What is Family Mediation?
Family Mediation is a process of resolving disputes by sitting around a table with your spouse/former partner and an independent, professionally trained mediator, who acts as a facilitator to your discussions\negotiations. Whether you need to resolve issues about your finances, maintenance and\or the arrangements for your children, mediation is an effective way of reaching an agreement.
Do I have to Mediate?
No, mediation is voluntary and it is important that the parties to family mediation enter it on a voluntary basis. Either party is at liberty to terminate the mediation at any time, if they do not feel it is working.
However, in April 2011, the Government imposed a requirement that prior to the issue of a financial or child related application in the Family Court, the parties in dispute should attend a ‘Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting’ (MIAMs) and be provided with information concerning mediation, so they can determine whether mediation is appropriate for them. A signed MIAMs certificate is signed by the mediator and attached to the court application to confirm attendance at a MIAMs
What are the Benefits?
- Remain in control of the decisions made.
- Less stressful – attending Court is very stressful and fraught with uncertainty.
- Speed – mediation is quicker than drawn out court proceedings.
- Expense – mediation is a much more cost effective way of resolving issues.
- Success – the majority of mediations are successful.
- A better ongoing relationship – avoiding the need to do ‘7 rounds’ in court. There is a much better prospect of remaining on reasonable terms with your former spouse/partner. If you have children, this is particularly important for their emotional welfare.
What is the Process?
The average family mediation will require the parties to attend 3 or 4 mediation sessions lasting approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours each.
At the end of the process, the mediator will prepare a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ confirming what proposals have been agreed between the parties. If financial matters have been an issue ‘An Open Financial Summary’ will also be prepared.
The parties can then take their own independent legal advice in regard to these proposals and have the proposals incorporated into a legally binding document.
Sally Smith – Family Solicitor and Family Mediator
Sally Smith trained to be a mediator with the Solicitors Family Law Association (now known as Resolution) in May 1998 and became accredited by the Legal Services Commission as an approved mediator in 2001. Since that time, Sally has undertaken hundreds of successful mediations.
In February 2005 Sally was one of the first solicitors in England and Wales to train as a collaborative family lawyer and she, therefore, recognises the importance of a conciliatory approach.
Sally is well respected by the communities she serves and has over 25 years’ experience as a specialist family solicitor.
Talk to Tollers
If you would like help in resolving a dispute through mediation, contact our extremely experienced Family Solicitor and Family Mediator Sally Smith on 01604 258517 or complete the contact form below.