Family Mediation Lawyers in London
When a relationship breaks down and separation or divorce appears likely, communicating with your partner in a rational and reasonable way can be one of the most difficult things to achieve. It is a time when practical arrangements need to be put in place, however, emotional differences can often make this feel impossible.
If you and your partner don’t see eye to eye on matters relating to finances or children, please get in touch with us on 020 7387 2032 or via our online enquiry form, so that we can make you aware of how mediation could help you identify a way forward.
Mediation in divorce and children cases
Mediation is a surprisingly painless procedure that can re-introduce rational discussion into your relationship. It is not designed to try and repair the relationship or analyse who is at fault for it breaking down. Instead, it helps two people who have decided to go their separate ways to move on in their lives in a measured and logical way.
What happens at mediation?
Mediation is undertaken by a trained mediator who will listen to the issues that need to be resolved and assess whether mediation is the right way forward for you and your partner. It can help you to make informed, rather than rushed and perhaps impulsive decisions which you may feel pressurised to reach if it is just you and your partner trying to make them. It introduces a more balanced playing field where the mediator can point out the costs and benefits of the decisions that need to be made.
The offers that are exchanged in the mediation process are “without prejudice”. This means that they are private and cannot be reported to the court. The intention is to encourage openness and a willingness to negotiate.
Do you need legal advice before or during mediation?
Mediation sessions are confidential and, for most mediation situations, you do not need to take a lawyer with you or seek legal advice before you attend. Nevertheless, most people find it helpful to have legal advice. Mediators will often recommend obtaining legal advice to help support you through the mediation process. Our family lawyers can help advise you and provide guidance before, during or after mediation.
Once an understanding has been reached that could be confirmed as a final agreement, the mediator will help draw up a formal agreement. They will work with your solicitors by informing them of the outcome of the discussions.
Is mediation compulsory?
You do not have to attend mediation; however, if you end up going to Court, it is normally compulsory to participate in a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (a “MIAM”) unless, for example, there are issues relating to domestic violence or child protection.
What is a MIAM?
A MIAM is an initial meeting that introduces mediation and how it can assist in resolving parenting and financial matters for couples considering separation or divorce. It is not held in Court but by a qualified and independent family mediator. You and your partner can attend together or separately. What is discussed at that meeting remains confidential and will not be disclosed to the Court if any later proceedings take place.
If mediation is recommended as a result of that meeting, it is still your choice as to whether you wish to proceed. All options remain open at that stage, and no one can force you to attend mediation if you do not want to do so.
How long does the mediation process take?
The initial first meeting or MIAM must take place within 15 business days of contact being made with a mediation service.
If mediation is the recommended outcome, there will usually be around three to five sessions which last for about an hour and a half. It is usual for a couple to attend these sessions together, although you don't necessarily have to be in the same room.
What sort of things can mediation help with?
Financial matters and issues relating to the children are the principal discussions the mediator is there to help with. If you have children over the age of ten, you will be made aware of their right to have their views taken into account when agreeing on contact and childcare arrangements. Mediation can help identify a plan for the children's welfare, who they are to live with and suggest arrangements for the other parent to see them.
As far as financial arrangements are concerned, mediation can help with matters such as maintenance and the sharing of pensions.
For further information on the benefits of mediation, please see the below guides:
- Family Mediation for High-Profile Couples
- Making Family Mediation Binding with Financial Consent Orders
- What is Hybrid Family Law Mediation?
Contact our Divorce Lawyers, London
For mediation in divorce and children cases, our family lawyers can help advise you and provide guidance on all of the possible options open to you. Contact us today on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form.