A mediator is an impartial third party who is qualified by one of the recognised mediation authorities to conduct mediation relating to family issues.
The mediator will facilitate discussions between you and your partner to try and resolve various issues to include arrangements for the children, who is to issue the divorce petition (if relevant) and financial arrangements. Mediation can be used in various contexts to include family separation (married or unmarried), interim financial arrangements, long term financial arrangements etc.
Mediators are trained to help resolve disputes over all issues faced by separating couples, or specific issues such as arrangements for any children. A mediator will meet with you and your partner together and will identify those issues you can’t agree on and help you to try and reach an agreement.
Mediators are neutral and will not take sides, so they cannot give advice to either of you. They will usually recommend that you obtain legal advice alongside the mediation process and will guide you as to when this should happen.
Mediation is confidential although any information passed from one party to the mediator must be disclosed to the other party. The mediator is not entitled to disseminate any information relating to your case to any third party, to include your respective Solicitors. Confidentiality can be waived by both parties if information is required to be given to your Solicitors.
Mediation is a means by which two (or more) individuals can sit round a table to discuss their issues and to air their views about any particular problem. The mediator will assist you to try and reach a solution to your problems. Mediation is significantly cheaper than going to Court and empowers you to make your own decisions rather than asking a Judge to make the decision for you.
A mediator can assist in various family issues to include arrangements for the children, disputes about property (unmarried separating couples), interim financial arrangements and long term financial arrangements.
A mediator can address any family issue that you need to resolve. The outcome of mediation is not binding on either party and, very often, it is necessary for the parties to instruct their Solicitors to put forward their proposals to effect a binding agreement.
Further meetings will be scheduled at which you may work on communication issues, renew arrangements for children, exchange financial information and consider options. The mediator may suggest other help, such as financial advice or support for your children.
Between meetings you may wish to meet with your lawyer for advice. Once you have proposals you both find acceptable the mediator will prepare a summary of them together with a summary of the financial information which will be sent to each of you to discuss with your lawyers.
After you have both received legal advice and if you are both still happy with the proposals, the lawyers will convert the summary into a legally binding document and oversee any necessary implementation.
Not everyone is ready for mediation at the same stage in separating, so the mediator needs to find out whether it is suitable for both of you.
There is now a requirement (with some exceptions) that anybody wanting to go to court should attend a meeting (called a MIAM) with an appropriately qualified mediator to find out about mediation and other non-court options.
Publically funded mediators will also assess your eligibility for financial assistance and explain charges if you are not eligible. If you decide not to mediate, this stage is necessary if you want to go to court, as the court will expect a certificate from the mediator before you start proceedings.
The mediator will speak to you briefly about the process to ensure you understand how it works. They will then contact your partner and have the same conversation with them. Sometimes mediators prefer to do this face to face rather than on the telephone.
Our specialist family lawyers can help by making a recommendation. Alternatively you can find details on the resolution website.