Mediation can help
‘International experience as well as common sense, dictate that mediation should play an important role in the resolution of family disputes, which are particularly unsuited to the adversarial legal system.’
Family Law Reporting Pilot Project – Report to the Board of the Courts Service: Dr. Carol Coulter
Family mediation is a process in which an impartial third person, the mediator, assists those involved in relationship breakdown, and in particular separating or divorcing couples, to communicate better with one another and reach their own agreed and informed decisions concerning some or all of the issues relating to the separation, divorce, children, finance, or property.
The typical mediation process will involve a number of steps:
- Pre-mediation meetings, telephone conversations, and correspondence with each party. This enables the mediator to obtain a history of the conflict to date and gain an understanding of the perspective of each party. The mediator will also explain the process and ascertain the willingness and suitability of the parties to mediate.
- A signed agreement to mediate.
- Submission and by agreement, circulation of all necessary documentation and position statements. Where difficulties exist in this regard, they can be brought into the mediation process for consideration.
- The mediation usually takes place over one day. However, more complex issues may require a longer period of mediation to enable agreement to be reached.
- A written mediation agreement and financial statement is drawn up by the mediator and signed by the parties involved.