Headlines in the news recently indicate there is to be greater encouragement for parties to attend Family Mediation. Indeed from the 6th April 2011 the Ministry of Justice has confirmed that Mediation Assessments prior to the issue of any relevant family proceedings is going to be required with very few exceptions. Is promotion of Mediation by the Government a positive solution to family problems or another attempt by the Government to save money?
It is widely recognised by Lawyers, Mediators and the Courts that an agreement between the parties rather than one enforced by the Court is far more satisfactory and further is more likely to last. The couple can feel that they have had greater involvement in the process and that it is their own agreement rather than an imposed Order.
Mediation in itself is not a new concept although initial participation in Mediation was perhaps a little slow to take off. In recent years Lawyers have increasingly encouraged couples to attend Mediation to resolve their family disputes whether in relation to financial matters or children cases. This has begun to pick up momentum in recent years and is now clearly recognised as a positive alternative to resolving family disputes.
Where the parting is not amicable and matters cannot be agreed, then mediation is a safe environment in which to explore issues in an impartial and practical way. Even though the mediation process does not always produce an agreed outcome for everyone, it is a positive to work through for a number of reasons. It can help retain a channel of communication between the couple, it gives the opportunity of setting out your own agenda, you can retain control over the outcome and can be less expensive both emotionally and financially than ending up in court.
Under the new agreement between judges and the Ministry of Justice, separating couples who want to use the courts, will now have to consider mediation before turning to the courts. If mediation is not a workable option, because one party refuses to take part in it for example, the case can proceed to court. The Court however is expected to consider returning cases back to Mediation if the parties have not properly considered Mediation as an option.
As a trained Family Mediator and solicitor I have seen many Clients that have benefited from resolving their disputes through Mediation rather than through Court. Mediation can help families to reach agreement that is suited to their particular family needs rather than having general settlement terms imposed upon them by a third party.
For more information on any aspect of family mediation please do not hesitate to contact Chris Myles at Crombie Wilkinson Solicitors on 01904 624185.