What is family mediation?
Family mediation is an amicable alternative to the court process for separating couples. It provides impartial support from a trained mediator, to help you reach an accord on all the issues that matter to you both: from the division of your money and assets to decisions on child arrangements.
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Could family mediation help me?
Separating from your spouse or long-term partner can be a stressful and difficult time in anyone's life. With so much uncertainty surrounding your lives, and emotions often running high on both sides, it can become impossible to sit down and discuss important issues with each other.
That's when we will often recommend that you consider family mediation. This involves working with a trained and completely neutral mediator, who can help you to resolve a host of the most difficult but important issues you are faced with, including:
- Arrangements for your children to decide who they should live with and how much time they should spend with the other parent.
- Division of property, savings, debts and pensions
In any case, if you apply to the court to hear your case, the judge is likely to refuse to hear it unless you have at least considered mediation first.
What are the benefits of family mediation?
Family mediation has the potential to bring a wealth of benefits, including the chance to start your future relationship as you mean to go on. When you have children together, the chances are that there will be many family occasions which you will both attend and decisions you will have to make together, and family mediation can help you to find a way of listening to each other's needs and reaching necessary compromises.
It's also important to bear in mind that family mediation is:
- Less stressful than court proceedings, which can be confrontational and cause tensions between you and your ex to escalate
- Less damaging and upsetting for any children who are involved
- Considerably quicker than court proceedings
- Able to provide you and your ex more control over how your issues are resolved. Your mediator will help you to find a solution that works for both of you.
- Flexible, as agreements made through the process of mediation can be altered should your circumstances change.
At what stage should I consider family mediation?
We believe that seeking family mediation is a desirable course of action whenever disputes arise over things like child arrangements, property or money. Just as importantly, the sooner you seek family mediation, the less chance there is of disputes getting out of hand and becoming intractable.
As we mentioned above, judges may refuse to hear some court cases if you can't show that you have at least considered mediation before going down that route.
Having said that, even if you and your partner or ex have been separated for a long time, and have already been to court, mediation can still be a very good idea. The atmosphere is less highly charged than in a courtroom, the objective is to reach agreement rather than simply to win, and an experienced mediator is there to help you both, in the most impartial way possible.
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