These questions and many more can add a great deal of worry to an already difficult time. Last week, a television crew followed mediators in a fly-on-the-wall style documentary as they worked with couples to negotiate through questions such as these. It was a fascinating and sometimes sad watch.
But what exactly is mediation?
Mediation is a process during which you, your spouse and a mediator work through issues in your divorce, such as finances and children, with the aim of coming to an agreement. The mediator is simply an impartial person, there to help with negotiations.
A mediators role does not stretch to any kind of marriage guidance – their role is to help you and your spouse come to an agreement about the financial side of your divorce or what will happen to your children. They’re not marriage counsellors and are not there to help you work out your differences and get back together.
Does a mediator replace a solicitor?
Although mediators can give you information about the law and legal processes, they are unable to give you legal advice. It’s always a good idea to have a solicitor as well so that they can provide you with legal advice about your specific case.
Is there a set number of sessions?
The number of mediation sessions you and your spouse have will depend on how many issues you want to discuss and how quickly you can reach an agreement.
Will we still need to go to court?
If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse through mediation then you may need to go to court in order for a judge to decide on your settlement and any undecided child arrangements. However, there are other options you can explore first such as collaborative law or solicitor led negotiations.
If you do reach an agreement with your spouse then the mediation process will end and the mediator will write a Memorandum of Understanding for you to take to your solicitor. You may then be advised to take the Memorandum to court and turned into a legally binding court order.
Do we have to go to mediation before we go to court?
Mediation may not be suitable for everyone. However, most people will have to go to a meeting called a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting before they can take their case to court. The purpose of this meeting is to give you and your spouse information about what mediation entails and how it could help you. There are circumstances where you and your spouse wouldn’t have to attend this meeting, such as if your divorce had an international element which meant you had to start court proceedings immediately.
Mediation can be a good way for couples to come to an agreement about their finances and childcare. Making the decision together in this way can be beneficial for your future relationship, especially if there are children involved.
Contact us to see how we can help you
For more information on your options call our team on 0845 862 5001 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.