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Family Mediation: What’s the Point?
Written from the perspective of a non mediator
If you’re going through a separation the chances are that you’re already dealing with a variety of organisations and paying out a significant amount of money trying to sort out your finances and newly separate lives. So why should you bother seeing a family mediator as well? Surely it just adds another person into an already uncomfortable situation, more time spent on appointments, more money, more hassle…?
Well here are five good reasons why you should consider family mediation, from the perspective of someone objective:
- Mediation can save you time: It takes between three and five sessions for couples to reach agreement. Because you are talking directly to your former partner, rather than waiting for letters and emails to go between solicitors, mediation can speed up the negotiations considerably.
- Mediation can save you money: A survey earlier this year reported that the average cost for a divorce lawyer in London was £350 an hour. Our fees are £100 an hour for clients on an income of over £30,000. As lawyer mediators we can give legal information to you jointly but not advice. You can considerably reduce the amount of time you need to spend with solicitors.
- Legal Aid: Legal Aid has been cut for most family law cases. However, if you are eligible for help with your legal costs, Legal Aid is still available for mediation, making this an ideal option for you.
- In many cases, if you are seeking a court order regarding children and finances you must show that you have considered mediation: The Court will expect that you have tried to sort out your practical arrangements out of court with a mediator and that you have either attended a MIAMS meeting and have an FM1 or that the other person is unwilling to come to mediation and this is confirmed by a recognised mediator.
- Mediation is a better way as it is more constructive: Although the idea of entering into face to face discussions with a former partner may be daunting, most people find the experience far more positive than they may have expected. Put simply, a constructive dialogue in mediation can lead to better outcomes for families and post separation relationships between parents.
The Ministry of Justice launched a short video in June to promote the idea of family mediation for separating couples. You can see it here:
It’s a very simple animation answering some FAQs about the mediation process and telling couples how to go about finding a suitable mediator.
At Aurora family mediation all our mediators are recognised by the Family mediation council and the Legal aid agency to carry out family mediation. You see the same person for your initial meeting and your full mediation. Nicolette Zarka has over 10 years experience as a family mediator and 21 years experience as a solicitor. Please feel free to contact us on 07551 909509 for an informal discussion.
Divorce and separation is often a confusing and distressing experience for any children involved, particularly if it means going to court to decide on contact or Residence issues. Cafcass (Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service) have long provided an invaluable service for the family court process.
Their website has many useful resources aimed at both parents and children and they have recently launched a new video to explain the court process and how Cafcass advisors get involved. Three young people aged between 11 and 18 talk about their experiences with the family court and how Cafcass advisors supported them through the process.
Cafcass can be found at http://www.cafcass.gov.uk
It’s well worth a look if you have children going through this process or if you work with families in this situation.