Splitting up with your partner is often stressful, and emotions can run high. People often assume that their divorce or relationship breakdown will inevitably be complicated with tension and animosity.
When this happens it can be very difficult to sit down with your ex-partner and talk about dividing up finances or making arrangements for the children – but this needn’t be the case.
So. how can family mediation help me?
Well, if you are struggling with a family law dispute, divorce or relationship break-up, have you ever considered that there might be a better way of sorting out your issues than going through the stressful and drawn-out court process?
Here at specialist Andover based divorce and family law firm Bonallack and Bishop, we are convinced that family mediation is, for the right couple, a much better way of resolving your issues – saving you money, speeding up the process and significantly reducing bitterness and stress – and most importantly, less distressing for any children involved.
We have 2 family mediators who are both experienced family lawyers – and we’re here to help you.
Does family mediation suit everyone?
In short, no. The family mediation approach is sadly not suited to all couples . In particular, a high level of openness and honesty, as well as a willingness to compromise, are needed to make mediation work – hidden agendas will usually bring about the failure of any attempt to mediate.
In mediation no one gets blamed, and the mediator is not there to take sides or to provide legal advice to either of you (that’s a job for your own lawyer). Family mediators are there purely to provide information and help discussion, even if they are also qualified lawyers. Any mediator must stay entirely neutral.
However, if you are willing to work together to reach a mutually beneficial and agreeable solution, mediation can produce great results.
So, before you make your decision, you’ll need to speak to an experienced family mediator to see if it’s right for you.
But don’t worry if mediation won’t work for you – our family lawyers are equally able to help you solve your family law problems using the traditional court based approach.
Will my lawyer attend family mediation sessions with me?
Mediation does not need each party have their own lawyer present during discussions. Instead ex partners work together towards a settlement with the help of their mediator.
However, when an agreement is finally reached, especially when it comes to financial issues following divorce, before the settlement can be made legally binding, parties will need to receive legal advice.
To read more about how mediation actually works – click here.
Are family mediators independent?
Mediators have to remain impartial and will not take sides.
Mediation costs are evenly split between the two parties and this also helps keep things impartial and fair.
Do mediation meetings involve us both?
Normally yes. Mediation usually works best if both parties are in the same room with the mediator. A mediation meeting usually takes an hour, and most couples reach an agreement in less than four sessions.
However, if the relationship between separating parties is very poor, then it is possible to see the mediator separately during the first session of mediation.
Family mediators — not just for financial issues in divorce
Family mediation has a number of benefits for everyone involved in the process of separation and divorce.
For many, the benefits are financial —mediators can help find ways in which the a couples financial assets may be divided or property can be split – and mediation can help avoid the often huge legal costs of fighting finances that follow divorce out in court. However, the benefits a family mediator can bring aren’t just financial.
Family mediation can really help where following relationship breakdown you’re having difficulty with arrangements for the children.
The harsh truth is that is impossible to shield children completely from the effects of their parents splitting up and getting divorced. Settling on fair and practical arrangements that suit everyone can be surprisingly difficult, not least because of hurt feelings and high tempers.
Not only can experienced family mediators help you reach an agreement about your children both quickly and easily, but it can be incredibly important, particular for older children, in knowing that their parents have come to an agreement themselves – rather than having to have a decision imposed on the family by judge after a battle in court. The calming influence of an experienced family mediator can really help to reach settlements which genuinely promote children’s best interests.
Mediators are trained to recognise the seriousness of a family breakdown and will make sure that the welfare of any children is the top priority when it comes to dividing up money, assets and visitation rights.
Mediators can also prove really helpful when there are disputes over levels of grandparent contact.
Is the agreement we reach together legally binding?
In short, no, it is not. Any agreement made during a mediation session is not legally binding, so if you are unhappy with the outcome, you can still take the matter to court. Judges will take a mediator’s recommendations into account when making their ruling, but they may not always agree totally with the mediator.
When it comes to dealing with any final settlement in divorce that has been achieved through mediation, we always recommend strongly that a straightforward application is made to court for that agreement to be made into a court order – which is legally binding on both parties. In the vast majority of cases, and provided they have been given sufficient information about the couples finances and are satisfied that the agreement is fair, judges are perfectly happy to make those kind of consent orders routinely. This would not normally involved either of you needing to actually attend court.
How to find out if family mediation might work for you
If you’re interested in finding out more about using family mediation to solve your disputes, the first stage is to talk to your own solicitor or if you have not yet got one, to a a specialist jointly credited family lawyer/mediator.
If you decide you’re interested in going ahead with mediation, the next step will be for you to attend what is known as a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM). This will help you work out whether mediation is right for you, and you can attend this meeting either on your own or with your former partner. If you decide that mediation is right for you, you can then get more information about how the process works and start to work towards resolving issues with the agreement of everyone involved. This should help minimise conflict and distress.
Andover Family Mediation – Call for FREE Initial Phone Advice and a FREE 1/2 Hour Appointment
Worried about how to resolve your family law or relationship breakup problems? A simple free phone call with one of our team could put your mind at rest.
To find out more about how family mediation can help your relationship breakdown – simply call us on Andover  364433 or email us using the form below and book your FREE first 30 minute appointment;
• Call ANDOVER  364433
• Or fill in the contact form below to book a call back at a time convenient to you
Bonallack and Bishop,
Suite 1, Healey House,
Tel: Andover (01264) 364433