17th January 2023
This Family Mediation Week we would like to share with you some of the many benefits of mediation for separating couples:
- Child inclusive
- A quicker process
- A cheaper process
- A more accessible process
- A more constructive process
Mediation is child focussed, meaning the views and needs of your children are important in the mediation process and can be acknowledged in a sensitive and appropriate way when working on a parenting plan specific to your family, including the role of grandparents and the wider family.
Depending on the age and wishes of your children they can speak directly with the mediator to confidentially let them know what they would like their parents to take into account when working out arrangements for them. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make a big difference to our children’s happiness and they can be reluctant to tell parents for fear of upsetting them or creating more conflict. The message to children that they are important and loved cannot be given enough when parents are separating or divorcing.
Mediation gives you an opportunity to work together to build a new relationship as separated parents, parenting your child together.
A QUICKER PROCESS
Working things out in mediation is typically a lot quicker than working things out through separate solicitors.
Clients can reach an agreement at a time and pace that suits them without having to wait for court dates. You will work together in mediation with the guidance of a mediator in focussed meetings. These meetings will address arrangements for children and financial matters including financial disclosure and any issues that need to be worked out directly. This makes for a constructive and efficient use of time and the opportunity to address any misunderstandings as they arise, without delay.
Your financial consent order and divorce order will both still have to go through the courts to become official, but you won’t have to ‘go to court’ against each other.
A CHEAPER PROCESS
By working together with your ex-partner and a mediator you will not only be making the process quicker, there will be significant cost savings associated with it.
As you work together with a mediator the process typically takes between takes 3 – 6 sessions. You are billed only for the time taken in the mediation sessions and for summaries of the process as agreed with your mediator. The cost of the professional mediator is shared between you. If you instruct separate solicitors to negotiate on your behalf you will each have your own solicitor’s fees to pay and generally fees are charged for all time spent on your matter by your solicitors. It soon adds up and causes further disruption and financial impact at a time when you are already experiencing a major life change.
Often a financial advisor (who will be impartial) will also work with you in mediation to help you separate your finances and assets in a way that works for both of you and maximises the assets you have.
A MORE ACCESSIBLE PROCESS
Working with a mediator is a flexible and accessible process. Meetings can either be held online or face to face.
By discussing everything together there will be less chance for any misunderstandings and those that occur can be addressed without delay or any further distress. We’re not all great communicators, especially when the situation is emotionally charged, so there are many benefits of discussing things with the help of a professional mediator, including the opportunity to be properly heard and understood.
Mediation allows you to take responsibility and control for your own destiny and not hand over your life to lawyers and the court. A lawyer mediator will be able to help you through the process and give you legal information on an impartial basis.
A MORE CONSTRUCTIVE PROCESS
Mediation is NOT marriage counselling but it is common for the two to be confused. Mediation is forward focussed to help you separate in a dignified and respectful way. Each of you will have an opportunity to express your views and hopes for the future and be listened to. Mediation is a process for you to work out arrangements to formally end a marriage or civil partnership, in a collaborative way that cuts through the conflict.
When a relationship ends it doesn’t mean the end of the wider relationships that the couple have, be it with children or in-laws, and there will be an impact on the wider family. Mediation is a way to work together to take account of the best interests of the children and all family members to part company in the best way you are able, setting a new path for the future where the previous relationship is over but a new, different, one as separated parents or partners can be established.
Would you benefit from mediation? Our Family Law team are here to help. Find out more about mediation and other family law services at Lightfoots Solicitors.