What is Family Mediation?
Family mediation is a confidential way for couples to arrive together at fair, long lasting arrangements, thus reducing the pain and trauma associated with separation or divorce.
A couple can employ the services of an impartial family mediator, or pair of family mediators, to help them safely air their differences and constructively arrive at financial settlements and arrangements for children that they as a couple choose and work out, rather than having judges or lawyers making decisions for them.
Family mediation is not compulsory, although if a couple are unable to agree about the split of their finances at or after divorce, or if they cannot agree to arrangements for their children they will be asked to attend a Family Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting to find out whether they might benefit from family mediation.
Family mediators do not give legal advice and do not represent individuals, although family mediators can be solicitors or other professionals who deal with families. When proposals are reached by the couple, a summary is drawn up by the mediator(s) which each of the couple will take to their own solicitor who will consider whether to turn it into a legally binding agreement, and also take care of any other legal formalities such as the divorce itself.
What are the advantages of Family Mediation?
Some of the advantages of family mediation are that:
- It is almost always considerably cheaper as it does not involve going to court, (although in cases of divorce you will need to set out any financial agreement in a Consent Order and have it sealed by the court).
- It is almost always considerably quicker as you do not have to go through the court procedures and deal with the court’s timetable. Going to court can be extremely slow.
- Agreements made in family mediation usually stand the test of time making it easier to get on with your former partner in the future.
- The family mediators will guide you and your former partner to reach an agreement which suits both of you rather than having a judge impose upon you an outcome which neither of you may be happy with.
If you would like to find out more about our private family mediation services, please contact us today to arrange your free initial appointment. Our experienced family mediators, located in Exeter and Plymouth are able to deliver the service across Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and Dorset.
If you are eligible for public funding (formerly legal aid) then you may be entitled to free family mediation; in this instance we can make referrals to mediation providers such as the Devon Family Solutions Ltd.