply helps the couple work out proposals for settlement which can be taken to your solicitor for advice, and then formalised as a binding legal agreement between you by your solicitor.
It is because of the process and the direct communication that the outcomes from mediation tend to last longer and reflect the wishes of both parties, whilst taking into account the family's needs.
Mediation is not subject to a Court timetable, and frequent mediation appointments can take place within a short period of time. The cost of mediation, as it focuses on round table meetings with one mediator, is often cheaper, and the Clients are often asked to be more involved in the preparation for meetings, thereby saving professionals time.
It is no coincidence that the Government is encouraging an attitude of seeking consensual resolution, rather than clogging the Courts with litigation.