This week is Family Mediation week, which runs from 16th-20th January 2023 and is organised by the Family Mediation Counsel (FMC).
The purpose of Family Mediation Week is “[to] let more people know about the benefits of family mediation and encourage separating couples to think about family mediation as a way of helping them take control, make decisions together and build a positive future for their family.”
So, let's talk about mediation.
Here are the answers to frequently asked questions related to mediation:
Why choose mediation when separating, or if you are already divorced?
Mediation is family focused and can be child inclusive as well, within a dialogue which is open and flexible for all those taking part. The decisions which are made during the mediation process are very much yours and take into consideration the needs of you and your family.
Is mediation right for me?
We recognise that mediation is not suitable for every case. In most cases, there is mind block against mediation with couples thinking that they will not be able to reach an agreement with the other, but often, when couples sit together with an impartial mediator, they are able to narrow down the issues, if not come to a conclusive agreement. Family mediation is an evolving process, the agreements made when couples first separate may no longer work if there is a change in circumstances. Family mediation can help couples agree a new arrangement reflecting these changes.
Do I have to mediate?
Family mediation is a voluntary process with the aim of assisting separating or divorcing couples to reach agreements on their finances and/or children, both during and after separation. In children law, there is a requirement for parties to attempt to mediation before any application can be made to the Court, unless an exemption to mediation applies.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Family mediation is quicker than making any application to the Court and certainly less stressful than heading to Court for divorce/separation or arrangements for children.
Mediation offers a Court-free and less expensive way of reaching agreements in a more collaborative and conciliatory manner. One of biggest advantages being that parties are not constantly fighting and are able to maintain an effective relationship going forward, especially where there is a need for couples to co-parent their children.
In Collaborative law, both parties retain their solicitors, but instead of solicitor lead negotiations, the parties meet face-to-face with their legal representatives to negotiate and discuss the issues. The benefits of such a way forward, is that the agreements reached are adapted to each individual and a solution is found that works best for all parties, including any children. The process allows for solutions to be found which often the Court could not assist in.
SA Law’s approach to mediation
Here at SA Law, we encourage our clients to consider mediation as the first step when separating or divorcing.
SA Law’s Head of Family Law, Marilyn Bell is both an accredited mediator and collaborative lawyer.
Our expert team is on hand to discuss the benefits of mediation and answer questions you may have about your specific circumstances. Please contact Sonal Parekh firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01727 798060
For more information about Family Mediation Week visit: https://www.familymediationcouncil.org.uk/fmw/