What is family mediation and why do divorce solicitors in Guildford recommend this process as an ideal solution to divorcing couples resolving their problems and finding viable amicable solutions in moving forward with their lives?
Family mediation is the preferred path to separating couples resolving problems regarding their children and their financial futures themselves, under the guidance of trusted and impartial mediators. According to the Family Mediation Council, this process has been successful in over 70 per cent of divorce cases in the UK. This favourable success rate has much to do with the principles involved in mediation as well as the benefits to be gained through this process.
Key principles of family mediation
Mediation opens up negotiations between couples in a dispute over children or finances to find suitable resolutions that are fair to both parties. It must be remembered that this process is not an attempt to reconcile or to be a replacement for counselling or therapy or a substitute for legal advice. Rather, it is a process aimed at providing separating couples with legal information explaining general legal principles and presented by an unbiased third party.
Unlike litigation where judgements are forced on separating couples, proposals agreed to in mediation are arrived at in co-operation and negotiation with one another. It is a process that aims to be balanced and fair to both parties. Further principles of mediation include a number of salient points.
Mediation is not enforced and is completely voluntary. Couples must be willing to enter the mediation process voluntarily and agree to its outcomes. The Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) is the opportunity to learn all there is to know about mediation and to figure out if this course is the right one to embark on. Although in the majority of cases mediation finds the best resolution, only some cases benefit from this process.
For mediation to be fair and balanced, mediators must remain unbiased and neutral and only present legal information, not advice.
Any information that is shared during mediation is kept strictly confidential and is not even shared in court proceedings. Even in that instance when mediation is unsuccessful and the separating couples find themselves in a court dispute, the reasons for the failed mediation is not made known to the court.
The mediation process puts the divorcing couple in charge as opposed to a court case where the judge determines the outcome. Couples work out what proposals to put forth, making decisions themselves based on the legalities presented by the mediator. Any decisions made only become legally binding if lawyers are called upon to initiate a legally binding agreement.
There are a plethora of reasons why couples going through a divorce may choose mediation.
Mediation places emphasis on finding positive and constructive solutions. As there is less confrontation and hostility in mediation, there is less emotional stress placed on either party or any children.
Other advantages include a quicker and cheaper path to resolving a dispute as the legal costs involved are lower than court representation. Couples with children are urged to work together in the interests of their children. As each family’s situation is unique, mediation allows for a bespoke resolution that meets each individual situation’s needs.
In a mediation process, each party communicates face to face with each other with the focus of looking forward and not at the past. This helps each party to identify the real issues that matter.