Family mediation is a positive, forward-thinking and confidential process that resolves personal and professional disputes using a non-biased third party to help facilitate a mutually and satisfactory outcome.
Most people will have minimal contact with the legal system. But, in the situation where they do there may be many questions asked. It’s a very stressful situation when a couple are going through a separation or divorce. Their lives that they have lived together has dramatically changed and there will be many concerns about property, money and children.
Family mediation is now becoming the fastest growing method of resolving family disputes. Often agreeing things without the help of a third-party mediator isn’t an easy process as you try to make arrangements for the future. THB Legal can help you resolve differences in many respects including child arrangements, separation, divorce and relationship difficulties.
Family mediation give the participants involved the opportunity to discuss all possible options in a neutral and safe practicing environment before coming to a mutually agreed arrangement. During the process, either party remain in total control and no arrangement or decision will be forcibly imposed. Family mediators are highly skilled in helping separating partners explore all possible options thoroughly by exploring the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal made towards either party. A mediator nor the parties involved would be able to determine whether a suggestion was fair or not unless all of the cards were laid on the table.
Mediation that deals with property and finance is facilitated on the basis that there is full financial disclosure from each party. Only then can the mediation process begin. The sole reason for this is that the financial disclosures set the context of the process itself and the prospective proposals made by either party. Family mediation is a far more time efficient service and less expensive than litigation especially when there are financial issues involved.
The THB Legal Family Mediation Process
The first step in the process is to attend a mediation information and assessment meeting (often called a MAIM) with a specially qualified family mediator. The three aims of a MAIM are –
- Explain the alternatives including mediation compared to the court processes that are available for separating couples.
- To give you the opportunity to decide on what route you think will be best for your relationship breakdown and what is involved in the breakdown. For example, children, financial and property issues.
- To explore and determine whether using a family mediation service would be a safe and effective way to resolve your dispute in your circumstances.
During the MAIM you will be able to ask the mediator any questions that you might have regarding the service. If you do decide that family mediation is the right process for you then the mediator will contact your ex-partner and invite them to attend their own MAIM to discuss the process with them. During this session, mediators are also able to offer legal aid mediation.
What Happens after a Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting?
Upon seeing both parties, the mediator will then arrange a joint session. The number of sessions typically depend on the number of issues that need to be resolves but normally between 2 – 6 sessions and lastly for 1 – 2 hours.
During these sessions, you and your ex-partner will express your views and concerns to each other and to the mediator. The mediator who is not biased to either party will then help you focus on what needs to be done to forward and more importantly how it can be done. Once an agreement how been made between both of the parties then this will be recorded by the mediator just so you are both clear on what the agreement includes and prevent any confusion once the mediation process concludes. Its important to highlight that once an agreement has been made, you may need to have the agreement in question put into writing so that it would be a legal binding agreement but this typically depends on the complexity of the dispute.
It is vital that if you do have any concerns about any agreement made during the mediation process then you are free to seek legal advice so you know what can be enforced by law.
When the relationship between two parent’s breakdown it is normally their utmost priority to make arrangements for the children involved. Above all else that’s involved in a separation, you and your ex-partner are no longer together but you are still and always will be parents to the same children. We believe that the best people to decide a child’s future is the parents and we are here to help you make future arrangements that are in their best interests.
Research has also shown that children can be more adversely affected by the uncertainty of their parent’s separation rather than the separation itself. Mediation helps to improve a productive level of communication between parents will enable them to move forward with an organised and working relationship for the future. These plans that are formulated by mutual consent can help restore trust between parents and help them move on emotionally but also practically with children in mind.