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What is Family Mediation and does it work?

View profile for Christopher Myles
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Mediation in itself is not a new concept although initial participation in Mediation was perhaps a little slow to take off. In more recent years Lawyers have increasingly encouraged couples to attend Mediation to resolve their family disputes whether in relation to financial matters or children cases and is now clearly recognised as a positive alternative to resolving family disputes.

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.

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 agreement between judges and the Ministry of Justice, separating couples who want to use the courts, 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.   

Mediation is far less expensive both emotionally and financially than going to Court or negotiating completely through Solicitors.

The best people to make decisions about their future following a separation are the individuals themselves. Mediation helps you to achieve that.

Mediation can help communication between couples enabling you to work out arrangements.  This is particularly important where there are children involved. Mediation allows you to retain control over the outcome and to tailor arrangements that are specific to your family needs.

A mediator does not take sides during the mediation process. You make the decisions based on what you want from the process.

People often ask ‘Is Family Mediation worth it?’ The answer to this depends on what you want to achieve. If you want to continue arguing with your former partner, if you want to drag your dispute through the court, if you want to spend lots of money, then no, Family Mediation isn’t worth it. If however, you want to leave the arguing behind, move forward and resolve your dispute without spending lots of money, Family Mediation is definitely worth it. Family Mediation is about saying what you think and feel in a safe and supportive environment, you stay in control of the decisions. Legal Aid is still available if you qualify, so Mediation might be free for you.

At Crombie Wilkinson we are committed to trying to assist couples to resolve their issues constructively and to ensure lasting arrangements can be made to help you have a positive future. Click here for more information about family mediation and family law services.