What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where people are assisted to resolve issues between them with the help of a neutral expert.
In relation to parenting, it is compulsory to undertake mediation (Family Dispute Resolution) before you are able to make an application to a Court (see Parenting matters). It is not compulsory to attend mediation for financial matters prior to making an application to Court but it can be helpful. The Court encourages mediated solutions and will require that the parties attend mediation before the matter proceeds to a defended hearing.
The cost of mediation can vary – sometimes the Court will fund the mediation where the parties have relatively minor assets, in other cases the parties will fund the mediator and the attendance of lawyers at the mediation.
We can assist you to prepare for mediation, to find an appropriate and qualified mediator, to appear on your behalf at mediation and to formalise any settlement reached at mediation.
What are the advantages of mediation?
- It enables you to resolve your dispute amicably;
- You can tailor the solutions to your particular needs;
- It is cheaper than litigation;
- It is quicker than litigation;
- Litigation is adversarial and the process can undermine family relationships. Mediation is more likely to promote respect.
- You control the process, the speed of resolution and the outcome. You avoid the emotional stress of litigation.
What are the disadvantages of mediation?
Whilst there are no disadvantages of mediation, there are couples who are not going to be assisted by mediation.
For example, where essential documents have not been provided Court Orders or a subpoena may be necessary to obtain them, where there is urgency (the abduction of a child, the disposal of a significant asset) or where one party is not prepared to attend and resolve issues amicably.
If you don’t feel confident to attend mediation alone, you can attend mediation with a solicitor.
It is a good idea to seek legal advice about your rights and obligations before you go to mediation.