This week is Family Mediation Week. Its aim is to let more people know about the benefits of family mediation, and to encourage separating couples to consider family mediation. In light of this we thought it would be helpful to explain what family mediation is, what it involves and how it might help you if you come into difficulties within your relationship.
Family mediation is a means of settling a dispute outside of the courtroom. It can be used to help resolve a wide range of family issues including your separation, your finances on separation and the arrangements for the children. Mediation has a lot of benefits, namely, saving you money, time and hopefully providing a more amicable relationship moving forwards.
Family mediation involves the use of an independent professionally trained mediator who will assist a separating couple to work out an agreement. A further benefit of mediation is that it is flexible and it can cover what you as a couple want it to which gives far greater scope than court proceedings.
The agreement you come to with the help of your mediator is not legally binding. Therefore, if you come to an agreement through mediation you may also want to consider seeking legal advice alongside this and to support you through the process. Your mediator will be able to explain this further as well as details of the costs involved.
There are other instances where family mediation might be necessary. For example, when arrangements you’ve made previously need to change, this may be due to changing circumstances such as when your children have grown up. Mediation is also required by law if you do in fact decide to issue court proceedings. Each couple will be required to attend what is called a Mediation Information & Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This gives you a chance to find out how mediation works and whether mediation is in fact the best route for you.
Seona Myerscough in our family team is a trained mediator. If you feel you need to take legal advice in relation to the breakdown of your relationship or your children then please call our offices on 01635 508080.