FAQs about mediation
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
Typically, 2 – 5 Meetings
CAN IT HELP ME?
Family mediation can assist:
- anyone whose relationship has broken down – married or unmarried, in a civil partnership, younger or older – in making arrangements for financial matters and/or parenting issues.
- anyone needing to make arrangements about residence or contact, or who need to discuss any aspect of parenting their children including grandparents wanting contact with their grandchildren
Family mediators can help you decide if mediation suits you and your circumstances. All sorts of separating couples have found family mediation to be a constructive and supportive means of managing discussions and reaching workable and practical arrangements.
WHAT CAN WE DISCUSS IN MEDIATION?
Clients are free to discuss any issues they wish. Common topics include future arrangements for the children, finances, including the family home and other capital. Some clients find it useful to discuss parenting arrangements, and mediation is usually successful in restoring constructive communication between parents at a time of tension and fear of the future.
IS IT LEGALLY BINDING?
Proposals made in mediation are documented but are not legally binding. A legal agreement can be drawn up from the document by solicitors.
WHAT ABOUT MY OWN SOLICITOR?
Mediators encourage clients to consult their own solicitors.
CAN I TRUST MY FORMER PARTNER?
Mediators always obtain adequate information through an extensive financial questionnaire, which follows the format of the financial questionnaire used in court proceedings. If necessary, up-to-date valuations are obtained of any property, pension, insurance policies and other assets. If full financial disclosure is withheld then the mediator would refer the clients back to their own solicitors for advice. Mediation can only be conducted in good faith and in the open.
WHAT IF THERE HAS BEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
It is of paramount importance that clients feel secure during mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process, and clients should never feel under any form of pressure. Clients should always discuss concerns in confidence with the mediator at the preliminary ‘screening’ interview which the mediator will conduct.
If the mediator takes the view at any stage that either client party to the mediation is at risk of mental or physical harm then the mediation will be terminated and the clients advised to return to their respective solicitors or if unrepresented to seek legal advice. In some cases, however, violence can be viewed as an isolated outcome of tension which is unlikely to recur once circumstances are improved. In these cases, continued mediation can further reduce tension and improve communication.